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16 — April 25, 2018

 

Quick Hits …
(A few short items to get us started this week)

Federated Auto Parts has presented its Art Fisher Memorial Award (the group’s highest member honor) to Tim Trudnowski, president of Parts Wholesalers Inc.

• The Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance honored Delphi with its 2018 “Receiver’s Choice Award” at the Automotive Content Professionals Network Knowledge Exchange Conference earlier this month.

CSF Inc. (Rancho Cucamonga, CA) is now an approved vendor to the Automotive Parts Services Group. CSF supplies radiators, condensers and intercoolers.

• The HMC Stores division of the Hanson Distributing Co. has opened its first location in central California in Visalia. Hanson is a Bumper to Bumper member of The Alliance.

• 4 Wheel Parts held a grand-opening event April 21 for its new location in Louisville, KY. It is the company’s 90th North American store and its first in Kentucky.

• Dayco Canada Corp. has opened a new aftermarket distribution center in Vaughan, Ontario to serve customers throughout eastern Canada. It replaces the company’s DC in Concord, Ontario.

 

Perspective: Facebook’s Woes Provide An Opportunity For The Aftermarket

U.S. consumers are waking up to the idea that companies not only want access to as much information about us as possible, but that many businesses actually think that they should own (and be able to market) the data they collect with little to no restraint.

Whether it’s a web browser or a supermarket rewards card, information about what we do and how we do it isn’t as personal as we think. Consider just two stories … From Fortune: Facebook Explains Data It Collects When You’re Not Logged In; and from USA Today: Amazon (and Alexa) know a whole lot about you.

Consumers are becoming increasingly concerned about protecting their privacy and more wary of potential abuses of the technology all around them. For example, some of the apps on our smartphones transmit tremendous amounts of our personal information. Do consumers realize that their vehicles could do the same thing?

Drivers love the amenities of today’s top-of-the-line cars, everything from WiFi hotspots to accessing popular apps to the ability to order Starbucks by voice command. You can even have Amazon drop off packages in your car trunk if you have OnStar. But, what’s happening to all of the data that our cars and their telematics systems are collecting? Who’s looking at our information, and who controls access to it?

Nobody has a problem with their technician accessing the car’s data when a breakdown has occurred, but a health insurer wanting to know how many trips to Dunkin Donuts are being made … that’s too intrusive. Here is where the aftermarket has an important story to tell, and the Auto Care Association has a particularly strong message.

I recently had the opportunity to talk to President and CEO Bill Hanvey and Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Aaron Lowe. It was a great conversation at an important moment in the fight for access to vehicle data. For the association, two issues are at the heart of its concerns regarding telematics: The right to control where the data goes as the owner of the vehicle, and secure access to the data.

I agree with the Auto Care Association; most of us likely do. When somebody owns a vehicle, they should also own the data. Furthermore, vehicle owners should be able to know what data is being collected, have the ability to access it, and (this is crucial) be able to control where the vehicle sends its data and how that data is being used. No automaker should be able to lock out independent repair shops from accessing the information needed to maintain and repair any vehicle.

This is where I see a natural connection to the privacy concerns that consumers have. They feel like they don’t have control when it comes to the data collected by any of their devices … and that includes their cars. What the Auto Care Association is advocating for puts consumers in control. That message should resonate. Nobody wants to be told that they can’t choose where to get their vehicle repaired.

The Auto Care Association believes that the best solution to this issue is reaching a negotiated settlement with the automakers. Ideally, this would be the case, and I wish nothing but the best to those working toward such a resolution. But, thus far, no agreement has been reached.

If no deal is forthcoming, there would appear to be two primary courses of action: Legislation that ensures the vehicle owner’s access and control over their vehicle data, and a technical solution that addresses security concerns and can be standardized.

I’m excited about the work underway on the technical side: both the AASA Vehicle Data Work Group advocating for a neutral, secure, cloud-based “marketplace solution” to accessing vehicle data — one that’s founded on agreements between data providers and users; and the Secure Vehicle Interface that has been championed by a number of groups, including the Auto Care Association — a solution that would allow access to vehicle data via a secure interface and provide a standardized format for transmission of the data.

While there are differences among the various technical initiatives underway, it’s my hope that some of these paths begin to converge in time and that these solutions begin to fit together, producing a strong, pro-consumer and pro-access environment.

Meanwhile, legislative efforts are underway at both the federal and state level, and industry leaders are meeting with elected officials and regulators to educate them about vehicle data access issues. With privacy concerns front-of-mind with many politicians — and with so many of them up for election this fall — the opportunity to get their attention is great.

Now is the time to get involved by attending our industry group’s Washington, DC events, as well as by taking part in local initiatives like the Auto Care Hometown Summit, which focuses on legislator tours of factories, DCs, stores and shops, as well as meetings at local district/state offices, town halls and community events, and local fundraisers.

This campaign season, get to know the people running for office in your area. Let them know about your company, its impact on the local community and the concerns you have — whether it’s about vehicle data or not. Anything that builds awareness about the value of the auto care industry can only help advance the issues that matter to all of us.

Marc Vincent,
Editor

 

GPC Buys Smith Auto Parts

The Genuine Parts Co. (GPC) has acquired Smith Auto Parts, a Fresno, CA-based auto parts distributor with five stores and approximately $17 million in annual revenue, according to GPC. Smith Auto Parts was an Auto Value member of the Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance.

 

Acquisitions Propelled GPC To Double-Digit Sales Growth In Q1

The Genuine Parts Co. (GPC) reported record first-quarter net sales of $4.59 billion — an increase of $680.65 million, or 17.4 percent, over the previous year, mainly attributable to acquisitions. Total organic sales growth was 2 percent. The company’s gross profit rose 24.2 percent to $1.44 billion, while gross margin increased from 29.6 percent to 31.3 percent on a year-over-year basis.

Net income rose 10.2 percent to $176.58 million. Adjusting for the impact of certain transaction-related costs incurred with the November 2017 acquisition of the Alliance Automotive Group (AAG) and the recently announced spinoff of S.P. Richards, GPC’s adjusted net income was up 16.4 percent.

Net sales from GPC’s Automotive Group increased by $585.81 million, or 29.6 percent, to $2.56 billion — again largely attributable to acquisitions. Comparable-store sales were up roughly 1.5 percent.

DOMESTIC OPERATIONS … Sales for the company’s U.S. automotive operations rose 3.5 percent for the quarter, with comp-store sales up slightly, which was consistent with sales comps reported throughout 2017. Retail sales outpaced commercial sales.

President and CEO Paul Donahue told analysts on an April 19 conference call that winter storms during the quarter, as well as a calendar shift for the Easter holiday, had an approximately 1-percent negative impact on sales. “January started out pretty good, and that cold weather helped our business for sure. February was pretty good as well,” Donahue said. “Where we began to see it tail off was in March and specifically in the second half of March.”

He said a series of Nor’easters resulted in numerous DCs and stores being temporarily shut down across the Northeast and Atlantic regions. “Certainly, too much winter weather is not a good thing. We’ve seen our Ag business get off to a slow start. Our brake business — which you know is usually taking off at this time of the year — is soft,” Donahue said. “But, in the long run, the cold weather is a benefit for us. We think we’ll see a pick up most likely in Q2 and on into Q3 as parts fail, maintenance comes into play and potholes begin to take their toll.”

Batteries were the No.-1 growth business for the group in the first quarter, according to Donahue, who added that tools and equipment, hydraulics, and chemicals performed well. Undercar underperformed.

Donahue also told analysts that the U.S. Automotive Group’s ongoing acquisitions should positively contribute to future sales, calling the recent acquisition of Smith Auto Parts and other accretive, tuck-in acquisitions an important part of the group’s growth strategy. “We see additional opportunities to expand our U.S. store footprint,” he added.

INTERNTIONAL OPERATIONS … In its first full calendar quarter as a part of GPC, the Alliance Automotive Group (AAG) posted low-single-digit sales comps, in line with management’s plans.

“The AAG team completed several small, bolt-on acquisitions in the first quarter and has a full pipeline of additional acquisitions for the periods ahead,” Donahue told analysts on the call. “In addition, our management teams are working hard to deliver the $25 million in synergies we announced with this transaction and expect to realize over the next three years. These synergies primarily relate to our sourcing opportunities, and we remain confident that we will achieve the targeted goal.”

He added: “As we work through this integration, which is going very well, we expect the talented management team at AAG to drive strong results throughout 2018.”

In Australia and New Zealand, total sales in local currency increased by mid-single digits, attributable equally to an increase in comp sales and the ongoing benefit of acquisitions. The business had 560 stores in the first quarter of 2018, and plans call for further store expansion.

At NAPA Canada, sales in local currency rose mid-single digits, with comps up in the low-single digits. These results included the December 2017 acquisition of the Universal Supply Group of Kingston, Ontario, which added 21 stores that sell auto parts, heavy-duty truck parts, and paint and body products, bolstering NAPA Canada’s presence in eastern Ontario.

“The industry fundamentals and general economic climate in Canada remain positive, so we remain optimistic for another good year from our Canadian team,” Donahue said.

In Mexico, total sales increased mid-single digits before the favorable impact of currency. “The NAPA Mexico footprint includes 42 total stores, and we look forward to expanding our store base further over the balance of the year,” Donahue said.

A few other items of interest from GPC’s first-quarter report and financial results conference call …
• Total Automotive Group operating profit increased 21.7 percent to $184.71 million in the quarter; however, operating margin slipped from 7.7 percent to 7.2 percent, attributable to the deleverage of expenses from the U.S. automotive business.
• 535 company-owned and independently-owned NAPA Auto Parts stores had been updated to management’s “Retail Impact” store initiative through March. The program is intended to modernize and refresh store layouts. According to Donahue, these stores produce the group’s strongest retail sales comps.
• Management expects to roll out the “Retail Impact” platform to another 250 stores to 300 stores in 2018.
• Sales to NAPA AutoCare customers increased in the low-single digits in the first quarter.
• The NAPA Rewards Program now has over 7.10 million members.
• Automotive Group sales are forecast to grow by 19 percent to 21 percent in 2018.
Carol Yancey, executive vice president and CFO, told analysts that the pricing environment was somewhat inflationary through the first quarter. “We expect this to continue, especially if the steel and aluminum tariffs take effect in the coming months,” Yancey explained. “At this point, there is much uncertainty on this issue, and it’s too early to determine the potential impact of tariffs on price inflation. But, as we’ve said before, we’re generally able to pass along these types of increases to our customers.”
• Cumulative supplier price increases for the first quarter of 2018 were flat for automotive.          — Marc Vincent

 

Tim Trudnowski Receives Art Fisher Memorial Award

Federated Auto Parts presented its Art Fisher Memorial Award (the group’s highest member honor) to Tim Trudnowski, president of Spokane, WA-based Parts Wholesalers Inc., during the recent Automotive Parts Services Group meeting. Named for the late founder of Federated Auto Parts Distributors, the award recognizes members who carry on Fisher’s legacy through outstanding dedication to the membership, group and industry. Parts Wholesalers Inc. was one of the first companies to join Federated over 30 years ago.

 

The Parts Alliance Expands

The Parts Alliance, now a subsidiary of Uni-Select Inc., has opened three new branches in the United Kingdom (two in March and one in April). This follows two branch openings in February and two in the fourth quarter of 2017 for a total of seven openings since Uni-Select acquired The Parts Alliance in August. The Parts Alliance now has 174 branches.

 

Johnson Controls To Sell Batteries In China Through E-Commerce Giant JD

Johnson Controls has announced a strategic partnership with the Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com to sell automotive batteries to consumers and automotive retailers in China — a new delivery model and means to provide batteries to customers across the country.

The deal includes a business-to-consumer element featuring 30-minute express delivery of VARTA batteries. This express delivery service will be available in over 300 Chinese cities. Consumers also have the option to pick up their batteries at over 200 VARTA POWERZONE stores.

The business-to-business side of the agreement delivers Energizer batteries — which are produced in China by Johnson Controls Power Solutions — to JD’s aftermarket sales channels, including authorized garages and workshops. JD’s automotive aftermarket division, which launched last year, reaches over 100,000 workshops and garages in China.

“E-commerce plays an increasingly important role to help Johnson Controls get access to consumers, workshops and retailers in China,” said Kenneth Yeng, vice president and general manager of Johnson Controls Power Solutions China. “Johnson Controls’ product and technology expertise — combined with the advantages of JD.com in platform, traffic, information and finance — will accelerate advancement of the domestic automotive battery market.”

Johnson Controls and JD.com also will promote proactive battery maintenance among consumers and aftermarket providers in China, and intend to explore further cooperation related to artificial intelligence, such as supply chain, logistics finance, big data, cloud service and unmanned delivery.

 

ACPN Honors Content Excellence Awards Winners

The Auto Care Association’s Automotive Content Professionals Network (ACPN) awarded the following companies with Content Excellence Awards at the 2018 Knowledge Exchange Conference in Ft. Worth, TX …

PAPER CATALOG
• Gold: Gates Corp.;
• Silver: Motorcar Parts of America; and
• Bronze: Cardone Industries.

WEB CATALOG
• 
Gold: K&N Engineering;
• Silver: Mann+Hummel; and
• Bronze: Tenneco.

MOBILE CATALOG
• Gold: Tenneco;
• Silver: MPA Motorcar Parts; and
• Bronze: Spectra Premium Industries.

ACES & PIES DATA
• Small Company: VDO;
• Medium Company: Moog; and
• Large Company: Bilstein.

 

Dayco Veteran Richard Crotzer Joins ZF Aftermarket

Dayco Products veteran Richard Crotzer has joined ZF Aftermarket as its new national sales manager of program groups, reporting to Mark Thorpe. Crotzer brings nearly 35 years of North American aftermarket experience to the position, more than 30 of which were with Dayco. He most recently was director of sales for the United States, responsible for overall sales strategy, field sales team management and program groups. During his time with Dayco, Crotzer also served in district, heavy duty, regional and divisional sales management roles.

 

Dayco Names Aftermarket Sales VP

Dayco Products (Troy, MI) has named Dan Sheehan as its vice president of aftermarket sales, tasked with leading all sales, business development and marketing efforts in the United States. He brings more than 25 years of experience in automotive sales leadership, global business development and marketing, most recently as director of automotive sales for Stabilus Inc.

Sheehan’s background includes senior management positions with Zen S.A. Industria Metalurgica, Denso Corp. and Cooper Industries. He also is a board trustee for the University of the Aftermarket Foundation and a member of the Automotive Sales Council.

 

Snap-on’s Net Sales Increased In Q1 Despite Tools Group Headwinds

For the first quarter of 2018, Snap-on Inc. (Kenosha, WA) saw its net sales increase by $48.40 million, or 5.5 percent, to $935.50 million despite continuing headwinds from the Snap-on Tools Group. This was comprised of $26.90 million in favorable foreign currency translation, $14.30 million in acquisition-related sales and $7.20 million in organic sales (up 0.8 percent).

Gross profit increased 5.2 percent to $471.60 million; however, gross margin declined 10 basis points to 50.4 percent. The company’s net earnings rose 15 percent to $166.80 million. Adjusting for net debt items and tax charges, Snap-on’s net earnings increased 16.7 percent to $161.50 million.

TOOLS GROUP … Net sales from Snap-on’s Tools Group declined by $4.70 million, or 1.1 percent, to $404.70 million. This breaks down as an $11.40-million, or 2.7-percent, organic sales decrease that was partially offset by $6.70 million in favorable foreign currency translation. The organic sales decline includes a mid-single-digit decrease from the company’s U.S. franchise operations, attributable to lower sales of big-ticket items, which was only partially offset by a mid-single-digit sales gain from international franchise operations.

It was the third consecutive quarterly decline for U.S. franchise revenue, according to analysts with Jefferies LLC.

Chairman and CEO Nick Pinchuk told analysts on the company’s April 19 conference call that the Tools Group registered a similar performance to the fourth quarter of 2017, with U.S. volume down.

“We’re seeing turbulence, but our van network remains strong. You can see it in the franchisee metrics. The financial and physical indicators, again this quarter, they remained favorable, matching the clear optimism we see when we meet our franchisees,” Pinchuk said. “We continue to be confident in the opportunity for our van network, and the Tools team is working with focus and energy to restart progress with programs like our refurbished Rock ‘n Roll Cabs and with great new products.”

This includes building a comprehensive line of ratcheting wrenches that Pinchuk said will be wider than any other available, matching the unique requirements for a broad range of workplaces.

According to Pinchuk, hand tools sales were up “nicely” in the first quarter, and software sales were up significantly; however, tool storage sales were down double-digits.

Jefferies points out in an April 19 Company Note that tool storage has been weak since the second quarter of 2017; however, given a lowered bar and expected sell-through of hand tools and new Apollo diagnostic hardware/software, analysts from Jefferies are modeling 2018 second-quarter Tools Group organic sales to increase 0.5 percent.

Segment operating earnings decreased 2 percent to $68.90 million. Operating margin slipped from 17.2 percent a year ago to 17 percent for the three months ended March 31, 2018

RS&IG … The company’s Repair Systems & Information Group (RS&IG) came through with $337 million in net sales — an increase of $18.20 million, or 5.7 percent, over the previous year. This reflects an $8.40-million, or 2.6-percent, organic sales gain, along with $9.10 million in favorable foreign currency translation and $700,000 in acquisition-related sales.

The organic sales increase includes a mid-single-digit rise in sales of diagnostic and repair information products to independent repair shop owners and managers, a low-single-digit sales increase to OEM dealerships, and essentially flat undercar equipment sales.

Segment operating earnings rose 8.5 percent to $85.80 million, while operating margin increased 70 basis points to 25.5 percent.         — Marc Vincent

 

Lund Drops Infringement Suit Against Rocky Ridge, Continues Two Others

Lund Motion Products has dismissed its lawsuit against Rocky Ridge, a specialty vehicle outfitter, alleging patent infringement of its PowerStep retractable running boards.

Franklin Springs, GA-based Rocky Ridge installed Lund products on its trucks for years but more recently began installing retractable steps produced by T-Max, a Chinese manufacturer, according to the suit. In a settlement agreement, Rocky Ridge agreed to no longer sell the T-Max running boards in question.

A Rocky Ridge representative did not respond to a request for comment.

The Lund suit was part of handful of recent cases alleging infringement of three patents and copyright violations related to Lund’s automatic, electric PowerStep running boards.

Lund dismissed a similar suit against Rev Wheel (Riverside, CA), another T-Max distributor, last year based on a similar settlement agreement. Two additional cases, against T-Max (Hangzhou) Technology Co. Ltd. and Prestige Off Roads (Boerne, TX), are still pending.

In its court response, Off Roads blamed the alleged violations on “the acts and/or omission by third parties” over which it had no control. A T-Max attorney did not reply to a request for comment.

Buford, GA-based Lund Motion Products, a subsidiary of Lund International, makes and supplies automotive aftermarket accessories. In 2013, Lund acquired all the assets of AMP Research, which manufactured the PowerStep line.

AMP sued T-Max in 2008 on similar patent infringement claims. The lawsuit resulted in a consent judgment and permanent injunction against T-Max. Lund is now asking federal courts to again find in its favor, to stop the sale of the running boards in question, and to award damages for lost sales and attorneys fees.

“Lund respects the intellectual property rights of others and expects the same in the marketplace,” Lund CEO Mitch Fogle said. “Lund will continue to fiercely protect its rights against all infringers that seek to profit on Lund’s patents, trademarks and copyrights.”     — Sarah Hollander

 

COMP Performance Group Staffs Up

The COMP Performance Group has named Matt Patrick as its new director of product development and added Brad Loden as an outside sales representative.

Patrick is a business-focused engineer, with a career that includes stints in product management, research and development, and mechanical engineering. He’s been with COMP Performance for over 20 years. In his new role, Patrick works with Dave Henninger, research, development and testing manager; and Cindy Bullion, product development group operations manager, in leading a restructured product development team dedicated solely to innovation and quicker “concept to competition” time for next-generation products.

Loden brings more than 25 years of industry experience to his work as a territory sales and race support representative, along with providing product development insight from the field to the newly formed product development group. A long-time racer, Loden was in sales with CV Products and Roush Yates Racing Engines.

 

Curt Launches New Campaign

Curt Manufacturing (Eau Claire, WI) has launched a new campaign titled “Tested. Proven. Safe.” to highlight advancements in its testing and product innovation and to demonstrate its value to customers. The program will include marketing collateral, advertisements and user testimonial videos.

 

New Owner/Name For C&R Racing Driveline Unit

Detroit Speed co-founder and owner Kyle Tucker has acquired the driveline division of C&R Racing (South), which has been rebranded as GearFX Driveline. The business continues to operate independently out of its 15,000-square-foot location in Mooresville, NC. GearFX is known for its performance-quality radiators, transmissions and driveline components. It was a division of PWR Performance Products prior to this sale.

 

Inland Truck Parts, Drive Train Industries To Combine

Drive Train Industries (DTI) and the Inland Truck Parts Co. have signed an agreement to combine the two 100-percent employee-owned companies. DTI has nine locations: five in Colorado (Denver, Colorado Springs, Grand Junction, Ft. Collins and Greeley), three in Wyoming (Casper, Gillette and Rock Springs) and one in New Mexico (Albuquerque). Inland has 34 locations across 11 states (Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas and Louisiana).

The companies expect to complete the combination this summer.

 

Donaldson Hiking Prices 4% To 15%

The Donaldson Co., a worldwide manufacturer of filtration systems and parts, has increased list prices for select products in both its Engine Products and Industrial Products segments by an average of 4 percent to 15 percent, depending on business unit and region.

“While we are encouraged by the favorable market conditions and increasing demand, our gross profit is under pressure from several factors, including significant cost inflation in our two largest inputs, steel and media, as well as freight and other demand-related costs,” said Tod Carpenter, chairman, president and CEO. “In addition to our continuous improvement and expense optimization initiatives, we are implementing price increases to recapture a portion of the inflationary pressure.”

According to Donaldson, purchased raw material represents between 60 percent and 65 percent of the company’s cost of goods sold. Of that amount, steel (including fabricated parts) and filter media each represent roughly 20 percent, and the remainder is primarily petroleum-based products and other components.

 

HUBB Launches Filter Exchange Program

HUBB Filters (Corte Madera, CA) has launched a new initiative, the HUBB Swap Filter Exchange Program, designed to make implementation of HUBB oil filters easier because HUBB cleans the filters for the fleet, allowing vehicles to get in and out of the shop faster and easier during preventive maintenance.

With this service model, technicians swap the soiled inner core of a HUBB filter for a clean inner core. The dirty inner core is sent to HUBB for cleaning, inspection and certification, and then HUBB sends a clean inner core back to the fleet. Fleets that adopt the program are charged a monthly fee based upon the number of vehicles in the program.

 

FTC Warns Possible Magnuson-Moss Violators

The Federal Trade Commission has warned six major companies, at least one of which markets and sells automobiles, that they might be violating the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act. Each company has been asked to review promotional and warranty material to ensure that they do not state or imply that warranty coverage is conditioned on the use of specific parts or services.

FTC staff will review the companies’ websites after 30 days. Failure to correct any potential violations could result in law enforcement action, according to the agency’s warning letters.

“Provisions that tie warranty coverage to the use of particular products or services harm both consumers who pay more for them as well as the small businesses who offer competing products and services,” Thomas Pahl, acting director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement.

An FTC spokesman declined to name the companies, which also include those that market and sell cellular devices and video gaming systems in the United States. Each company used different language, but here are examples of questionable provisions:
• The use of [company name] parts is required to keep your … manufacturer’s warranties and any extended warranties intact; and
• This warranty shall not apply if this product … is used with products not sold or licensed by [company name].

“We’d like to think this is a big deal, and we’ll make it a bigger deal when we find out who it is,” Paul Fiore, senior director of government affairs for the Auto Care Association, said. The association filed a public records request for company information.

Magnuson-Moss violations are an ongoing problem, Fiore said, and the association has been pushing the FTC to go after violators for years. The Auto Care Association typically depends on its members and other associations to keep an eye out for violations. Fiore said he’s not sure where the complaint and FTC action originated in this case.

The FTC last pursued Magnuson-Moss related charges in 2015 against BMW of North America’s Mini division. The company told consumers that BMW would void their warranty unless they used Mini parts and Mini dealers to perform maintenance and repair work.      — Sarah Hollander

 

NASCAR Announces Marketing, Media Leadership Promotions

NASCAR has promoted Jill Gregory to executive vice president and chief marketing officer. Gregory oversees all NASCAR marketing operations and reports directly to Chief Operating Officer Steve Phelps. She also is the head of NASCAR’s Charlotte office.

NASCAR also has promoted Pete Jung to vice president of brand marketing, responsible for all brand and consumer marketing efforts, including the implementation of key industry marketing initiatives. Jung reports to Gregory.

Additionally, Brian Herbst has been promoted to vice president of global media strategy and distribution, responsible for developing new media distribution opportunities and digital content partnerships. He reports to Steve Herbst, NASCAR’s senior vice president of broadcasting and production.

 

Discovery’s Auto Enthusiast J-V Rebranded As The Motor Trend Group

Discovery Inc. has rebranded The Enthusiast Network, its auto-related joint venture, as the Motor Trend Group. This move incudes renaming Velocity, its automotive cable channel, as the Motor Trend Network starting this fall. The joint venture’s Motor Trend OnDemand digital product will convert over to the Motor Trend App, which will be available online at MotorTrend.com. The Motor Trend Group also includes the Motor Trend YouTube channel and the branded content agency Motor Trend Studio, as well as such digital sites as Hot Rod, Automobile and Truck Trend.

Discovery’s joint-venture partner is GoldenTree Asset Management LP.

 

Power Automedia Adds To Its Editorial Team

With Power Automedia’s acquisition of Xceleration Media and its corresponding titles, Shawn Brereton has joined the team as editorial director. Brereton now oversees several Power Automedia digital magazines, including Street Muscle, OneDirt, Chevy Hardcore, Turnology and Rod Authority.

Elizabeth Puckett also has joined the team as senior associate editor of Power & Performance.

Power Automedia’s recently re-acquired dirt track racing magazine, OneDirt, is now led by Group Editor Bobby Kimbrough. The new editor of Rod Authority is Corvette Online editor Dave Cruikshank.

 

NEW … AASA: Engagement & Member Services – Coordinator

Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association – A division of Motors & Equipment Manufacturers Association. Position Summary: The Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA) has a mission to advance the supplier industry and the business interests of our members. We seek to exceed member expectations. … (more) … Click here to find out more.

MANN+HUMMEL: Sales Account Manager — Western U.S.

As worldwide experts in filtration, MANN+HUMMEL develops solutions for vehicles, industrial applications, clean air inside vehicles and the sustainable use of water. With team spirit and an open culture of communication, we are continuously working towards achieving our vision of ‘leadership in filtration’. Become part of the team as a Sales Account Manager. … (more) … Click here to find out more.

BBB Industries: Senior Interactive/ Digital Media Designer

Rare opportunity to join a talented marketing team for a growing and influential manufacturer in the automotive aftermarket. You will be part of a team that creates, innovates and experiments with the path forward for the company’s digital landscape. A dream job for someone … (more) … Click here to find out more.

BBB Industries: BBB/AutoZone Territory Sales Manager

The Territory Sales Manager (TSM) will report to the RVP, Sales – AutoZone and will be based in the Dallas, TX area. This position requires fluency in both English and Spanish. The main responsibility for this position is to call on all AutoZone stores. The Territory Sales Manager (TSM) will make prospective account sales calls … (more) … Click here to find out more.

 

Sears CEO Wants Company To Sell Certain Businesses … To Him

ESL Investments — the hedge fund run by Eddie Lampert that’s the largest stockholder of, and substantial lender to, Sears Holdings Corp. — has written to the Sears board of directors recommending that the company “aggressively pursue a divestiture” of all or a portion of the following …
• The Kenmore brand and related assets;
• The Sears Home Improvement (SHIP) business of the Sears Home Services division; and
• The PartsDirect business of the Sears Home Services division.

“In our view, pursuing these divestitures now will demonstrate the value of Sears’ portfolio of assets, will provide an important source of liquidity to Sears and could avoid any deterioration in the value of such assets,” ESL’s letter states.

Sears has marketed some of these assets for nearly two years but has been unable to find buyers or acceptable terms. However, ESL says it’s interested in buying these businesses if Sears Holdings Corp. opts to divest.

In particular, ESL says it would be prepared to submit a proposal for Kenmore and believes it would be able to close such a transaction within 90 days. ESL also says it would submit a non-binding indication of interest to acquire 100 percent of the equity of SHIP and Parts Direct based on an enterprise value of $500 million.

Additionally, ESL expresses its willingness to make an offer for Sears’ real estate — including the assumption of the $1.20 billion in debt obligations secured by such real estate — with the expectation of entering into an ongoing master lease for some or all of the stores to allow for their continued operation.

ESL emphasizes that its principal interest is seeing that the Kenmore, SHIP and Parts Direct businesses are divested in the near term at a full and fair value, “regardless of whether ESL or a third party is the ultimate buyer,” so that Sears is able to improve its debt profile and liquidity position. Therefore, ESL says …
• Sears chairman and CEO Eddie Lampert and ESL president Kunal Kamlani would not participate on behalf of Sears (as officer or director) in any discussions, deliberations, negotiations or decisions with respect to a potential transaction in which ESL participates as a buyer, except to the extent specifically requested;
• ESL would not participate in any such transaction as a buyer unless the transaction is recommended by a committee of the Sears board of directors and approved by the holders of a majority of the shares of Sears held by disinterested stockholders; and
• ESL would accept that any transaction in which ESL participates as a buyer will be subject to a go-shop process on “reasonable terms.”

Click here to read ESL’s letter, which includes specifics on its offer for Kenmore, SHIP and Parts Direct.

 

Amazon Can Now Deliver Packages To Locked Vehicles Using OnStar

Amazon now offers the ability to have packages delivered “in car” to more than 7 million eligible Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicle owners using a service called Amazon Key. Packages can be delivered to a vehicle when it’s parked in a publicly accessible area, such as on the street in front of an apartment building, at a workplace surface parking lot or in a home driveway.

Amazon Key In-Car Delivery leverages the existing embedded 4G LTE connectivity in Chevrolet, Buick, GMC or Cadillac vehicles, and does not require an additional data plan or hardware installation. Customers receive a notification via the Amazon Key App when the delivery is on its way, and after the delivery is completed and the vehicle is relocked.

In-Car Delivery comes at no extra cost for Amazon Prime members with an active OnStar account. It’s currently available in 37 U.S. cities and surrounding areas, with more locations to follow.

Amazon Key In-Car Delivery requires a 2015-model-year or newer Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicle. Click here to see a video on how this service works.

 

People Watching 4/26/18

Mike Hansen is now the director of parts cleaning technology at Safety-Kleen and general manager of the ArmaKleen joint venture. Hansen is responsible for all areas of Safety-Kleen’s parts cleaning strategies, including sales, marketing and operations. He also oversees the ArmaKleen business, including sales, marketing and operations.

• ATEQ TPMS Tools (Livonia, MI) has tapped Brian Phipps to be a validation and support technician, responsible for tech support, vehicle testing and TPMS validations, working with the company’s TPMS technical support and database team. Phipps has been with ATEQ since 2016.

 

News Briefs 4/26/18

• The Uni-Select Inc. board of directors has approved a normal course issuer bid (NCIB) to repurchase some of its outstanding common shares for a period of 12 months ending April 22, 2019. As many as 1.50 million common shares, representing roughly 3.5 percent of the company’s common shares issued and outstanding, may be purchased under the NCIB. Daily repurchases will be limited to 32,198 shares, other than block purchase exemptions.

• Performance products and accessories from BLOX Racing (Fremont, CA) are now available from Motovicity Distribution.

Mahle Aftermarket, manufacturer of Clevite Engine Bearings, has introduced Mahle Performance engine bearings developed for the sport compact and import racing market.

• The Ford Motor Co. is adding new master cylinders as well as A/C parts (new condensers, evaporators, compressors, accumulators and receiver driers) to its Omnicraft line of parts for non-Ford and non-Lincoln vehicles.

SEMA News is accepting nominations for its “35 Under 35” initiative, which recognizes top-tier industry professionals age 35 or younger. Winners will be selected based on their business success, contributions to their organizations, industry knowledge and community involvement. The deadline to apply is May 31. Click here for more information.

• Northeast Truck & Trailer (Monroe, LA) has opened a location in Pearl, MS — the company’s sixth location: three in Louisiana and three in Mississippi. Northeast is an HDA Truck Pride member.

• Meritor Inc. plans to extend its Authorized Rebuilder Program to the United States in 2018.

US Motor Works (Santa Fe Springs, CA), a manufacturer and distributor of cooling systems and fuel systems, has launched a new corporate website, usmotorworks.com, that also acts as a launch pad to each of its brands: USMW Professional Series (usmwpro.com), Derale (derale.com) and Pacer (pacerperformance.com).

Sewon Auto Corp. — a South Korea-based supplier of parts for Kias, Hyundais and Daewoos — is celebrating its 20th anniversary.

• Area Diesel Service (Carlinville, IL), a diesel engine parts and services company, is celebrating its 45th anniversary.

 

Event & Trade Show Briefs 4/26/18

• Priority space selection begins April 30 for the 2018 SEMA Show. Companies that submitted booth space applications for the show will be contacted via email with their booth selection date and time range.

• The University of the Aftermarket reports that “Aftermarket 101,” scheduled for May 15-16, has sold out. Those who register will be put on a wait list. The next class will be held in the fall.

• The University of the Aftermarket presented its largest Automotive Content Professional (ACP) class ever, 15 recipients, at the Automotive Content Professionals Network (ACPN) Knowledge Exchange Conference.

• The inaugural “Brake Weekend – A Gathering of Brake Experts” June 1-4 in Longboat Key, FL will include a Customer Spotlight featuring John Washbish, Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance president and CEO; and Brent Windom, Uni-Select president and chief operating officer – Canada. They will share insights from a distributor’s point of view. “Brake Weekend” is presented by AASA’s Brake Manufacturers Council (BMC) and the Friction Materials Standards Institute (FMSI). Click here for more information.

• AASA has scheduled the AASA Council Summit for June 26-28 in Novi, MI. It allows the association’s Intellectual Property Council (IPC), Marketing Executives Council (MEC) and Modern Industry eXpertise (MIX) groups to hold meetings concurrently, with shared breaks and a networking luncheon. The event follows the AAPEX Exhibitor Booth Camp June 25 at Mahle Aftermarket in nearby Farmington Hills. Click here for more information on the AASA Council Summit.

• AASA will hold a member-only webinar May 16 featuring a live question-and-answer session with Evan Hirsh from Strategy& discussing the Aftermarket 2025/2030 study, which addresses new technology and opportunities for growth.

• Registration is now open for the 2018 SEMA China Business Development Program taking place Aug. 15-19 in Shanghai. For more information, visit sema.org/china.

Registration is now open for the CAWA Summer Education Forum taking place June 21-22 at the Renaissance Newport Beach.

• The 49th Annual Chesapeake Automotive Business Association (CABA) Golf Scramble & Dinner will take place June 14 at Compass Pointe Golf Course in Pasadena, MD. For more information, email Pat Moog at Pat@caba.biz.

• Over 175 supplier partners took part in HDA Truck Pride 2018 Annual Membership Meeting, which took place earlier this month in San Diego.

• According to trade show organizer Messe Frankfurt, the 2018 Automotive Maintenance & Repair Expo (AMR) had roughly 1,200 exhibitors — an increase of 5 percent. AMR took place April 1-4 at the New China International Exhibition Center in Beijing. More than 57,100 trade visitors from 70 countries and regions reportedly attended the show.

• Automechanika Kuala Lumpur 2019 will take place March 21-23 at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Center in Malaysia.

 

 

15 — April 19, 2018

 

Quick Hits …
(A few short items to get us started this week)

Wix Filters received the “Traditional Vendor of the Year” from National Performance Warehouse at its conference in San Jose, CA.

Attendee and exhibitor registration for the 2018 SEMA Show is now open. The event will take place Oct. 30 to Nov. 2 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

• Total Lubricants and Nexus Automotive International have strengthened their collaboration. The move allows Total to distribute all its lubricants and engine oil products throughout the Nexus network, which currently encompasses 122 countries.

Inter Cars SA — a large automotive and commercial vehicle parts, tools, and equipment distributor based in Warsaw, Poland — has launched a unified business-to-business e-commerce system.

• Remington Industries has hired TNT Marketing as its Costco Wholesale Corp. rep agency.

 

Jefferies Forecasts Low-Single Digit Comp-Store Sales Growth For Q1

Analysts from Jefferies LLC expect the publicly traded aftermarket retailers and installers to come through with low-single-digit comparable-store sales for the first quarter of 2018, noting that trends remained generally favorable for service demand with elevated vehicle utilization, a record average fleet age and a return of “normal” winter weather. However, increasing fuel prices were likely a slight headwind, according to a Jefferies Industry Note published April 18.

Jefferies’ aftermarket team points out that favorable weather trends appeared to disproportionately benefit Eastern markets, particularly the Northeast, while colder temperatures toward the end of the quarter became a headwind to DIY sales. “Consistent with late Q4 demand, we believe that seasonal products, such as wiper blades and batteries, significantly outperformed and that undercar demand began to benefit from road deterioration and pent-up demand following the prior two mild winters,” analysts Bret Jordan and Mark Jordan wrote in their report.

They are calling for the following comp-store sales growth …
• +1.5 percent for Advance Auto Parts;
• +2.3 percent for AutoZone;
• +3.0 percent for O’Reilly Automotive; and
• +4.5 percent for Monro Inc.

Jefferies anticipates that aftermarket suppliers’ first-quarter results will vary, as demand skewed to cold-weather products versus heat-related or general failure. “We also believe that temperature control channel inventories remained elevated during the quarter and limited pre-season stock refill,” Bret and Mark Jordan wrote.

Other items of interest from Jefferies’ first-quarter 2018 automotive aftermarket and auto dealer earnings previews …
• Overall replacement tire shipments are expected to have increased in the low single digits;
• The collision industry is believed to have grown in the low- to mid-single digits, benefitting from greater miles driven and higher weather-related crash rates; and
• Auto dealers’ parts and service segment sales are expected to have grown in the low- to mid-single digits, attributable to strong customer-pay and warranty business.

 

U.S. Auto Parts Network Sues Federal Government To Stop Seizures

U.S. Auto Parts Network, an online seller of aftermarket auto parts and accessories, has sued the federal government to stop the seizure of international grille shipments and related  “ruinous” bond requirements.

U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP), an agency of the Department of Homeland Security, began seizing import shipments by the Carson, CA-based company last June, alleging that grilles in the containers were counterfeit and infringed OE trademarks. There have been at least 46 seizures so far in Norfolk, VA and Long Beach, CA, constituting more than 150 different grille and front designs and thousands of grilles.

In late March, citing the number of alleged violations, the CBP increased the company’s single bond to three times the value of all future shipments “to adequately ensure compliance with applicable intellectual property rights laws and the prohibition on importation of counterfeit or copyrighted goods.”

U.S. Auto Parts argued that the parts in question represent only about 1 percent of the shipments’ contents and that such a high bond would put it out of business.

Since then, the presiding judge in the U.S. Court of International Trade approved a temporary restraining order, ruling that the larger bond should apply only to the parts in question, thus dropping the bond from three times the entire shipment value to 3 percent. She also ordered the government to expeditiously process all of U.S. Auto’s shipping containers and immediately release all imports not implicated by trademark infringement allegations.

The larger issues of seizures and counterfeit status/trademark infringement, however, are still pending.

U.S. Auto Parts denies any wrongdoing and plans to “vigorously fight” to continue importing and selling grilles.

“We will defend our right to sell these products, as we believe U.S. Auto Parts has a responsibility to our stockholders and customers to continue providing an affordable means to buy aftermarket automotive grilles,” CEO Aaron Coleman said in a news statement.

The company’s lawsuit argues that the replacement grilles are authorized under the trademark doctrine of functionality, that the grilles are not likely to cause customer confusion as to their source, and that U.S. Auto Parts has secured sublicensing rights to certain of the design patents held by the automakers covering the designs of some of the seized grilles.

U.S. Auto Parts has been importing replacement auto parts — including grilles, fenders and bumpers — for more than two decades. The company has distribution facilities in Illinois and Virginia.

It’s unclear whether the seizures resulted from a specific OE complaint.

A spokesman for CBP declined to provide further information on the case, saying: “As a matter of policy, CBP does not comment on pending litigation.”      — Sarah Hollander

 

The Group Honors SMP As Top Vendor

The Automotive Parts Services Group honored Standard Motor Products (SMP) as its “Outstanding Vendor of the Year” at The Group’s first combined member meeting held April 9-12 at the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center in Grapevine, TX. Five additional supplier partners were recognized. They are …
KYB: “Sales Representation Support Vendor of the Year;”
Dorman Products: “Marketing Excellence Vendor of the Year;”
• AVI: “Excellence in Education & Training Vendor of the Year;”
Hastings: “Service Level Excellence Vendor of the Year;” and
• Bosch: “Catalog & Product Data Excellence.”

 

Lordco Parts Names James Ward As GM

Lordco Parts Ltd.(Maple Ridge, BC) has tapped company veteran James Wardas its general manager, a new position. Ward has been with Lordco for 32 years, most recently as regional manager for the Okanagan and Kootenay regions. He will oversee company operations and work with district and branch managers.

Lordco is a distributor and retailer of automotive parts and accessories in British Columbia. The family-owned company operates about 100 locations throughout the province.

 

GPC Merging Its Office Products Unit With Essendant Then Spinning It Off

The Genuine Parts Co. (GPC) and Essendant Inc. have struck a deal to combine Essendant with GPC’s business products business, S.P. Richards. The deal — which has been unanimously approved by the boards of Essendant and GPC — is expected to result in a stronger, more competitive business products distributor with greater scale and service capabilities.

Essendant is a leading national distributor of workplace items, including janitorial and breakroom supplies, traditional office products, industrial supplies, paper products, automotive products and office furniture.

Essendant’s automotive business — which distributes professional tools, equipment, and supplies — is comprised of MedcoG2S Équipements de Fabrication et d’Entretien, the Ace Tool Co., Eastern Tool Warehouse (ETW), Tool Specialists, AIM Supply and Alco Tool Supply. These assets are not believed to be transferring over to GPC and appear to be remaining with Essendant. Attempts to get clarification on this aspect of the deal were unsuccessful.

The transaction combining Essendant and S.P. Richards is structured as a Reverse Morris Trust, in which GPC would separate S.P. Richards into a standalone company and spin off that standalone company to GPC shareholders, immediately followed by the merger of Essendant and the spun-off company.

The deal implies a valuation for S.P. Richards of roughly $680 million, reflecting the value of the Essendant shares to be issued at closing, plus one-time cash payments to GPC of approximately $347 million, subject to adjustments at closing.

GPC president and CEO Paul Donahue said the transaction maximizes the value of S.P. Richards and allows management to increase its focus on GPC’s larger, core global automotive and industrial businesses.

“Among our many initiatives to grow these core businesses, we will continue to expand our global footprint with additional acquisitions in the future,” Donahue told analysts on an April 12 conference call to discuss the transaction. “The onetime cash payments of approximately $347 million that GPC will receive upon the close of the transaction will also be effectively utilized as part of our disciplined capital allocation strategy, which is focused on our dividend, reinvestment in our businesses, share repurchase and strategic acquisitions to drive substantial value for GPC shareholders.”

Upon closing, GPC shareholders would own about 51 percent and Essendant shareholders would own roughly 49 percent of the combined company on a diluted basis, with approximately 80 million diluted shares expected to be outstanding. The transaction is expected to close before the end of 2018, subject to regulatory and Essendant shareholder approvals and other customary closing conditions.

The transaction would create a company with pro forma 2017 net sales of approximately $7 billion; $300 million in adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA); and 4.2 percent adjusted EBITDA margins.

The combined company, which would be called Essendant, would be led by Essendant president and CEO Ric Phillips and Janet Zelenka, who would serve as CFO. S.P. Richards president and CEO Rick Toppin would be chief operating officer of the combined company.

Charles Crovitz, current chairman of the board of Essendant, would serve as chairman of the board for the combined company. He would be joined by three Essendant-appointed directors, four GPC-appointed directors and four directors appointed by mutual agreement.

The new Essendant would be headquartered in Deerfield, IL and in Atlanta.

 

The Greensheet Q4 2017 Financial Reports Chart

Each quarter, Auto Care Week/The Greensheet tracks key financial data from a number of companies publicly traded in the United States and Canada, and doing business in the North American auto care industry. We compile those top-line and bottom-line results for you to see, at a glance, how these companies fared. The listing is organized by increase/decrease in net sales.

Click here to view The Greensheet Fourth Quarter 2017 Financial Reports Chart.

 

APC Automotive Tech. Hires Executive VP Of Sales

APC Automotive Technologies has hired Frank Frederick as its executive vice president of sales, overseeing all of the customer-facing and channel strategy functions for both AP Emissions and Centric Parts. Frederick comes to APC with more than 20 years of executive and sales management experience in the automotive aftermarket, most recently as general manager of the Schrader Performance Sensors business at Sensata Technologies.

Frederick’s background also includes time as vice president of North American light duty aftermarket for Remy International, director of global business development and marketing with Walker Products, and executive vice president of sales and marketing at ROL Manufacturing of America.

 

Continental Adds Commercial Vehicles & Aftermarket Mar-Com Manager

Continental has named Anoure Fenstermaker as the marketing communications manager for its Commercial Vehicles & Aftermarket (CVAM) business. Her responsibilities include press, creative and marketing services; corporate branding for CVAM and each of its market divisions; directing and managing tradeshow activities; assisting with product sales and marketing activities; and the development of sales tools and training material, promotions, and customer-specific programs.

 

Stant Hires VP Of Engineering/Program Management

Stant Corp. has added Michael Cowley as its vice president of engineering and program management. Cowley joins Stant from Roush Industries, where he led a team working on alternative fuel systems. Prior to that, he was director of global advance technology and application engineering at TI Automotive.

At Stant, Cowley is tasked with leading the charge to expand, identify and develop strategic fuel management and thermal management systems; expanding product offerings; enhancing customer relationships; and earning new business across the OE, industrial and aftermarket product lines.

 

J.B. Poindexter Hints At Acquisitions To Come
In Notes Offering

J.B. Poindexter & Co. (Houston) — parent company to, among other things, the Truck Accessory Group (TAG), which includes Snugtop, Pace Edwards, Leer and Century — has closed on a private offering of $350 million aggregate principal amount of senior unsecured notes due 2026 — upsized from $300 million. The 2026 notes, which bear interest at 7.125 percent per annum, are guaranteed by certain subsidiaries of the company. Specifics of the guarantees were not disclosed.

J.B. Poindexter will pay interest on the 2026 notes semi-annually, beginning Oct. 15, 2018.

Management intends J.B. Poindexter to use the net proceeds of the offering to redeem the company’s 9-percent senior unsecured notes due 2022, of which an aggregate principal amount of $175 million is currently outstanding, at a redemption price equal to 103 percent of the principal amount of the 2022 notes, plus accrued and unpaid interest, and for general corporate purposes, including strategic acquisitions and other investments to expand J.B. Poindexter’s operations both domestically and internationally.

J.B. Poindexter is a privately held diversified manufacturing company, with operating subsidiaries engaged in the production and sale of commercial truck and van bodies, step-vans, service and utility truck and van bodies, commercial vehicle shelving and storage systems, funeral coaches, limousines, truck caps and tonneau covers, precision machined components, and expandable foam products.

 

Ranch Hand Investing $1.25 Million In Texas Facilities

Ranch Hand Truck Accessories is investing $1.25 million to upgrade equipment at its manufacturing facilities in Shiner and Beeville, both in southeastern Texas. This brings the total capital investment in the properties to more than $2 million over the past 12 months.

A subsidiary of Kaspar Companies, Ranch Hand makes replacement bumpers, grille guards, and running steps for trucks and SUVs. The company began changing its business processes in 2017 and has seen orders increase 50 percent in the past six months, according to Jason Kaspar, CEO of Kaspar Companies. The increase in demand led to challenges with lead times, but Ranch Hand had a record month for shipping in March and will build on that, he said.

“We began our commitment to improving our business processes at the start of last year, pursuing lean manufacturing and acquiring the people to execute on the strategy,” Kaspar said. “At the end of the year, we moved back bumper production to what is known as a value stream. Lead times for back bumpers are now less than half of our overall lead times as we eliminated waste from the process.”

Ranch Hand plans to move all of its product lines to a similar production method by the end of this year.

In addition to the facility upgrades, the company has hired more than 50 employees since the beginning of the year. 

 

Polaris Adds Customer Engagement/Growth Officer

Polaris Industries (Minneapolis) — parent company to Transamerican Auto Parts, 4 Wheel PartsSmittybiltG2 Axle & GearPro Comp and more— has hired Julie Gilbert as its chief customer engagement and growth officer, a newly created position at Polaris.

She is responsible for developing and implementing marketing solutions and growth strategies that introduce new consumers to the powersports industry and connect with customer segments outside of the company’s traditional core target market. She also oversees Polaris’ corporate marketing, sponsorships and communication efforts.

Gilbert was the founder and CEO of PreciouStatus, a mobile software platform and technology company operating in the education, healthcare and military fields. Prior to that, Gilbert founded the Wolf consumer innovation consulting firm. Her background also includes nine years with Best Buy in new market development.

 

VP Racing Fuels Augments Its International Team

Peter Coleman is now a European business development consultant for VP Racing Fuels of San Antonio. Most recently a brand manager for Bridgestone, Coleman brings to the position extensive sales and marketing experience with such international brands as STP and Armor All.

 

Champion Debuts National Marketing Campaign

Federal-Mogul Motorparts has launched a new marketing campaign for its Champion brand, “There’s a Champion in Here,” designed to connect consumers with the brand and to roll out its line of light maintenance products, including filters, batteries, wipers, lighting and, of course, spark plugs. All products come with new packaging.

“The ‘There’s a Champion in Here’ campaign is designed to ignite the will to win and celebrate the ‘champion’ in all of us,” said Michael Proud, vice president of marketing – Americas. “The campaign will feature an all-new commercial that highlights those winning moments of excitement people have when enjoying their cars and machines. And, now with the introduction of our new product offering, people have an opportunity to install more Champion parts to maintain them as the spring season begins.”

The campaign has TV, online radio, digital and social media elements, and employs out-of-home units, such as wallscapes and bus wraps. Ads also will show prior to screenings of Avengers 3: Infinity War at over 200 theaters. The campaign runs through July. You can view aspects of the campaign at championautoparts.com.

 

Mobil 1 Ads To Feature NBA All-Star Anthony Davis

ExxonMobil has inked a deal with NBA All-Star Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans to star in a new national ad campaign for Mobil 1 Annual Protection. Last year, the company ran ads featuring basketball Hall-of-Famer Dikembe Mutombo, who appeared in spots alongside Kevin Harvick. ExxonMobil is the “Official Motor Oil” of the NBA for both the United States and China.

 

New GM For BPI Group Europe

Brake Parts Inc. (BPI) has announced the hiring of Lars Stuhlweissenburg as the general manager of BPI Group Europe. He manages the European operations and business around Remy rotating electrics and BPI brake parts. Prior to joining BPI, Stuhlweissenburg was the vice president and general manager – aftermarket for Horizon Global Europe, Westfalia-Automotive. His background also includes time as the European sales director for Holger Christiansen, as well as a number of sales positions with Robert Bosch Automotive.

 

European Parts Distributor Launches B2B Initiative

To help speed up its expansion in Europe, Inter Cars SA— a large automotive and commercial vehicle parts, tools, and equipment distributor based in Warsaw, Poland — has launched a unified business-to-business e-commerce system. The platform is being made available to more than 100,000 shops across 16 countries. Inter Cars’ technology and consulting partner on this project is e-point SA.

Inter Cars has 243 branches in Poland and 270 across central and eastern Europe.

 

Samantha Young Gets Expanded Role At Marx Group

The Marx Group has promoted Samantha Young to associate creative director and digital marketing manager. Young, who joined the firm in 2015, was marketing manager and designer. In her new role, she will continue to lead marketing initiatives for Marx and its clients — with an increased focus on search engine optimization, search engine marketing, and user interface (UI) design and web development — while taking an expanded leadership role in design for advertising, branding and content development.

 

MEMA Testifies Before Congress On Impacts Of Tariffs

Ann Wilson, senior vice president of government affairs for MEMA, testified April 12 before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ways & Means about the impacts of tariffs on the motor vehicle supplier industry.

“MEMA supports the administration’s agenda to assure free, fair, and reciprocal trade and a level playing field for all Americans. Our industry counts on a strong domestic steel and aluminum industry, and has long supported aggressive policies to protect intellectual property rights (IPR) and enforce IPR laws here in the U.S. and around the globe — including in China,” Wilson said during her testimony. “However, MEMA is very concerned about the adverse impact on manufacturing jobs resulting from the sections 232 and 301 tariffs.”

In written testimony submitted to the committee, MEMA asserted that tariffs could negatively impact motor vehicle parts suppliers. “The combined impact of these tariffs has thrown many of our member companies close to a financial crisis and has made some of them question their future investments in the U.S.,” MEMA’s testimony reads. “Tariffs will have a negative impact on these manufacturers, the jobs they create and ultimately the American consumer. MEMA urges this committee to work with the administration to reset our discussions with our trading partners to pursue our joint goal of free and fair trade.”

 

Auto Care Association, Over 100 Trade Groups
State Concerns About Tariffs

The Auto Care Association joined with more than 100 trade groups last week to express concern to the U.S. House of Representatives Ways & Means Committee. The groups penned a letter to committee leaders asserting that China’s ongoing intellectual property rights violations, forced technology transfers and state intervention harm U.S. companies, workers and consumers, as well as U.S. competitiveness. However, the letter also states that the proposed tariff list and escalating tariff threats made by the Trump Administration won’t effectively advance the shared goal of changing harmful Chinese practices.

“We are pleased to stand together with this broad range of industries in order to demonstrate our shared concerns to Congress and the Trump Administration over the possible imposition of tariffs that are already having a negative impact on our members,” said Bill Hanvey, president and CEO of the Auto Care Association, in an April 12 press release. “It is our hope that, through this collective effort, we will be able to move the administration away from the use of economically damaging tariffs and toward the development and implementation of a more strategic plan to impact Chinese trade practices.”

 

Nominations Being Accepted For Auto Care Association Education Awards

The Auto Care Association is now accepting applications for the Mort Schwartz Excellence in Education Award and the Auto Care Career & Education (ACE) Awards. The Schwartz award recognizes a person who advances concepts and programs for industry education or continuing education. ACE awards (formerly the “Head of the Class” awards) honor small, medium, and large companies for investing in the growth of their employees as well as professional development and career opportunities. The deadline to apply for both awards is June 15. Click here for more information.

 

Registration Open For AAPEX Exhibitor Booth Camp

Registration is now open for AAPEX Exhibitor Booth Camp, which will take place June 26 at Mahle Aftermarket in Farmington Hills, MI and June 28 at The Venetian/Sands Expo in Las Vegas. The program, provided free to AAPEX exhibitors, includes advice on getting media attention, using social media to drive booth traffic, lead management, insights into what buyers are looking for and more.

 

YANG Schedules May, June Meet-Ups

The Auto Care Association’s Young Auto Care Network Group (YANG) has announced a number of Regional Meet-Ups for the coming months. The events — which provide an opportunity for young industry professionals to connect and socialize — are free and open to members and non-members of YANG under the age of 40. They will take place …
May 10 from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm at the Hard Rock Cafe on Peachtree Street in Atlanta (in conjunction with the Auto Care Association’s Spring Leadership Days). NAPA to host.
May 15 from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm at Craft Breww City on Orchard Lake Road in Farmington Hills, MI (in conjunction with the University of the Aftermarket’s “Aftermarket 101” program). Dayco to host.
• May 16 from 5:00 pm to 6:30 pm at the Fairmont Hotel on Red River Street in Austin, TX (in conjunction with the 2018 Paint, Body & Equipment Specialist Conference). PBES to host.
• June 22 from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm at the Renaissance Newport Beach on MacArthur Boulevard in Newport Beach, CA (in conjunction with the CAWA Leadership Meeting). CAWA to host.

 

SEMA Launch Pad Applications Now Being Accepted

Applications are now being accepted for the SEMA Launch Pad competition, which is presented by the association’s Young Executives Network (YEN). Entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 39 with emerging businesses can submit their innovative automotive products for consideration. Finalists will get to pitch their products to a panel of judges at the SEMA Show. The deadline to apply is June 4. For more information visit sema.org/sema_launchpad.

 

SEMA Show Gets New Artist

Artwork from Alex Carmona will be used in SEMA Show marketing material and signage onsite and online this year. Show officials feature a new artist every two to three years to mirror industry trends and innovation for attendees. Previous artists featured at the event include Max Grundy and Ed Tillrock.

Carmona specializes in traditional printmaking and art, producing relief prints from wood or linoleum plates that he carves by hand. The 29-year-old has used this technique to produce a variety of automotive prints during his career.

 

Vipar Heavy Duty Hires Program Manager

Joe Meyer has joined Vipar Heavy Duty and its family of companies as the organization’s new program manager. Meyer has nearly 30 years of heavy duty aftermarket experience, most recently as a national account manager for Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems. He also has worked for Grote Industries, Borg Warner Automotive and Chicago Rawhide (now SKF).

 

TMW Fleet Maintenance Parts Ordering Links
With Navistar OnCommand

TMW — a provider of software, business intelligence and related products to the North American transportation industry — has announced the integration of its TMT Fleet Maintenance Purchase Order module with the OnCommand Connection/Part Information System from Navistar. The combination is seen as increasing Navistar dealers’ ability to meet TMT Fleet Maintenance customers’ parts-ordering needs by providing easier online access and expedited parts ordering.

Navistar customers with TMT Fleet Maintenance software will be able to send electronic purchase orders directly to Navistar instead of using email, fax, phone or other traditional methods to order parts. These orders will then be sent to the customer’s dealer for fulfillment. In addition, with usage formulas and automatic purchase capabilities, dealers can replenish low stock based on use rate over time as well as identify other parts-ordering opportunities with customers.

 

A New Owner For Oilgear

Texas Hydraulics (Temple, TX), a portfolio company of Wynnchurch Capital, has acquired The Oilgear Co. (Traverse City, MI), a manufacturer of hydraulic pumps, valves, systems and aftermarket services for heavy-duty applications. Texas Hydraulics is a manufacturer of hydraulic cylinders, swivels and related components with long-standing relationships with OEM customers across a variety of end-markets, including transportation, infrastructure, utilities and natural resources.

“Oilgear is a market leader with a strong brand and reputation for providing world-class pumps and valves for the most rugged, heavy-duty applications in the industrial, oil and gas, and mobile equipment markets,” said Patrick Taylor, CEO of Texas Hydraulics. “We look forward to Oilgear joining the Texas Hydraulics team and expanding our highly engineered hydraulics solution platform with global scale for our customers.”

Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

 

PetroChoice Acquires Pennsylvania-Based Prolube

Ft. Washington, PA-based PetroChoice, one of the largest petroleum-based lubricant distributors in the United States, has acquired the lubricant business assets of Prolube Inc. in Bensalem, PA, which has been a distributor of lubricants in the northern Philadelphia area, specializing in the automotive market.

Gregg Babcock, president, and Bob Powers, secretary and head of sales at Prolube, will serve as consultants to PetroChoice during the transition. And, Prolube’s product distribution will operate out of PetroChoice’s Aston, PA facility.

 

Large U.S. Auto Body Parts Distributor Acquired

Investcorp has acquired KSI Trading Corp. (South Plainfield, NJ), a distributor of aftermarket auto body parts servicing over 10,000 collision repair shops across 14 states. And, the firm has named Christopher Patti as the CEO of KSI. Patti was the senior vice president of North American sales and marketing at LKQ.

Investcorp has a history of investing in automotive and related markets, including previous investments in CSK Auto, Jiffy Lube, FleetPride, American Tire Distributors, CCC Information Services, Fleetmatics and Autodistribution.

According to the firm, KSI will grow by expanding geographically, by opening greenfield locations, by acquisition, and by establishing stronger relationships with insurance companies and multi-shop operators (MSOs).

 

MANN+HUMMEL: Sales Account Manager — Western U.S.

As worldwide experts in filtration, MANN+HUMMEL develops solutions for vehicles, industrial applications, clean air inside vehicles and the sustainable use of water. With team spirit and an open culture of communication, we are continuously working towards achieving our vision of ‘leadership in filtration’. Become part of the team as a Sales Account Manager. … (more) … Click here to find out more.

BBB Industries: Senior Interactive/ Digital Media Designer

Rare opportunity to join a talented marketing team for a growing and influential manufacturer in the automotive aftermarket. You will be part of a team that creates, innovates and experiments with the path forward for the company’s digital landscape. A dream job for someone … (more) … Click here to find out more.

BBB Industries: BBB/AutoZone Territory Sales Manager

The Territory Sales Manager (TSM) will report to the RVP, Sales – AutoZone and will be based in the Dallas, TX area. This position requires fluency in both English and Spanish. The main responsibility for this position is to call on all AutoZone stores. The Territory Sales Manager (TSM) will make prospective account sales calls … (more) … Click here to find out more.

BBB Industries: Territory Sales Manager

Main responsibility is to call on all O’Reilly stores within region. Make prospective account sales call with O’Reilly RM and TSM in each territory. Goals are to make 10 sales calls with OReilly TSM a day, add new accounts, and add inventory to O’Reilly stores. Relationships need to be developed with O’Reilly store personal, DM, and TSMs. … (more) … Click here to find out more.

BBB Industries: Automotive Technical Trainer

The Automotive Technical Trainer will deliver manufacturer technical training. JOB DUTIES – PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITIES: Plan, organize, and deliver technical instruction to retailers and shop technicians to enhance their learning and proficiency in the service, diagnostics, and repair of company products (various automotive parts); Prepare and delivery quality training … (more) … Click here to find out more.

BBB Industries: Senior Financial Analyst – Commercial

This role reports to the Director of Finance – Commercial, and will provide various forecasting, analysis and business case development to support the strategic growth strategy of the company. Major areas of focus will be sales revenue, program credits, warranty, margins, operating expenses and commercial contract management obligation oversight. … (more) … Click here to find out more.

 

Purchase Of Fenix Parts Complete

Stellex Capital Management’s acquisition of Fenix Parts — in partnership with a group of auto industry veterans — is now complete. Bill Stevens, former executive vice president at GreenLeaf Auto Recyclers, now serves as CEO. He is joined by fellow GreenLeaf veterans Paul Delaney as chief operating officer and Stoney Rutledge as vice president of purchasing and procurement.

Delaney and Rutledge also were the founder-owners of Late Model Auto Salvage in Fort Worth, TX. As part of the transaction, Late Model has become a part of Fenix.

“We are very excited about this opportunity because there are a number of high-quality operators in the company. Together, they create a strong growth opportunity utilizing the Fenix platform moving forward,” Stevens said. “Fenix intends to work with independent operators and industry alliances while pursuing initiatives to allow the company to grow both organically and inorganically.”

Former GreenLeaf colleagues Dixon Thayer, Ron Sturgeon and Brian Nerney have taken an equity stake in Fenix and have agreed to serve on its board.

Fenix Parts is a recycler and reseller of OEM automotive products.

 

Rayarmor Retains Dorian Drake For Global Sales, Marketing

Rayarmor (Devens, MA), a manufacturer of automotive window film technology, has entered into an export management agreement with Dorian Drake International Inc. The agreement calls for White Plains, NY-based Dorian Drake to handle sales and marketing outside the United States and Canada. Dorian Drake will act as Rayarmor’s sales and marketing arm globally, with a special focus on developing distribution and promoting the brand. The company’s film caters to OEMs, detail window tint shops and dealerships.

 

Revenue Rose, Income Turned Positive For XPEL

XPEL Technologies Corp., a supplier of automotive paint protection and window films, saw its revenue increase 52.7 percent to $20.24 million in the fourth quarter of 2017 (up 51.2 percent on a constant-currency basis). However, its gross profit (as a percentage of revenue) slipped from 23.9 percent to 22.6 percent on a year-over-year basis. Net income came in at $4,252 — an increase compared to the $22,882 net loss XPEL reported a year ago.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) increased by approximately $925,000 to $1.02 million.

It’s worth noting that XPEL incurred roughly $600,000 in one-time costs during the quarter related to the consolidation of its product lines (removal of low-margin products), the consolidation of its three existing warehouse facilities into a single facility in San Antonio, and the restructuring of its sales and operations.

Adjusting for these non-recurring costs, the company’s fourth-quarter gross profit (as a percentage of revenue) would have been 24.9 percent, EBITDA would have been $1.60 million and net income would have been $450,000.

President and CEO Ryan Pape commented: “We are seeing the positive impact we anticipated from our consolidation and reorganization initiatives, and we expect continued strong growth in revenue and significant improvement in bottom-line results in 2018.”

 

People Watching 4/19/18

Tom Clevinger has joined the Spartan Motors board of directors. He is the former head of PACCAR’s parts operations in North America and Europe, which is an area of focus for Spartan. Charlotte, MI-based Spartan is a designer, manufacturer, and marketer of specialty vehicles, specialty chassis, vehicle bodies, and parts for the fleet and delivery, RV, emergency response, defense, and contract assembly (light- and medium-duty truck) markets.

• Retired Dayco CEO Jim Orchard will be retiring from the Spartan Motors board of directors following the company’s annual shareholders meeting May 23.

Johnson Controls has appointed Antonella Franzen as its vice president and chief investor relations and communications officer. In this expanded role, in addition to her current responsibilities leading investor relations, Franzen has assumed responsibility for leading internal and external communications. She also oversees the company’s communications leadership team, which includes internal representatives from communications, marketing, human resources and government affairs. Franzen has been vice president of investor relations since the merger of Johnson Controls and Tyco.

Jay Sloan is now the director of customer service and marketing for the Marion, OH-based TODCO division of the Overhead Door Corp. Sloan was manager of customer service and IT. TODCO makes and markets overhead and swing doors for trucks and transportation vehicles.

• Chloe Hyland is now the marketing manager for Automechanika Birmingham. She has been with Messe Frankfurt since 2014. The show will take place June 5-6 at the NEC in Birmingham, United Kingdom.

 

News Briefs 4/19/18

4 Wheel Parts has opened its first store in Maryland. It’s in the Baltimore suburb of Glen Burnie.

• AASA now offers a report on the market share of aftermarket channel partners, including breakouts for DIY and DIFM. The report, which is only available to AASA and OAC members, is based on data from MoffettNathanson LLC. Click here for more information.

U.S. Auto Parts Network has launched a progressive web app (PWA) as the new mobile website for carparts.com. The PWA allows U.S. Auto Parts to make the site’s vehicle parts and accessories more easily accessible to DIY customers by providing an “app-like” mobile web experience with no app download required.

• Live inventory is now available on Original One Parts’ website, originaloneparts.com, searchable by OEM or part number and key words. A VIN search is coming. Original One Parts is a salvage parts supplier.

• All Trans, DC Battery, HS Brake and Rostra America have joined ShowMeTheParts.

Monroe Shockmobiles kicked off their 2018 season recently with appearances at Comerica Park for the Detroit Tigers opening day. They are part of the brand’s efforts to educate consumers about Monroe’s “Feel the Difference” Guarantee and the importance of ride control inspections. Monroe Shockmobiles will visit a number of shops, retailers, consumer events and landmarks around North America this year.

Polaris Industries has renewed its partnership with Team Lucas for the 2018 season. Polaris is “The Official UTV” of the Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League. The company also is featured in the Lucas Oil Off-Road Racing Series and in Lucas Oil Regional Off-Road Racing events. Polaris also will have a presence in Lucas Oil TV coverage.

VP Racing Fuels has announced a multi-year sponsor agreement with the Real Pro Mod drag racing association.

• NTN, a global bearing manufacturing company, is celebrating its 100th anniversary.

• The Gold Eagle Co.’s Sta-Bil business is celebrating its 60th anniversary.

 

Financial Briefs 4/19/18

• To finance the acquisition of Federal-MogulTenneco has put in place committed debt financing to fund the transaction. The new facility will consist of a $1.50-billion revolving credit facility and term loans that will total $3.40 billion. The new facility will replace Tenneco’s existing senior credit facilities and certain facilities at Federal-Mogul.

P&F Industries (Melville, NY) has reported that automotive revenue from its Florida Pneumatics division declined 4.6 percent to $13.90 million in 2017 due, in large part, to inventory adjustment efforts on the behalf of two major auto parts distributors. “We understand that such rebalancing by these customers has been accomplished,” P&F stated in a March 27 announcement, “and, therefore, anticipate our automotive revenue to rebound closer to 2016 levels.”

 

Event & Trade Show Briefs 4/19/18

• The SEMA Young Executives Network (YEN) will host a meet up May 11 in conjunction with the Formula Drift competition at Road Atlanta. The YEN event is for industry professionals under the age of 40. Click here for more information.

• Over 650 members, vendors and associates reportedly participated in the Automotive Parts Services Group’s first combined member meeting held April 9-12 at the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center in Grapevine, TX.

• More than 130 association members attended the 2018 MEMA Legislative Summit April 10-11 in Washington, DC, according to MEMA. Attendees also took part in over 120 meetings on Capitol Hill during the summit.

• The Young Auto Care Network Group (YANG) has announced the winners of 2018 Auto Care Association Next Step Program scholarships. These 10 young industry professionals were selected to attend the Auto Care Association’s Spring Leadership Days to gain experience and industry knowledge. Scholarship recipients will receive as much as $1,100 to offset expenses for travel and accommodations. The event will take place May 9-11 at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis.

HDDA: Heavy Duty and the Auto Care Association will host a webinar April 26 on reducing employee turnover. The presenter will be John Sullivan, who specializes in retention, recruiting and productivity strategies. Click here for more information on the webinar.

 

 

14 — April 12, 2018

 

Quick Hits …
(A few short items to get us started this week)

• Matt Johnson is no longer the president of Altrom, the Genuine Parts Co.’s import auto parts distribution division. Johnson has held the position since early 2015. He is now a business advisor for Gluon Solutions, a North Carolina-based automotive technology startup. GPC did not return requests for comment on how it plans to fill Johnson’s position.

• Trico Wiper Products has received NAPA’s “Excellence in Quality” vendor award.

• Mevotech LP has received NAPA’s “Sales Leadership” award for 2017.

• Fast Undercar has recognized Mevotech with its “Profit Generator Award” for 2017.

• Burlington Foreign Car Parts has joined the National Pronto Association.

• Online attendee registration is now open for AAPEX 2018, which will be held Oct. 30 to Nov. 1 at the Sands Expo in Las Vegas.

 

Tenneco Is Buying Federal-Mogul For $5.40 Billion; Icahn To Get 9.9% Voting Stake In Tenneco

Icahn Enterprises L.P. has reached a definitive agreement to sell Federal-Mogul LLC to Tenneco Inc. for $5.40 billion. The deal is comprised of …
• $800 million in cash;
• 5.65 million shares of Tenneco “Class A” common stock (representing a 9.9-percent voting interest);
• 23.79 million shares of non-voting Tenneco “Class B” common stock; and
• The assumption of all debt of Federal-Mogul.

Together, Icahn Enterprises would have 36.4 percent of Tenneco’s total shares outstanding. The 23.79 million shares Icahn would get will convert to voting shares if and when sold. The deal includes restrictions on how much Tenneco stock could be sold within the first 150 days post-closing.

Tenneco can reduce the amount of non-voting common stock by as much as 7.32 million shares and increase the cash consideration by as much as $400 million at closing. If Tenneco exercises its right, Icahn would own 27.4 percent of total shares outstanding.

According to Moody’s Investors Service, the transaction represents about a 7.2x multiple of Tenneco’s calculation of Federal-Mogul’s adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) for 2017, before any synergies. That multiple would be 5.4x including earnings and working capital synergies.

Tenneco says it has put in place committed debt financing to fund the transaction, which would replace Tenneco’s existing senior credit facilities and certain senior facilities at Federal-Mogul. Upon closing, Tenneco expects a pro forma net debt-to-adjusted EBITDA ratio of roughly 3x. Management is targeting a net debt-to-adjusted EBITDA ratio of approximately 2.5x by the end of 2019 through profitable growth and debt reduction funded by cash flow.

Following the announcement, Moody’s placed the ratings of Tenneco — including its Ba1 corporate family and Ba1-PD probability of default ratings — under review for downgrade. The Speculative Grade Liquidity Rating is currently SGL-2, or “good,” on a scale where SGL-1 is “very good,” SGL-2 is “good,” SGL-3 is “adequate” and SGL-4 is “weak.”

Through a tax-free spin-off to its stockholders, Tenneco plans to separate the combined businesses into two independent, publicly traded companies: Aftermarket & Ride Performance and Powertrain Technology.

The acquisition is expected to close in the second half of 2018, subject to regulatory approval, approval by Tenneco stockholders and other customary closing conditions. The separation is anticipated to occur in the second half of 2019. The transaction is not subject to any financing condition.

Upon completion of the Federal-Mogul acquisition, Tenneco plans to operate the combined businesses under a structure designed to begin the integration of Tenneco and Federal-Mogul as well as the separation of the Aftermarket & Ride Performance and the Powertrain Technology companies.

Gregg Sherrill, executive chairman of Tenneco, said the deal will accelerate each company’s ability to capitalize on trends that are fundamentally changing the industry. “This is a major step forward in building an even stronger position with the combination of strategically aligned companies and the subsequent separation of the businesses, realigned in such a way to unlock shareholder value,” Sherrill added.

The combination of Tenneco’s Ride Performance business with Federal-Mogul Motorparts would bring together such prominent aftermarket brands as Monroe, Walker, Wagner, Champion, Fel-ProMoog, Anco and Rancho. Aftermarket & Ride Performance’s pro forma 2017 total revenue is estimated at $6.40 billion, and its adjusted EBITDA would be $595 million.

Approximately 51 percent of Aftermarket & Ride Performance’s business would come from North America, and roughly 57 percent of its revenue would come from the aftermarket. Among its top aftermarket customers by revenue would be …
Advance Auto Parts/Carquest (6 percent);
NAPA/Alliance Automotive Group (6 percent);
O’Reilly Automotive (5 percent);
Pep Boys/Auto Plus (3 percent); and
Automotive Parts Services Group (3 percent).

Powertrain Technology would be one of the largest pure-play powertrain suppliers, combining Tenneco’s Clean Air product line with Federal Mogul’s Powertrain business. Its pro forma 2017 total revenue is estimated at $10.70 billion, and its adjusted EBITDA would be nearly $1.03 billion.

“Icahn Enterprises acquired majority control of Federal-Mogul in 2008 when we saw an out-of-favor market opportunity for a great company. During that time, we have built one of the leading global suppliers of automotive products,” said Carl Icahn, chairman of Icahn Enterprises. “I am very proud of the business we have built at Federal-Mogul, and agree with Tenneco regarding the tremendous value in the business combination and separation into two companies. We expect to be meaningful stockholders of Tenneco going forward and are excited about the prospects for additional value creation.”

Icahn Enterprises would have one Tenneco/Federal-Mogul board member from close of the transaction to separation and one on the Powertrain Technology board post-separation. Icahn’s board representation would not transfer to Aftermarket & Ride Performance on separation.

Tenneco CEO Brian Kesseler said the acquisition will transform the company by creating two strong, leading global companies, each in a position to capture opportunities unique to their respective markets.

“Federal-Mogul brings strong brands, products and capabilities that are complementary to Tenneco’s portfolio and in line with our successful growth strategies,” Kesseler said. “Unleashing two new, product-focused companies with even stronger portfolios will allow them to move faster in executing on their specific growth priorities.”

XMS Capital Partners is the exclusive financial advisor and Winston & Strawn LLP the legal counsel for Icahn Enterprises and Federal-Mogul in connection with the sale.

Barclays is the lead financial advisor to Tenneco and provided a fairness opinion to Tenneco’s board of directors. J.P. Morgan is a mergers and acquisition advisor to Tenneco.

J.P. Morgan and Barclays provided committed financing for the transaction. Kirkland & Ellis LLP and Mayer Brown LLP provided legal advice to Tenneco.      — Marc Vincent

 

Fiat Chrysler Plans To Separate Magneti Marelli

The Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) board of directors has authorized management to develop and implement a plan to separate its parts subsidiary Magneti Marelli and to distribute shares of a new holding company for Magneti Marelli to the shareholders of FCA. The separation is expected to be completed by the end of 2018 or early 2019. Shares of Magneti Marelli are expected to be listed on the Milan stock exchange, Borsa Italiana.

The separation of Magneti Marelli is subject to customary regulatory approval, tax and legal considerations, final approval of the deal by the FCA board of directors, and other customary requirements.

 

General Motors Expands Its ACDelco, Genuine GM Warranty Coverage

Effective April 1, more than 281,000 Genuine GM and ACDelco service replacement parts are now covered by a 24-month, unlimited miles warranty. For many parts, the warranty coverage is doubled.

Under the new plan, most Genuine GM and ACDelco original equipment and ACDelco Professional warranty terms increased from 12 months with either 12,000 miles or unlimited miles up to 24 months and unlimited mileage. The move affects such products as engine and transmission components, emission parts, wipers, and water pumps.

However, limited lifetime warranty terms remain unchanged for some product lines, including shocks and struts, wire sets, radiators, and fuel pumps. ACDelco’s Advantage line is covered for 12 months and unlimited mileage. For a complete list of parts and limited warranty terms, visit ACDelco.com or GenuineGMparts.com.

 

Advance Auto Parts’ CFO Is Leaving To Join Grainger

Advance Auto Parts executive vice president and CFO Tom Okray is leaving the company, effective April 15, to take over as the senior vice president and CFO of Grainger effective May 2. He will succeed Ron Jadin, who is retiring from the maintenance, repair and operating (MRO) products supplier after 20 years with the company.

According to an Advance Auto press release, Okray’s decision to leave is based solely on personal and professional objectives, and does not reflect any disagreement with the company’s operational or financial practices.

While Advance conducts a search for Okray’s successor, Senior Vice President, Controller and Chief Accounting Officer Jeff Shepherd will serve as interim CFO in addition to his current responsibilities. Shepherd joined Advance in 2017 from General Motors, where he was the controller for GM Europe.

Analysts from Jefferies LLC stated in an April 2 Flash Note that they do not view Okray leaving the company negatively. “Okray’s decision to leave Advance does not appear related to a disagreement with the company, but more likely driven by personal objectives to relocate to the Midwest while joining a larger company,” analysts Bret Jordan and Mark Jordan wrote. “Okray will not be joining a competitor … , and Okray’s interim replacement appears to get good reviews by field-level employees and has been heavily involved in the company’s current supply chain and ERP transformation, which we view as Advance’s most important initiative.”

 

Advance Auto Parts, Jiffy Lube Sign On With New Uber Driver Loyalty/Rewards Program

Advance Auto Parts is the exclusive aftermarket auto parts supplier for Uber’s new driver loyalty/rewards program. The initiative allows Uber drivers who use their Uber Visa debit card to earn cash back offers from participating merchants. In the case of Advance, Uber drivers earn 10 percent cash back for purchases online and in-store when using the card (with a maximum of $100 per month on as much as $1,000 total spending per month on purchases).

The program also includes Jiffy Lube, which is offering a 15-percent discount on select automotive maintenance services. Other participants in Uber’s driver loyalty/rewards initiative include Walmart, Exxon and Mobil gas stations, and Sprint.

 

Obituary: Kenny Lewis, Product Department Leader For The Network

Kenneth “Kenny” Wayne Lewis — who served in the Automotive Distribution Network’s product department in a variety of leadership roles over 19 years — died March 13 after a short illness. He was 64 and had worked in the auto care industry for more than 40 years.

“Kenny Lewis will be remembered as a gentleman with a proven track record of delivering profitable growth revenue for the group’s members, in addition to his quick wit and personable approach to business,” Network president David Prater said.

Born in Kansas and raised in Owasso, OK, Lewis spent most of his career in Memphis and Houston but remained an Okie at heart, according to his colleagues.

Early in his automotive career, Lewis worked for Green Light Automotive, which was later acquired by Parts Inc., a Parts Plus founding member. The company was then purchased by Big A Auto Parts, which retained Lewis to run the company’s paint, body and equipment (PBE) program.

In 1999, Lewis moved back to Memphis to work for The Network, which had launched a new program for tools and equipment. He also managed the PBE category.

“It’s a very successful program, and most of that is due to Kenny’s efforts,” Prater said. “We had double-digit growth under his leadership.”

Lewis first served as a product manager before being promoted to senior product manager for special markets, overseeing the Network’s tools and equipment, commodities and accessories, and bodyshop supplies product programs. He was known for his consistency and attention to detail and follow up, Prater said.

“It was truly ‘start to finish’ with him,” Prater said. “He was extremely methodical in the way he did things.”

Lewis was easygoing, but also demanding when it came to Network programs and their success, said Automotive Supply Associates president David Segal, a member and past chairman of The Network’s board of directors.

“He always made sure it was good for the members and that our suppliers also received value from the program,” Segal said.

Longtime PBE products sales pro Bob Mosher met Lewis while he was the manager of the Parts Plus Collision Pro Committee. Mosher was on the committee representing Sanel Auto Parts.

“Kenny was the driving force behind the Parts Plus Collision Pro quarterly flyer and did a remarkable job with it through the years,” Mosher said. “All of us who served on the committee would say that our lives were enriched by knowing him both professionally and personally.”

As an example, Mosher recalled one meeting in New York where Lewis got the group tickets to The Late Show with David Letterman and scheduled dinner at Tavern on the Green. “He kept us busy meeting vendors during the day and always had something fun planned at night,” Mosher said.

In his free time, Lewis enjoyed woodworking, vacationing in the mountains, and collecting racing and football memorabilia. He constructed a sports memorabilia museum in his home that includes several signed items featuring Parts Plus Top Fuel driver and friend Clay Millican.

“More than anything, I know I speak for the entire group when I say we have lost a dear, trusted friend,” Prater said. “Kenny will be sorely missed.”

Survivors include Lewis’ wife of 40 years, Marilyn; daughters Kylie and Kasey; and son Justin.

 

The Network Recognizes Federal-Mogul As ‘Vendor Of The Year’

The Automotive Distribution Network honored Federal-Mogul as its “Vendor of the Year” at the 2018 Network National Convention in Orlando. Federal-Mogul also earned The Network’s “Exceptional National Account Support” award. The following vendors also were recognized at the convention …
Tim Rhodes of Federal Mogul: “Vendor Customer Service Representative of the Year;”
BBB Industries: “Exceptional Marketing Support;”
Spectra Premium Industries: “Exceptional Category Management;”
Gates Corp.: “Exceptional Content Management;”
East Penn Manufacturing: “Exceptional Quality;”
Dorman Products: “Exceptional Innovation;”
Denso: “Exceptional Sales Team Support;”
Standard Motor Products: “Exceptional Training;”
Rotary Lift: “Tool & Equipment Vendor of the Year;”
CRS: “Network Product Vendor of the Year;” and
Epicor: “Technology Partner of the Year.”

 

ProMax Receives Top Bestbuy Vendor Award

ProMax (Auto Parts Depot) received the 2017 “Horace J. Pratt Vendor of the Year Award” at the Bestbuy Distributors Shareholders Meeting & 65th Anniversary Celebration last month in Toronto. ProMax has received the award the last four years. Other awards went to …
Mevotech, which received the “Marketing Partner Award;”
Baldwin Filters, which received the “Rising Star Award;”
Dorman Products, which received the “Cornerstone Award;”
Spectra Premium Industries, which received the “Bestbuy Partner Award” (a new award); and
Brad Shaddick and Federal-Mogul Motorparts, recipients of the “William Elton Outstanding Support Award.”

Bestbuy also recognized the following members for various milestones …
Heimpel Automotive: 50 years;
Raco Auto Supply: 30 years;
Distribution Mobus: 25 years;
Ramez Faizan Enterprises (VAP): 25 years;
Distribution De Pièces D’Autos Rive-Sud: 25 years;
Pièces D’Auto Charron: 20 years;
Les Pièces GR: 20 years;
• Gregg Distributors: 20 years;
Pièces D’Auto Guy: 20 years; and
• Patterson’s Parts Supply: 10 years.

The group’s annual trade event at its Mississauga, Ontario DC included more than 90 vendor companies. And, Bestbuy presented CDN$25,000 to the SickKids Family Heart Centre. The group has been supporting SickKids since 1986 and has raised over CDN$800,000 to date.

 

Burlington Foreign Car Parts Joins Pronto

Burlington Foreign Car Parts has joined the National Pronto Association. Burlington, which is celebrating its 45th anniversary, has nine locations in Vermont, New Hampshire and New York. While the company is an import specialist, it has carried a full line of hard parts for both import and domestic vehicles for over 25 years.

 

Society Of Import Parts Specialists Recommits To APA

The Society of Import Parts Specialists (SIPS) renewed its commitment with Automotive Parts Associates (APA) at its annual meeting held in conjunction with APA’s 2018 Annual Shareholders & Manufacturers Conference in Orlando last month.

APA will continue to support SIPS members with a focus on supplier programs that strengthen the purchasing leverage for all shareholders. And, APA will host multiple meetings for the board of directors and committees between now and the next conference — scheduled for March 13-15, 2019 in Dallas — to develop new strategies and review product lines.

Roughly half of the import parts association’s members are APA shareholders.

 

Polaris Moves Greg Adler To Transamerican’s Executive Vice Chairman

Polaris Industries has appointed Craig Scanlon as the new president of Transamerican Auto Parts (TAP). Scanlon succeeds Greg Adler, who has assumed the new role of executive vice chairman for TAP. Adler is now responsible for supporting long-range strategy, pursuing growth opportunities via acquisition and serving as a brand ambassador for the business. He has been with TAP since 1994 and its president and CEO since 2005. Adler’s father founded the business in 1961.

Scanlon most recently was vice president and chief retail and marketing officer for off-road vehicles (ORV) at Polaris. Over his 14 years with Polaris, Scanlon has held positions in marketing, sales, and general management with both the ORV and Slingshot businesses.

“Craig’s vision and enthusiasm leaves me feeling confident in his ability to honor both the Adler legacy and company vision of putting the customer first, while continuing to deliver growth for TAP and Polaris,” Adler said in Polaris’ announcement. “Craig is inheriting an incredibly talented and dedicated team. The foundation is built for continued success under his highly experienced leadership. I imagine TAP’s next chapter will see even more success than its last.”

Scanlon and Adler both report to Steve Eastman, president of Polaris’ aftermarket, parts, garments and accessories business.

“As executive vice chairman, Greg’s extensive industry knowledge, strategic insight and strong relationships will continue to play a critical role in supporting the long-term success of the business,” Eastman said in the aforementioned announcement. “I have full confidence that TAP’s market leadership will continue to grow and flourish with Craig at the helm. Craig has an exceptional track record as a proven leader whose clear, strategic vision has been instrumental in helping to shape and grow Polaris’ largest business segment.”

TAP is a manufacturer, wholesaler, and retailer of aftermarket parts and accessories for trucks, Jeeps, SUVs and four-wheel-drive vehicles. Its operations are comprised of 90 4 Wheel Parts retail stores across North America, Transamerican Wholesale sales and distribution, Dealer Services International, and the Transamerican Manufacturing Group which includes Smittybilt, Rubicon Express, G2 Axle & Gear, Pro Comp, LRG Wheels and Poison Spyder.

 

Obituary: Fred Lisle, Lisle Corp. President

Frederick Vernon Lisle, president of Lisle Corp. and a fifth-generation family member in the business, died of pneumonia March 27. He was 57.

Lisle devoted his entire career to fostering the continued growth of the Clarinda, IA-based company known for its specialty automotive tools, mechanic creepers, and lubrication and tire products.

Under his leadership, Lisle Corp. experienced steady growth in sales and market share, according to a statement from the company. Lisle also spearheaded the purchase of the Dunham Tool Co. in 2015.

He was a caring and compassionate leader who enjoyed a good laugh and an occasional practical joke, according to his colleagues.

C.A. Lisle started the company in 1903 selling horse-powered water well drilling machines and later washing machines, cream separators and reel lawn mowers. The company made its first automotive product, a master ignition vibrator for Ford Model T vehicles, in the mid-1920s.

Fred Lisle began working for the company in the assembly department during his college summers. In 1982, he went full-time, working in the time study department. From there, he moved into the sales department and became advertising manager, national accounts manager, and then, in 2005, vice president of sales and marketing. He was named president in 2009.

“He worked from the bottom to the top,” friend Ed Coleman, retired president of Ullman Devices, said. The two met when Lisle was national sales manager.

“I think he was the most respected, the most liked and the most effective salesperson in our industry,” Coleman said. “He did his job so well and was so well loved.”

Lisle worked behind the scenes on behalf of the industry, Coleman said. For example, he helped find jobs for Dunham Tool employees who couldn’t relocate from Connecticut to Iowa after the company’s acquisition and move.

Lisle also was a former board member of the Automotive Sales Council and remained involved in the group as a longtime member.

Matco Tools president Timothy Gilmore met Lisle when he was an account manager and Gilmore a product manager for Matco. Matco was adding a Lisle product to its line at the time.

“We worked together to get that accomplished, and then our careers always kind of touched paths,” Gilmore said.

“You always felt like you had a partner in business when you worked with Fred,” he said. “He was someone who was really down to earth, genuine, and sincere. And, he interacted with his customers and managed his people in that way.”

Lisle earned a bachelor’s degree in business management from Northwest Missouri State University in 1982. In his free time, he volunteered as a trustee of Iowa Western Community College, where he earned an associate’s degree in business administration, and helped build and promote the Iowa Western Center for Excellence in Manufacturing Program at the college’s Clarinda campus.

Survivors include Lisle’s wife, Brenda; sons Eddie and Andy, who both work for the company; and three grandsons.

 

David Barbeau Rejoins Hart Marx Advisors

David Barbeau has rejoined Hart Marx Advisors as a vice president and member of its advisory board. Barbeau also is the CEO of Barbeau Consulting, which focuses on the China aftermarket. His background includes time as the managing director of global aftermarket for TI Automotive, vice president of the global automotive aftermarket business unit at Delphi, and co-founder and executive vice president of Auto Parts Express.

He also has served on the boards of AASA, the Automotive Sales Council and the Auto Care Association, and is a U.S. Army veteran.

In addition to Barbeau, Hart Marx Advisors’ advisory board includes Chip Carlson, John Dehne, Howard KestenLou Merz, Rick Rollins and Denise Rondini.

 

Dayco Moves Its Aftermarket Operations To Michigan

Dayco’s aftermarket operations have relocated from Tulsa, OK to Dayco’s headquarters in Troy, MI. According to the company, the move was made to “better align the aftermarket operations with the resources of our global headquarters within one highly productive hub.”

Bruno Vallillo, president of Dayco Global Aftermarket, said in an announcement dated March 23: “The relocation of our aftermarket office and operations represents a consolidation of our global business, all geared toward providing greater efficiencies and value for our customers.”

 

Dorman Is Expanding In Tennessee

Dorman Products has broken ground on a $55-million, 815,000-square-foot facility in Portland, TN that will be its largest production and distribution facility yet. Once construction is complete, Dorman will relocate its existing Portland operations to the new facility. It’s expected to open in the first quarter of 2019.

The 53-acre site also allows for growth in the future.

Dorman has five locations in the United States and has operated in Portland, where it currently employs 380 people, since 2006. The Portland expansion follows a recent expansion of Dorman’s headquarters in Colmar, PA.

 

Leadership Changes Coming At Brake Parts Inc.

Brake Parts Inc. (BPI) has announced that Pat Keane, vice president of global distribution, and Dave Sather, vice president of global sourcing, will retire at the end of the second quarter. Keane, whose tenure with BPI began as a materials and manufacturing manager at Continental Hydraulic Hose, has been vice president of global distribution since 2010. Sather joined BPI in 2008 as vice president of global sourcing.

Al Biemer will take on an expanded role at BPI as vice president of supply chain, responsible for global distribution and transportation, in addition to his current responsibilities for inventory and planning. He joined the company in 2013 as vice president of product demand and inventory planning.

Additionally, Chris Mapes has joined BPI as vice president of global sourcing. Most recently, Mapes was chief procurement officer at Xylem Inc.

 

Niteo Buys Kraco’s Air Care Assets

Dallas-based Niteo Products, a portfolio company of Highlander Partners, has acquired the air care assets of Kraco Enterprises for an undisclosed amount. The business provides fragrance and appearance products — through the Ozium and Scents brands, along with certain licensed brands — for both home and auto use. The items are sold by grocery stores, hardware stores, convenience stores, mass merchants and automotive retailers across North America.

Founded in 2015 through the acquisition of Ashland Inc.’s Valvoline car care assets, Niteo is a manufacturer and marketer of automotive appearance and performance products. Its brands include CarBrite, Hi-Tech and Trans-Mate in the detail, dealership and auto auction appearance category; and the Pyroil and Cyclo brands (along with a license for the Valvoline and MaxLife brands) in the automotive maintenance and performance chemical category.

Niteo’s acquisition of Kraco’s air care unit is seen as strengthening Niteo’s car care lineup for wholesalers and retailers.

Niteo CEO Cameron Evans called the addition highly strategic and complementary to Niteo’s existing automotive appearance and performance chemical product offering. “The acquisition of these core brands in the automotive air care space gives Niteo access to a strong line of well-regarded products and will bolster Niteo’s breadth in the category,” Evans explained. “We are excited to leverage the full Niteo portfolio of brands for the benefit of our wholesale and retail partners, and to work with the air care team to continue to grow the business.”

The air care operations will be conducted from Niteo’s existing facilities in Hernando, MS, and related employees will join Niteo.

Jeff Hull — president and managing partner of Highlander and chairman of Niteo — said the addition of Ozium and Scents reinforces Highlander’s strategy to build a leading business in the automotive appearance, performance and maintenance markets.

“Closing our fifth acquisition in this space within the last three years further validates our intent to utilize acquisitions to complement our organic growth efforts,” Hull said. “We continue to evaluate numerous other potential transactions and expect to close additional acquisitions in the future.”

 

Remington Adds President, Channel Marketing VP

Remington Industries has hired Steve Lazzara as its president. He comes to Remington after 37 years with Kraco Enterprises, most recently as senior vice president of sales and marketing. Ooltewah, TN-based Remington specializes in vehicle floor protection, interior organization and sun protection products as well as transport hardware.

Remington also has hired Joe Paquette as its vice president of channel marketing. Paquette comes to Remington with 14 years of tie-down/ratchet strap industry experience at the Keeper division of Hampton Products International, where he specialized in product development and sales.

Paquette is tasked with overseeing the development and expansion of Stryder Ratchet Systems. He will act as the primary salesperson on all tie-down/ratchet strap customer accounts and will work with product design to expand the existing product line.

“When we met Joe, we weren’t looking to hire anyone. After spending some time with him, we knew we needed to make a place and make the hire,” said Remington CEO Tim Parkes. “This is a new category for us, and Joe’s knowledge of the customers, the product and the category direction make him an invaluable asset for us.”

 

Stride Tool Hires Operations VP, Int’l Sales Manager

Stride Tool (Glenwillow, OH) has hired Jeff Lovell as its vice president of operations. Lovell joins Stride Tool from Race Winning Brands, where he was director of operations. His background also includes senior operations and engineering positions with Northrop Grumman Corp. Lovell is an eight-year veteran of the U.S. Army.

The company also has added Austin Chae as its international sales manager for Asia and developing markets. He comes to Stride Tool from Autoland Scientech USA, where he was marketing director. Chae’s background also includes time as director of international business development for Innova Electronics Corp.

Stride Tool designs, manufactures and markets specialty tools and products for professional technicians. Its flagship brand, Imperial, is sold worldwide through automotive, retail, HVAC and industrial distribution channels.

 

Truck Hero Adds Office Space For R&D

Truck Hero (Ann Arbor, MI) has purchased a 60,000-square-foot office on Runway Boulevard in Ann Arbor. The new space is located near the company’s existing facilities on Data Court and on South State Road. The new office will house Truck Hero’s “Center of Excellence” for research, development and testing to support the company’s innovation pipeline of aftermarket truck and Jeep accessories.

The company’s offering includes hard and soft truck bed covers, truck caps, bedliners, suspension kits, and off-road accessories. Truck Hero’s brands include A.R.E., BedRug, Husky Liners, Omix-ADA, Rugged Liner, Superlift and UnderCover, as well as the online retailer RealTruck.

 

UnderCover Has A New National Sales Manager

Vern Kaufman is now national sales manager for UnderCover Inc., a division of Truck Hero. In this role, he’ll work to grow sales of the brand’s truck bed covers and accessories.

Kaufman joined Truck Hero in 2016 as fleet and commercial sales manager. Prior to that, he was sales and business development manager – national, international, fleet and commercial for Pace Edwards/Truck Accessories Group and North American aftermarket and fleet sales manager for Thule/UWS. He also was a national sales manager for Wise Industries (Bedrug) and Durakon Industries (Bodyguard Bedliners).

 

Westin Automotive Hires Marketing Manager

Kurt Miller has joined Westin Automotive as marketing manager, overseeing marketing efforts across the company’s brands. Miller was an associate general manager for The Enthusiast Network (TEN). His background also includes time as a national sales director of Advanstar/Ryan Communications, vice president of sales and marketing for Pro Comp USA, and national sales key accounts manager with Mickey Thompson Tires.

 

Lubrication Specialties Inc. Hires National Account Sales Director

Mt. Gilead, OH-based Lubrication Specialties Inc. (LSI), manufacturer of Hot Shot’s Secret brand fuel and oil additives, has added Brian Merz as its director of national account sales. Merz was senior key account manager for Idemitsu Lubricants America in Cleveland. His background also includes time as a senior national accounts manager for Shell Oil Products, Penzoil-Quaker State and ITW Global Brands.

Merz reports directly to LSI president Chris Gabrelcik and works remotely from Cleveland.

 

ITW Consolidates Maintenance Chemicals Brands Under Full Throttle

ITW Professional Automotive Products has revamped its aftermarket maintenance chemicals offering for professional installers and service providers, retiring the Heartland and MileGuard product lines in favor of an updated complete line of Full Throttle Performance Products.

“Relaunching Full Throttle helps us serve all our customers better by focusing our resources on one exceptional brand rather than dividing our attention among three brands,” explained Joe Farr, distributor channel sales manager. “Of all the brands in our maintenance chemicals portfolio, research showed end consumers overwhelmingly favored the Full Throttle brand as an automotive maintenance product.”

The relaunched Full Throttle brand includes a new logo as well as new packaging and labeling, including color-coded labels by vehicle system to help technicians identify products. The enhanced packaging also features QR codes tied to ITW’s Tech U Training & Rewards programs.

 

Auto Care Association Touts Grassroots Efforts This Election Season

The Auto Care Association has launched its 2018 grassroots advocacy initiative, the Auto Care Hometown Summit, which focuses on promoting engagement with elected officials at the local level. The aim is to increase awareness about the value the auto care industry brings, not only to the U.S. economy, but to local communities as well.

The Hometown Summit initiative is an opportunity for industry stakeholders interested in getting involved this campaign season to represent the interests of their companies and the industry at-large.

“Coming off the success of last year’s Auto Care Legislative Summit in Washington, DC, we need to continue that momentum and find ways to spread our industry’s message among legislators back home in the districts and states,” association president and CEO Bill Hanvey said. “Only so much can be done in Washington. Elected officials want to hear from the voters, and we want industry leaders in every town in America ready and willing to deliver our message.”

The Auto Care Association will provide resources to increase awareness and identify opportunities for local engagement, including legislator tours of factories, distribution centers, stores and shops; meetings at local district or state offices; town halls and community events; and local fundraisers. For more information, visit autocare.org/hometown.

 

Auto Care Association Testifies In Support Of DMCA Repair Exemption Expansion

The Auto Care Association’s senior vice president for regulatory and government affairs, Aaron Lowe, on April 10 testified before the U.S. Copyright Office in support of expanding the current exemption for consumers under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

The current exemption allows access to encrypted software for the purposes of repair for car owners only. The Auto Care Association wants the consumer exemption expanded to include entities that provide services on behalf of car owners, including tool manufacturers and repair shops.

The association also wants the Copyright Office to not exclude access to software on telematics systems from the exemption.

“Currently repairers and consumers are dependent on access to the on-board diagnostic port on vehicles,” Lowe said. “Should manufacturers determine to limit data from that port to only legally required emissions-related information, car owners and those that provide repairs for them would be forced to depend on the vehicle manufacturers for critical diagnostic information at whatever cost they wanted to charge — unless consumers have access to data for their vehicle directly from embedded telematics systems.”

 

Auto Care Association Groups Offer Leadership 2.0 Scholarships

The Auto Care Association’s Import Vehicle Community and Young Auto Care Network Group (YANG) are offering full scholarships for one of their members to attend the University of the Aftermarket’s 2018-‘19 Leadership 2.0 program. The scholarships — presented by the University of the Aftermarket Foundation — are valued at more than $6,000, and include the price of tuition, class materials and meals.

An application and additional information for the Import Vehicle Community scholarship can be found here. The deadline to apply is April 24.

An application and additional information for the YANG scholarship can be found here. The deadline to apply is May 1.

Leadership 2.0 Session I will be held Aug. 12-17, 2018 on the Northwood University campus in Midland, MI. Session II will take place March 10-15, 2019 in Raleigh, NC. For more information on the program, visit universityoftheaftermarket.com and click on the “Course Calendar.”

 

Multi Parts Now Accepting SPARK Program Applications

Applications are being accepted at spark.multiparts.net/apply for Multi Parts’ annual SPARK industry immersion program. Now in its fifth year, the initiative gives students the opportunity to experience the automotive aftermarket up close at the AAPEX show. Qualified applicants must be students interested in ownership, management, product development, cataloging, pricing, marketing, sales, logistics and other core business activities of the automotive aftermarket, including finance, information technology and human resources. The deadline to apply is May 18.

 

TruckPro Names New CIO

Shawn Powers has joined TruckPro LLC as its vice president and chief information officer (CIO), working at TruckPro’s corporate headquarters in Memphis. Powers succeeds Mason Rotelli, who has served as the company’s CIO since 2012. Powers brings over 20 years of information systems and technology experience, most recently as senior director and CIO of American Home Shield, a division of ServiceMaster.

 

Minimizer Adds Territory Managers

Blooming Prairie, MN-based Minimizer has added two new territory managers: Kyle Hamm (northeastern) and Royce Johnson (west). Hamm’s territory is New York, New Jersey, Maine, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Vermont. Johnson’s territory is California, Nevada, Arizona and Hawaii.

 

Navistar Hires Daimler Truck Aftermarket Executive

Navistar International Corp. has added Friedrich Baumann as its senior vice president of strategy and planning. Baumann comes to Navistar following a 24-year career with Daimler Trucks, where he most recently was senior vice president of Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA), heading its aftermarket business unit. He also is a former president of Detroit Diesel Remanufacturing.

 

NEW … MANN+HUMMEL: Sales Account Manager — Western U.S.

As worldwide experts in filtration, MANN+HUMMEL develops solutions for vehicles, industrial applications, clean air inside vehicles and the sustainable use of water. With team spirit and an open culture of communication, we are continuously working towards achieving our vision of ‘leadership in filtration’. Become part of the team as a Sales Account Manager. … (more) … Click here to find out more.

BBB Industries: Senior Interactive/ Digital Media Designer

Rare opportunity to join a talented marketing team for a growing and influential manufacturer in the automotive aftermarket. You will be part of a team that creates, innovates and experiments with the path forward for the company’s digital landscape. A dream job for someone … (more) … Click here to find out more.

BBB Industries: BBB/AutoZone Territory Sales Manager

The Territory Sales Manager (TSM) will report to the RVP, Sales – AutoZone and will be based in the Dallas, TX area. This position requires fluency in both English and Spanish. The main responsibility for this position is to call on all AutoZone stores. The Territory Sales Manager (TSM) will make prospective account sales calls … (more) … Click here to find out more.

BBB Industries: Territory Sales Manager

Main responsibility is to call on all O’Reilly stores within region. Make prospective account sales call with O’Reilly RM and TSM in each territory. Goals are to make 10 sales calls with OReilly TSM a day, add new accounts, and add inventory to O’Reilly stores. Relationships need to be developed with O’Reilly store personal, DM, and TSMs. … (more) … Click here to find out more.

BBB Industries: Automotive Technical Trainer

The Automotive Technical Trainer will deliver manufacturer technical training. JOB DUTIES – PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITIES: Plan, organize, and deliver technical instruction to retailers and shop technicians to enhance their learning and proficiency in the service, diagnostics, and repair of company products (various automotive parts); Prepare and delivery quality training … (more) … Click here to find out more.

BBB Industries: Senior Financial Analyst – Commercial

This role reports to the Director of Finance – Commercial, and will provide various forecasting, analysis and business case development to support the strategic growth strategy of the company. Major areas of focus will be sales revenue, program credits, warranty, margins, operating expenses and commercial contract management obligation oversight. … (more) … Click here to find out more.

MAHLE Aftermarket Inc.: Account Manager – United States

Would you like to take on assignments with a high level of responsibility? … Conducts market research to determine appropriate new products, promotions and selling activities to develop additional business … Manage and develop existing accounts, negotiate contracts and leverage the value of the MAHLE brand to secure new business … Works with MAHLE independent representatives to train and support them on MAHLE products … Support representatives with technical advice, pricing, sales and promotions for customers … (more) … Click here to find out more.

MAHLE Aftermarket Inc.: Data Management Coordinator – Farmington Hills, MI

Would you like to take on assignments with a high level of responsibility? … Develop, maintain, and monitor data, in conjunction with product management, in the catalog database for online and print catalogs … Assist product management with data mapping requirements for electronic catalog … Update ACES & PIES data outputs to customers and 3rd party providers … Manage monthly data validation processes and review reports based on released VCdB from Auto Care Association … (more) … Click here to find out more.

 

Battery Maker To Locate First U.S. Plant In Tennessee

The ATLASBX Co. plans to locate its first U.S. manufacturing facility in Clarksville, TN — a $75-million investment. ATLASBX is a manufacturer of batteries for passenger cars, light trucks, electric vehicles, commercial vehicles, boats and RVs. It currently has two manufacturing plants in South Korea, where its global headquarters is located. It also has an office in Nashville.

ATLASBX is a sister company to Hankook Tire, which opened a tire manufacturing plant in Clarksville in October.

Management expects ATLASBX’s new manufacturing plant to be completed by 2020. It is forecast to produce roughly 2.40 million batteries per year, with a dedicated absorbent glass mat (AGM) line.

 

Fenix Stockholders Approve Stellex Deal

Fenix Parts stockholders have approved the previously announced merger agreement with an affiliate of Stellex Capital Management. Roughly 92 percent of voting Fenix stockholders cast their votes in favor of the deal, representing approximately 63 percent of Fenix’s outstanding common stock.

The proposed transaction remains subject to customary closing conditions. The deal is expected to close this month, at which time Fenix will become a private company.

Fenix is a recycler and reseller of OEM automotive products.

 

Wheel Pros Gets New Private Equity Owner

The Clearlake Capital Group (Santa Monica, CA), a private investment firm, has acquired Wheel Pros Holdings  in partnership with the company’s management team — from Audax Private Equity. Denver-based Wheel Pros is a designer, marketer, and distributor of branded aftermarket wheels, performance tires, and accessories. Founded in 1995, the company serves over 10,000 retailers with a global network of 33 distribution centers across North America and Australia.

Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Jose Feliciano, co-founder and managing partner at Clearlake, said the firm is partnering with Wheel Pros co-founders and co-CEOs Jody Groce and Randy White and the management team to usher the company into its next phase of growth.

“We look forward to supporting Wheel Pros in its strategic growth initiatives, including further expanding its distribution network and increasing the breadth of its offering, both organically and through acquisitions,” added Colin Leonard, a partner at Clearlake. “The company’s diverse portfolio of brands and strong position in very attractive vehicle segments should enable the platform to continue on its growth trajectory and expand market share.”

William Blair was the financial advisor to Wheel Pros and Audax.

 

Sale Of Spectrum Brands’ Battery, Lighting Products Unit Clears Hurdle

The waiting period under the U.S. Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 (HSR Act) has expired with respect to Energizer Holdingspreviously announced acquisition of Spectrum Brands Holdings’ battery and lighting products business. The deal remains subject to other customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals from several jurisdictions outside the United States. Both companies expect the transaction to close in the second half of 2018.

 

Osram, Continental Form Joint Venture

Osram and Continental have completed negotiations on their joint venture, which is expected to begin operations in the second half of 2018. The joint venture, in which each of the partners has a 50-percent stake, aims to combine Continental’s and Osram’s respective expertise in lighting, light control and electronics.

Leading the joint venture are CEO Dirk Linzmeier from Osram and CFO Harald Renner from Continental. The joint venture will be based in Germany but will operate globally. The U.S. operations of Osram Continental will be based in Hendersonville, TN.

“By joining forces, we will be in an even better position to drive innovations by working closely with the automotive industry, seamlessly integrating lighting, sensor technology and electronics in a single application,” said Hans-Joachim Schwabe, CEO of Osram’s Specialty Lighting division. “This will allow us to advance new intelligent light functions, such as the combination of lighting and sensor technology in a module or light-based communication between the driver, other road users and the vehicle’s surroundings.”

Andreas Wolf, head of Continental’s Body & Security business unit, added: “The joint venture puts us in a unique position to drive technological change in the automotive lighting market and to develop intelligent lighting solutions by combining our expertise in software and electronics with Osram’s automotive lighting expertise.”

 

People Watching 4/12/18

• Hennessy Industries president Mark Earl has been named vice president – Americas business area for Nokian Tyres. His appointment is effective May 1.

• After nearly 20 years with the company, National Sales Manager Marty Waterstraut is leaving Tecumseh, MI-based Ididit for “a new opportunity outside of the company,” according to a company announcement.

• AWE Tuning (Horsham, PA) — a performance products company known for its exhaust systems, carbon fiber intakes and intercoolers — has promoted Josh Davis to creative manager. Davis is tasked with growing the AWE brand internationally. He has been with the company since 2015.

Ryan Maas of Total Specialties USA has joined the CAWA Manufacturers’ Advisory Council.

• Pressure Systems International has hired Steve Miller as its senior director of engineering. Miller was vice president of business development and trailer systems engineering at AXN Heavy Duty. Prior to that, he spent 12 years with Meritor in a variety of engineering roles.

Nancy Berce has joined Johnson Controls as its chief information officer, succeeding John Repko, who is leaving the company. Berce was vice president of business and technology services for Abbott Laboratories.

• President Trump has announced his intention to nominate Heidi King to be NHTSA administrator. King currently serves as NHTSA’s deputy administrator. She is scheduled to speak at the MEMA Legislative Summit taking place April 10-11 in Washington, DC. Click here for more information about the event.

• U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has received MEMA’s Joseph M. Magliochetti Industry Champion Award, which recognizes elected officials who have shown outstanding leadership on behalf of motor vehicle component suppliers.

 

News Briefs 4/12/18

National Auto Parts Warehouse (NPW) has joined HDA Truck Pride with the acquisition of Boaz, AL-based Associate Jobbers Warehouse, which has been a long-standing member of HDA Truck Pride. AJW operates a 165,000-square-foot facility that serves over 200 jobbers and 12 Southeast Auto Parts stores.

• A majority of the shareholders of GKN plc have voted to accept Melrose Industries’ bid to take over GKN. As a consequence, it appears unlikely that the proposed combination of Dana Inc. and GKN Driveline will proceed.

Dayco has launched its first line of stand-alone water pumps in North America.

Holley/MSD is now a master distributor of SPAL fans.

• Motovicity Distribution now carries heat management products from PTP Turbo Blankets.

RockAuto.com (Madison, WI) will be a presenting sponsor of events and TV coverage in the 2018 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series and Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League.

• Frontera Radiators of El Paso, TX is changing over to Fuse5 Automotive Software, a business management system and ERP tool.

• Denso Products & Services Americas has expanded its PowerEdge line of diesel aftertreatment replacement filters to cover light- and medium-duty trucks. Additionally, Denso has extended its warranty on aftertreatment products for the heavy-duty market to three years — up from the standard two-year coverage.

• Meritor’s authorized drive axle carrier rebuilders in Canada are now listed on TruckDown.com’s locator map, which is available to all online and TruckDown app users.

Eaton has added DEX Heavy Duty Parts (Advance, NC) to its Authorized Rebuilders network in North America.

• The Curt Group has launched new websites for three of its brands: curtmfg.com, ariesautomotive.com and luvernetruck.com. Each site includes an upgraded vehicle lookup tool.

Fram has redesigned Fram.com. Key features of the revamped site include a “Parts Search” tool, a resource library and a streamlined “Where to Buy” tool.

 

Event & Trade Show Briefs 4/12/18

• The Automotive Parts Services Group is hosting a Toys for Tots charity golf tournament April 12 at the Cowboy Golf Club in Grapevine, TX in conjunction with the combined Pronto/Federated spring member meeting taking place April 9-12 at the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center.

• On April 16, Auto Care Association senior vice president of government affairs Aaron Lowe will join AIA Canada for a webinar on fair access to vehicle data and the association’s efforts to secure the U.S. aftermarket’s right to repair. Click here for more information about the event.

• The Auto Care Association and the U.S. Department of Commerce will host a webinar April 19 on business opportunities in the Chilean automotive industry. The presentation will include a country profile, market information and best business prospects, as well as information on the association’s trade mission to Chile taking place Aug. 21-22. Click here for more information on the webinar.

• Auto Care Association president and CEO Bill Hanvey participated in the National Association of Workforce Boards’ annual conference March 27, addressing ways to fill the skills gap between employees and employers. Hanvey spoke about teaching necessary job skills through apprenticeship programs and developing those skills through mentorship programs.

• According to the Automotive Distribution Network, more than 200 vendors and product specialists took part in the 60,000-square-foot manufacturers exposition at its 2018 Network National Convention in Orlando. The three-day convention reportedly drew 1,500 attendees.

• According to UAP Inc., over 140 guests (including 60 suppliers) attended a launch event April 5 for the 2018 NAPA XPO Sale, which will take place Sept. 5-6 at Montreal’s Palais des Congrès. The theme for this year’s event is “Treat Yourself!” Click here for more information.

 

 

13 — March 29, 2018

 

Quick Hits …
(A few short items to get us started this week)

• Kenny Wayne Lewis, a mainstay of the Automotive Distribution Network’s product department, died March 13 after a short illness. He was 64. We will have a full story on Lewis’ life and passing in the next issue of The Greensheet.

UAP Inc. has presented its 2017 “NAPA Supplier Excellence Award” to BBB Industries.

• Denso Products & Services Americas has received The Network’s 2017 “Exceptional Sales Team Support Award.” Denso also earned the award at The Network’s last national convention, which is held every three years.

Spectra Premium Industries was awarded The Network’s “Exceptional Category Management Award.”

Mann-Filter has received the “Supplier of the Year” award from Nexus Automotive International.

 

No Issue Next Week!

We will NOT be publishing next week. Our offices will be closed March 30 through April 6, reopening on Monday, April 9, with the next issue of The Greensheet dated April 12.

 

Perspective: Vehicle Data Work Group Stands Out
At Vision Conference

I’ve got a bit of a “problem” with events like last week’s AASA Vision Conference. It’s the same feeling I experienced back when the Global Automotive Aftermarket Symposium held court each spring. (At this point, I’ve probably caused a few association staffers’ hearts to beat a bit faster. Sorry about that. Let me be clear: The problem I have is a good one).

The issue is that there’s almost too much going on — so much information presented, so many questions to ask and so much to think about — that it’s hard to take it all in. It’s overwhelming, but in the best possible way.

Since returning from Chicago, I find myself revisiting many of the topics addressed at Vision and making mental notes to follow up with a column or two, or to track somebody down at a future industry event to get their insights. But, that’s the problem of a journalist and, therefore, my problem to tackle … and one that I plan to do in future issues of The Greensheet.

One of the presentations that needs to be addressed immediately was a panel discussion on vehicle data access challenges moderated by Chris Gardner, AASA vice president of programs and member services and AASA Technology Council manager. It featured AASA Vehicle Data Work Group co-chairs Charley Johnson (CEO of OptiCat) and Tim Corcoran (director of strategy and vision for ZF Aftermarket).

The main takeaway is that the Vehicle Data Work Group is advocating for a neutral, secure, cloud-based “marketplace solution” to accessing vehicle data — one that’s founded on agreements between data providers and users. The solution the work group envisions would not own the data, but act as a marketplace for potential data suppliers and users to come together.

This would address the need for multiple stakeholders to access a broad range of data — everything from diagnostics and OE repair information, to vehicle and driver history, to sensor-generated data, to catalog and application information, just to name a few.

A number of benefits for such a marketplace were discussed, including that the parameters currently used for inventory planning would be available in real time and that data from the anticipated rollout of vehicle-to-vehicle communication would provide information exceedingly helpful to the wider automotive industry.

There would be barriers, obviously. Ownership of the data is likely to be a point of contention, and one that might require legislative or legal intervention. The automakers themselves may or may not embrace such a marketplace, though it was pointed out that the car companies ought to embrace a platform like this in light of their urgent need to secure access to vehicle systems in order to prevent hacking. It seems logical that a secure, neutral platform for vehicle data exchange would go hand-in-hand with automakers’ efforts to prevent unwanted access to critical safety systems.

The work group also advocates for a global vehicle data standard, which it says will have significant value in reducing complexities and the number of different vehicle data platforms. Nobody wants to have translation tools for each individual platform. A common data set would appear to be the way to go.

An update on the work group’s efforts will be presented at AAPEX this fall.

It will be interesting to see how the automotive industry at all levels reacts to the concept of a neutral marketplace solution. One way or another, vehicle data will have to be exchanged if consumers are going to get the connected cars that are being envisioned. Whether or not a workable plan can be put in place in a timely manner remains to be seen.

It’s beneficial to get insights from those working on such a solution. And, for me, that’s why I come to events like the Vision Conference. I want to see that bigger picture — to look behind the issues of this week and this month — and hear from those already tackling the problems of 2019, 2020 and beyond.

I also want to offer two other quick impressions from my seat at Vision …
• I’ve never seen so many people pulling out their smartphones to snap pictures of the various slides and graphs presenters used to underscore their points. For an event planner and a speaker, that has to feel good. The audience was definitely engaged.
• The crowd seemed a bit younger on average and more diverse (at least by gender) than many of the other large industry gatherings I’ve attended in recent years. An encouraging sign, I’d think, and one that I hope continues. More input and more engagement from more people can only help our industry grow and thrive.

— Marc Vincent,
Editor

 

Advance Auto Parts Appoints VP Of Professional/Product Marketing

Lauren Beaulieu is now vice president of professional and product marketing at Advance Auto Parts. In this role, Beaulieu represents the company’s professional business in the development and execution of branding and marketing strategies. In addition, she leads key customer programs, including the ProRewards loyalty program and TECHNET.

Beaulieu joined Advance in 2013 as director of commercial marketing. Most recently, she was director of professional and product marketing. Prior to Advance, Beaulieu worked for Autopart International in a variety of roles, including director of marketing, and Saturn in business support, inventory control and other positions.

 

Pep Boys Suspends Facebook Ads

Pep Boys has suspended all paid media on Facebook in the wake of concerns about the social media giant’s privacy practices and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) launching a non-public investigation into Facebook’s practices.

“Customer trust and the protection of consumer data are of utmost importance to Pep Boys,” said Danielle Porto Mohn, chief marketing officer, in a statement dated March 26. “We are concerned about the issues surrounding Facebook and have decided to suspend all paid media on the platform until the facts are out, there is clarity on outstanding investigations and corrective actions have been taken.”

 

The Network Grows Globally

The Automotive Distribution Network has announced the addition of two new members under the Parts Plus banner: Westworld Auto Parts, The Network’s first member in the Guatemalan market, and Accesorios y Refacciones Martinez, its ninth Parts Plus Mexico distributor.

With a large, three-showroom main warehouse in Guatemala City, Westworld is a European parts specialist, importing products into Central America from Miami. It employs 12 motorcycle delivery drivers.

Accesorios y Refacciones Martinez is a second-generation company, serving customers from four warehouses with storefronts and one distribution center — all located in Monterrey.

 

Nexus Touts Global B2B E-Commerce Platform

Nexus Automotive International has launched Marketparts.com, a global business-to-business e-commerce platform for automotive distributors and suppliers. Initially for Nexus members in Europe, plans call for Marketparts.com to be extended to other regions in the future.

“It is our aspiration to be a leader in B2B digital transformation within the aftermarket, to be a benchmark of best practice for consolidation, and the absolute champion for fast-growing markets,” CEO Gael Escribe told attendees of Nexus’ Annual Business Forum.

Other items of note from the event …
• Management is calling for double-digit business growth in 2018;
• The global alliance has pledged to ramp up training through N! Academy;
• The Worldwide Automotive Group (WAG) of South Africa was named Nexus “Member of the Year;”
Mann-Filter received Nexus’ “Supplier of the Year” award;
• “Nexus Awards of Honor” were presented to Interland of Poland and SK Automotive of Brazil for their progress and work as Nexus members; and
• A “Lifetime Achievement Award” was presented to Fergus Reid, from the United Kingdom’s The Parts Alliance, who is retiring after 40 years of service to the aftermarket. The award also notes his role as a founding partner and board member of Nexus.

 

Temot Adds Member In Australia

CoolDrive, a supplier of automotive spare parts in the Asia/Pacific region, is now a shareholder of Temot International. CoolDrive — a family owned and run business generating roughly US$125 million in annual sales — has 33 branches across Australia and New Zealand. The company operates a 395,000-square-foot warehouse in Australia and a 270,000-square-foot logistics center in Shanghai.

CoolDrive got its start in 1977 as an air conditioning systems specialist.

 

Diversified Environmental Catalysts Acquires PaceSetter Performance

Van Nuys, CA-based Diversified Environmental Catalysts (DEC) has acquired PaceSetter Performance Products of Phoenix. Hart Marx Advisors represented PaceSetter and facilitated the transaction. Financial terms of the purchase were not disclosed.

Founded in 1984, DEC has been exclusively manufacturing premium-quality, direct-fit, OEM-style replacement catalytic converters for the automotive aftermarket. The addition of PaceSetter broadens DEC’s offerings to include such performance products as headers and specialized exhaust systems through its Monza/TFX line, without diluting DEC’s main focus on direct-fit converters, according to management.

“This new alliance will enhance our research and development of exciting new products, cementing our current positions as the go-to companies for first-to-market, highest-quality aftermarket exhaust products and direct-fit catalytic converters,” DEC president and CEO Robert Perret said in an announcement dated March 21.

“PaceSetter has been manufacturing several lines of performance headers, along with their famed Monza/TFX performance exhaust systems, for over 43 years, and has developed their own line of direct-fit catalytic converters,” Perret said. “For PaceSetter customers, this joining seamlessly and effectively provides access to the over 3,500 SKUs DEC currently produces.”

In the announcement, PaceSetter president Woody Harrah added: “We are pleased to have DEC as our parent company and believe that — with a strong emphasis on further developing the unique qualities of both companies — each will retain their own methodology in manufacturing their individual product lines and brands, while leveraging the best synergies from the other for increased efficiencies and unsurpassed quality.”

 

Obituary: Donald Weber, Engine Parts Aftermarket Pioneer

Donald Weber, president of Engine Parts Group Inc. (EPGI) and an aftermarket engine parts pioneer, died March 4. He was 79 and still working.

“Don was an extraordinary thinker, a great leader and a very capable individual,” EPGI chairman Paul Van Woensel of Engine & Performance Warehouse said. “His contributions to the aftermarket industry, engine parts distribution, and Engine Parts Group in particular, have been very significant.”

Born in southern California, Weber grew up in Hollywood. He graduated from Hollywood High School and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Southern California. His military service included a tour of duty with the U.S. Army.

Early in his aftermarket career, Weber joined Lutzoff Automotive Warehouse (LAW) in Los Angeles as general manager. LAW was an engine parts specialty WD and a pioneer of the modern-day engine kit/engine kit catalog.

Under Weber’s management and direction, LAW became an engine parts industry leader with five distribution centers throughout California. Weber ultimately took an ownership position in LAW after the passing of LAW’s owner and founder, Al Lutzoff.

During Weber’s tenure with LAW, the company became a founding and charter member of Engine Parts Group/Engine Pro. EPGI, an engine parts program distribution group, formed in 1989 with a dozen owner members representing engine parts distributor organizations throughout the United States. Weber, the group’s first board chairman, helped guide the group in its early development.

Following LAW, Weber joined the National Crankshaft Co. (NCC), a crankshaft remanufacturer based in Anaheim. Weber helped expand NCC’s operations into a full-service engine parts specialty distribution company and member Engine Pro Distributor.

Following NCC’s sale to a fellow distributor organization in 2006, Weber took an active role directly with Engine Parts Group/Engine Pro. He managed and directed the development of the group’s private-label products program and, in 2009, took over as the group’s president and top executive. The group flourished under Weber’s leadership and direction in the years that followed, according to a statement from EPGI.

Nicknamed “Racer Don,” Weber was an avid motorsports enthusiast, with a specific interest in international motorsports competition, including F1 racing. He won various Sports Car Club of America honors, including a regional championship and a “Rookie of the Year” award.

“Don loved this industry,” Van Woensel said. “He was known by many and will be remembered as an honest, giving and intelligent individual. He will be greatly missed.”

Survivors include Weber’s wife, Kristin; daughters Jennifer and Jamie; and two granddaughters.

 

New Fel-Pro Gaskets Campaign Leaks

Federal-Mogul Motorparts/Fel-Pro Gaskets has launched a consumer awareness campaign aimed at helping vehicle owners identify minor oil, coolant, transmission fluid or other leaks that could lead to more expensive repairs down the road. The initiative focuses on funny conversations about embarrassing leaks — particularly the non-automotive kind.

The campaign includes a series of humorous self-help-style videos in which media personality Mike Rowe discusses the stigma that might come with being a “leaker.” The videos, running March 22 through May, are supported by a multi-channel marketing campaign that includes digital and social media elements, public relations activities, a dedicated website and collateral material.

“Consumers are bombarded with marketing messages all day, every day. We wanted to break through that noise to make consumers aware that they can potentially avoid hundreds of dollars in engine or transmission work by addressing leaks sooner rather than later,” said Fel-Pro Gaskets brand manager Ann Skrycki-Mohler. “Our new campaign does that in a very creative and engaging way.”

The Fel-Pro campaign encourages consumers to not ignore their vehicle leaks and to visit felpro.com/stopsleaks.html to identify the type of fluid leaking from their vehicle. The site includes information on different types of leak repairs, and urges vehicle owners to rely on automotive service or parts professionals to diagnose the problem and replace the gasket if needed.

 

New Peak Campaign Features John Force

Old World Industries (Northbrook, IL) has announced a new marketing campaign for Peak intended to raise awareness of coolant maintenance and its role in the overall health of a vehicle. The initiative is designed to educate consumers about the steps they can take to prevent unnecessary breakdowns and repairs.

Peak’s prevention-focused campaign has a medical theme, featuring the message: “You’re Just 18 Degrees Away From A Mechanical Emergency.” Social media, a national print and digital media plan, and retail activation will urge drivers to “Check Your Coolant Every Time You Open The Hood.”

Additionally, online training modules and sales incentives will encourage and reward retail employee participation.

Peak plans to leverage its relationship with the NHRA and John Force Racing to elevate the campaign’s profile and to appeal to motorsports fans with at-track activations, including a 30-second ad and midway display. Force will appear prominently in the campaign, with graphics featured on Force’s car and fire suit, and campaign material having a presence in the hospitality suite.

Retail stores will be eligible to host appearances by John Force Racing team members.

 

Akebono Brakes Adds Territory Sales Manager

Akebono Brake Corp. has hired Dom Ramirez as its territory sales manager for the U.S. central region aftermarket business. Prior to joining Akebono, Ramirez worked at Federal-Mogul Motorparts as a technical product specialist. His background also includes time with Raytheon Professional Services, General Motors and Dana Inc. in sales management positions.

Ramirez is located in Illinois and reports to Brian Horvath, U.S. central region sales manager.

 

ITT Hires Motion Technologies President

ITT Inc. has appointed Carlo Ghirardo as the president of its Motion Technologies business, reporting to ITT chief operating officer Luca Savi.

Ghirardo comes to ITT from Eaton, where he held a number of senior leadership roles, most recently as president of the Vehicle Group’s Europe, Middle East and Africa region. He also has served as vice president and general manager of the Engine Air Management Product Group as well as the Valvetrain Division.

ITT’s Motion Technologies business is a manufacturer of brake pads, shims, shock absorbers, energy absorption components and sealing products primarily for the transportation industry, including passenger cars, light- and heavy-duty commercial and military vehicles, buses, and trains. The business consists of three units: Friction Technologies, Wolverine and Koni.

 

Lucas Oil Combines New Zealand, Australia Markets

Lucas Oil Products (Corona, CA) has merged its New Zealand and Australia operations in an attempt to form a more efficient distribution system. New Zealand-based Logan Distribution now has the rights to distribute Lucas’ products in Australia and New Zealand. Logan plans to streamline logistics and warehousing across the two markets in the pursuit of improved product flow.

In New Zealand, Logan Distribution is based in Palmerston North, with a major distribution center in Auckland and facilities covering the South Island. In Australia, the main distribution of Lucas Oil products will be carried out from Melbourne. And, an agreement has been signed with a new logistics provider to upgrade shipping around the rest of Australia.

 

NPW Adds Another Location To Its Southeast Auto Parts Chain

National Performance Warehouse Companies of Miami has acquired Abbie Auto Parts of Boaz, AL — a move that brings its Southeast Auto Parts chain up to a dozen locations. This marks the second Southeast Auto Parts addition in the last month.

Southeast Auto stores are supported out of NPW’s Associate Jobbers Warehouse, also in Boaz.

Larry Pacey, president and CEO of NPW, said of the Abbie Auto Parts deal: “This addition is another BOD member retiring from store operations, and we obtain the ability to continue the operation. We wish Joe Abercrombie, the former owner, the best in his new IBM computer business.”

 

Aldan American Retains Considine

Aldan American has retained Considine Sales & Marketing (Highland, MI) to rep its coilover shocks and suspension parts across a number of states. Considine will rep the Carson, CA-based company’s full line in Michigan, Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, western Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Missouri, Kansas, Kentucky and Nebraska.

 

San Antonio CarFest Scheduled For Next Week

San Antonio’s Community of Automotive Professionals (CAP) is sponsoring its third annual CarFest April 6-8 at the Freeman Coliseum Expo Hall in San Antonio. The event — which began in 2016 at a 40,000-square-foot facility — has grown to more than 400,000 square feet. Organizers are hoping for more than 15,000 attendees.

“Our goal is to raise $100,000 for the automotive trade schools in attendance and to raise awareness of the opportunities for young people to enter our industry to resolve some of the shortage,” said Jim Olson, vice president of Full Service Auto Parts and a founding member of CAP.

During the event, some of San Antonio’s top master technicians will showcase their skills as they repair 25 vehicles for area residents identified and pre-selected through regional non-profit organizations. Automotive students from vocational schools will work alongside the professionals to learn job-related skills and gain hands-on experience as they assist with repairs.

Eight automotive trade schools will share a total of $100,000 in cash, equipment and supplies to go toward education.

The free event, made possible through multiple sponsors, is open to the public and will feature classic and muscle cars, automotive seminars and a history museum, youth interactive areas, how-to-clinics with the pros, automotive trade school displays, and more. In addition, Boy Scouts will have an opportunity to pursue an automotive merit badge.

“Many in the automotive industry wanted to collectively give back to our community, and CarFest is a fun way to do it,” said Mark Colaw, CAP president and chairman of the event’s development team.

“We are dedicated to building a culture of continual skill-building, quality and pride in the industry,” Colaw said. “One of our core values is education, so we are educating everybody. The person that drives a car that doesn’t know anything more than how to put gas in it — we want to educate them. The kid that thinks he wants to fix cars — we are educating them.”

New events this year include the Dan Kruse Classic Car Auction, Autorama, an automotive swap meet and a chili cook-off.

 

E3 Spark Plugs Increasing Its Motorsports Sponsorships For 2018

In addition to renewing its longstanding sponsorship of NMRA, NMCA and NHRA drag racing, E3 Spark Plugs (Ponte Vedra, FL) has taken on the title sponsorship for the NHRA PRO MOD drag racing series.

Other sponsorships being renewed for 2018 include title sponsorship of the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series and the Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League. This is in addition to E3’s longtime commitment to Lucas Oil Racing programs through title sponsorship of three events: the E3 Spark Plugs Off Road Nationals, E3 Spark Plugs Late Model Nationals and E3 Spark Plugs Drag Boat Nationals.

In 2018, E3 also is sponsoring a number of racers across multiple series, including Leah Pritchett, Dan Schumacher and Courtney Force, to name a few.

 

Registration Open For Multiple University Of The Aftermarket Programs

Registration is now open for several University of the Aftermarket programs taking place this spring and summer, including “Aftermarket Data Standards,” which is scheduled for June 12-13 in Farmington Hills, MI. The program is geared toward anyone who deals with aftermarket cataloging.

The following online courses are being offered from May 21 to Aug. 12 …
• “Principles of Advertising;”
• “Issues & Trends in Franchising;”
• “Principles of Management;”
• “HR Management;”
• “International Management;”
• “Organizational Behavior;” and
• “Principles of Selling.”

As previously stated, registration is open for “Aftermarket 101” taking place May 15-16 in Detroit; “Heavy Duty Leadership” scheduled for July 8-13 at Northwood University in Midland, MI; and “Leadership 2.0,” the first session of which will take place Aug. 12-17 at Northwood.

For more information or to register for any of these programs, visit universityoftheaftermarket.com and click on the “Course Calendar.”

 

Brake Manufacturers Council, FMSI Ally To Launch Brake Weekend

AASA’s Brake Manufacturers Council (BMC) and the Friction Materials Standards Institute (FMSI) will come together to celebrate the inaugural “Brake Weekend – A Gathering of Brake Experts” June 1-4 in Longboat Key, FL. The event also will mark FMSI’s 70th anniversary.

Brake Weekend will begin with a joint meeting of BMC and FMSI the afternoon of June 1, following BMC member-only sessions earlier in the day. BMC chairman (and FDP Brakes president and CEO) Jack Carney will kick off the event with his “The State of the BMC” address. The opening day’s program will conclude with a joint dinner for members of both organizations.

Activities planned for the weekend include a tabletop exhibit hall, golf outings and joint association dinners. The annual FMSI member meeting and banquet will take place June 3, and the FMSI board will meet June 4.

 

AASA To Debut Aftermarket Mobility Innovation Meeting This Fall

AASA is launching a new event, Aftermarket Mobility Innovation (AMI), to advance the technology and business interests of suppliers of mobility/technology to the aftermarket. The event will take place Oct. 3, the day after the annual AASA Technology Conference in Clearwater, FL.

AMI will focus on a new breed of aftermarket suppliers, including providers of telematics, predictive analytics, mobile apps, plug-in devices (dongles), sensors, ECUs, smart parts, vehicle data platforms and ADAS. The event is open to all industry players, including traditional parts suppliers, mobility/technology suppliers and aftermarket channel partners.

One of the primary purposes of this event is to bring together suppliers of traditional aftermarket parts with suppliers of mobility technology for aftermarket applications, AASA vice president and event moderator Chris Gardner said. The event also should appeal to suppliers of traditional aftermarket parts that are researching how the Internet of Things (IoT), sensors and telematics will impact their businesses in the near future, he said.

Topics will include …
• New funding models;
• M&A trends for emerging technology companies;
• When hard parts will become smart parts;
• How suppliers in this space can have their voices heard in Washington, DC;
• Strategies for mobility technology providers; and
• Areas in which traditional suppliers and emerging technology suppliers can partner.

Scheduled presenters include AASA president and chief operating officer Bill Long, Capstone Financial Group CEO Dan Smith and AASA executive vice president Paul McCarthy.

A registration fee of $195 will cover all AMI event content and lunch. To register, click here. To register for both the AASA Technology Conference and the mobility meeting, click here.

 

Global Women’s Leadership Event Planned

Women in Auto Care and AIA Canada will hold an international women’s conference for auto care industry professionals June 13-14 at the Hyatt Regency Toronto. The inaugural Women’s Leadership Conference is open to all industry professionals. Registration is now open. Click here for more information.

 

Auto Care Association Hosts Central American Technology Standards Mission

The Auto Care Association hosted technology standards conferences in El Salvador March 19 and Guatemala March 21, part of an export promotion award the association received from the U.S. Department of Commerce. The conferences — attended by local auto care industry executives and government officials — focused on the processes around standards development and maintenance. Topics covered included adoption methodologies for existing standards, ACES and PIES. Association staffers and Evaristo Garcia of Integrate Data Facts presented at the conference.

Ricardo Moreno-Carrera, aftermarket regional manager for Excel Automotriz, said the company plans to replicate the Auto Care Association’s standards to enhance the development of its aftermarket product lines. “We have the responsibility to the industry to offer a better service to our customers,” he said. “We look forward and confirm our support in the development of this tool in Central America to bring our industry together.”

Excel Automotriz has stores and distribution centers in El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras and Panama.

 

SEMA Data Co-op Offers SEMA Show Ad Help
For Platinum Members

The SEMA Data Co-op (SDC) has launched a program to reward its platinum members and to incentivize others to reach the top membership level. Participating SDC suppliers that maintain or achieve platinum status prior to July 13 will receive $10,000 in marketing exposure at the 2018 SEMA Show.

The Platinum Rewards Program includes a carpet/floor ad near the company’s booth; meter-panel listing in show lobbies; ad listings in the September, October and November issues of SEMA News; and an ad listing in each of the four SEMA Show Daily magazines.

Platinum status comes with fully detailed and compliant data (no missing images, UPC codes, etc …). The other categories are bronze, silver and gold.

SDC’s goal is to have all member brands at full data standardization and platinum status by next year, said Mike Spagnola, SEMA’s vice president of OEM and product development programs.

SDC has added staff to help reach that target. They, along with SEMA sales people, will help manufacturers complete their data.

“We know retailers want great data,” Spagnola said. “We recognize that, to do business in the future, we need to have our digital assets in order.”

Response to the rewards program has been overwhelmingly positive so far, according to Ira Gabriel, SEMA’s vice president of marketing. For more information, click here.

 

SEMA Garage Now Offers Diesel Emissions Compliance Testing

SEMA has announced that manufacturers of air intakes, superchargers, exhaust systems and diesel auto parts can now test for emissions compliance at the SEMA Garage following a recent renovation that included the addition of particulate matter measuring equipment. The work allows for more SEMA members to simultaneously test-fit prototypes, install components and perform emissions tests, according to the association.

“Diesel parts manufacturers can now utilize the SEMA Garage to guide them through the entire compliance process, from application to testing, and obtain CARB executive orders as easily and affordable as possible,” said compliance center manager Peter Treydte.

The renovation also includes enhancements to the installation center and emissions lab. “By doubling the size of the installation center, we can now accommodate two vehicle lifts and larger measuring sessions,” Treydte explained. “Also, increasing the emissions lab’s soak space, which is used for pre- and post-testing, allows us to accommodate more vehicles, including larger diesel vehicles.”

In addition to the emissions lab and installation center, SEMA Garage offers member companies a variety of other services and programs, including measuring sessions, custom scanning and 3D printing, and a CAD tech transfer program.

 

BBB Industries: Senior Interactive/ Digital Media Designer

Rare opportunity to join a talented marketing team for a growing and influential manufacturer in the automotive aftermarket. You will be part of a team that creates, innovates and experiments with the path forward for the company’s digital landscape. A dream job for someone … (more) … Click here to find out more.

BBB Industries: BBB/AutoZone Territory Sales Manager

The Territory Sales Manager (TSM) will report to the RVP, Sales – AutoZone and will be based in the Dallas, TX area. This position requires fluency in both English and Spanish. The main responsibility for this position is to call on all AutoZone stores. The Territory Sales Manager (TSM) will make prospective account sales calls … (more) … Click here to find out more.

BBB Industries: Territory Sales Manager

Main responsibility is to call on all O’Reilly stores within region. Make prospective account sales call with O’Reilly RM and TSM in each territory. Goals are to make 10 sales calls with OReilly TSM a day, add new accounts, and add inventory to O’Reilly stores. Relationships need to be developed with O’Reilly store personal, DM, and TSMs. … (more) … Click here to find out more.

BBB Industries: Automotive Technical Trainer

The Automotive Technical Trainer will deliver manufacturer technical training. JOB DUTIES – PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITIES: Plan, organize, and deliver technical instruction to retailers and shop technicians to enhance their learning and proficiency in the service, diagnostics, and repair of company products (various automotive parts); Prepare and delivery quality training … (more) … Click here to find out more.

BBB Industries: Senior Financial Analyst – Commercial

This role reports to the Director of Finance – Commercial, and will provide various forecasting, analysis and business case development to support the strategic growth strategy of the company. Major areas of focus will be sales revenue, program credits, warranty, margins, operating expenses and commercial contract management obligation oversight. … (more) … Click here to find out more.

MAHLE Aftermarket Inc.: Account Manager – United States

Would you like to take on assignments with a high level of responsibility? … Conducts market research to determine appropriate new products, promotions and selling activities to develop additional business … Manage and develop existing accounts, negotiate contracts and leverage the value of the MAHLE brand to secure new business … Works with MAHLE independent representatives to train and support them on MAHLE products … Support representatives with technical advice, pricing, sales and promotions for customers … (more) … Click here to find out more.

MAHLE Aftermarket Inc.: Data Management Coordinator – Farmington Hills, MI

Would you like to take on assignments with a high level of responsibility? … Develop, maintain, and monitor data, in conjunction with product management, in the catalog database for online and print catalogs … Assist product management with data mapping requirements for electronic catalog … Update ACES & PIES data outputs to customers and 3rd party providers … Manage monthly data validation processes and review reports based on released VCdB from Auto Care Association … (more) … Click here to find out more.

 

Fleet Supply Warehouse Joins Power Heavy Duty

Fleet Supply Warehouse is now a Power Heavy Duty member company. Based in Houma, LA, Fleet Supply Warehouse has been providing filters, belts, batteries and exhaust products to the oil field, shipping and on-highway industries for more than four decades. The company also carries a large inventory of truck and trailer components.

Fleet Supply Warehouse operates from a 63,000-square-foot warehouse, servicing much of southern Louisiana, including New Orleans, Lafayette and Baton Rouge.

 

Hino Announces Series Of Promotions

Hino Trucks has promoted Glenn Ellis to senior vice president of customer experience. As such, Ellis leads marketing and dealer operations, product planning, and service operations.

The company also has promoted Bob Petz to senior vice president of vehicle and parts sales. Petz leads the sales, logistics and parts operations.

Both Ellis and Petz have been with Hino for more than a dozen years.

Meanwhile, Hino has promoted John Donato to vice president of parts operations, responsible for all parts-related activities, including the parts sales organization and parts distribution centers. He reports to Petz.

The company also has promoted John Musial to vice president of service operations. As such, Musial heads up Hino’s service, warranty and training organizations. He reports to Ellis.

 

Dana Ups Cash Consideration For GKN Driveline

Dana Inc. (Maumee, OH) on March 26 raised the cash element of its bid for GKN Driveline by $140 million — an 8.60-percent increase in the cash consideration. As a result, the total cash consideration is now roughly $1.77 billion, along with the assumption of approximately $1.00 billion in net pension liabilities and about 133 million new Dana plc shares issued to GKN’s shareholders.

As you may recall, upon completion of the transaction, Dana plc would be registered in the United Kingdom and its shares would be listed on both the London Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange.

Dana also has announced plans to double the size of its share repurchase program to $200 million. Management expects the company to use its share repurchase program to support liquidity in all markets for Dana shares following the merger.

Dana’s bid for GKN Driveline is going up against a hostile takeover move from Melrose Industries, a U.K.-based buyout and turnaround specialist. Melrose recently made a number of assurances to the U.K. government regarding GKN’s aerospace business in the event it is successful in its takeover.

The deadline to select the winning bid is March 29, unless extended.

 

New Federal-Mogul China JV Will Be Piston Supplier For Dong Feng

Federal-Mogul Powertrain and the Dong Feng Motor Parts & Components Group Co. this week announced an agreement to establish a new piston joint venture in Shiyan, China with Federal-Mogul being the majority shareholder. The new engine component joint venture will operate as a piston manufacturer for Dong Feng Motor Corp. (a Chinese vehicle manufacturer) and other undisclosed customers. The current piston business under the Dong Feng Pistons & Bearing Co. will be integrated into the new joint-venture company.

 

People Watching 3/29/18

Ken Dowler of Idemitsu Lubricants America and Terry Satchell of the Eaton Weatherhead Division have joined the CAWA Manufacturers’ Advisory Council (MAC). Dowler is a senior account manager in Idemitsu Lubricants America’s aftermarket division. Satchell is a business development specialist for Eaton’s Weatherhead Division, where he serves as a liaison with the six western NAPA distribution centers.

• Dave Habiger is the new president and CEO of J.D. Power, replacing longtime president and CEO Finbarr O’Neill, who is retiring. Habiger was a director and CEO of Textura. As part of his agreement to join J.D. Power, Habiger is making a “significant” investment in the company.

• AIA Canada has hired Yuriy Shelkovyy as its knowledge manager. He was a researcher and policy analyst with the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators.

 

Job Mart 3/29/18

Tom Ferment — a proven veteran with a history in regional sales, account management and customer service skills — is seeking opportunities with an emerging, quality product based company. Most recently employed with Cardone Industries. Previous representation with Gabriel/Maremont, Sunbelt Sales Rep Agency and AP Exhaust. Residing in Charlotte, NC with automotive aftermarket contacts, customers and friends in NC, SC, VA, TN and GA. Tom can be reached at (704) 562-9859 or t.ferment59@gmail.com.

 

News Briefs 3/29/18

• Earlier this month, Temot International honored the following suppliers for their support, outstanding performance and long-term commitment to the group’s Asia/Pacific shareholders: Bosch, Gates, Mann+Hummel, Nissens, Schaeffler and ZF-TRW.

• Stant Corp. plants in Romeoville, IL and Pine Bluff, AR have received “Customer Care & Aftersales On-Time Shipping” awards from General Motors.

Elgin Industries has earned “Platinum Supplier” status from General Motors for providing outstanding on-time shipping performance to the automaker’s Customer Care & Aftersales division. Elgin is a multi-year recipient of the award.

• DMA Sales Inc. is opening a 300,000-square-foot distribution center in Mullins, SC — a move that coincides with DMA’s 10-year anniversary. The facility will support the company’s two existing DCs in North Carolina.

Tidewater Fleet Supply has relocated to a renovated 17,000-square-foot facility on Burge Avenue in Richmond, VA. Tidewater has been in the Richmond market for over 10 years.

Interstate Batteries is launching a new look for its battery products. The changes will roll out this spring and summer. The brand’s core elements, including Interstate’s logo and distinctive green color, will remain the same.

E&Y Distributors/U.S. Taxi Parts, an auto parts distributor serving customers across the state of New York, is upgrading to the Epicor Vision distribution management solution.

• UWS, a manufacturer of storage carriers and truck accessories, has achieved platinum status with the SEMA Data Co-Op. It’s the highest status rating that can be achieved through the data management organization.

• Turn 14 Distribution now carries products from AMP Research.

• Motor State Distributing now carries products from Superior Fuel Cells.

Meyer Distributing now carries products from Banks Power.

• Meyer Distributing has announced a partnership with NHRA North Central Division Top Dragster Champion JB Strassweg through the 2019 racing season. Strassweg will have information for business owners, racers and fans about Meyer Distributing at all NHRA Mello Yello events and Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series events.

• Bushwacker is sponsoring the pace truck at all Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series and Lucas Oil Regional Off Road Series races in 2018. The vehicle will be titled the Bushwacker Pace Truck.

Spray Nine Corp. has renewed its sponsorship of the Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League for 2018. The deal calls for the company to provide specialty spray-on/wipe-off cleaners for the league’s vehicles. Spray Nine also will conduct sampling at select events.

• The Auto Care Association has joined the newly formed Partnership for Employer-Sponsored Coverage, an advocacy group seeking to strengthen and protect employment-based health coverage. The organization seeks to protect these benefits from a variety of initiatives, including “ill-conceived” changes to the tax treatment of employer-sponsored coverage as well as attempts to enact single-payer health care. For more information, visit p4esc.org.

 

Event & Trade Show Briefs 3/29/18

• Over 5,000 Auto Value and Bumper to Bumper parts store and service center operators are expected to attend this year’s AAPEX show. The Nov. 1 visit to AAPEX 2018 coincides with the Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance’s Aftermarket Jackpot Convention taking place Oct. 30 to Nov. 3.

• More than 80 supplier and distributor representatives reportedly attended Temot International’s first annual Asia/Pacific Executive Summit held March 7-8 in Singapore.

• According to event organizers, more than 420 delegates attended Nexus Automotive International’s 4th annual Business Forum earlier this month in Abu Dhabi.

• Approximately 300 people attended the 2018 CLEPA Aftermarket Conference, which was held March 21-22 in Brussels. CLEPA is a European association of automotive suppliers.

• The COMP Performance Group will host a SEMA Town Hall & General Membership Meeting from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm on April 12 in Olive Branch, MS. Click here for more information.

 

 

12 — March 22, 2018

 

Quick Hits …
(A few short items to get us started this week)

• Don Weber, president of the Engine Parts Group Inc., died March 4. A memorial and celebration of his life is scheduled for April 7 in Pasadena, CA. Look for more information on his life and accomplishments in next week’s issue of The Greensheet.

• BBB Industries vice chairman Don Bigler received the “NAPA Partnership Award” at the annual NAPA Vendor Summit held earlier this month in Atlanta.

• Brake Parts Inc. (BPI) received the “NAPA Service Award” at the annual NAPA Vendor Summit.

Fel-Pro Gaskets, now a brand of Federal-Mogul Motorparts, is celebrating its 100th anniversary.

 

Settlements In Price-Fixing/Bid-Rigging Litigation Surpass $1 Billion 

Settlements in the landmark price-fixing and bid-rigging case against certain auto parts manufacturers have surpassed $1 billion, according to plaintiff attorneys.

Litigation has been ongoing since 2011, when the U.S. Department of Justice began a massive probe into an alleged global conspiracy to suppress and eliminate competition for auto parts sold in the United States.

In the ensuing civil litigation, which encompasses 41 coordinated class actions against more than 160 defendants, end-payor consumers and businesses allege they purchased or leased new automobiles at prices that were artificially inflated as a result of the defendants’ anticompetitive conduct.

The most recent settlements, announced last month, push the class’ total recovery to more than $1 billion.

“Reaching this milestone is a testament to the many hours of hard work plaintiffs’ counsel have dedicated to litigating what may be the most complicated group of antitrust class actions in U.S. history,” said Hollis Salzman, partner and co-chair of the Antitrust & Trade Regulation practice at Robins Kaplan LLP.

In addition to Salzman, other lead attorneys include Marc Seltzer of Susman Godfrey and Adam Zapala of Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy.

Litigation continues against the remaining non-settling defendants in federal court. End-payor plaintiffs are actively litigating cases against 10 remaining defendant families. One of the cases is in discovery proceedings, and some of the cases will begin discovery proceedings shortly.

Money has yet to be distributed. Settlement class members will receive payment after the court grants final approval of the settlements and distribution plan, and any appeals from such approvals are resolved.

An exact number of class members is not available. However, class members consist of virtually every individual or business that purchased a new vehicle not for resale in the United States from 1995 to the present, according to the plaintiffs’ attorneys.

These civil penalties are separate from criminal fines.            — Sarah Hollander

 

APA Elects 2018 Board Of Directors

The Automotive Parts Associates (APA) elected the following directors at the group’s 37th Annual Shareholders & Manufacturers Conference held March 7-9 in Orlando, FL …
• Chairman: Douglas Squires of Bestbuy Distributors (Mississauga, Ontario);
• Vice Chairman: Jim Holmquist of H&H Wholesale Parts (Arleta, CA);
• Secretary/Treasurer: Ben Yelowitz of POJA Warehouse (Philadelphia);
• Rob Jacobs of the Automotive Warehouse Co. (Wichita, KS);
Joseph Koudsi of International Metric Specialists (North Hollywood, CA);
Randall Swedlove of Morris Automotive Supply (Fontana, CA); and
Edward Harake of Value Plus Auto Parts Wholesale (Westland, MI).

 

APA Honors Top Suppliers

The Automotive Parts Associates (APA) program group recognized the following top suppliers at its 37th Annual Shareholders & Manufacturers Conference held March 7-9 in Orlando …
• Outstanding Technology Initiatives Partner: Standard Motor Parts;
• Outstanding Marketing Partner: the Gates Rubber Co.;
• Distinguished OE Partner: Denso;
• Cornerstone Award: Federal-Mogul Motorparts;
• HQ Manufacturer of the Year: APC Automotive Technologies;
• Professionals’ Choice Supplier of the Year: Recochem;
• Approved Supplier of the Year: the Aisin Group; and
• Preferred Supplier of the Year: DEA Products.

In addition, Independent Parts Warehouse of Wauwatosa, WI; AAA Undercar Parts of Santa Monica, CA; and Universal Exchange of Vernon, CA were recognized as new members of APA.

 

Levine Auto & Truck Parts Recognizes Top Vendors

At its annual award banquet March 17, Levine Auto & Truck Parts (Danbury, CT) recognized the following vendors for their outstanding service and representation, sales support, and quality products …
• Tool Vendor of the Year: CTA Tools;
• Heavy Duty Parts Vendor of the Year: Gates Corp.;
• Paint & Auto Body Vendor of the Year: PPG; and
• Auto Parts Vendor of the Year: Federal-Mogul Motorparts.

 

1A Auto Plans To Open New R&D Facility

Online aftermarket parts retailer 1A Auto plans to open a new research and development facility this spring in Pepperell, MA. “This R&D facility will supercharge our mission to empower our customers to perform their own auto repairs,” CEO Rick Green said in a statement.

1A Auto, now based in Westford, MA, was founded in Pepperell in 1999 and targets DIYers with a how-to video library and U.S.-based customer service team. The company sells a number of brands, including its own.

 

Brake Parts Inc. Hires Director Of Customer Experience

Sam Rusenovich has joined Brake Parts Inc. (BPI) as its director of customer experience. Rusenovich is tasked with directing BPI’s field-based team members as they focus on education, training, and operational support for WD customers and technicians. He also supports customers through the execution of marketing programs and product launches.

Rusenovich has spent the majority of his career working for NAPA Auto Parts. He started as a delivery driver and eventually became a store manager and a district manager. Rusenovich has spent time as the vice president of sales and operations (MPEC Group) and as a regional vice president, overseeing a group of stores and territory sales managers.

 

Patrick O’Leary Starts Own Rep Firm

YANG member Patrick J. O’Leary has started Drive Sales & Marketing, a Memphis-based manufacturer’s rep agency specializing in matching manufacturers with automotive aftermarket retailers and dollar stores, such as Family Dollar and Dollar General.

“I look forward to bringing a continued fresh perspective of the up-and-coming generation to the exciting automotive aftermarket industry as a business owner,” O’Leary, 34, said. The goal, he said, is increasing sales and minimizing costs for both manufacturers and retailers through brand management, data analysis, product performance insight, consumer marketing and strategic planning.

For the last eight years, O’Leary worked for his father’s company, Rick O’Leary Sales & Marketing, which represents a number of aftermarket companies. Most recently, he was director of business development.

A University of Tennessee graduate with a degree in logistics and marketing, O’Leary also worked for J.B. Hunt Transport as a contract service manager.

 

Olympic Petroleum Adds VP Of Sales & Marketing

J. Pat McLaughlin has joined Olympic Petroleum (Cicero, IL) as its vice president of sales and marketing, responsible for the company’s branded and private-label lubricant and antifreeze/coolant packaging, brand development, and marketing for retail and distributor accounts.

McLaughlin comes to Olympic with over 30 years of experience in lubricant sales and marketing, having worked with Valvoline, CHS/Cenex, Pinnacle Oil Holdings and Safety-Kleen.

 

Qualitor Names Finance Chief

Lima, OH-based Qualitor Inc. has announced Teresa Holden as its CFO. Holden has served in various leadership positions at Qualitor for five years. She joined the company as CFO of International Brake Industries (IBI), a subsidiary of Qualitor, before being promoted to Qualitor’s vice president of finance and human resources. Most recently, she was the corporate controller and chief human resources officer for Qualitor and IBI.

Before joining Qualitor, Holden worked for Accubuilt Inc., a manufacturer of specialty vehicles, as the company’s vice president of finance.

 

Edelbrock Hires New President/CEO

Torrance, CA-based Edelbrock LLC has a new president and CEO. It’s Don Barry, the former chief commercial officer of the Integrated Supply Network (ISN), a large tool distributor. Prior to ISN, Barry was president and CEO of The ACCEL Performance Group, comprised of the ACCEL, Mr. Gasket and Mallory brands. His aftermarket career began with Dorman Products as senior vice president of sales, marketing and international.

 

Bestop Group Retains MAP Enforcement Specialist

The Bestop Premium Accessories Group has retained Bridge Below to help it strengthen its minimum advertised pricing (MAP) policies. Bridge Below is a web-based platform for automotive manufacturers that handles MAP management and enforcement, retailer research and identification, daily violation monitoring, daily distribution of violation notification letters, and retail portal monitoring that includes eBay, Walmart and Amazon, among other services.

“It was important for us to find a partner that has a thorough understanding of the automotive aftermarket space,” said Bill Gibson, vice president of sales for the Bestop Premium Accessories Group. “Bridge Below was built by car people who understand computers and the retail aftermarket.”

Gibson added: “Bridge Below will help us establish an effective, efficient system to control MAP, and protect our premium brands and valued distribution partners.” The agreement with Bridge Below is effective immediately.

Auburn, AL-based Bridge Below is a member of SEMA and the Custom Automotive Network (CAN). Among its other MPA compliance customers are Auto Meter and Magnaflow.

The Bestop Premium Accessories Group of Louisville, CO is comprised of Bestop premium soft tops and Jeep accessories, Baja Designs LED lighting, Tuffy Security Products and PRP Seats.

 

TMG Performance Adds National Account Manager

Performance industry veteran Chris Thomson is now national account manager for TMG Performance Products, representing exhaust and cool air intake products for the Berea, OH-based company.

Thomson, a former SEMA board member, has worked in the industry for more than 35 years. He was director of business development for Baer Brake Systems and spent 14 years in sales and marketing with Airaid/K&N. He also worked in sales for Holley Performance and in sales and marketing for Flowtech Exhaust.

Thomson said he plans to work mostly from his home office in Peoria, AZ (near Phoenix).

 

Ford Relaunches FordParts.com

Ford has relaunched FordParts.com, targeting fleet customers, technicians and DIYers looking to buy Ford Parts, Motorcraft products, and Ford and Lincoln accessories. The redesigned, mobile and tablet-enabled site is now quicker, less complicated and more customizable, according to the company.

Delivery options include overnight or two- or three-day home/business delivery, dealership pickup, or delivery from dealer to shop. The company is offering free shipping on qualified orders of $75 or more.

“Ford relied on customer feedback to help create this new global parts sales site,” Lisa Pynn, global e-commerce manager of Ford’s Customer Service Division, said.

Parts are searchable by VIN, Y/M/M, keyword and part number, and the new catalog provides additional application usage information, part photos, and line art diagrams.

A prompt on the homepage asks users to identify themselves for a more personalized experience based on customer type. Fleet customers are able to upload and save a list of VINs to search, with VIN filtering from the OEM using specific nicknames chosen by the user. All customers are able to chat live with agents.

“While we’ve only been live with the new site for two months, initial feedback is positive,” a FordParts.com representative said.

 

Aftermarket Groups Call For Greater Freedom Of Choice In Auto Repair

MEMA, AASA and MERA have again requested exemptions in the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to protect consumer choice in both automotive replacement components and service. The exemption they want would allow independent repair facilities to access and service vehicle software on behalf of consumers.

MEMA asserts that the U.S. Copyright Office can issue a narrowly tailored exemption for vehicle diagnosis, repair or modification that better communicates the intent of the current vehicle repair exemption while remaining faithful to existing law. In its comments, MEMA argues that striking a balanced exemption would preserve consumers’ right to choose their automotive repair service provider.

“One way to do so would be to define exemption beneficiaries less restrictively, while retaining the other restrictions in the existing exemption for vehicle diagnosis, repair and modification. Such an exemption would not provide a green light to companies to traffic in products designed to circumvent access and copy controls,” MEMA’s comments read. “It would merely recognize that existing law already authorizes consumers to have their vehicles repaired and serviced by vehicle repair technicians of their choosing and give them a means of doing so.”

The Auto Care Association has filed comments with the U.S. Copyright Office responding to an Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (AAM) position regarding embedded software and vehicle repair.

According to the March 20 issue of the Auto Care Association’s Capital Report e-newsletter, AAM is opposed to extending exemptions under DMCA regarding software circumvention to third parties, calling it unnecessary because of the Right to Repair memorandum of understanding. (AAM did not oppose the Auto Care Association’s original petition related to exempting individuals).

The Auto Care Association asserts, according to the Capital Report article, that the memorandum is not sufficient to preserve competition in the industry because “vehicle owners rely on specific tools or third-party technicians to access the software and complete the repair.” Without an official exemption to DMCA, the association argues, third-party help could only come from vehicle manufacturers.

The Auto Care Association’s comments also address the possibility that data from OBD ports might one day be restricted and the potential harm that could pose to drivers.

 

Auto Care Association Joins Group Letter Opposing China Tariffs

The Auto Care Association joined over 40 other trade groups this week in a letter urging the Trump administration to not impose tariffs on U.S. imports from China. The Auto Care Association contends that the imposition of tariffs would “trigger a chain reaction of negative consequences for the U.S. economy, provoking retaliation; stifling U.S. agriculture, goods and services exports; and raising costs for businesses and consumers,” as stated in the letter.

This new joint association letter follows a previous Auto Care Association letter sent to the White House last week urging the administration to reconsider the steel and aluminum tariffs.

 

Registration Now Open For Next Leadership 2.0

Registration is now open for the next session of the University of the Aftermarket’s Leadership 2.0 program. Led by Northwood University faculty and senior aftermarket executives and leaders, Leadership 2.0 includes a blend of industry research and market analysis, discussion and debate on aftermarket challenges and competitive strategies, individual communication skills training, negotiations and conflict management, insight into supply chain solutions, and other industry topics.

Session One will take place Aug. 12-17, 2018 on Northwood’s campus in Midland, MI. Session Two will take place March 10-15, 2019 in Raleigh, NC. Between sessions, participants collaborate on projects that tackle aftermarket-specific leadership aspects. Teams present their projects during Session Two.

Click here for more information or to register.

 

Suitors Up Their Bids To Acquire GKN

The bidding to acquire United Kingdom-based GKN PLC has intensified, with Maumee, OH-based Dana Inc. offering to seek a secondary “standard listing” on the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange for a combined Dana-GKN Driveline (Dana plc). Dana also announced that it plans to continue to pay its current quarterly dividend of $0.10 per share to the enlarged shareholder group.

As you may recall, Dana earlier this month signed definitive agreements to combine with the driveline division of GKN, creating Dana plc, which is envisioned as a global driveline systems company. The deal also includes GKN’s Off-Highway Powertrain Services business. Total consideration is composed of …
• 133 million new Dana plc shares issued to GKN’s shareholders (valued at approximately $3.5 billion, based on Dana’s share price as of March 8);
• The assumption of roughly $1 billion in net pension liabilities; and
• $1.60 billion in cash proceeds to GKN.

Dana plc would be a United Kingdom company but would continue to trade on the NYSE under the ticker symbol “DAN.” The need for the aforementioned secondary listing on the London Exchange is tied to certain funds having an ownership stake in GKN with rules preventing the funds from owning shares of U.S. stock, according to a March 19 Reuters news report.

Dana’s bid is subject to shareholder approval, hence the need to sweeten the offer.

Dana is facing off with a rival, hostile takeover bid from Melrose Industries, a U.K.-based buyout and turnaround specialist. Melrose has raised its offer for GKN, offered to inject $1.40 billion in GKN’s pension plan and lowered its threshold for shareholder approval from 90 percent to 50 percent plus one, according to Reuters.

The news service reports that March 29 is the takeover deadline.

 

Dana Raises Its 2018 Guidance

Dana Inc. is raising its 2018 full-year guidance. Strengthening end-market demand, most notably in off-highway and commercial vehicles — combined with benefits from currency translation — are driving an additional 4-percent increase in expected sales growth in 2018 compared with management’s previous full-year target. 2018 sales are now expected to rise 10 percent, or approximately $700 million, compared with 2017.

Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) for 2018 is now expected to increase by approximately $145 million when compared to 2017. Management’s revised target represents a $45-million dollar, or 5-percent, increase compared with prior full-year guidance.

 

Timken Increases Outlook For 2018

The Timken Co. (North Canton, OH) now expects 2018 revenue to increase between 12 percent and 13 percent compared to 2017. Mobile Industries sales are forecast to rise approximately 13 percent to 14 percent in 2018, primarily because of organic growth in the off-highway and heavy-truck sectors, as well as the benefit of acquisitions and favorable currency. Process Industries sales are expected to increase roughly 11 percent to 12 percent.

 

Obituary: Richard Palmer, Longtime Stemco Sales Manager

Richard Palmer, a 30-year Stemco employee, died March 4. He was 59 and serving as the wheel end products segment business leader for the Texas company.

“We are heartbroken at the news of Richard’s passing,” Stemco president Todd Anderson said in a statement. “He’s been an extremely valuable part of our team for decades, but we know his legacy is far greater than that. We will miss him tremendously.”

Born in Sleaford, England, Palmer earned a certificate in mechanical and production engineering from Lincoln College of Technology in Lincoln, England. At that time, he also completed an apprenticeship in mechanical fitting and assembly of diesel engines at Dorman Diesels LTD. He moved to the United States soon after and worked for a Houston-area Dorman distributor.

Palmer began his career with Stemco in 1987. He worked as a district sales manager based in St. Louis for 10 years, and later returned to Texas to serve as western regional manager for 13 years and southeast regional manager for eight years.

Palmer earned a bachelor’s degree in business management from Le Tourneau University in Longview, TX in 2002.

“He really was seen as a leader and was a mentor and coach to others,” said Kara Bolster, vice president – commercial excellence for Stemco. “Plus, he had good analytical skills and a good grasp of our products, the market and the industry.”

He was also known for his fun-loving personality and ability to build a wide range of relationships, she said.

Palmer was promoted to segment business leader for wheel end products at Stemco last December and was excited about his new role, Bolster said.

Survivors include Palmer’s wife, Becky, and daughter, Alaina.

 

BBB Industries: Senior Interactive/ Digital Media Designer

Rare opportunity to join a talented marketing team for a growing and influential manufacturer in the automotive aftermarket. You will be part of a team that creates, innovates and experiments with the path forward for the company’s digital landscape. A dream job for someone … (more) … Click here to find out more.

BBB Industries: BBB/AutoZone Territory Sales Manager

The Territory Sales Manager (TSM) will report to the RVP, Sales – AutoZone and will be based in the Dallas, TX area. This position requires fluency in both English and Spanish. The main responsibility for this position is to call on all AutoZone stores. The Territory Sales Manager (TSM) will make prospective account sales calls … (more) … Click here to find out more.

BBB Industries: Territory Sales Manager

Main responsibility is to call on all O’Reilly stores within region. Make prospective account sales call with O’Reilly RM and TSM in each territory. Goals are to make 10 sales calls with OReilly TSM a day, add new accounts, and add inventory to O’Reilly stores. Relationships need to be developed with O’Reilly store personal, DM, and TSMs. … (more) … Click here to find out more.

BBB Industries: Automotive Technical Trainer

The Automotive Technical Trainer will deliver manufacturer technical training. JOB DUTIES – PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITIES: Plan, organize, and deliver technical instruction to retailers and shop technicians to enhance their learning and proficiency in the service, diagnostics, and repair of company products (various automotive parts); Prepare and delivery quality training … (more) … Click here to find out more.

BBB Industries: Senior Financial Analyst – Commercial

This role reports to the Director of Finance – Commercial, and will provide various forecasting, analysis and business case development to support the strategic growth strategy of the company. Major areas of focus will be sales revenue, program credits, warranty, margins, operating expenses and commercial contract management obligation oversight. … (more) … Click here to find out more.

MAHLE Aftermarket Inc.: Account Manager – United States

Would you like to take on assignments with a high level of responsibility? … Conducts market research to determine appropriate new products, promotions and selling activities to develop additional business … Manage and develop existing accounts, negotiate contracts and leverage the value of the MAHLE brand to secure new business … Works with MAHLE independent representatives to train and support them on MAHLE products … Support representatives with technical advice, pricing, sales and promotions for customers … (more) … Click here to find out more.

MAHLE Aftermarket Inc.: Data Management Coordinator – Farmington Hills, MI

Would you like to take on assignments with a high level of responsibility? … Develop, maintain, and monitor data, in conjunction with product management, in the catalog database for online and print catalogs … Assist product management with data mapping requirements for electronic catalog … Update ACES & PIES data outputs to customers and 3rd party providers … Manage monthly data validation processes and review reports based on released VCdB from Auto Care Association … (more) … Click here to find out more.

Seeking Manufacturer Representatives

Power Brake, and Power Steering Remanufacturer looking for Manufacturer Representatives to sell our products throughout the United States. (more) … Click here to find out more.

Alltech Automotive LLC.: Entry Level Sales

Responsibilities: Manage assigned accounts and territory to achieve topline sales obligations. … Visit new and existing installers for product information and training. Cover geographic sales territories, developing and maintaining relationships with customers to drive pull through sales. … Support execution of sales plan set by Sales Manager … Execute customer strategy, marketing programs and provide input and feedback … Work hand-in-hand with Sales Manager to support and grow existing accounts … Act as day-to-day contact for customers … (more) … Click here to find out more.

Power Stop: Aftermarket Sales Professional

Power Stop LLC, is seeking a proven sales professional that has a track record of developing and growing new business within the traditional automotive aftermarket channel. Ideal candidate must be a self starter. Candidate must have 5 plus years of experience in working with the national program group members. Brake sales experience is a plus. Candidate must be entrepreneurial. (more) … Click here to find out more.

 

North American Aftermarket Truck Electrical, Electronic Product Demand To Grow 4.3% Annually Through 2021

The North American truck electrical and electronic products aftermarket is forecast to expand 4.3 percent each year through 2021, reaching $8.60 billion, according to new research from The Freedonia Group. Sales will be nearly evenly split between the electrical and electronic product segments, driven by government regulation of lighting and vehicle idling, which the firm says will boost replacement demand and associated dollar gains.

According to Freedonia’s research, North American demand for all types of aftermarket medium and heavy duty truck components will expand 3.5 percent per year through 2021, accelerating from the slower-growth posted between 2011 and 2016 when a drop in the value of the peso and the Canadian dollar dampened regional market gains in U.S. dollar terms.

The United States — home to two-thirds of the region’s total medium and heavy duty truck stock — is forecast to account for more than half of the North American medium and heavy duty truck aftermarket sales gains through 2021.

Freedonia expects demand gains in Mexico to outpace those in the United States and Canada due, in part, to double-digit growth in Class 8 vehicle sales in Mexico since 2014, boosting the size of Mexico’s medium and heavy duty truck parc.

 

Private Equity Firms In Deal To Buy CommerceHub For $1.1 Billion

Private equity firms GTCR and Sycamore Partners have reached a deal to acquire all the outstanding shares of CommerceHub, a distributed commerce network for a variety of retailers and brands. CommerceHub’s board of directors has unanimously approved the $1.10-billion, all-cash deal and recommended that stockholders vote their shares in favor of the transaction.

If the sale goes through, CommerceHub would become a privately held company headquartered in Albany, NY, with offices in Seattle, WA and Hertford, England. The deal — which is expected to close in the third quarter — is subject to customary closing conditions, including approval of the company’s stockholders and regulatory approvals.

CommerceHub helps retailers and brands increase sales by expanding product assortments, promoting products on various channels, and enabling rapid, on-time delivery.

According to the company, the CommerceHub platform streamlines integration and enables more efficient transactions among its retailer and supplier customers and their other trading partners. CommerceHub also equips its clients to access various online marketplaces, search engines, social and product advertising, and other digital marketing channels. Its tools also help customers integrate with third-party logistics providers, including fulfillment and delivery providers, to take purchased products to consumers’ doorsteps.

Its clients include Walmart, QVC, HSN, Sears, Kmart and Meijer. CommerceHub works with a variety of channels, including Amazon, eBay, Jet and Newegg.

“[Frank Poore, CommerceHub’s founder, president and CEO] and the CommerceHub team have built a unique company with a highly strategic position in e-commerce,” said Mark Anderson, managing director of Chicago-based GTCR. “We are excited to work with Frank to continue executing on their vision for a platform and network to tie together all sources of demand, supply, and delivery in global e-commerce.”

Peter Morrow, managing director of New York-based Sycamore Partners, added: “CommerceHub is a valued partner to many leading retailers. We look forward to working with the CommerceHub team to help them grow by continuing to enable retailers’ and suppliers’ e-commerce offerings.”

 

People Watching 3/22/18

• The winning team, “Team Millennial Force,” from the most recent University of the Aftermarket Leadership 2.0 program (which ended March 16) was comprised of Blair Sneed of Mid America Parts Distributors, Mialy Shrady of Delphi, Mike Kiser of Mann + Hummel/Wix and Cotter Collins of Standard Motor Products. The team tackled the topic of attracting and retaining Millennials to the motor vehicle aftermarket.

Ignition Advisors founder and Schwartz Advisors partner Malcolm Davidow has joined the board of managers for Entricit, an Irvine, CA-based telematics company working to better connect independent auto repair shops with their customers’ live, on-board vehicle data via shop management systems.

• Phillips Connect Technologies (Santa Fe Springs, CA), a business of Phillips Industries, has named Kent Crymes as business development manager. Crymes joined Phillips Industries in 2012 as a territory sales manager and was promoted in 2015 to OEM/OES sales manager for the trailer segment.

Dover Corp. president and CEO Bob Livingston will retire April 30, capping off a nine-year tenure atop the company. Rich Tobin — who most recently was the CEO of CNH Industrial and who serves as a member of Dover’s board of directors — will become Dover’s next president and CEO on May 1. Among other things, Dover is the parent company to the Vehicle Service Group, a group of vehicle lifting, wheel service, diagnostic and collision repair brands, including Rotary Lift, Chief, Forward, Ravaglioli and Blitz.

 

Job Mart 3/22/18

Mark Phillips — an industry leader in brand marketing, product development and sales for 30 years, experienced with all major automotive, mass retail, farm/ranch and DIY hardware chains —  is looking for a national sales manager or VP of sales position. He has held NSM positions with Plasticolor and Coverking, and VP of sales and director of brand management positions with Quaker State. He can be reached at (623) 696-9046 or phillipsmark18@yahoo.com.

 

News Briefs 3/22/18

• MillerCAT, PFC Brakes and WHB America have joined ShowMeTheParts.

R.O. Writer, Alldata and Profitboost now connect directly to Transtar eSource, the exclusive online ordering system from Walton Hills, OH-based Transtar Industries.

• Motovicity Distribution now carries products from Clackamas, OR-based Radium Engineering.

• TDot Performance, a Canadian performance parts and accessories seller, has added products from GReddy, Remmen Brakes, Rough Country and SPL to its line.

• PFC brakes — in conjunction with ShowMeTheParts.com/Vertical Development — has officially launched a free parts-finder app.

• ExtremeTerrain.com (Paoli, PA) now carries the Deegan 38 line of Jeep parts and accessories from professional freestyle motocross rider Brian Deegan. The Deegan-branded aftermarket products are an ExtremeTerrain.com exclusive.

Schaeffler has opened an office in San Jose, CA to establish its foothold in Silicon Valley. Philip George, director of region innovation for Schaeffler, leads the local team in fostering relationships with local disruptors, start-ups and potential technology partners.

• Turtle Wax is now the presenting sponsor of Jam in the Van, a solar-powered mobile recording studio and YouTube channel. In addition to supporting the unique music platform, Turtle Wax will share Jam in the Van sessions on a dedicated YouTube playlist as well as launching its own Spotify channel.

NGK Spark Plugs (U.S.A.) has announced an entitlement sponsorship of the NGK Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals taking place April 27-29 at zMAX Dragway at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The multi-year agreement gives NGK Spark Plugs top billing for the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series’ original four-wide event.

Wix Filters has renewed its partnership with the Performance Racing Network (PRN) through sponsorship of its grassroots radio show At the Track. Host Lenny Batycki will feature Wix and the Team Wix program in his weekly broadcasts featuring dirt track, short track, legends and kart news. And, Batycki will act as a brand ambassador during his travels and at-track reporting.

Hyper Racing (Lewisberry, PA) now offers the complete line of Champion Brands performance motor oils, chemicals, additives and lubricants, including the company’s new micro sprint racing oils.

Howell EFI (Marine City, MI) is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.

 

Financial Briefs 3/22/18

• The AutoZone Inc. board of directors has authorized the repurchase of an additional $1 billion of the company’s common stock in connection with its ongoing share repurchase program. Since the program’s inception in 1998 and including the above amount, the board has authorized $19.70 billion.

• The Donaldson Co.’s engine products aftermarket net sales rose 18.3 percent to $303.50 million in the fiscal second quarter ended Jan. 31, 2018. On a constant-currency basis, sales increased 14.5 percent, with increases in all major regions. U.S. and Canadian aftermarket sales were up 18 percent. It’s worth noting that the quarter’s aftermarket results included roughly $8.50 million in incremental sales from the acquisition of Hy-Pro.

Navistar International Corp.’s total parts sales and revenue declined 0.4 percent to $568 million in the fiscal first quarter ended Jan. 31, 2018, primarily attributable to lower Blue Diamond Parts (BDP) sales. This was partially offset by higher U.S. and Canadian parts sales related to the Fleetrite brand. External parts sales and revenue increased 0.2 percent. Segment profit decreased 8 percent to $137 million mainly due to lower BDP margins, higher freight-related expenses and intercompany access fees.

Fortive Corp. reported that core sales at Matco were flat in the fourth quarter, as double-digit growth in diagnostics was offset by continued softness in tool storage and a challenging hardline tool sales comparison. However, management noted improved distributor inventory levels and franchisee headcount.

Oil-Dri Corp. of America (Chicago) reports that net sales of its industrial and automotive absorbent products were slightly lower in the three months ended Jan. 31, 2018 compared to a year ago.

Brembo’s North American sales decreased 2.5 percent to roughly $765 million in 2017, mainly because of depreciation in the dollar. Adjusted for currency, the company’s North American sales were down 0.8 percent on a year-over-year basis. North America is Brembo’s top market, accounting for more than 25 percent of the company’s total sales.

LKQ European Holdings B.V., a wholly-owned subsidiary of LKQ Corp., intends to privately offer roughly €1.00 billion ($1.25 billion) in senior notes due 2026 and senior notes due 2028. Management intends to use the net proceeds from the offering — together with borrowings under its senior secured credit agreement — to finance a portion of the consideration payable for the pending Stahlgruber GmbH acquisition; for general corporate purposes; and to pay related fees and expenses, including the refinancing of net financial debt.

 

Event & Trade Show Briefs 3/22/18

• Heidi King, deputy administrator of NHTSA, will speak at the MEMA Legislative Summit taking place April 10-11 in Washington, DC. King’s presentation will address enhancing the U.S. New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) with crash avoidance technology, vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications, automated vehicles policy and more, according to the association. Click here for more information about the event.

• The Young Auto Care Network Group (YANG) of the Auto Care Association, along with JNP Soft Inc., will host a Regional Meet-Up the evening of April 16 in conjunction with the ACPN Knowledge Exchange conference taking place in Ft. Worth, TX. Click here for more information on the YANG event.

Dorman Products’ Sixth Annual Car Show will take place April 28 at its headquarters in Colmar, PA. The event benefits Manna on Main Street, a local organization focused on ending hunger. Click here for more information.

 

 

11 — March 15, 2018

 

Quick Hits …
(A few short items to get us started this week)

NAPA Filters, whose products are manufactured by Mann+Hummel, has received the 2017 “Spirit of NAPA Award.” It is the 11th time that NAPA Filters has received NAPA’s top award, the most by any supplier.

• Aisin received the “APA Approvedg Vendor Award” at the Automotive Parts Associates shareholder conference March 8 in Orlando. Interestingly, APA was the first program group with which Aisin conducted business about 11 years ago.

EnerSys, the manufacturer of Odyssey batteries, is now an approved vendor to the Vipar Heavy Duty program distribution group.

• The Michigan Automotive Parts Association (MAPA) will honor Fred Bunting, chairman of the Auto-Wares Group of Companies, with its 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award during MAPA Industry Day 2018 on Sept. 19. Grand Rapids-based Auto-Wares is a member of the Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance.

 

AAA Warns Of Spring Gas Price Spike

For the first quarter of 2018, U.S. gas prices have been up, with motorists (on average) paying a quarter more than at the same time last year, according to AAA. While pump prices dipped in late February, the motorist club warns that this isn’t a trend consumers should expect to linger.

AAA forecasts that the national gas price average will be as much as $2.70 per gallon this spring — a price Americans haven’t paid since summer 2015, when the average hit $2.81.

A new AAA survey indicates that the vast majority of consumers would change their driving habits or lifestyle to offset higher gas prices. One in four said they would start making changes at $2.75, while 40 percent said $3.00 is their tipping point. Changes consumers said they would make include …
• Combining errands or trips (79 percent);
• Driving less (73 percent);
• Reducing shopping or dining out (61 percent);
• Delaying major purchases (50 percent); and
• Driving more fuel-efficient vehicles (46 percent).

AAA does not expect the national gas price to be reminiscent of 2011-‘14, when motorists were paying (on average) $3.47 per gallon. While some states, like California, may see $4 per gallon, it will be temporary.

“Motorists will start to see gas prices make their spring spike in early April. That is when refinery maintenance is expected to be wrapped up and the switchover to more expensive summer-blend gasoline kicks in, along with warmer weather and typical demand increases,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “Consumers can expect prices to likely increase throughout April, May and into the start of summer.”

AAA expects summer gas prices to be just as expensive as spring prices but with the potential that they may not increase at such a quick rate. Heading into summer, a variety of factors — including U.S. gasoline supply-demand levels, domestic gasoline production rates and global crude demand — will help better shape the summer forecast.

 

Johnson Controls ‘Exploring Strategic Alternatives’ For Its Batteries Business

Johnson Controls International on March 12 announced that it is “exploring strategic alternatives” for its Power Solutions (batteries) business. The company has retained Centerview Partners as its financial advisor to assist with the review. Management expects Johnson Controls to complete the assessment over the next several months.

The rationale for this assessment is that Johnson Controls’ two platforms — building technology and batteries — are well positioned but operate in markedly different industries with unique strategic, financial, and operational opportunities and requirements. It’s the differing dynamics of the platforms that led management to move forward with evaluating strategic alternatives for Power Solutions, according to Chairman and CEO George Oliver.

“Today’s announcement also reflects our strategic priority to strengthen and invest in our global market-leading positions in HVAC, fire and security solutions, and integrated building management systems, which operate in attractive vertical markets with strong growth prospects,” Oliver said in the March 12 announcement.

In fiscal 2017, Power Solutions generated $7.30 billion in revenue and $1.60 billion in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA).

“Over the years, our team has built Power Solutions into an incredible business with a high-margin aftermarket model that has delivered consistent growth through business cycles,” Oliver said. “These strong fundamentals, as well as recently issued provisions of U.S. Tax Reform, will be taken into account as we review the alternatives and assess which option creates the best long-term results for the business and the most value for shareholders.”

Management does not intend to make any further public statements until a specific determination has been made.

 

NPW Announces Southeast Auto Parts Expansion

National Performance Warehouse Companies has acquired CP Auto Parts of Rainsville, AL and added it to the company’s Southeast Auto Parts chain — a move that brings the total number of Southeast Auto Parts locations to 11. The Southeast Auto Parts stores, which NPW acquired last year, are supported out of NPW’s Associate Jobbers Warehouse in Boaz, AL.

With the acquisition, NPW has tapped CP Auto Parts’ Donna Harris as regional store manager for the Southeast Auto Parts chain. Harris will maintain an office in the Associate Jobbers Warehouse offices in Boaz.

“This addition is a BOD member retiring from her store operation, and we obtain the ability to continue the operation,” explained NPW president and CEO Larry Pacey. “In addition, we get to add the talent of Donna Harris to manage the stores. Her local experience and operational knowledge will only help the stores function more efficiently.”

 

Network Convention Sold Out

The Automotive Distribution Network has sold out its 14th Network National Convention, with an overflow crowd expected March 15-18 at the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort in Orlando. The event also will include more seminars than ever (66), with 15 different instructors and more than 35 topics.

 

U.S. Auto Parts Reports Improved Profitability Despite Lower Sales

U.S. Auto Parts Network closed out 2017 with a 3.7-percent decline in net sales, going from $71.13 million a year ago to $68.52 million for the three months ended Dec. 30, 2017. The decrease came primarily from an 18-percent drop in e-commerce sales that was partially offset by a 26-percent rise from the marketplace sales channel, which management attributed to the company’s value proposition and the expansion of private-label products.

Private-label sales rose 3 percent in the quarter, accounting for 72 percent of U.S. Auto Parts’ net sales — up from 68 percent a year ago. It’s worth noting that U.S. Auto Parts added roughly 1,500 new private-label SKUs during the quarter, bringing its full-year 2017 new SKU count up over 7,800, which was in line with management’s target of 7,000 to 8,000 new SKUs.

While gross profit decreased 3.2 percent to $20.75 million, U.S. Auto Parts turned in its strongest gross margin of 2017 at 30.3 percent — up 20 basis points on a year-over-year basis. Management expects U.S. Auto Parts’ gross margins to range between 29 percent and 30 percent going forward.

The company’s net loss widened, going from $1.91 million a year ago to $4.08 million for the final three months of 2017. Adjusting for tax expenses tied to a change in U.S. Auto Parts’ valuation allowance and the impacts of the U.S. Tax Cuts & Jobs Act, adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) increased 10.5 percent to $2.79 million.

KEY METRICS … While U.S. Auto Parts’ conversion rate declined from 1.87 percent to 2.08 percent on a year-over-year basis, its customer acquisition cost decreased from $7.64 to $7.14, attributable to an effort to reduce marketing spend as U.S. Auto Parts continues to experience a shift in channel mix to online marketplace sales.

Unique visitors were down, going from 27.90 million to 20.10 million.

The total number of Internet orders dropped, going from 840,000 to 814,000 with e-commerce orders down 19.6 percent (driven by lower traffic) and online marketplace orders up 23.8 percent.

Revenue capture — which the company defines as the amount of actual dollars retained after taking returns, payment capture and product fulfillment into consideration — increased from 85.2 percent to 86.1 percent.

Average order value (total Internet orders) decreased from $86 to $82, yet e-commerce average order value increased ($100 versus $99) and online marketplace average order value was up ($66 versus $67).

LOOKING AHEAD … CEO Aaron Coleman told analysts on a March 8 conference call that first quarter 2018 sales started off soft but have recently accelerated, which he tied to U.S. Auto Parts’ new customer initiatives and their material impact on conversion.

“To name a few, last month we launched a new mobile progressive web application for carparts.com. We are very excited about this new mobile experience, as it provides our customers with a quick and engaging interface that allows for an easy and simplified checkout,” Coleman said on the call. “In addition, we recently completed a platform migration on jcwhitney and launched several performance improvements to autopartswarehouse.

“With these improvements in the customer experience, the e-commerce sales comp trend has significantly improved. These recent results are encouraging and reinforce our customer experience strategy. We expect to roll out similar initiatives across all of our key sites in 2018.”

Although management has placed an emphasis on revitalizing the company’s e-commerce business over the last six months, Coleman noted that U.S. Auto Parts is embracing its marketplace growth and plans to be present wherever consumers are purchasing their parts online.

“We’re in the process of partnering with new marketplaces to build upon momentum in this channel and are also working to deepen some of our existing marketplace relationships,” Coleman said. “Given our efficient supply chain, as well as our broad product assortment, we believe there is tremendous opportunity to expand our reach through these marketplace channels.”

The company’s online marketplace channel efforts will include adding new listings, bringing new products to market, new partnerships and different models (direct fulfillment versus just pure marketplace), according to Coleman.

For 2018, management is calling for low-single-digit net sales growth. And, similar to last year, management expects U.S. Auto Parts’ branded business to decline by double digits in 2018. Growth in private label is anticipated to more than offset this decline.      — Marc Vincent

 

RevolutionParts Touts New Tool To Sell Parts, Accessories On Amazon

RevolutionParts, an auto parts e-commerce platform for automotive dealers, now offers a program to help dealers list their entire parts and accessory inventory on Amazon. It allows dealers to adjust pricing and shipping rules, update listing details, and message customers directly from RevolutionParts instead of using a separate Amazon login.

RevolutionParts can automatically update listings with the latest inventory and price changes, and filters can be set to exclude parts from being listed based on seller criteria, such as hazardous material or oversized items.

 

PartsTech Debuts Parts Catalog, Ordering API

PartsTech has launched a parts-ordering API that gives automotive software developers access to PartsTech’s auto parts catalog and network of vendors, connecting users to 20,000 parts stores and 6 million parts. With the parts ordering API, shop owners and managers can research parts and prices, check local inventory, and purchase parts online — all within their own shop management systems.

Users without a shop management system can access the benefits of PartsTech at partstech.com.

“For now, our focus is commercial users, but we encourage developers of consumer-facing applications to check out our API as well,” said Erik St. Pierre, co-founder and chief operating officer of PartsTech.

 

Federal-Mogul Launches New Moog Campaign

Federal-Mogul Motorparts has launched a new North American advertising and customer awareness campaign for Moog that reminds service professionals and consumers to order Moog parts and “never settle for anything less.” The initiative includes TV ads and a variety of other elements featuring media personality Mike Rowe, who urges: “If it’s not in a Moog box, it’s not Moog.”

The TV spots featuring Rowe depict him in opposing roles: as an angel trying to convince a parts professional to use only Moog parts, and as a devil arguing that product quality doesn’t matter. The ads air on an array of North American cable networks, as well as on various digital platforms. They can be viewed at Moogparts.com/WhatsInTheBox.

Federal-Mogul also is rolling out point-of-sale material designed to reinforce the message of relying on Moog, as well as new product packaging featuring tech support information from the company’s Garage Gurus program. The material also highlights Moog’s long-term relationship as the “Official Steering and Suspension” of NASCAR.

 

Mahle Promotes Matt Lundh To Business Development Manager

Matt Lundh is now business development manager – traditional groups and special markets at Mahle Aftermarket Inc. In this role, Lundh works to grow market share and strengthen relationships with major traditional buying groups (The Alliance, The Group, The Network, APA and others) and import distributors (WORLDPAC, Altrom, SSF and others). He also works with Mahle’s sales team and outside sales agencies to close new business in North America.

Lundh has over 20 years of auto care industry experience. Prior to joining Mahle last August as a regional manager, he was director of sales – North America and a business development manager for TRW Automotive Aftermarket North America (part of the ZF Group). His background also includes sales roles with AutoMD, Beck/Arnley and Carquest.

 

Dana In Deal To Combine With GKN Driveline;
Rival Suitor Ups Offer

Dana Inc. (Maumee, OH) has signed definitive agreements to combine with the driveline division of GKN plc, creating Dana plc, a global driveline systems company. The deal also includes GKN’s Off-Highway Powertrain Services business. Total consideration is composed of …
• 133 million new Dana plc shares issued to GKN’s shareholders (valued at approximately $3.5 billion, based on Dana’s share price as of March 8);
• The assumption of roughly $1 billion in net pension liabilities; and
• $1.60 billion in cash proceeds to GKN.
Dana shareholders would own roughly 52.75 percent of the company, with GKN shareholders owning 47.25 percent. Dana plc would be a United Kingdom company but would continue to trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “DAN.”

Dana president and CEO James Kamsickas said the transaction would solidify the company as a world leader in vehicle drive systems, as well as establish a leading position in electric propulsion, which he called “the future of vehicle drivetrains.”

“We have a long history of partnering with GKN, and the companies possess similar cultures and exceptionally talented people,” Kamsickas added. “Our highly complementary businesses share a deep understanding of our customers’ long-term requirements.”

“We believe this transaction will result in a much stronger Dana — both strategically and financially — by taking advantage of the combined company’s global scale, technology leadership, strong balance sheet and attractive cash flow profile,” said Jonathan Collins, executive vice president and CFO of Dana. “In the near-term, we expect our business to achieve best-in-class returns on capital and continue on the path to an investment grade credit profile.”

Dana expects to complete the transaction — which is subject to shareholder and regulatory approvals — in the second half of 2018.

Post-closing, Keith Wandell will serve as non-executive chairman of the new Dana. Wandell holds the same position with the current Dana. Kamsickas will be the president and CEO of the new Dana, as well as a director.

In addition to the Dana representatives, the board of directors of the combined company will include two representatives to be designated by GKN.

This comes as GKN is the target of a hostile takeover by Melrose Industries, a U.K.-based buyout and turnaround specialist. In response to the Dana deal, Melrose has raised its offer for GKN by roughly 10 percent, according to a March 12 Reuters news report. GKN is reportedly evaluating Melrose’s new bid.

 

K&N Filters Expands Its Team Lucas Program

K&N Filters has extended its partnership with Team Lucas to include sponsorship of the safety vehicles used in the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series. The vehicles will now carry the banner K&N Filters Protection Trucks.

Overall, the K&N partnership in 2018 will span a number of Team Lucas’s platforms, including the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series, Lucas Oil Regional Off Road Racing Series, Lucas Oil Modified Series, Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series, Lucas Oil Drag Boat Racing Series and Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League.

In addition to its sponsorship of the safety vehicles, K&N also will be the presenting sponsor of a Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series event, as well as one televised event in the Lucas Oil Modified Series. Additionally, K&N will entitle the Polaris RZR that will serve as the UTV class pace vehicle in the Lucas Oil Regional Off Road Racing Series.

K&N will have a presence during TV coverage on CBS, CBS Sports Network, NBC Sports Network, MAVTV Motorsports Network and Lucas Oil Racing TV (a streaming TV network).

 

New Board Members For Horizon Global

Dave Roberts and Max Straub have joined the Horizon Global Corp. board of directors. Meanwhile, current directors David Dauch and Sam Valenti III will not stand for re-election at the 2018 annual shareholders meeting.

Roberts is the current chairman and former CEO of Carlisle Companies. Prior to Carlisle, he was the chairman, president and CEO of Graco.

Straub is the executive vice president of finance, controlling and administration – North America as well as the CFO of Robert Bosch. From 2006-’10, she was the president of Bosch’s chassis systems full brakes division in North America.

This comes shortly on the heels of the appointment of Denise Ilitch as the chair of Horizon’s board of directors. Ilitch was co-chair alongside the company’s CEO, Mark Zeffiro, who will continue to serve as a director.

Troy, MI-based Horizon is a manufacturer of branded towing and trailering equipment, including Draw-TiteReese and Bulldog products.

 

Atlantic Safety Products Adds Sales Manager

Atlantic Safety Products (Pittsfield, NH) has hired Bill Whiting as sales manager – automotive and industrial. Whiting is a former vice president of sales and marketing for Lumax Lubrication Equipment and national account executive for Forney Industries. His background also includes various positions with Thermadyne/Firepower, Exide Corp. and Cooper Industries.

 

Myers Tire Supply Sales Decreased 3.1% In Q4

For the fourth quarter of 2017, Myers Industries’ distribution segment saw its net sales decline 9 percent to $35.59 million. The business sells tools, equipment, and supplies to the tire, wheel, and under vehicle service market.

Management attributed the bulk of the decrease to the planned exit of a low-margin product line within the company’s Patch Rubber business, which accounted for about $2.70 million of the $3.82-million year-over-year decline.

The Myers Tire Supply business was down 3.1 percent for the quarter, showing sequential improvement compared to its year-over-year sales performance during the first half of 2017.

“We showed some good progress through the year, but we are not happy with where we are, and we are not satisfied that we have reached the kind of growth that we expect out of that business,” Myers president and CEO Dave Banyard told analysts on the company’s March 6 conference call. “Overall for the year, sales declined 6 percent. Much of that decline was in the first half, so we did see some improvement in the second half, which we are happy with.

“A lot of that improvement came from the tools that we put in place for our sales team, but we’re still seeing a pretty good decline in some of our territories. We have isolated that to certain areas — about five or six territories — that we feel we’re losing in. And, we’re focused on that in 2018 as to how we can improve there.”

Banyard added that turnover is too high in these underperforming territories, leading to a lack of continuity in sales coverage.

Distribution segment operating income fell 56.1 percent to $1.33 million in the fourth quarter, attributable to lower sales and higher selling, general and administrative expenses, partially offset by a favorable mix and higher pricing.

 

Stertil-Koni Adds Business Development Manager

Heavy duty vehicle lifts maker Stertil-Koni has added Radu Pop as business development manager. Pop works with the company’s regional sales managers and headquarters leadership to advance fleet sales — notably truck and bus fleets — as well as supports the efforts of Stertil-Koni’s national accounts team. He comes to Stertil-Koni from MAHA USA, where he was a sales manager – national accounts.

 

ETI Names Marketing/Events Manager

The Equipment & Tool Institute (ETI) has added Juli Sweet as its marketing and events manager, responsible for ETI events, as well as marketing, brand management and social media. Sweet brings 15 years of meeting and event coordination and management experience to the organization. Her background includes time as the corporate events planer for NGK Spark Plugs (U.S.A.) Inc.

 

Industry Groups React To Trump Tariffs

In a March 12 letter submitted to President Trump, the Auto Care Association urges the administration to reconsider imposing tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum, citing unintended negative consequences the tariffs may have on the U.S. economy and the auto care industry. Association president and CEO Bill Hanvey said this action will have a significant negative impact throughout the supply chain because there are few parts necessary for the upkeep of a vehicle that do not contain significant amounts of steel and aluminum.

Trump has issued a proclamation imposing a 25-percent tariff on steel imports and a 10-percent tariff on aluminum imports, with exemptions for Canada and Mexico and potentially other nations.

“While we are grateful that our trading partners, Canada and Mexico, are currently exempt, it is our view that these tariffs will quickly become a tax on the repair and maintenance of vehicles— a tax that will ultimately be paid for in higher repair prices by the American car owner,” Hanvey said.

The Auto Care Association wants the administration to investigate the impact of steel and aluminum tariffs on the U.S. economy and steel-consuming sectors downstream. The association also wants the administration, at a minimum, to consider creating an efficient exemption process for qualified U.S. companies in an attempt to alleviate harm caused by the imposition of tariffs.

On March 8, MEMA issued a statement critical of the president’s move. “President Trump has said he is in favor of bringing jobs back to America and helping companies in the U.S. compete in a global marketplace. We could not agree more and welcome the exploration of ways to bring about a healthier trade environment,” the statement reads. “But, the remedy that President Trump has prescribed — steep, across-the-board tariffs on aluminum and steel coming into the United States — is dangerous. In fact, it could put the very jobs and competitiveness he hopes to help in harm’s way.”

MEMA has been expressing concerns about tariffs for months, including meeting with Trump advisors to stress the association’s view that tariffs will be detrimental to jobs in the motor vehicle parts supplier industry.

“While we support the administration’s focus on strong domestic steel and aluminum markets, tariffs will limit access to necessary specialty products, raise the cost of motor vehicles to consumers, and impair the industry’s ability to successfully compete globally,” MEMA’s March 8 statement reads. “While the exclusion of Canada and Mexico may help mitigate negative effects in the short term, tariffs on steel and aluminum would hurt the largest sector of manufacturing jobs in the U.S., putting the well-being of many Americans — and the nation’s economic security — at risk. We are disappointed that President Trump chose to disregard our message and sign a proclamation today allowing these tariffs to take effect.”

 

Auto Care Association Announces Chile Trade Mission

The Auto Care Association has announced a new trade mission to Chile taking place Aug. 21-22. The event is part of the Market Development Cooperator Program (MDCP) award the association received from the U.S. Department of Commerce to support export promotion projects in Latin America.

The trade mission is a business development opportunity designed to assist U.S. companies in the automotive industry gain market information and meet with potential clients and partners. Local companies are pre-screened to match participants’ business objectives.

Trade mission packages include private business-to-business meetings, hotel accommodations, local transportation, meals, interpreters, market overview briefings and a networking reception. The trade mission is open to all companies in the industry, with qualifying companies eligible to receive a $1,500 offset of the trade mission package cost. For more information about the trade mission to Chile, click here.

Additionally, registration is still open for the trade mission to Costa Rica, taking place May 21 to 22.

 

YANG Accepting Speaker Applications For Upcoming Leadership Conference

The Auto Care Association’s Young Auto Care Network Group (YANG) is accepting speaker applications for the new “Five for Five” rapid-fire-style presentations that will be a part of the 2018 YANG Leadership Conference. The event will take place May 11-12 in Atlanta.

The “Five for Five” session will feature multiple five-minute presentations from various industry speakers followed by a small-group roundtable session led by each presenter to discuss their topics. People interested in applying are advised to choose a topic relevant to young professionals in the auto care industry, such as leadership, negotiating and management skills. Presentations submitted for consideration must fit the five minutes, five slides requirement.

Applications are due by April 4. Potential presenters should be registered for the conference or must register for the conference upon selection. Click here for more information about the event.

 

AACF Announces New Awareness Partners

The Automotive Aftermarket Charitable Foundation (AACF) has announced six new Awareness Partners: 4 Wheel Parts, the Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance, Eckler’s Industries, Mighty Auto Parts, Race Winning Brands and XL Parts. The program now has more than 50 partners. These companies help the foundation establish and enhance its industry relationships, create awareness for AACF’s services, and identify those in need. Click here for more information about the Awareness Partner program.

 

NEW … BBB Industries: Senior Interactive/ Digital Media Designer

Rare opportunity to join a talented marketing team for a growing and influential manufacturer in the automotive aftermarket. You will be part of a team that creates, innovates and experiments with the path forward for the company’s digital landscape. A dream job for someone … (more) … Click here to find out more.

BBB Industries: BBB/AutoZone Territory Sales Manager

The Territory Sales Manager (TSM) will report to the RVP, Sales – AutoZone and will be based in the Dallas, TX area. This position requires fluency in both English and Spanish. The main responsibility for this position is to call on all AutoZone stores. The Territory Sales Manager (TSM) will make prospective account sales calls … (more) … Click here to find out more.

BBB Industries: Territory Sales Manager

Main responsibility is to call on all O’Reilly stores within region. Make prospective account sales call with O’Reilly RM and TSM in each territory. Goals are to make 10 sales calls with OReilly TSM a day, add new accounts, and add inventory to O’Reilly stores. Relationships need to be developed with O’Reilly store personal, DM, and TSMs. … (more) … Click here to find out more.

BBB Industries: Automotive Technical Trainer

The Automotive Technical Trainer will deliver manufacturer technical training. JOB DUTIES – PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITIES: Plan, organize, and deliver technical instruction to retailers and shop technicians to enhance their learning and proficiency in the service, diagnostics, and repair of company products (various automotive parts); Prepare and delivery quality training … (more) … Click here to find out more.

BBB Industries: Senior Financial Analyst – Commercial

This role reports to the Director of Finance – Commercial, and will provide various forecasting, analysis and business case development to support the strategic growth strategy of the company. Major areas of focus will be sales revenue, program credits, warranty, margins, operating expenses and commercial contract management obligation oversight. … (more) … Click here to find out more.

MAHLE Aftermarket Inc.: Account Manager – United States

Would you like to take on assignments with a high level of responsibility? … Conducts market research to determine appropriate new products, promotions and selling activities to develop additional business … Manage and develop existing accounts, negotiate contracts and leverage the value of the MAHLE brand to secure new business … Works with MAHLE independent representatives to train and support them on MAHLE products … Support representatives with technical advice, pricing, sales and promotions for customers … (more) … Click here to find out more.

MAHLE Aftermarket Inc.: Data Management Coordinator – Farmington Hills, MI

Would you like to take on assignments with a high level of responsibility? … Develop, maintain, and monitor data, in conjunction with product management, in the catalog database for online and print catalogs … Assist product management with data mapping requirements for electronic catalog … Update ACES & PIES data outputs to customers and 3rd party providers … Manage monthly data validation processes and review reports based on released VCdB from Auto Care Association … (more) … Click here to find out more.

Seeking Manufacturer Representatives

Power Brake, and Power Steering Remanufacturer looking for Manufacturer Representatives to sell our products throughout the United States. (more) … Click here to find out more.

Alltech Automotive LLC.: Entry Level Sales

Responsibilities: Manage assigned accounts and territory to achieve topline sales obligations. … Visit new and existing installers for product information and training. Cover geographic sales territories, developing and maintaining relationships with customers to drive pull through sales. … Support execution of sales plan set by Sales Manager … Execute customer strategy, marketing programs and provide input and feedback … Work hand-in-hand with Sales Manager to support and grow existing accounts … Act as day-to-day contact for customers … (more) … Click here to find out more.

Power Stop: Aftermarket Sales Professional

Power Stop LLC, is seeking a proven sales professional that has a track record of developing and growing new business within the traditional automotive aftermarket channel. Ideal candidate must be a self starter. Candidate must have 5 plus years of experience in working with the national program group members. Brake sales experience is a plus. Candidate must be entrepreneurial. (more) … Click here to find out more.

Alltech Automotive LLC.: Regional Sales Manager

The Regional Sales Manager is a dedicated position, concentrating on leading and generating sales/awareness and support of new products, new programs and updates to the Alltech customer base. This position will dedicate effort and time in a coordinated fashion with the National Account Manager and all downstream customers. (more) … Click here to find out more.

Henkel: Vehicle, Repair and Maintenance (VRM) Key Account Manager – Distribution, Retail & Body Shop Channel – Midwest Region

Position Description: The VRM Key Account Manager will be responsible for driving sales growth in the Aftermarket Industry through the Distribution, Retail and Body Shop Channels for the Automotive, Agricultural, Construction, Commercial Truck and Recreational Vehicle Industry. This position has specific responsibility for national retail accounts including NAPA, Advance Auto, AutoZone, O’Reilly’s and Pep Boys in additional to covering specific states in the midwest.  The VRM steering unit provides adhesives, sealants, and functional coatings for the maintenance and repair of transportation vehicles. (more) … Click here to find out more.

 

FleetPride Expands In Oregon, Minnesota

FleetPride Inc. (Irving, TX) has acquired the Brainerd, MN location of Road Equipment, a division of Jomar Investments. The transaction includes only the Brainerd location, which will be merged with FleetPride’s existing location there to form one facility. The move allows FleetPride to add drive-in truck repair service to its existing driveline shop capabilities.

FleetPride also has opened a new location in White City, OR, which is near Medford. It is FleetPride’s sixth location in Oregon.

 

Meritor Revamps Executives’ Responsibilities

Meritor Inc. (Troy, MI) on March 12 announced a number of executive appointments, effective immediately. Rob Speed — a senior vice president and president of industrial, engineering and procurement — has left Meritor “to pursue other opportunities,” according to the company’s announcement. Speed had been with Meritor for 13 years.

Joe Plomin is now a senior vice president and president of aftermarket, industrial and quality. Plomin was a senior vice president and president of Aftermarket & Trailer and quality. Prior to that, he was a senior vice president and president – international. Plomin has been with Meritor since 2007.

Kevin Nowlan is now a senior vice president and president of Trailer & Components. Nowlan continues to serve as Meritor’s CFO, but with additional responsibility for the company’s Trailer & Components businesses, as well as procurement. He has been with Meritor since 2007.

Cheri Lantz, who remains the company’s vice president and chief strategy officer, has assumed the additional responsibility of Meritor’s engineering activities. Lantz joined the company last summer.

Carl Anderson is now vice president of finance. Anderson is now responsible for operational finance, shared services and accounting in addition to his previous responsibilities for treasury, investor relations, and mergers and acquisitions. He has been with Meritor since 2006.

Mike Lei is now vice president of compensation and benefits, as well as treasurer. Lei, who joined Meritor in 2007, assumed responsibility for compensation and benefits in 2014.

 

Dealer Tire Leads $4.50-Million Investment In Tire Sensor Start-Up

Cleveland-based Dealer Tire LLC, a distributor of tires and parts for automotive dealerships, was the lead investor in a $4.50-million “Series A” financing package received by Tyrata Inc., a tire sensor and data management start-up in Durham, NC. Tyrata has an exclusive license with Duke University to develop sensor technology that monitors tire tread wear in real time, warning drivers and fleet management operators when tire rubber has grown dangerously thin.

The funding will allow Tyrata to develop the sensor technology into a product and prepare for large-scale manufacturing. The technology can be linked to data analytics systems to improve safety in consumer vehicles, reduce maintenance costs in large fleet management operations and provide data for the emerging autonomous vehicles market.

Dealer Tire is a family business founded in 1999 by the then-owners of the former Mueller Tire & Brake, a Cleveland-based service chain founded in 1918. Dealer Tire manages replacement tire and parts programs for 17 automotive OEMs, serving more than 10,000 dealerships from 43 distribution centers across the United States.

 

People Watching 3/15/18

Hubb Filters has hired Scott Son as its CFO. Son brings with him leadership and C-level financial experience from the clean tech and renewable energy industries.

• Tabor City, NC-based DMA has added Tabitha Soles as a strategic account services specialist. She was manager of customer service at Atlantic Automotive Enterprise, also of Tabor City.

Tom O’Brien is now chairman of the PartsTrader Markets Limited (PTML) board of directors. PTML is the parent company of PartsTrader LLC, a parts procurement platform serving the U.S. collision repair industry. O’Brien was the CEO of Insurance Auto Auctions from 2000-‘14.

LCI Industries (Elkhart, IN), a supplier of aftermarket and OE recreational vehicle components, has announced the retirement of Jack Lowe Jr. from the company’s board of directors following the completion of his current term. Lowe, 78, joined LCI’s board in 2005. He is a former chairman and CEO of TDIndustries Inc.

 

Job Mart 3/15/18

Doug Vidler — a learning and development leader with corporate and aftermarket expertise in organizational development and employee and customer training — is seeking a similar position in the Charlotte, NC area. Prior to his role as director of corporate learning and development at Emerson, he was with Delphi as director of aftermarket service and training, and Snap-on as director of U.S. training operations. Doug can be reached at (614) 899-0202 or dougvidler@gmail.com.

 

News Briefs 3/15/18

Turn 14 Distribution now carries products from Roll N Lock Corp., Lund, Tonno Pro, N-FAB, Bushwacker and Auto Ventshade (AVS).

Motovicity Distribution now carries products from Nitrous Express.

ExxonMobil has introduced a new high-performance synthetic motor oil, Mobil 1 Extended Performance High Mileage, that’s designed for high-mileage vehicles (more than 75,000 miles). The company says its new oil can go 15,000 miles between changes. It’s available in 0W-20, 5W-20 and 5W-30 viscosities. The new oil is already available at Meijer and Walmart.

• The Marx Group California office has relocated to a new office suite on Francisco Boulevard in San Rafael. The move allows Marx to combine two offices into one.

RacingJunk.com, an automotive motorsports and performance-related classifieds website, is partnering with the U.S. Motorsports Association (USMA) and the “Save Grassroots Racing” campaign. The petition-driven efforts aim to unify all types of motorsports enthusiasts and supporters in educating lawmakers.

 

Financial Briefs 3/15/18

Fox Factory Holding Corp.’s powered vehicle product sales increased 9.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017, which management attributed to high demand for on- and off-road suspension products, including aftermarket accessory packages. Fox’s powered vehicle business offers products for side-by-sides, on-road vehicles with off-road capabilities, off-road vehicles and trucks, ATVs, snowmobiles, specialty vehicles, and motorcycles.

American Axle & Manufacturing Holding has announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, American Axle & Manufacturing Inc., is planning a public offering of $350 million in senior notes. The notes will be unconditionally guaranteed, on a senior unsecured basis, by the parent company and certain of the subsidiary’s present and future domestic subsidiaries. Management intends to use the net proceeds, cash on hand or borrowings under its credit agreement to fund the repurchase of its outstanding 6.25 percent senior notes due 2021 in a concurrent tender offer and consent solicitation.

 

Event & Trade Show Briefs 3/15/18

• The University of the Aftermarket’s next “Heavy Duty Leadership” course will be held July 8-13 at Northwood University in Midland, MI. The program is a one-week residential executive-development program designed for early- to mid-career, management-track heavy-duty professionals in all market segments. For more information, search for “Heavy Duty Leadership” on the university’s course calendar page.

• Registration is now open for the Auto Care Association’s Paint, Body & Equipment Specialists Annual Conference taking place May 16-18 at the Fairmont Austin Hotel in Austin, TX. Click here for more information about the event.

• Companies that submit booth space applications for the 2018 SEMA Show prior to Friday, March 30 are eligible to participate in the Priority Space Selection process. Click here for more information. The show will take place Oct. 30 to Nov. 2 in Las Vegas.

• Messe Frankfurt has acquired Forest Exhibitions, the U.K. event planner that organizes the Automechanika Birmingham show. This gives Messe Frankfurt 100-percent ownership of the event, which had been a licensee. Automechanika Birmingham ran for the first time in 2016, with over 500 exhibitors. The 2017 show had 800 exhibitors. Automechanika Birmingham 2018 will take place June 5-7.

• The 2018 Latin Auto Parts Expo will take place July 25-27 at the ATLAPA Convention Center in Panama City. Click here for more information on the show.

 

 

10 — March 8, 2018

 

2,000 Issues Of The Greensheet Later, And There Are More Stories To Tell

This is the 2,000th issue of The Greensheet. Over the last few weeks, as I’ve watched the counter near 2,000, I’ve pondered what should be said on this occasion. For somebody who’s written the majority of the stories in over 800 of those 2,000 issues, I found myself at a loss for words. … And, that’s where I ultimately found inspiration.

When Gary Molinaro purchased The Greensheet and brought me on board in 2002, I remember thinking that it could be a challenge to find enough “real” stories week in and week out. While there is no shortage of “stuff” with which we can fill our pages (remember when The Greensheet came in the mail?), our coverage needs substance and relevance.

Our subscribers — executive- and management-level professionals such as yourself — turn to The Greensheet for material they can’t find elsewhere … in-depth coverage, context and commentary, and “just the facts” when that’s all that’s necessary. That’s the foundation the late Chuck Laverty built for this publication, and a mantle we gladly accepted.

If the content isn’t worth our subscribers’ time, they won’t pay for it. Simple. … Unless you’re the one tracking down and writing the stories.

So, what happens when there’s a slow news week? There has to be a week or two, here or there, when there really isn’t much going on in the aftermarket. It was something that kept me up at nights in the early weeks and months of taking over writing The Greensheet.

I quickly learned: There is no such thing as a slow news week in the auto care industry. And lately, the flow of news has accelerated. At The Greensheet, we’ve never been this busy — not in the 15-plus years that we’ve been at the helm.

There’s no shortage of real news to report in an industry as vibrant as this one, but there’s also never been so much “stuff.” Sorting through it all is a challenge, finding “our kind of stories” amid the din of product pitches, social media posts, and old, recycled emails.

That’s where quality communications professionals play a vital role. Over the years, I’ve seen this industry grow and mature from a public relations standpoint. Companies have gotten better at telling their stories and at responding to media inquiries when problems arise. Good internal PR pros and solid outside agencies have driven this.

However, I’ve seen the aftermarket, in general, lose some of its focus recently. Updates are getting spread out across so many platforms that good stories, our kind of stories, fall through the cracks. Messages designed for local consumers are being sent to media members who are on the business-to-business side, and items that would get coverage in publications like The Greensheet are being relegated to the random Facebook post or blog, where they may never be noticed.

The best way to get the word to us, or any other media outlet, is to contact us directly. It’s become fashionable among some to say that the press release is dead, that social media and direct marketing have killed it. That’s simply not true! We want your announcements. They may not result in coverage in The Greesheet — we are NOT a “cut and paste” press release distributor — but we want to know what you’re doing. You never know what may inspire a column or a follow-up down the road.

Good PR folks and savvy executives know this. They know that a quick email or call to say a new person has been hired or that construction has begun on a new plant just might get the ball rolling.

Please, take some time to consider the effectiveness of your communications … whether you’re getting the right message in front of the right eyes, and if you know the industry’s media outlets and the kinds of stories they write. Bulk up your internal communications staff if you can or hire an agency that really knows the industry. If you don’t know where to find one, ask members of the aftermarket media. We can point you in the right direction.

There’s no shortage of news to report in an industry as vibrant as this one.

The media landscape has changed over the years, with an overwhelming number of channels. We appreciate that you continue to turn to The Greensheet as your trusted, independent source for aftermarket news and intelligence. It’s an honor to be trusted to deliver this information to you. I’m proud of the work we do here at The Greensheet. Thank you for being a subscriber.

Marc Vincent,
Editor

 

Factory Motor Parts Expands

Just prior to publication, we received word that Factory Motor Parts (Eagan, MN) is expanding its presence in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and North Carolina with the acquisition of Connecticut Warehouse Distributors in New England, the Jack Young Co. of Boston and the Auto Supply Co. in North Carolina. Look for more details in next week’s issue of The Greensheet.

 

Icahn’s Automotive Goal: A National Brand With 10,000 Locations

For the fourth quarter of 2017, Icahn Enterprises’ automotive sales increased 10 percent to $2.60 billion, attributable to organic sales volume increases, sales and service volume increases from acquisitions, and favorable foreign currency exchange.

Federal-Mogul, on a stand-alone basis, saw its net sales increase from $1.80 billion a year ago to $2 billion in the fourth quarter of 2017. Management tied the increase to higher OE sales, higher aftermarket sales in North America and Asia, and favorable foreign currency exchange.

The Icahn Automotive Group’s operating revenue came in at $692 million compared to $638 million a year ago. Same-store sales were positive, which is worth noting because the Icahn Automotive Group started 2017 off with a 5-percent to 7-percent same-store sales decrease, followed by a slightly negative second quarter and a flat third quarter.

Keith Cozza, the president and CEO of Icahn Enterprises (and a Federal-Mogul director), told analysts on Icahn Enterprises’ March 1 conference call that 2017 was a significant restructuring year for the Icahn Automotive Group. This included an “aggressive” move to swap out its management team, as well as regional and area directors, bringing in a number of new executives to turn the top line around, which has been accomplished. However, profitability has lagged due, in part, to initial spending made to improve the business’ topline growth.

In 2017, the Icahn Automotive Group made a notable inventory investment designed to “dramatically” expand its parts availability on the store side with an eye toward growing commercial sales. “The commercial business is where the future is at, as I’m sure you know,” Cozza told analysts on the call. “And, having the parts inventory helps stabilize the DIY business.”

He said that this investment in commercial programs resulted in double-digit same-store sales growth.

On the service side, the team focused on “right-sizing” its labor force, making sure the stores and service centers had the appropriate number of technicians on the right days.

Going forward, Cozza said the Icahn Automotive Group is focused on aggressively consolidating the U.S. repair shop market. Management’s goal is to ultimately grow its roughly 2,000-shop network into a national brand with 10,000 locations.

“It’s not easy; otherwise, somebody would have already done it,” he told analysts on the call. “But, it’s a great opportunity to have a national brand with 10,000 locations. We have a long way to go, but that’s our goal. That’s where our No.-1 focus is: on expanding the service centers.”          — Marc Vincent

 

Gregg Sherrill Retiring As Tenneco Executive Chairman

Gregg Sherrill plans to retire as the executive chairman of Tenneco Inc., effective May 16; however, Sherrill will continue to serve as chairman of the board of directors in a non-executive capacity. Sherrill has been Tenneco’s executive chairman since May 2017. This followed 10 years as the company’s chairman and CEO.

Prior to joining Tenneco in 2007, Sherrill was with Johnson Controls Inc., where he was president of the Power Solutions (batteries) group. He began his automotive industry career with the Ford Motor Co., where he spent 22 years in a variety of engineering and manufacturing roles.

Sherrill currently serves as a member of the board of directors at Snap-on and Allstate.

 

Transtar Taps Neil Sethi As CEO; Monte Ahuja To Executive Chairman

Transtar Industries (Walton Hills, OH) has promoted Neil Sethi from president and chief operating officer to the company’s CEO, replacing Transtar founder Monte Ahuja, who now serves as executive chairman of the board of directors.

As you may recall, Ahuja returned to Transtar in 2017 as its chairman and CEO following the company’s emergence from Ch. 11 bankruptcy protection. With him, Ahuja brought another company he owns, Transmaxx LLC, as well as Transmaxx’s CEO, Sethi, who is Ahuja’s son-in-law.

Sethi’s background includes more than a decade with Transtar in a variety of leadership positions, including as president of the company’s driveline distribution group.

“Neil is an industry veteran with a proven track record,” Ahuja said in an announcement dated March 1. “With the strong growth and positive traction the company has shown over the last several months, I am confident that the timing is right for this transition.”

 

Trevor Potter Starts Own Strategy And Consulting Business

Longtime aftermarket sales and training professional Trevor Potter has founded PBL Strategy, a strategy and consulting firm with a focus on wholesale distributors, e-commerce companies, manufacturers, tire dealers and other retailers. Services include sales strategy, supply chain optimization, leadership development and project management focused on product performance and safety testing.

Potter said he decided to start the company after leaving his position as vice president of sales at CRP Industries. Several former customers approached him requesting business assistance, Potter said.

In addition to PBL, Potter is also an advisory board member for BWG Strategy, which organizes over 1,500 virtual roundtable and business development events annually for executives and senior professionals in a variety of sectors. BWG founder and CEO Bill Williams invited Potter to the board in February after he participated in several of the company’s moderated group and individual investor calls on the automotive aftermarket.

Before joining CRP in 2013, Potter was vice president of sales and marketing for Schrader International’s Sensata division and division manager – automotive aftermarket for Petoskey Plastics. He also was director of sales and training for the Automotive Distribution Network and national accounts and training manager for Uni-Select Inc.

 

Simoniz Partners With Mr. Brands For Retail Sales

Simoniz USA (Bolton, CT) will be transitioning its retail business and a number of its legacy brands — including Simoniz, Vision Blade, Nitro Shine and Vista — to Mr. Brands LLC. Mr. Brands will become the sole source of all Simoniz-branded products into the retail marketplace in the United States and Mexico. The changeover in vendors is expected to take effect in June.

Mr. Brands (Bristol, PA) is a longtime licensee of Simoniz products, distributing certain categories that Simoniz did not manufacture or distribute, including floor mats, wiper blades, car and steering wheel covers, and booster cables. Moving forward, the Simoniz/Mr. Brands partnership will cover all retail Simoniz product categories, including appearance, accessories, cleaning and deodorizing, and tire sealants and absorbents.

The partnership will expand Simoniz’s reach into the DIY market and allow Simoniz to focus more on its core business in the DIFM market, according to Mark Immen, president of Simoniz Retail Products. The professional car wash, new car dealership and detail shop segments have shown substantial growth over the past several years, he said.

“This partnership is an extension of an already existing, long-term relationship, which has been successful for many years,” Immen said.

Mr. Brands has been a wholesaler/distributor since 2010 for a number of retailers throughout the United States and other parts of the world. In addition to its relationship with Simoniz, the company holds licensing rights for such brands as Kings Camo, PBR (Professional Bull Riders) and Fun Time Toys. In addition to house brands, the company carries an extensive product line, including automotive accessories, hardware, housewares and toys.

Simoniz, founded in 1910, is most known for its DIFM automotive appearance products, including Hot Wax and Shine, Simoniz Glasscoat, etc. The company also runs the Simoniz Garage, a detail training center, two manufacturing facilities and six distribution centers. Those operations won’t be affected.       — Sarah Hollander

 

LKQ Reports 6.8% North American Revenue Growth

Chicago-based LKQ Corp. came through with $120.66 million in net income for the fourth quarter of 2017 — an increase of 39.8 percent over the previous year. On an adjusted basis, net income from continuing operations rose 17 percent.

Gross margin grew 14.2 percent to $947.65 million. As a percentage of sales, gross margin increased from 61.4 percent to 61.6 percent on a year-over-year basis.

LKQ’s revenue rose 14.9 percent to $2.47 billion in the fourth quarter of 2017.

North American segment revenue increased 6.8 percent to $1.07 billion, with organic revenue growth of 5 percent. Notably, paint was up 1 percent, turning in its first quarter of positive growth in the last five quarters. North American segment earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) rose 10.4 percent to $152.78 million. Segment EBITDA margin increased from 12.5 percent to 12.7 percent.

Europe segment revenue climbed 24.6 percent to $969.10 million, with organic revenue growth of 5 percent. Segment EBITDA increased 22.2 percent to $77.62 million, yet segment EBITDA margin declined from 8.2 percent to 8.0 percent.

Specialty revenue rose 12.1 percent to $295.42 million, with organic revenue growth of 3.6 percent. Specialty segment EBITDA increased 13.2 percent to $23.03 million. Segment EBITDA margin grew from 7.7 percent to 7.8 percent.

During the quarter, LKQ acquired the aftermarket business of Warn Industries, a designer, manufacturer and marketer of vehicle equipment and accessories; and signed a definitive agreement to acquire Stahlgruber GmbH, a wholesale distributor of aftermarket spare parts, tools, equipment and accessories with operations in Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Italy, Slovenia and Croatia.

In addition to the Warn and pending Stahlgruber acquisitions, LKQ also purchased an aftermarket parts distributor in Bosnia and Herzegovina, an automotive glass distributor in Kansas, an aftermarket parts distributor in the Netherlands, and an automotive glass distributor in New Jersey. Additionally, LKQ’s European operations opened six new branches in western Europe and nine new branches in eastern Europe.

The Stahlgruber transaction is expected to be completed in the first half of 2018, subject to regulatory approval. “We look forward to closing the Stahlgruber acquisition in the near term, so we can get to work integrating that business into our European operations,” said LKQ president and CEO Dominick Zarcone.

In related news, to support growth in its specialty segment, LKQ has begun work on a new, 450,000-square-foot distribution facility in southern California. The facility is expected to open in the second quarter of 2018.

 

Fenix Announces Merger Agreement With Private Equity Firm

Fenix Parts (Westchester, IL) — facing liquidity issues, as well as an unsolicited, non-binding takeover bid — has entered into a definitive merger agreement with Stellex Capital Management. The deal calls for a Stellex-controlled affiliate to acquire Fenix, a recycler and reseller of OEM automotive products, for $0.40 per share in cash along with the assumption of over $40 million in operating and long-term liabilities, including $33 million of indebtedness. The transaction has been unanimously approved by Fenix’s board of directors.

According to Fenix, the per-share cash consideration under the Stellex deal represents a premium of roughly 56 percent to the 60-day, volume-weighted average stock price as of Feb. 9, which was the last trading day prior to the announcement by Upstate Shredding of its unsolicited, non-binding offer for Fenix.

Upstate’s bid was for $0.50 per share. Its offer would be funded with cash on-hand and not subject to any financing condition.

Upstate Shredding of Owego, NY bills itself as the East Coast’s largest privately-owned scrap metal processor, with 16 locations across the Northeast. Its metal-shredding and separation operations handle a variety of metals, including automobiles, trucks and industrial scrap.

Stellex is a private equity firm that invests in middle-market companies in North America and Europe. It has offices in New York and London.

Fenix CEO Kent Robertson said the definitive merger agreement with Stellex follows a “long and exhaustive” strategic review process, which included multiple offers from both strategic and financial entities that ultimately fell apart.

“Throughout this process, the company’s financial condition has continued to deteriorate, due to ongoing liquidity constraints, which limited the company’s car-buying activity, and the impact of a fire in April 2017 at our Toronto facility,” Robertson said in a statement dated Feb. 28. “As a result of continued negative cash flow from operations and the current liquidity situation — including the continuing default on our senior secured credit facility — there was significant doubt that the company could remain a going concern, limiting our options to move forward with the business. Due to all of these factors, the board believes this offer from Stellex represents the best opportunity for shareholders to maximize value.”

Regarding Upstate’s unsolicited, non-binding offer to acquire the company, Fenix states: “After careful consideration, the board concluded that there was significant doubt that the offer would be completed on its announced terms. The board also observed that pursuing the offer — and the related lengthy due-diligence process that would ensue — would jeopardize the advanced negotiations with Stellex. Comparatively, the Stellex offer followed months of extensive negotiation and due diligence, giving the board confidence that the proposed transaction with Stellex provided a better alternative for stockholders to monetize their shares, and will facilitate the company entering into an extension to its forbearance agreement with its senior secured lender … .”

The Stellex deal, which is subject to shareholder approval, is expected to close in the second quarter of 2018.

 

FCA Board Still Reviewing ‘Potential Separation’ Of Magneti Marelli

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) announced on Feb. 28 that the company is continuing its review of a “potential separation” of Magneti Marelli.

“The board of directors of the company plans to review, in detail, options relating to this transaction in the second quarter of 2018, concurrent with the board’s review of the group’s 2018-2022 business plan,” the statement reads. “In the meantime, management will continue its evaluation of potential transaction structures to maximize value to FCA stockholders.

“There is no assurance that the review of the potential separation of Magneti Marelli will result in a final determination to enter into any such transaction, or that such transaction, if commenced, will be completed. FCA does not intend to make any further disclosures concerning these matters until a definitive determination is made.”

 

Dana Confirms Talks With GKN Regarding Potential Transaction

Dana Inc. (Maumee, OH) on March 2 confirmed that it is in discussions with GKN plc regarding “a potential transaction involving part of GKN’s business.” The talks are believed to be for GKN Driveline, according to a variety of news reports.

Dana’s statement reads: “There can be no certainty that any agreement will be reached, and Dana will always act in the best interests of its shareholders. Dana does not intend to update the market further unless, and until, it is appropriate to do so, or a formal agreement has been reached.”

This comes as GKN, a United Kingdom-based manufacturer, is the target of a takeover by Melrose Industries, a U.K.-based buyout and turnaround specialist.

 

Federal-Mogul Brings Back ANCO ‘Big Yellow’ Display For Limited Time

Federal-Mogul Motorparts is celebrating the 100th anniversary of The Anderson Co. with the return of “Big Yellow” ANCO wipers display cabinets for shops and technicians. “Big Yellow” display units — which arguably changed the way that wipers were displayed, sold and merchandised — were popular with repair shops and service stations during ANCO’s early years.

John Anderson founded ANCO as The Anderson Co. in South Bend, IN in 1918. Initially, the business developed, produced and marketed a range of automotive products, including Hot Spot manifold gaskets, ball thrust bearings and timers. By the early 1930s, the company was producing replacement wipers and arms in large volumes. Federal-Mogul acquired the ANCO brand in 1998.

 

Midtronics Appoints Executive VP, Transportation Division GM

Willowbrook, IL-based Midtronics Inc. has promoted Will Sampson to executive vice president and transportation division general manager. This adds the transportation division sales and engineering organizations to the marketing and product development functions previously under Sampson’s management.

Most recently, he was vice president and business leader – transportation division, leading the division’s marketing and product development efforts in addition to responsibility for the company’s European subsidiary, Midtronics b.v. Sampson has been with the company since 1994, serving in a variety of sales, product management and marketing roles.

 

New Brands At Motor State Distributing

Motor State Distributing has announced the addition of the following brands to its product lines …
BluePrint Engines (BPE) crate engines, short-block assemblies, engine blocks and cylinder heads;
FIE distributors, fuel pumps and ignition components;
Seymour paints, primers and coating products;
Soft Seal automotive restoration weather stripping;
Speedmaster performance engine components;
Superior Fuel Cells; and
Vintage Wires spark plug wires.

 

Doug Evans Is Now President Of Crower Cams

Former SEMA chairman (current immediate past chairman) Doug Evans is now president of the Crower Cams & Equipment Co. of San Diego.

“The plan is to renew our sales and marketing efforts in a much bigger way, reaching out to customers and providing them what they need to make the Crower name what it once was in the business,” Evans said. “We’re just getting started.”

Evans said he plans to focus on product innovation and improved efficiency.

Founded in 1955, Crower builds performance racing parts, from camshafts to crankshafts. Founder and former president, Bruce Crower, an International Drag Racing Hall of Famer, is now semi-retired. His wife, Barbara Crower, remains on the board.

Prior to joining Crower, Evans, a SEMA Hall of Famer, was director of new business development for Bonnier Corp.’s events division, and executive vice president and chief operating officer of Luken Communications. He also spent many years in the automotive, motorsports and off-road media and events fields with positions at Conde Nast, The Promotion Co. – Family Events (now a division of Bonnier Corp.), and The Enthusiast Network (TEN), formerly Petersen Publishing.

 

Horizon Global Tackling Performance Issues In The Americas

Horizon Global Corp. (Troy, MI) — a manufacturer of branded towing and trailering equipment, including Draw-TiteReese and Bulldog products — has undertaken a number of measures to remedy issues that have cropped up in its Horizon Americas business.

Horizon Americas’ net sales decreased 5.1 percent to $88.30 million in the fourth quarter of 2017. Management attributed the decline to delivery delays tied to transitioning to a new distribution facility in Kansas City, as well as inventory reduction efforts by retail customers. Additionally, the retail portion of the Americas business was negatively impacted by increased sourcing costs from China.

To set the Americas business back on track, management has made leadership changes and launched a restructuring program intended to reduce operating costs and realign the organization for greater efficiency. This includes facility consolidations, workforce reductions and “optimizing” its distribution network, according to the company’s March 1 fourth-quarter and full-year financial results announcement.

LEADERSHIP CHANGES … As you may recall, Horizon earlier this year hired towing and trailering industry veteran Carl Bizon to be Horizon Americas’ new president. He replaced John Aleva, who has left the company “to pursue other opportunities,” according to a Jan. 26 announcement.

Horizon Global president and CEO Mark Zeffiro told analysts on the company’s March 1 financial results conference call that the new president knows the company and its customers well, and brings deep experience in the towing and trailering industry. “New leadership also brings a proven track record of driving manufacturing efficiencies and profitability, as well as leading successful business integrations,” he said. “We believe that the Americas segment required a fresh perspective and a new path going forward.”

Zeffiro said the company also placed its top corporate operational leader, Mike Finos, in the Americas business to drive process improvement in Reynosa, Mexico and project leadership for Kansas City. And, to support internal efforts and ensure success, Horizon has brought in a manufacturing consultant to assist with its improvement efforts.

EFFICIENCY ISSUES … Already underway was a consolidation of the business’ Americas manufacturing operations in Reynosa and shutting its Juarez facility. “We’ve reaped the benefits of this consolidation, but we had ongoing inefficiencies in Reynosa that were masked because the facility was meeting its commitments in the first half of the year,” Zeffiro told analysts on the call. “This began to change in Q2 of 2017, and then gained momentum in Q3 and Q4. The corporate team kept a close watch on the situation in the Americas manufacturing operations and took quick actions to correct the issues.”

This has included the appointment of a new plant manager in Reynosa. “It’s early days, but we are already seeing measureable production improvement in Reynosa,” Zeffiro said.

Zeffiro said that the launch of the new Kansas City distribution center negatively impacted Horizon Americas’ fourth-quarter performance, as the operating costs at launch were higher than anticipated. Further, fourth-quarter shipments were impacted by execution issues at the facility.

“Our Kansas City distribution center project fell short of implementation expectations, and we have acted to make changes in the leadership of this project,” he said. “Since January, the project team has been reporting daily progress, which is providing greater visibility across the organization.”

MOVING FORWARD … Zeffiro pointed out that several actions have already been instituted, and said the company has identified a general timeline for the commencement and completion of the remaining items. He said these actions will not only address near-term challenges but will also be important for the long-term ability of the Americas segment to achieve management’s financial goals.

In the fourth quarter, Horizon Americas reorganized its sales team in an attempt to better align with its customers and more effectively service its channels.

During the first quarter of 2018, plans call for Horizon Americas to begin the process of consolidating two non-manufacturing facilities. “This will have the added benefit of allowing us to de-layer the organization and complete the integration of the Americas team,” Zeffiro explained.          — Marc Vincent

 

Horizon Global Makes Corporate Governance Changes

Horizon Global Corp. has announced Denise Ilitch as the chair of its board of directors. Ilitch was co-chair alongside the company’s CEO, Mark Zeffiro, who will continue to serve as a director.

Ilitch, a member of Horizon Global’s board since 2015, has been a business leader in the Detroit area for more than 30 years. She is president of Ilitch Enterprises. Her background also includes time as the president of Ilitch Holdings, a privately held business that manages Little Caesar Enterprises, the Detroit Red Wings and the Detroit Tigers.

The board also has amended and restated its certification of incorporation to declassify Horizon’s board of directors. This amendment, which is subject to shareholder approval, would be phased-in over a period of three years.

 

Impact Relocates So. Cal Operations

Impact Racing, a motorsports safety products company, has relocated its southern California operations from Santee (in the San Diego area) about 90 miles northward to Irvine (in the Los Angeles area). According to management, the move will provide better access to a wider range of customers across southern California, including off-road customers.

For San Diego-area customers, the company has added Jimco Racing as a master warehouse distributor, joining other area dealers Off Road Warehouse (ORW), Race Ready, SRD, AutoFab and 4Wheel Parts. Jimco is located in Santee, one block from Impact’s Santee facility.

The move does not affect Impact’s corporate headquarters and manufacturing facility in Indianapolis.

 

Borla Announces Professional Bull Riders Partnership

Borla Performance Industries has announced a sponsorship of the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) series, which will include the organization’s World Finals in Las Vegas this fall. Promotions will include in-arena banners and video board exposure, as well as a social media campaign and a special promotion, “Who Performed Better? Powered by Borla,” in which PBR followers are able to review and vote for videos of their favorite rides.

Additionally, PBR fans who want to try a Borla performance exhaust on their vehicle can visit a Borla booth in the arena concourse at certain PBR events.

 

VP Racing Fuels Adds Senior Communications Manager

San Antonio-based VP Racing Fuels has hired Bob Merz as its senior manager of corporate communications. Merz most recently was the vice president of marketing for Additech Inc., which makes premium fuel additives dispensing products. His background also includes time as a senior consultant with Brandt Marketing, vice president of marketing at 7-Eleven Inc., and vice president of advertising and promotion for Pennzoil Companies.

 

NPD Names New President For Its Automotive Aftermarket Practice

The NPD Group (Port Washington, NY) has named Steve Flavin as the president of its automotive aftermarket practice, succeeding Dawn Zieren, who is moving into a new corporate role supporting NPD’s cross-practice global and strategic initiatives. Flavin reports to Perry James, president of NPD’s hardlines sector.

Flavin, who joined NPD in 2001, has 25 years of automotive experience — over 10 of which have been spent in various roles within NPD’s automotive aftermarket practice. Prior to serving as president of NPD’s technology east and mobile business practices (a position he held for the last five years), Flavin was vice president of client development and business development for NPD’s automotive aftermarket practice.

Flavin’s background also includes time as a category merchandising manager and sales manager for The Clorox Co.

NPD’s automotive aftermarket practice has welcomed back another former member: Travis Mitchell, who has over a decade of automotive aftermarket experience. Mitchell is now executive director of client development, reporting to Flavin. He was executive director of product development for NPD’s hardlines sector.

 

NEW … BBB Industries: BBB/AutoZone Territory Sales Manager

The Territory Sales Manager (TSM) will report to the RVP, Sales – AutoZone and will be based in the Dallas, TX area. This position requires fluency in both English and Spanish. The main responsibility for this position is to call on all AutoZone stores. The Territory Sales Manager (TSM) will make prospective account sales calls … (more) … Click here to find out more.

NEW … BBB Industries: Territory Sales Manager

Main responsibility is to call on all O’Reilly stores within region. Make prospective account sales call with O’Reilly RM and TSM in each territory. Goals are to make 10 sales calls with OReilly TSM a day, add new accounts, and add inventory to O’Reilly stores. Relationships need to be developed with O’Reilly store personal, DM, and TSMs. … (more) … Click here to find out more.

NEW … BBB Industries: Automotive Technical Trainer

The Automotive Technical Trainer will deliver manufacturer technical training. JOB DUTIES – PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITIES: Plan, organize, and deliver technical instruction to retailers and shop technicians to enhance their learning and proficiency in the service, diagnostics, and repair of company products (various automotive parts); Prepare and delivery quality training … (more) … Click here to find out more.

NEW … BBB Industries: Senior Financial Analyst – Commercial

This role reports to the Director of Finance – Commercial, and will provide various forecasting, analysis and business case development to support the strategic growth strategy of the company. Major areas of focus will be sales revenue, program credits, warranty, margins, operating expenses and commercial contract management obligation oversight. … (more) … Click here to find out more.

MAHLE Aftermarket Inc.: Account Manager – United States

Would you like to take on assignments with a high level of responsibility? … Conducts market research to determine appropriate new products, promotions and selling activities to develop additional business … Manage and develop existing accounts, negotiate contracts and leverage the value of the MAHLE brand to secure new business … Works with MAHLE independent representatives to train and support them on MAHLE products … Support representatives with technical advice, pricing, sales and promotions for customers … (more) … Click here to find out more.

MAHLE Aftermarket Inc.: Data Management Coordinator – Farmington Hills, MI

Would you like to take on assignments with a high level of responsibility? … Develop, maintain, and monitor data, in conjunction with product management, in the catalog database for online and print catalogs … Assist product management with data mapping requirements for electronic catalog … Update ACES & PIES data outputs to customers and 3rd party providers … Manage monthly data validation processes and review reports based on released VCdB from Auto Care Association … (more) … Click here to find out more.

Seeking Manufacturer Representatives

Power Brake, and Power Steering Remanufacturer looking for Manufacturer Representatives to sell our products throughout the United States. (more) … Click here to find out more.

Alltech Automotive LLC.: Entry Level Sales

Responsibilities: Manage assigned accounts and territory to achieve topline sales obligations. … Visit new and existing installers for product information and training. Cover geographic sales territories, developing and maintaining relationships with customers to drive pull through sales. … Support execution of sales plan set by Sales Manager … Execute customer strategy, marketing programs and provide input and feedback … Work hand-in-hand with Sales Manager to support and grow existing accounts … Act as day-to-day contact for customers … (more) … Click here to find out more.

Power Stop: Aftermarket Sales Professional

Power Stop LLC, is seeking a proven sales professional that has a track record of developing and growing new business within the traditional automotive aftermarket channel. Ideal candidate must be a self starter. Candidate must have 5 plus years of experience in working with the national program group members. Brake sales experience is a plus. Candidate must be entrepreneurial. (more) … Click here to find out more.

Alltech Automotive LLC.: Regional Sales Manager

The Regional Sales Manager is a dedicated position, concentrating on leading and generating sales/awareness and support of new products, new programs and updates to the Alltech customer base. This position will dedicate effort and time in a coordinated fashion with the National Account Manager and all downstream customers. (more) … Click here to find out more.

Henkel: Vehicle, Repair and Maintenance (VRM) Key Account Manager – Distribution, Retail & Body Shop Channel – Midwest Region

Position Description: The VRM Key Account Manager will be responsible for driving sales growth in the Aftermarket Industry through the Distribution, Retail and Body Shop Channels for the Automotive, Agricultural, Construction, Commercial Truck and Recreational Vehicle Industry. This position has specific responsibility for national retail accounts including NAPA, Advance Auto, AutoZone, O’Reilly’s and Pep Boys in additional to covering specific states in the midwest.  The VRM steering unit provides adhesives, sealants, and functional coatings for the maintenance and repair of transportation vehicles. (more) … Click here to find out more.

Alltech Automotive LLC.: National Sales Manager – Automotive Retail

Position Description: Alltech Automotive LLC, a dynamic global automotive supplier, is seeking a National Sales Manager to represent products it sells into the retail sector of the Automotive Aftermarket. While the position itself will be based in the Chicago metropolitan area, this position will oversee all sales to national e-tailers and retailers within North America from our global manufacturing footprint. (more) … Click here to find out more.

 

Gold Eagle’s Marc Blackman Is New AASA Board Of Governors Chairman

Marc Blackman, CEO of the Gold Eagle Co., is the new chairman of the AASA Board of Governors, replacing Joe Pomaranski of Tenneco, who is retiring. Jens Schueler, president of the Schaeffler Group USA, is now first vice chairman of the board. They are joined by the following board members …
Alex Ashmore, president of Delphi Products & Service Solutions;
Mike Carr, vice president and president – North America at Axalta Coating Systems;
Tim Corcoran, managing director – region North America at ZF TRW Automotive;
Rick Jamieson, president and CEO of ABS Friction;
Rafaat Kureshi, vice president – international business and supplier development for Spectrum Brands Global Auto Care;
Howard Laster, head of independent aftermarket – North America business unit, commercial vehicles and aftermarket at Continental;
Enrico Manuele, regional president – automotive aftermarket N.A. for Robert Bosch;
David Peace, president and CEO of Airtex Products and ASC Industries;
Jack Ramsey, senior vice president – North America aftermarket for Gates Corp.; and
Eric Sills, president and CEO of Standard Motor Products.

Also serving on the board are Steve Handschuh, president and CEO of MEMA, and Bill Long, president and chief operating officer of AASA.

 

MEMA Opposes Proposed Steel, Aluminum Tariffs

MEMA has spoken out against the tariffs on steel and aluminum announced by the Trump administration, calling the move detrimental to the motor vehicle parts supplier industry. “We have voiced repeatedly that — while we support the administration’s focus on strong domestic steel and aluminum markets — tariffs limit access to necessary specialty products, raise the cost of motor vehicles to consumers and impair the industry’s ability to compete in the global marketplace,” said association president and CEO Steve Handschuh in a March 1 statement.

“Many specialty materials and components imported by motor vehicle suppliers are used by hundreds of vehicle parts manufacturers. Suppliers’ access to these specialized products is critical to the industry and our national economy,” Handschuh said in a February letter to President Trump.

 

CAPA, Intertek Ink Exclusive License Deal For Parts Certification

Intertek, a total quality assurance provider to industries worldwide, has announced an exclusive services appointment and license deal with the Certified Automotive Parts Association (CAPA), an independent non-profit certification organization for automotive replacement parts.

The deal grants Intertek exclusive rights to operate the CAPA certification program around the world, including managing daily operations, administering certification marks and labels, performing marketing activities, and conducting testing and inspection services. CAPA will continue as a non-profit standards-development organization, focused on maintaining CAPA standards.

For more than 25 years, Intertek has been a testing and validation partner to CAPA.

Jack Gillis, interim executive director of CAPA, said the partnership with Intertek sets the stage for the transition of CAPA’s program management to the testing company. “Intertek’s extensive experience with CAPA, CAPA manufacturers, and automotive testing and certification will enable them to significantly grow the program, while manufacturers and the marketplace will notice few outward changes,” Gillis said.

 

Bendix To Open New Engineering Center In Mexico

Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems and Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake plan to open a 7,800-square-foot engineering research and development center in Monterrey, Mexico later this year. Construction of offices and test labs is under way, with an eye toward completion in the third quarter.

Bendix’s headquarters in Elyria, OH will remain the company’s engineering and R&D leadership hub. The company also maintains engineering operations in Acuna, Mexico; Irvine, CA; Kalamazoo, MI; and Vancouver, British Columbia.

 

Executive Leadership Changes At AxleTech

Mike Semke has returned to Troy, MI-based AxleTech as its vice president of global pricing and program management. Semke has over 20 years of experience in drivetrain and powertrain technology. He previously led program management and pricing functions for Fabco Automotive and Meritor. Semke was a program manager and sales manager for AxleTech from 2006-’10.

AxleTech also has added Rick Larkin as its CFO, overseeing accounting, treasury, tax, and strategic financial planning and reporting. Larkin has over 35 years of financial and executive management experience, most recently as a managing director with Angle Advisors, a boutique investment banking firm.

 

Minimizer Adds Territory Managers

Blooming Prairie, MN-based Minimizer has added two territory managers: Geoff Cook for the Mideast, which includes Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia and Virginia; and Scott Holm for the Northwest, which includes Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Utah.

 

New President For VOXX Automotive

Ed Mas is now the president of Orlando-based VOXX Automotive, the business unit of VOXX International Corp. responsible for developing and distributing technology for automotive OEMs and the aftermarket, including rear seat infotainment products, remote starts and wireless entry systems.

Mas has spent the last four years as executive vice president of VOXX Automotive. His background also includes 11 years with Invision Automotive Systems and 16 years at Panasonic Automotive Systems.

 

People Watching 3/8/18

• Dayton Parts has added Mark Colbran as its regional sales manager for western Canada.

• Reyco Granning (Mt. Vernon, MO) has hired Arnie Dunai as its new vice president of sales and marketing. He is the former vice president of sales and marketing for the Grand Rock Exhaust Co. His background also includes time as a senior product manager at Transtar Industries.

• Tim Fiore has returned to Ryder System Inc. as its chief procurement officer, responsible for the global procurement organization across all three business divisions: Fleet Management Solutions, Dedicated Transportation Solutions and Supply Chain Solutions. Fiore was the company’s procurement chief from 2002-05. His career also has included time as the chief procurement officer for ThyssenKrupp NA.

Robin Kendrick, a vice president and corporate officer of BorgWarner Inc., has joined the Accuride Corp. board of directors as an independent director. Kendrick is the president and general manager of Turbo Systems, the turbocharger business unit of BorgWarner.

• CEO Alfred Weber has left the Mann+Hummel Group. In the summer of 2017, Weber ruled out a contract extension beyond 2018, and he recently asked to be released from his duties for personal reasons, according to a company announcement. Weber’s resignation is effective immediately. The group’s management board, in coordination with shareholders’ representatives, will manage the company until a successor is appointed.

 

News Briefs 3/8/18

US Gear, a brand of AxleTech, has selected Wes-Coast Marketing to represent its line of products in Washington, Oregon, California, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico, as well as British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan.

• Spectra Premium Industries is XL Parts’ 2017 Vendor of the Year. XL Parts is a Houston-based member of the National Pronto Association.

Motown Automotive Distributing recognized Dorman Products as “Best in Show” for Motown’s inaugural Parts & Tool Expo. Motown is a Federated Auto Parts member.

• Keystone Automotive Operations now carries clutch and drivetrain products from McLeod Clutches.

Temot International has added a new shareholder in Luxembourg: ETS Klauner, a family owned commercial parts distributor.

• Bar’s Leaks, Rislone and Hy-per Lube are offering a joint national “Auto Care Rewards” program designed to encourage DIYers to try new products. The initiative lets customers take advantage of current rebate offers, as well as track earned rewards and enter available sweepstakes. For more information, visit autocarerewards.com.

Federated Auto Parts has announced an extension to its entitlement sponsorship of the fall Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Richmond Raceway, partnering with the Virginia track for an additional five years through 2022. The 2018 Federated Auto Parts 400 on Sept. 22 will mark the seventh consecutive year of the entitlement sponsorship.

Wix Filters will be the chief technical partner for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing’s Indy 500 entry with Sage Karam as driver. Wix and Dreyer & Reinbold are now in the sixth year of a multi-level partnership that includes serving as the official oil filter for the team.

Ididit (Tecumseh, MI) is returning as the NMRA Outlaw True Street title sponsor this year.

Ringbrothers has selected Aeromotive as its fuel tank and pump of choice for the majority of its future custom vehicle builds. The exception will be vehicles that are OE projects and need to remain stock.

Navistar has launched a Fleetrite all-makes radiator and surge tank program.

Hopkins Manufacturing has launched a new website for Brake Buddy, brakebuddy.com, that includes quick links to product features, installation and support; streamlined warranty registration; and an updated community section.

 

Event & Trade Show Briefs 3/8/18

• March 16 is the deadline to submit booth space applications for AAPEX 2018 and be included in the space draw. Click here to learn more.

• David Wilbanks of O’Reilly Auto Parts and Norman Young of Weld Racing will be among the featured speakers at the AASA MAP/eMRP Workshop on Friday, March 23, the day after the AASA Vision Conference in Rosemont, IL. The workshop is designed to provide suppliers with a forum to discuss pricing strategies. AASA legal counsel will be present to assure that the meeting is held in accordance with anti-trust guidelines. Click here for information on the workshop, which is exclusively for AASA supplier members.

IMR CEO Bill Thompson will present a market overview, including trends and millennial buying habits, at the spring meeting of the AASA Modern Industry eXpertise Council (MiX) on March 23. The meeting will take place the morning after the conclusion of the AASA Vision Conference. Both events will be at the Loews Chicago O’Hare in Rosemont, IL. Click here for more information.

• The University of the Aftermarket’s next “Aftermarket 101” course will be held May 15-16 at the Hilton Garden Inn Detroit Southfield hotel in Southfield, MI. The class is for people who are new to the aftermarket, or are new to a position that requires a more complete understanding of the industry, its channels, challenges and trends. For more information, search for “Aftermarket 101” on the university’s course calendar page.

• SEMA, the TechForce Foundation and Collision Repair Education Foundation are hosting a transportation career fair March 16 at the SEMA Garage in Diamond Bar, CA. Hundreds of high school and college students are expected to attend, according to SEMA eNews.

 

 

9 — March 1, 2018

 

AutoZone Sells IMC To Parts Authority, AutoAnything To Private Equity Firm

AutoZone Inc. has announced deals to sell Interamerican Motor Corp. (IMC) to Parts Authority and AutoAnything to Kingswood Capital Management. Financial terms of the transactions were not disclosed. It marks only the second time that AutoZone has divested itself of a business, following the sale of TruckPro back in 2001.

Both businesses were unprofitable for AutoZone, which was operating them at a net loss, according to comments made by Chairman, President and CEO Bill Rhodes during AutoZone’s Feb. 27 quarterly report conference call. And, IMC and AutoAnything were seen by management as not being core to the company’s strategic priorities going forward.

INTERAMERICAN MOTOR CORP. … AutoZone acquired IMC, an import parts wholesale distributor business, in 2014. “Our objective was to enhance our understanding of the WD model, while leveraging their focus on the import market,” Rhodes told analysts on the call.

“Our intention was to substantially expand their footprint, and we grew their branch count from 17 to 26,” he said. “As we have grown this business, it’s been increasingly challenging to grow quickly on a profitable basis. As our strategic perspective on the commercial marketplace has progressed, we’ve determined that our time, attention, focus and investments would be substantially more valuable centered on growing our core commercial business, rather than focusing on a more-narrow, high-end import market.”

Rhodes said there is very little overlap in terms of customers between IMC and AutoZone.

“Over time, we have, in our core business, gotten deeper and deeper in import coverage, primarily through the Duralast brand, and we will continue to do that,” he said on the call. “So, I don’t see a major shift in how we go to market.”

Rhodes added that AutoZone has been enhancing its import parts coverage. “When you think about the mega hubs and hubs, there’s a lot of that there, but there’s a lot of it in just those core satellite stores as well,” he explained. “So, I think we will continue to focus on the import market. … What we won’t be doing is selling to the high-end import market, which is what IMC is really good at.”

For Lake Success, NY-based Parts Authority, the acquisition is seen as an expansion of its product offerings, customer touch points and geographies.

Parts Authority has over 150 locations (including IMC) across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, as well as in Ohio, Georgia, Florida, Texas, Arizona, California and the Pacific Northwest. The company is a member of the National Pronto Association.

IMC, with 26 locations across nine states, is billed as the second largest distributor of OE-quality import replacement parts in the United States.

Randy Buller, the president and CEO of Parts Authority, called IMC’s leadership in European replacement parts a logical fit with Parts Authority’s current catalog. “We believe the expanded inventory depth of the combined organization will significantly benefit both IMC’s existing customer base as well as Parts Authority’s customers,” Buller said. “In addition, the IMC footprint expands Parts Authority into key new geographies of Florida, Texas, northern California and the Pacific Northwest.”

Jefferies LLC was the sole financial advisor to AutoZone on the IMC sale.

AUTOANYTHING … AutoZone acquired AutoAnything, an online-only retailer that sells performance and accessory products, in 2012 to better understand the Internet-only environment and to leverage those learnings on autozone.com, according to Rhodes.

He added: “AutoAnything has always been run separate and distinct from AutoZone and autozone.com. Both the AutoAnything and autozone.com teams have learned from each other, but, over time — as omni-channel has emerged and increased in importance — we decided that our focus and efforts would be better spent focusing on autozone.com and driving our core business.”

Rhodes told analysts that both IMC and AutoAnything are better suited with a different ownership structure — one “where they will get the time, attention and investments necessary to optimize their business model.”

AutoAnything’s new owner, Kingswood Capital, is a lower-middle-market private equity firm. As part of the transaction, Drew Sanocki, a Kingswood operating executive and an e-commerce veteran, is joining AutoAnything as executive chairman. Sanocki will be actively involved with AutoAnything’s senior management team in executing the company’s long-term plan, according to a statement from Kingswood.

AutoAnything president Brandon Proctor said: “Kingswood’s expertise and operational support will allow us to accelerate the execution of our strategic plan, and to reach our full potential as an independent company.”     — Marc Vincent

 

AutoZone Ready To Implement New Delivery Frequency Program

AutoZone Inc. has completed testing related to its frequency-of-delivery program, an initiative intended to improve in-stock levels for the SKUs that are stocked in AutoZone’s stores. And, the company is now ready to roll out new delivery schedules where it makes sense.

The pilot program determined that, at certain volumes, more frequent deliveries make economic sense; however, at lower volumes, they don’t, according to comments made by Chairman, President and CEO Bill Rhodes during the company’s Feb. 27 quarterly report conference call.

Rhodes told analysts that the company will implement new frequencies over the next several months. Once completed, roughly 25 percent of AutoZone’s stores — representing 40 percent of the company’s sales volume and nearly 50 percent of its commercial sales — will receive DC deliveries three or more times per week. And, lower-volume stores that are getting three-times-a-week delivery today, will go back to once-a-week delivery.

Rhodes added that implementing these changes will not have a meaningful impact on the company’s current distribution cost structure.

Meanwhile, sales in AutoZone’s mega hubs continue to exceed management’s expectations for both retail and commercial sales, according to Rhodes. “Currently, we have over 4,000 stores with access to mega hub inventory. A majority — or about two-thirds of these 4,000 stores — receive their service on an overnight basis today. But, as we expand our mega hubs, more of them will receive this service same-day, and many will receive it multiple times per day,” Rhodes said on the call.

AutoZone’s mega hubs initiative is focused on adding additional coverage to local markets (adding SKUs that wouldn’t have been available locally in the network before). These super-sized AutoZone stores carry 80,000 to 100,000 unique SKUs — about double what a hub store carries. They provide coverage to both surrounding stores and other hub stores, multiple times a day or on an overnight basis.

Management continues to expect AutoZone to ultimately operate as many as 40 mega hubs. AutoZone did not open any mega hubs during the fiscal second quarter ended Feb. 10, 2018. However, Rhodes said the company remains on track to have 26 locations by the end of the fiscal year.

During the quarter, the company also finished construction on a new distribution center in Ocala, FL, as well as an expansion in Danville, IL. Ocala is expected to begin shipping this month, while the company is now staging inventory in Danville’s expansion.

AutoZone opened 34 net new stores in the United States during the quarter. And, six months into the fiscal year, the company has opened 49 net new stores in the United States, eight new stores in Mexico and two in Brazil.

AutoZone finished the quarter with 5,514 stores across the United States (including Puerto Rico), 532 stores in Mexico and 16 stores in Brazil, for a total store count of 6,062. This does not include IMC, which AutoZone is selling.

Management expects AutoZone to open roughly 150 new domestic stores this fiscal year, as well as 40 in Mexico and 10 in Brazil, for a total of approximately 200 new locations.        — Marc Vincent

 

AutoZone Same-Store Sales Up 2.2%,
Commercial Sales Increase 5.7%

For the fiscal second quarter ended Feb. 10, 2018, AutoZone Inc. generated $2.41 billion in net sales — an increase of $123.81 million, or 5.4 percent, over the same period a year ago. Domestic same-store sales rose 2.2 percent on top of flat sales a year earlier, for a two-year stack of +2.2 percent.

The Northeast and Midwest markets were stronger than the remainder of AutoZone’s markets in the quarter, particularly with the onset of harsh winter conditions near the end of December. “In those weather-sensitive markets, our comp-store sales improved by more than 200 basis points as a result of the storms,” said Chairman, President and CEO Bill Rhodes on the company’s Feb. 27 conference call. “Our sales were strongest in the middle of the quarter, when the first major winter storms arrived.”

“For the last couple of years, we’ve discussed that moderate winters have negatively impacted our business. As this winter was more severe, our performance certainly improved,” Rhodes told analysts on the call. “And, it’s important to highlight that there are multiple implications from the cold and wet winter we experienced.

“In the short term, extreme cold results in immediate sales in categories like batteries, antifreeze, blower motors and the like. And, ice and snow results in immediate sales of wipers, deicers, scrapers, etc. Additionally, we believe these conditions — and the efforts to remedy them — should have a lasting benefit on undercar categories like brakes, chassis and similar categories. We’re optimistic that conditions could continue to be more favorable for the balance of our fiscal year.”

COMMERCIAL … Total domestic commercial sales increased 5.7 percent to $455.94 million despite two less selling days this year compared to a year ago, which management believes impacted commercial growth by more than 150 basis points.

During the quarter, AutoZone added 23 commercial programs. Through the first half of the fiscal year, 53 new commercial programs have been added. Management expects AutoZone to open roughly 150 net new commercial programs in fiscal 2018.

Currently, 84 percent of the company’s domestic stores have commercial programs.

ONLINE & OMNI-CHANNEL … AutoZone’s “All Other” sales (which is comprised of Alldata, e-commerce and AutoAnything) decreased by $2.20 million, or 2.6 percent, to $81.45 million in the quarter.

Rhodes said that AutoZone continues to invest in enhancing the customer shopping experience in an omni-channel world. “We continue to see growth in website traffic, particularly mobile, while it drives in-store traffic, ship-to-home sales and buy online/pick up in store,” Rhodes told analysts on the call. “Our website has become one of our key marketing tools, and our first omni-channel objective is to leverage the website to drive in-store business.

“Buy online/pick up in store growth rates remain much, much faster than ship-to-home as our customers value the convenience of immediate availability and the trustworthy advice our AutoZoners provide them. This also further highlights the importance of inventory availability at the store level.”

He said the company also is working to enhance its digital capabilities when it comes to commercial customers, who he said are increasing their interactions with AutoZone electronically.

“We will continue to invest in our omni-channel strategy to ensure we can conduct business with our customers in the manner that best fits their needs and desires,” Rhodes said.

EARNINGS & TAXES … For the quarter, AutoZone came through with $289.53 million in net income — an increase of 22.1 percent over the same period a year ago. Adjusting for the impact of tax changes and other expenses, the company’s net income was up 3.9 percent.

AutoZone’s ongoing federal tax rate decreased to roughly 26 percent in the quarter, reflecting a blend of the old federal rate of 35 percent and the new federal rate of 21 percent. This blended rate reduced AutoZone’s tax expense by $59 million in the quarter.

For the balance of the fiscal year, management expects AutoZone’s global effective tax rate to be approximately 29 percent for both the third and fourth quarters. Beginning in August 2018 (the start of fiscal 2019 at AutoZone), management expects the company’s ongoing global tax rate to be around 24.5 percent. This is anticipated to benefit net income by over $200 million on an annual basis.

Rhodes told analysts that management is exploring opportunities to proactively invest some of these proceeds in an effort to improve AutoZone’s business for the long-term. “Importantly, we have not yet finalized our plans, but our primary focus has been on ensuring our wages and benefits are market-competitive,” he said.

Rhodes said that the current pressures on wages are higher than historical norms and that regulatory changes are going to continue, as evidenced by the areas that have passed laws to increase wages substantially over the next few years. This is augmented by current market forces in retail, as companies compete for talented employees in a low-unemployment environment. “In this particular area, we’ll have continued pressure for some extended period of time,” he told analysts.

A few other items of interest from AutoZone’s fiscal second quarter results and conference call …
• Gross profit increased 5.9 percent to $1.28 billion in the quarter.
• As a percentage of sales, gross profit grew from 52.7 percent to 52.9 percent on a year-over-year basis, attributable to lower distribution costs and higher merchandise margins.
• The company’s inventory increased 4.7 percent over the same period last year, attributable to new stores and increased product placement.
• Inventory per location rose from $665,000 to $671,000 on a year-over-year basis.
• AutoZone’s ratio of accounts payable to inventory climbed from 105.5 percent to 106.9 percent.       — Marc Vincent

 

Advance To Close Underperforming Stores,
Open Only New WORLDPAC Outlets For Now

Advance Auto Parts’ Feb. 21 fourth-quarter and year-end financial results conference call featured an update on the first full year of management’s five-year turnaround plan for the company and a preview of sorts for year two. It touched on a number of topics, including the ongoing “Availability Transformation” initiative, cross-banner opportunities, omni-channel selling efforts, and the need to streamline the company’s store and distribution center base.

President and CEO Tom Greco told analysts that the investments Advance made last year set the company up for long-term growth. So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at what management had to say about these projects.

CULLING INVENTORY … Greco told analysts that Advance ended 2017 with a total inventory reduction of $157 million. This followed a $151-million reduction in 2016. Management expects a similar level of year-over-year decrease in 2018.

The company’s ratio of accounts payable to inventory now stands at just under 70 percent. Management’s goal is to reach the high 90s in time.

“We have been working on strengthening and streamlining our supply chain from end to end,” Greco said on the call. “Our first priority is to improve baseline execution. We remain focused on a limited number of [key performance indicators (KPIs)] in our supply chain. While we’ve made progress on fill rate, close rate and store in-stock rate, significant upside remains. In 2018, we expect to see further improvements in each of these metrics, along with order-to-delivery time and consistency and cost.

“We will also begin moving forward in 2018 with our longer-term supply chain transformation roadmap. We are taking the necessary steps to validate key elements of our plans this year with meaningful benefits to come in the future.”

He added: “In terms of optimization, our supply chain can be streamlined to better meet the future needs of our customers. Our supply chain strategy is about differentiation, improving the customer experience and structural cost reduction. The three key elements of our strategy include: first, a market-by-market approach to drive share; second, the repurposing of our in-market store and asset base; and third, the optimization of our distribution centers.”

STORE CLOSURES … Greco predicted that, in the future, markets across North America will have significant differences in how customers shop for auto parts, requiring a market-by-market approach to drive share.

“Some of the variables we consider include the outlook for professional versus DIY, online versus in-store sales, and buy online/ship to home versus buy online/pickup in store,” he explained. “To optimize our in-market store base, we’ve also evaluated the entirety of our assets market-by-market. This includes Advance stores, Advance hubs, Advance superhubs, Carquest corporate and independent stores, Autopart International stores, and WORLDPAC branches. Our goal is to strengthen our customer value proposition, while simplifying our current asset base.

In some DMAs, we see opportunities to reduce our store base where we have underperforming stores. While stores remain very important to our long-term success, when you have more than 5,000, not all stores have the potential to perform at the level we expect. In those situations, we are adopting a very surgical approach to reducing our store base. Bottom line, we will close stores when it’s clear the decision will drive long-term cash flow.”

Greco emphasized that Advance is approaching store closures differently than it has in the past. “This includes a much more robust process to transfer sales to other [Advance] outlets and, most importantly, an approach that ensures we retain our top-performing team members,” he explained.

However, Greco said that management intends to accelerate WORLDPAC branch openings to drive professional growth, while investing in marketing, online and digital to drive DIY. “Regardless of the inherent differences in each market, our objective is consistent: strengthen our customer value proposition and gain market share,” he explained.

Regarding new stores, Greco said: “Given our underperformance in company-owned Advance and Carquest stores over the past few years, we see an opportunity to improve execution through increased focus. As a result, we don’t want to distract our field leaders with new stores until we grow the comp sales of existing stores.

“This is not to say we won’t open new Advance and Carquest stores in the future. It simply says we are laser-focused on execution in existing stores, and in strengthening the Advance and Carquest brands. Once we are growing comp sales in existing Advance and Carquest-owned stores, we will open new stores again.”

For 2018, the primary effort in terms of new stores will be WORLDPAC.

DC EVALUATION … When it comes to distribution centers, management has determined that the company has more assets than it needs. “In terms of distribution centers, we currently have 54 across North America. In many cases, we ship parts from multiple DCs to the same city, demonstrating there is a significant productivity opportunity,” Greco said on the call. “Our plan to optimize the DC network includes some initiatives that are relatively easy to implement. Others are more difficult, requiring technology unlocks currently in progress.

“We will begin this journey in 2018, capturing some early wins, while testing a more comprehensive solution with the potential to significantly improve in-market availability and substantially reduce costs.”

Greco did not offer any specifics on the DC plan.

Analysts with Jefferies LLC wrote in a Feb. 21 Company Note that optimizing Advance’s “bloated” supply chain is the key to unlocking “real” profits. Of management’s three focus areas — a market-by-market analysis to drive share, repurposing the asset base and optimizing DCs — the Jefferies team stated that they are most encouraged by the efforts to optimize the company’s DC network. They pointed out that Advance has 54 DCs, compared to around 30 for its similarly-sized competitors.

“While the optimization strategy remains in the early stages and is likely a longer-term initiative, we view the decision favorably, as elevated supply chain costs are central to the around 1,000 basis points of gross margin gap to peers,” analysts Bret Jordan, David Kelley and Mark Jordan wrote.

COMMERCIAL INITIATIVES … Advance’s professional-customer-focused “Availability Transformation” program ended 2017 having been rolled out to roughly 1,000 of the company’s 5,000-plus stores. At the same time, Advance is implementing other initiatives intended to enhance the company’s professional value proposition at the store level. This includes cross-banner visibility, which is expected to be complete in the first quarter of 2018.

Cross-banner visibility is designed to equip both professional customers and all Advance Auto Parts, Carquest and WORLDPAC employees to see the entire inventory and portfolio of brands available in-market regardless of banner and to be able to place orders from one platform.

“Related to cross-banner, we implemented Advance Pro, our e-commerce engine for professional customers, with approximately 12,000 professional customers in 2017, including 4,000 converted in the fourth quarter,” Greco told analysts on the call. “Advance Pro allows our professional customers to fully access our common catalog, and we plan to double the number of customers utilizing this platform in 2018.”

RETAIL PROGRAMS … In terms of DIY, management said that Advance is working on improving the in-store experience for its customers, such as having its employees use a standardized approach to customer engagement and selling. In addition, the company is working to improve the quality of its online experience. This included the launch of a new website in mid-2017 and adding to the company’s online SKU assortment.

“We’re focused on just improving the experience overall, making it more frictionless … reducing page load times, reducing the number of clicks to get out,” Greco said. “We tried to align our entire organization around the online offerings, so that we’re actually compensating our general managers for buy online/pickup in store and buy online/ship to home.”

He said that, as a result of this omni-channel focus, Advance’s DIY performance strengthened in Q4, calling it “one of our best quarters in DIY for a while” and adding that the company exited 2017 with momentum in DIY.

INTERSTATE PARTNERSHIP … Executives also touched on the company’s new deal with Interstate Batteries, making Interstate the exclusive automotive and specialty battery brand for Advance Auto Parts stores.

Greco told analysts that the Interstate relationship reinforces the importance of brands and suppliers to Advance’s transformation. “We want to provide the very best market-leading brands at great prices,” he said. “In addition, our supplier base is critical to our success. We continue to work closely with our highly valued suppliers to find additional partnerships that drive benefits for both parties.”

Greco was asked if there might be other partnerships like the Interstate one in the works.

“The whole point about brands is the importance of brands to our customers. All of the work we’ve done leads us to believe that brands are extremely important — not just to our DIY customers, even more so on the professional side,” Greco said. “So, how do we partner with our suppliers? Our suppliers are critically important to this transformation. How do we partner with them to really lift up their brands, work together to find relationships where you can literally make one plus one equal three, and that’s what we think we’ve done with Interstate.”

“We do think there’s more of those out there,” Greco said on the call, “and we’re working actively with our supplier community right now to find more.”             — Marc Vincent

 

Advance Reports 2.6% Comp-Store Sales Decrease

Advance Auto Parts reported $2.04 billion in total net sales for the fourth quarter of 2017 — a 2.2-percent year-over-year decrease. Comparable-store sales declined 2.6 percent on top of 3.1-percent growth a year ago, giving Advance a two-year stack of +0.5 percent. While comps were down 2.6 percent, they exceeded management’s guidance.

President and CEO Tom Greco told analysts on the company’s Feb. 21 conference call that Advance’s topline performance was the result of improving execution throughout the quarter and a better-than-expected December.

“We continued to see topline strength in certain businesses and regions. The WORLDPAC business achieved topline growth above the industry average, and our Canadian business continued to perform very well. In both corporate and independent U.S. stores, our one- and two-year stack performance improved compared to Q3,” Greco said.

“We saw above-average growth in battery sales, as well as increased demand for wipers and lighting,” he added. “These improvements were partially offset by softness in the undercar and cooling categories. We expect these trends to carry forward into the first quarter of the year, as the first quarter has started off with colder weather in key geographies, driving winter-related demand.”

Advance’s fourth-quarter gross profit declined 3.7 percent to $873.60 million, and its gross margin decreased 69 basis points to 42.9 percent, attributable to increased supply chain costs, which had an 89-basis-points impact on margins.

Net income rose 195.8 percent, or $122.14 million, to $184.50 million as U.S. tax reform had a significant impact on Advance’s income and effective tax rate. Among other things, it required the company to re-value its deferred tax liabilities in the fourth quarter at the new, lower rate of 21 percent. This drove a one-time, noncash tax benefit of $144 million.

Looking ahead, management is calling for full-year 2018 total net sales to come in between $9.10 billion and $9.40 billion. This compares to $9.37 billion in sales for 2017 and $9.57 billion in sales for 2016.

For 2018, comp-store sales are expected to range between down 2 percent to flat. By comparison, comps were down 2 percent in 2017 and down 1.4 percent in 2016.

Analysts with Jefferies LLC contend that Advance’s guidance is conservative. “We believe that [Advance’s] full-year 2018 comp guidance appears conservative, given favorable industry fundamentals, weather-related tailwinds, and a low bar (full-year 2017 comp of -2 percent), as well as improving store-level execution,” Bret Jordan, David Kelley and Mark Jordan wrote in a Feb. 21 Company Note.

Jefferies’ model calls for Advance to come through with 1.5-percent comp-store sales growth for the first quarter of 2018 and 1.3-percent comp-store sales growth for the full year.            — Marc Vincent

 

Vast-Auto Recognizes AGNA As ‘Supplier Of The Year’

Vast-Auto Distribution honored AGNA Brakes (Saint-Leonard, Quebec) as its 2017 “Supplier of the Year” at the group’s annual convention, which took place Feb. 16-18 in Montreal. The following were recognized with “Laureates Awards” …
• Auto Value Parts Stores “Parts Store of the Year:” Crysler Automotive of Crysler, Quebec;
• Mister Muffler “Workshop of the Year:” Monsieur Muffler Levis of Levis, Quebec;
• OCTO Auto Service Plus “Workshop of the Year:” OCTO Pointe-aux-Trembles of Montreal;
• Auto Value Certified Service Center “Workshop of the Year:” Pneus Varennes of Varennes, Quebec;
• Auto Mecano “Workshop of the Year:” Multi-Service Auto Rustcheck of Laval, Quebec.

 

Mark Mojica Joins R&R Marketing Consultants

Industry veteran Mark Mojica has joined R&R Marketing Consultants as a sales and marketing representative on the firm’s Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma team. Mojica brings with him over 30 years of aftermarket experience.

His career began with Rancho Suspension as a parts assembler. Over time, he became the Tenneco/Rancho Suspension director of sales for special markets. Mojica also has held various sales roles with ReadyLIFT, N-FAB and the Earl Owen Co.

 

Evergreen Sales Group Expands Its Sales Team

The Evergreen Sales Group (Woodinville, WA) — an aftermarket manufacturer’s rep agency covering the Pacific Northwest — has added Steven Sharbono to its team. Sharbono comes to firm from the Smart Parts organization in Medford, OR, where he has been a retail auto parts store manager for the last five years. Sharbono is now responsible for accounts in Oregon, southwest Washington and Idaho. He becomes the agency’s fifth salesman.

 

Slight Q4 Sales Decrease For Dorman Products

Dorman Products’ net sales declined 0.6 percent to $227.72 million in the fourth quarter of 2017, attributable to one less selling week in 2017 as well as customer inventory reductions. According to a Feb. 26 report from Jefferies LLC, Dorman’s quarterly sales were up 6 percent adjusting for the difference in selling weeks.

The company’s gross profit decreased 1.3 percent to $90.93 million. Its gross margin declined slightly, going from 40.2 percent to 39.9 percent on a year-over-year basis.

Dorman’s net income fell 23.5 percent to $21.97 million. However, adjusted net income came in at $29.08 million — up 1.3 percent over the adjusted net income Dorman reported for a year ago.

Management expects Dorman to report full-year 2018 sales growth between 6 percent and 9 percent, including a net sales contribution from MAS Industries, an acquisition that closed during the final three months of 2017. First quarter net sales growth is expected to come in at the lower end of the full-year guidance, attributable to non-recurring program launches that occurred in the first quarter of 2017.

A few other items of interest from Dorman’s fourth-quarter and full-year financial report …
• The company launched 4,079 new SKUs in 2017;
• Sales from new products launched over the last 24 months represented 18 percent of Dorman’s total sales in 2017 — up from 17 percent in 2016;
• Sales from the company’s heavy-duty business grew 31 percent in 2017;
• Sales from Dorman’s complex electronics portfolio increased 16 percent in 2017;
• The company’s new, lower corporate tax rate is estimated at 24 percent for 2018, attributable to U.S. tax reform;
• Management intends to use a portion of the savings from this lower rate for its employee profit sharing plan; and
• Dorman repurchased 223,900 shares of its common stock for $15.70 million at an average share price of $70.23 during the fourth quarter.

 

Spectrum Brands To Merge With Majority Shareholder

Spectrum Brands Holdings — a global consumer products company whose brands include STP, Armor All and A/C Pro — has reached a deal to merge with the HRG Group, a publicly traded holding company that is Spectrum Brands’ largest shareholder. Spectrum Brands is HRG’s principal holding, and HRG’s shareholders will effectively hold HRG’s interests in Spectrum Brands directly following the combination.

The $10-billion transaction has been unanimously recommended by a special committee of independent directors of the Spectrum Brands board of directors, and has been approved by the Spectrum Brands and HRG boards.

The deal calls for HRG to effect a reverse stock split such that HRG shareholders receive (in the aggregate) a number of shares of the combined company equal to the number of shares of Spectrum Brands currently held by HRG, subject to certain adjustments to account for HRG’s net debt and transaction costs, as well as a $200-million “upward adjustment.”

The upward adjustment takes into account that the combination transforms Spectrum Brands into an independent public company with no controlling shareholder and a widely held shareholder base, as well as certain favorable tax attributes of HRG.

Upon closing, Spectrum Brands shareholders will receive one newly issued share of the combined company for each share of Spectrum Brands that they owned prior to the combination.

The current Spectrum Brands management team will lead the combined company post-transaction. In addition, HRG’s board will be replaced by the Spectrum Brands board.

Ehsan Zargar will resign from the Spectrum Brands board and be replaced by an independent director to be selected by Leucadia National Corp., which is HRG’s largest shareholder. Leucadia also has an ongoing right to designate one director, so long as it owns at least 10 percent of the number of combined company’s shares issued and outstanding as of the closing, which is initially expected to be current Spectrum Brands’ director and Leucadia chairman Joseph Steinberg.

Taking into account the reverse stock split, the merger and the adjustments described above, Leucadia is expected to hold approximately 13 percent of the combined company. Another 45 percent of the combined company is expected to be widely held by HRG’s legacy stockholders.

Under this new ownership structure, Spectrum Brands will be an independent company with a widely distributed shareholder base and a revamped governance structure.

David Maura, executive chairman of Spectrum Brands, said the transaction will result in meaningfully increased trading liquidity in the company’s common stock. “Spectrum Brands is making substantial progress in its ongoing, rapid transformation, including the planned reallocation of approximately $3.60 billion of gross capital,” Maura said in a statement. “We are excited to emerge as a faster-growing, higher-margin company with a meaningfully stronger balance sheet and the flexibility to strategically redeploy a large amount of capital through share repurchases and highly accretive acquisitions, as opportunities present themselves.”

The transaction is expected to close by the end of the second calendar quarter of 2018.

Closing of the transaction is subject to the approval of both the holders of a majority of Spectrum Brands’ outstanding shares, and the holders of the majority of such shares held by people other than HRG and its affiliates and the executive officers of Spectrum Brands.

Closing also is subject to the approval of a majority of HRG’s outstanding shares. HRG has entered into a voting agreement with respect to the Spectrum Brands vote. Leucadia and the Fortress Investment Group — which together own roughly 40 percent of HRG’s common shares — support the transactions and have entered into agreements to vote their shares of HRG in favor of the transaction.

The parties do not anticipate needing any regulatory approvals in connection with the transaction.

In related news, the Spectrum Brands board has approved a short-term shareholder rights plan, effective immediately. “The plan is intended to ensure that the Spectrum Brands board can protect all shareholder interests as it executes the changes announced today by preserving the value of the combined company’s substantial net operating and capital loss carryforwards,” according to a statement dated Feb. 26. “The plan is not intended to prevent any action that the Spectrum Brands board determines to be in the best interests of the company.”

HRG has approved a similar shareholder rights plan.

Additionally, Spectrum Brands stated the combination with HRG will not have an impact on the pending sale of its global battery business to Energizer Holdings. The company further stated that the HRG deal will not have an impact on Spectrum Brands’ plans to explore alternatives for its appliances business, which the company says “has received strong interest from potential buyers.”

 

Aeromotive Promotes Jon Pestinger To VP Of Sales

Aeromotive has promoted Jon Pestinger to vice president of sales, responsible for managing domestic and international customers and expanding into new markets. Pestinger joined the Lenexa, KS-based company in 2012 and was most recently national sales manager. He was responsible for coordinating the company’s product data information with the SEMA Data Co-Op.

Prior to joining Aeromotive, a fuel delivery systems and components company, Pestinger sold cars for the Hendrick Automotive Group in Kansas City.

 

Bilstein Names New Head Of U.S. Motorsports

Performance suspension company Bilstein has added Aaron Morey as its head of motorsports for the United States. Morey comes with more than 15 years of experience in motorsports sales and marketing, most recently as director of sales and marketing at Keyser’s Port City Racing, where he led global sales for the aftermarket suspension manufacturer.

 

MAHLE Aftermarket Inc.: Account Manager – United States

Would you like to take on assignments with a high level of responsibility? … Conducts market research to determine appropriate new products, promotions and selling activities to develop additional business … Manage and develop existing accounts, negotiate contracts and leverage the value of the MAHLE brand to secure new business … Works with MAHLE independent representatives to train and support them on MAHLE products … Support representatives with technical advice, pricing, sales and promotions for customers … (more) … Click here to find out more.

MAHLE Aftermarket Inc.: Data Management Coordinator – Farmington Hills, MI

Would you like to take on assignments with a high level of responsibility? … Develop, maintain, and monitor data, in conjunction with product management, in the catalog database for online and print catalogs … Assist product management with data mapping requirements for electronic catalog … Update ACES & PIES data outputs to customers and 3rd party providers … Manage monthly data validation processes and review reports based on released VCdB from Auto Care Association … (more) … Click here to find out more.

Seeking Manufacturer Representatives

Power Brake, and Power Steering Remanufacturer looking for Manufacturer Representatives to sell our products throughout the United States. (more) … Click here to find out more.

Alltech Automotive LLC.: Entry Level Sales

Responsibilities: Manage assigned accounts and territory to achieve topline sales obligations. … Visit new and existing installers for product information and training. Cover geographic sales territories, developing and maintaining relationships with customers to drive pull through sales. … Support execution of sales plan set by Sales Manager … Execute customer strategy, marketing programs and provide input and feedback … Work hand-in-hand with Sales Manager to support and grow existing accounts … Act as day-to-day contact for customers … (more) … Click here to find out more.

Power Stop: Aftermarket Sales Professional

Power Stop LLC, is seeking a proven sales professional that has a track record of developing and growing new business within the traditional automotive aftermarket channel. Ideal candidate must be a self starter. Candidate must have 5 plus years of experience in working with the national program group members. Brake sales experience is a plus. Candidate must be entrepreneurial. (more) … Click here to find out more.

Alltech Automotive LLC.: Regional Sales Manager

The Regional Sales Manager is a dedicated position, concentrating on leading and generating sales/awareness and support of new products, new programs and updates to the Alltech customer base. This position will dedicate effort and time in a coordinated fashion with the National Account Manager and all downstream customers. (more) … Click here to find out more.

Henkel: Vehicle, Repair and Maintenance (VRM) Key Account Manager – Distribution, Retail & Body Shop Channel – Midwest Region

Position Description: The VRM Key Account Manager will be responsible for driving sales growth in the Aftermarket Industry through the Distribution, Retail and Body Shop Channels for the Automotive, Agricultural, Construction, Commercial Truck and Recreational Vehicle Industry. This position has specific responsibility for national retail accounts including NAPA, Advance Auto, AutoZone, O’Reilly’s and Pep Boys in additional to covering specific states in the midwest.  The VRM steering unit provides adhesives, sealants, and functional coatings for the maintenance and repair of transportation vehicles. (more) … Click here to find out more.

Alltech Automotive LLC.: National Sales Manager – Automotive Retail

Position Description: Alltech Automotive LLC, a dynamic global automotive supplier, is seeking a National Sales Manager to represent products it sells into the retail sector of the Automotive Aftermarket. While the position itself will be based in the Chicago metropolitan area, this position will oversee all sales to national e-tailers and retailers within North America from our global manufacturing footprint. (more) … Click here to find out more.

 

E.R.I. Opens Western Canada DC

The E.R.I. Group has announced the opening of a distribution center, Independent Parts Warehousing Inc., at its facility in Delta, British Columbia. It is the group’s third Canadian distribution center. The facility will service members in western Canada. The group’s other branches are in Edmonton, Alberta and Stouffville, Ontario.

 

Trudell Joins Vipar Heavy Duty

Trudell Holdings has joined the Vipar Heavy Duty network of distributors as a stockholder. Established in 1971, Trudell operates out of its headquarters in De Pere, WI, and from locations in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan. In addition to its Trudell Trailer locations in the Midwest, the company also has the recently acquired Northeast Great Dane, with locations in New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts.

Trudell’s customer base is comprised of fleets, independent service facilities, municipalities and owner-operators. The company offers a variety of heavy duty tractor and trailer parts, tools and equipment, and shop supplies. Its operations also include new and used trailer sales, rental and leasing; trailer maintenance; and trailer mobile service; along with minor truck repair.

 

Hubb Filters Taps Fleet Management Veteran
As Executive VP

Hubb Filters (Corte Madera, CA) has added Barry Steel as its executive vice president of commercial solutions, tasked with leading all sales and business development efforts for the company.

Steel comes to Hubb with nearly 30 years of experience in the automotive and fleet management industries. Most recently, he ran his own consulting practice, Capital-Fleet Consulting, where he provided strategic direction and guidance to fleet operators, financial institutions, auto dealers and OEMs. Steel’s background also includes leadership positions with Donlen Corp., GE Capital Fleet Services and Enterprise Leasing.

 

Bosch Buys U.S. Carpool Start-Up

Bosch is entering the ridesharing business with the acquisition of Splitting Fares Inc. (SPLT), a Detroit-based start-up that allows companies, universities and municipal authorities to offer ridesharing services to their work forces. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Companies, universities or municipal authorities allow access to the SPLT platform for their employees, who then download an app, register and look for (or offer) a rideshare. Bookings can be made on the spur of the moment or in advance. Arrival times are displayed in real time, and costs are shared among colleagues and charged online.

Founded in 2015, SPLT has roughly 140,000 users in the United States, Mexico and Germany.

SPLT will remain an independent entity within the Bosch Group and be run as a wholly owned subsidiary.

 

People Watching 3/1/18

Marylou Hornung, director of sales operations at Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems, has joined the AASA Technology Council (ATC) board of governors.

Tenneco Inc. vice president and chief technology officer Ben Patel has joined the Lincoln Electric Holdings board of directors. Patel’s appointment expands Lincoln Electric’s board to 12 directors, 11 of whom are non-employees. Cleveland-based Lincoln Electric is a manufacturer of welding products and systems, cutting equipment, and brazing and soldering alloys.

• Former Dana CEO Roger Wood will be the new chairman and CEO of Fallbrook Technologies, the privately held developer and licensor of the NuVinci continuously variable planetary (CVP) transmission technology. Wood also is a BorgWarner veteran, whose 26-year tenure with the company included time as executive vice president and engine group president.

Kahn Media, a public relations and marketing agency based in Moorpark, CA, has promoted Cory Burns to vice president of accounts. He is responsible for overseeing most of the firm’s accounts, as well as leading the overall PR and marketing strategy for such brands as MagnaFlow and Dinan Engineering.

• Kahn Media also has added Ben Roget as an account executive. Roget joins the agency from Lexus USA, where he worked as a district manager.

 

News Briefs 3/1/18

Sylvania Automotive is the O’Reilly Auto Parts “Supplier of the Year” for 2017.

• Cardone Industries has announced an expansion of its air suspension portfolio, becoming a full-line supplier of 10 part types, including air struts and springs, compressors and dryers, conversion kits, shock absorbers, and ride height sensors.

• Line-X has launched a new marketing campaign titled “Outside the Bedliner” that’s designed to showcase various application possibilities for Line-X products using humor. The campaign will include videos, print ads, digital elements, in-store signage and radio ads, to name a few.

Ididit (Tecumseh, MI), a steering columns and accessories company, has announced an initiative to engage directly with builders across the country. The “I Did It With Ididit” tour will stop at grassroots races and car events across the country, and award prizes to some of the builders they meet along the way. Click here for more information about the tour.

Federated Auto Parts has renewed its sponsorship of Ken Schrader Racing for the 2018 season. This will be the 19th consecutive year that Federated has partnered with Schrader and his racing teams. As part of the sponsorship, Schrader will conduct “Get Dirty with Kenny” racing experiences for Federated members and their Federated Car Care customers at dirt tracks across the country. In addition, Federated will be the primary sponsor of Schrader’s dirt track teams and an associate sponsor of Ken Schrader Racing’s ARCA teams.

VP Racing Fuels has announced an extension to its long-standing relationship with Atco Dragway in New Jersey. For over 15 years, VP has been the facility’s “official fuel.” The agreement now runs through 2020.

MotoRad will be one of the sponsors for Technician Academy’s second “Respect is Learned in the Pits” contest, which will award a college student a weekend with Randy Meyer Racing and Megan Meyer Racing at the 2018 Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis. The winner will get to work in the pits with the RMR drag team.

• Custom race wheel specialist Forgeline Motorsport (Dayton, OH) will be an official sponsor of the Pirelli World Challenge for 2018.

• The Winhere Auto-Part Manufacturing Co. has received a National Green Manufacturers Award from the Chinese government.

Toyoda Gosei has redesigned its website for the Americas region, toyodagosei.com.

 

Financial Briefs 3/1/18

Essendant Inc.’s automotive net sales rose 12.1 percent to $87.40 million in the fourth quarter of 2017 as its annual automotive fall customer show occurred in the quarter, generating significant sales, according to management. In 2017, the automotive product category accounted for 6.5 percent of the company’s net sales. Essendant’s automotive business distributes professional tools, equipment, and supplies for the aftermarket and mobile jobber marketplace. Its businesses include MEDCO, G2S Équipements de Fabrication et d’Entretien ULC, the Ace Tool Co., ETW, Tool Specialists, AIM Supply and ALCO Tool Supply.

ITT Inc. Motion Technologies segment revenue increased 19.6 percent to $1.18 billion in 2017. Organic revenue growth was 9.8 percent, driven by a 12-percent increase from the Friction Technologies business. Friction Technologies’ OES sales were up 8 percent and its independent aftermarket channel sales were up 13 percent, while Wolverine contributed organic revenue growth of approximately 5 percent. KONI’s organic revenue was up 5 percent.

• Delphi Technologies Aftermarket net sales increased 5 percent to $250 million in the fourth quarter of 2017. Adjusted revenue growth was 3.8 percent, with growth across all regions, with the exception of North America. The Delphi Technologies Aftermarket segment of Delphi Technologies PLC sells aftermarket products to independent aftermarket and OES customers.

 

Event & Trade Show Briefs 3/1/18

• Early-bird registration for the 2018 Automotive Communications Council (ACC) Annual Conference has been extended through March 5. After that date, the conference fee increases by $100. The event will take place March 26-28 at the Hyatt Regency Downtown Louisville. Click here for more information.

• The Auto Care Association will host a “NAFTA Renegotiation Update” webinar at 2:00 pm (EST) on March 13. The presentation will focus on the latest developments in the renegotiation process and potential impacts on the auto care industry. Angela Chiang, the association’s director of international affairs, will moderate a panel of speakers from Dentons’ international trade practice. For more information, click here.

 

 

8 — Feb. 22, 2018

 

Correction 2/22/18

An article in last week’s issue of The Greensheet, “O’Reilly Reports 1.3% Comps In Q4; Expects 2% To 4% Comps In Q1” incorrectly indicated that O’Reilly Automotive opened 109 net new stores in 2017. That is an error. The correct number of net new store openings was 190.

We apologize for the mistake. The online version of the story was revised with the correct number on Feb. 15.

 

Sequential Improvement Seen In GPC’s
U.S. Automotive Group Comps

For the final three months of 2017, the Genuine Parts Co. (GPC) reported $108.18 million in net income — a 29.1-percent decrease from the previous year that can be traced to costs related to the November acquisition of the Alliance Automotive Group (AAG), as well as a revaluation of deferred taxes resulting from the U.S. Tax Cuts & Jobs Act. Excluding these factors, GPC’s net income would have come in at $165.46 million — up 8.5 percent over the fourth quarter of 2016.

The company’s total net sales increased 11.3 percent to $4.21 billion, driven in large part by acquisitions made over the course of the previous 12 months. Overall, acquisitions added 8.5 percent to sales in the fourth quarter. Organic sales growth was 2 percent, and foreign currency exchange resulted in a 1-percent benefit.

AUTOMOTIVE … GPC’s Automotive Group sales increased by $332.88 million, or 16.7 percent, to $2.33 billion in the fourth quarter of 2017. Excluding the contribution from AAG, total sales were up roughly 4 percent and comparable-store sales were up 1 percent. This was all in line with management’s expectations (before and after the added contribution from AAG).

Total sales for GPC’s U.S. Automotive Group increased 2 percent in the fourth quarter, with comparable-store sales up 1 percent. Third-quarter comps were flat, so sequential improvement here.

GPC president and CEO Paul Donahue told analysts on the company’s Feb. 20 conference call that U.S. Automotive Group sales were really good in November and then just okay in December. By geography, outperformance was seen in the company’s northern division (the Northeast, central, Midwest and Mountains regions), which performed about two full points better than the company’s southern divisions.

U.S. COMMERCIAL … Donahue said that comp-store sales to retail customers outperformed sales to commercial accounts, consistent with the past several quarters, which management has attributed to challenging business conditions across many of the group’s major account, fleet and NAPA AutoCare customers. “That said, we continue to see many of our major accounts performing well, and our AutoCare customer group improved from the third quarter,” he told analysts on the call.

Donahue said that the automotive team has a number of initiatives in place designed to build sales potential with major accounts and fleet customers, and that the company plans to launch new and enhanced benefits for the AutoCare program, which has grown to over 17,500 members.

“We expect these initiatives — as well as the further expansion of other value-add services, such as our AutoTech training, which impacts thousands of repair shops and even more automotive technicians — to drive stronger sales with our commercial customers in 2018,” he stated.

U.S. RETAIL … Donahue said that the retail sales growth stems from initiatives like the NAPA Rewards program and management’s “Retail Impact” store initiative, which has reached approximately 500 stores and are outperforming the total network.

“In 2018, we will expand this retail initiative further with the conversion of another 200 to 300 stores, comprised of both company-owned stores and independent stores,” Donahue told analysts on the call. “In addition to these growth initiatives, we are optimistic for the gradual strengthening of the overall aftermarket industry, as well as our U.S. automotive sales, for several reasons.

“We expect demand for failure and maintenance parts to increase due to the impact of a more-normalized winter season — something we haven’t experienced for two years. We expect the number of vehicles in the aftermarket sweet spot to stabilize in 2018 after falling for the past few years due to historically-low new car sales in the post-recession years of 2008-‘11. And, the long-term fundamental drivers of the automotive aftermarket remain sound.”

He added that management expects GPC’s ongoing acquisitions to positively contribute to future sales. “During 2017, we added four automotive store groups, including the fourth-quarter additions of Monroe Motor Parts, as well as Stone Truck Parts (the heavy-duty operation) to our U.S. network,” Donahue said. “These types of accretive, tuck-in acquisitions are an important part of our growth strategy, and we expect additional opportunities in the future.”

AUSTRALASIA … GPC’s automotive businesses in Australasia, Canada and Mexico, as a group, came through with a 5-percent total sales increase for the fourth quarter, including a 3-percent comp-sales increase in local currency, which was consistent with the third quarter.

In Australia and New Zealand, total sales were up low- to mid-single digits, attributable to a slight increase in comp sales and the ongoing benefit of acquisitions. The group finished 2017 with 560 stores across Australasia. Management expects more store expansion in the future.

CANADA … At NAPA Canada, fourth-quarter total sales rose in the mid- to high-single-digit range, with comp sales up mid-single digits. These results were underscored by a “strong performance” from the heavy-duty truck parts business, as well as solid results across western Canada, according to Donahue.

On Dec. 31, NAPA Canada added the Universal Supply Group to its operations. Kingston, Ontario-based Universal has 21 stores that sell auto parts, heavy-duty truck parts, and paint and body products. “The addition of Universal Supply strengthens our presence in the eastern Ontario market,” Donahue told analysts on the call. “Our team in Canada is headed into 2018 with solid momentum, and we look forward to another strong year from our Canadian team.”

MEXICO … GPC’s automotive operations in Mexico finished 2017 with sales up in the mid-single-digits range. During 2017, the company expanded its NAPA Mexico footprint with eight new auto parts stores and entered 2018 with 42 total stores. Plans call for further expansion of NAPA’s store base in-country in the quarters ahead.

EUROPE … The Alliance Automotive Group (AAG) contributed 6.8 percent to sales during the quarter. Donahue said that AAG’s operating results for November and December reflect a solid start for the group. “As you might imagine, there is an incredible amount of planning and other work associated with an acquisition of this size, but our teams both in Europe and the U.S. are doing a terrific job of staying focused on the business throughout this process,” he told analysts on the call.

“Looking back on our first 60 days in Europe, things have gone extremely well, and our talented management team is in position to drive strong results in 2018,” Donahue added. “We enter our first full year with the AAG team excited for the growth prospects we see for this business across all of our operations in France, the U.K., Germany and Poland.”

OUTLOOK … Management’s guidance for full-year 2018 sales growth has been established at 12 percent to 13 percent. Automotive Group sales are expected to increase 19 percent to 21 percent (up 2 percent to 4 percent excluding AAG).          — Marc Vincent

 

GPC Announces Officer Changes

The Genuine Parts Co. (GPC) has named Napoleon Rutledge Jr. as its senior vice president of finance and Derek Goshay as its vice president of safety and sustainability. Rutledge was vice president of finance. He has been with the company in a variety of finance and accounting roles for 18 years. Goshay was the senior vice president of human resources for GPC’s EIS subsidiary. He has been with GPC for 15 years.

 

Scott Brown Leaves iATN For Startup; Montero Assumes Leadership

Longtime International Automotive Technicians Network (iATN) president Scott Brown has left the network and Greg Montero, of Indentifix, Inc., has taken over as the new leader of the iATN management team.

Brown said he’s working with a new startup that will be in stealth mode for approximately 30 to 45 days. The company will be focused on diagnostic technical support, diagnostic tooling, diagnostic technician training, and a website, he said. Brown will remain a National Automotive Service Task Force director and co-owner, along with his wife, of Connie & Dick’s Service Center in Claremont, CA.

“As far as my leaving (iATN) having an impact on current operations, time will tell, but I believe that the current team will do just fine moving the mission forward,” Brown said.

A Solera Holdings company, iATN serves as a database that mechanics use to find solutions to hard-to-diagnose problems on vehicles. Its mission is “to promote the continued growth, success and image of the automotive service professional by providing a forum for the exchange of knowledge and the promotion of education, professionalism and integrity.”

iATN expressed gratitude for Brown’s 22 years of dedicated service. Brown began working for iATN in 1995 as an administrator and became president in 2010 when Brent Black retired.

“During his tenure with iATN, Scott devoted himself to the community membership as a leading advocate across the industry,” an iATN statement reads. “Professional automotive technicians are the heart and soul of iATN and Scott has represented the community with tireless dedication and professionalism. He plans to continue in his mission as a leader within our industry and remain an active member of the iATN family.”

Montero is a 20-plus year member of the network with more than 25 years of automotive industry experience. A Master ASE Tech, Montero has held numerous roles as a technician, service manager, trainer and champion for the industry. He’s worked with Indentifix since 1995, most recently as product manager, and before that, data project manager.

Based in Brea, CA., iATN counts more than 82,000 members in 176 countries.

 

Mixed Q4 Results For Uni-Select

Boucherville, Quebec-based Uni-Select Inc. saw its sales increase by $123.99 million, or 42.6 percent, to $414.98 million in the fourth quarter of 2017, mainly the result of acquisitions, which brought in $117.56 million in additional sales. Uni-Select’s net earnings, however, declined by $3.97 million, or 31.3 percent, to $8.72 million.

Sales from the company’s FinishMaster U.S. segment increased by $18.20 million, or 10.1 percent, to $198.96 million, driven by recent acquisitions. Organic segment sales were down 2.1 percent, as the business continued to be affected by a product line changeover.

FinishMaster U.S. earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) fell 9.6 percent to $19.60 million, while its segment EBITDA margin slipped 210 basis points to 9.9 percent.

Canadian Automotive Group sales grew by $12.80 million, or 11.6 percent, to $123.02 million in the fourth quarter of 2017, also attributable to acquisitions, as well as the strength of the Canadian dollar. Organic segment sales increased 1.5 percent. According to management, organic sales growth would have been 5.9 percent if not for the loss of an independent member earlier in 2017.

Segment EBITDA rose 14 percent to $6.29 million, while EBITDA margin increased 10 basis points to 5.1 percent.

Uni-Select’s new segment, The Parts Alliance U.K., generated nearly $93 million in sales for the three months ended Dec. 31, 2017. Its EBITDA came in at $3.71 million and its EBITDA margin at 4 percent.

President and CEO Henry Buckley said on Feb. 20 that management looks forward to 2018 with optimism. “We hold strong leadership positions in our three geographic markets, which offer significant opportunities for profitable growth and value creation for our shareholders,” Buckley stated.

Uni-Select’s guidance for 2018 calls for consolidated organic sales growth between 2.25 percent and 4 percent. By segment, organic sales growth is expected to be …
• 2 percent to 4 percent for FinishMaster U.S.;
• 2.5 percent to 4 percent for the Canadian Automotive Group, and
• 3 percent to 4 percent for The Parts Alliance U.K.

Management’s priorities for 2018 include driving organic sales growth, adding select acquisitions, managing expenses and driving improved operating results.

 

GMB North America Adds Sales Director

GMB North America (Dayton, NJ) has added Robert Crane as its sales director. Crane has more than 30 years of aftermarket experience. He started out in his family’s jobber business, and has most recently held sales management positions with B3C Fuel Solutions and CRP Industries.

 

Johnson Controls Reports 2% Decline In Aftermarket Battery Shipments

Net sales from Johnson Controls’ Power Solutions (batteries) segment rose 12.1 percent to $2.13 billion in the 2018 fiscal first quarter, which ended Dec. 31, 2017. Management attributed the $230-million year-over-year increase to …
• The impact of higher lead costs on pricing ($131 million);
• A favorable impact of foreign currency translation ($78 million); and
• Favorable pricing and product mix ($48 million).

This was partially offset by $27 million in lower volume, pegged to changes in customer demand patterns in Europe and North America, that was only partially offset by an increase in start-stop battery volumes.

Excluding the impact of higher lead pass-through and foreign exchange, Power Solutions’ organic sales were up 1 percent.

Global OE battery shipments declined 1 percent. Aftermarket shipments decreased 2 percent against a tough comparison from a year ago, with warmer weather in the current-year quarter as well as some pull forward in demand experienced in the fiscal 2017 fourth quarter. Start-stop battery shipments were up 20 percent, led by growth in China and the Americas.

Segment earnings before interest, taxes and amortization (EBITA) decreased 1.3 percent to $384 million. Management attributed the $5-million decline to …
• Higher operating costs, primarily from efforts to satisfy customer demand, including higher transportation costs in North America ($25 million);
• Incremental investments ($11 million);
• Lower volumes ($8 million); and
• Lower equity income ($4 million).

This was partially offset by the following …
• Favorable pricing and product mix ($19 million);
• A current-year gain on a business deconsolidation and changes in selling, general and administrative expenses ($13 million);
• The favorable impact of foreign currency translation ($10 million); and
• Prior-year transaction costs ($1 million).

 

SMP’s Engine Management Sales Up, Temp Control Sales Down In Q4

New York-based Standard Motor Products (SMP) reported an $8.65-million net loss for the fourth quarter of 2017 — a roughly $17-million downturn from the $8.35 million in net income the company reported a year earlier. However, excluding non-operational gains and losses and the impact of the U.S. Tax Cuts & Jobs Act, the company’s earnings from continued operations rose 27 percent to $12.42 million.

Total gross profit increased 3.9 percent to $69.35 million, while gross margin declined from 29.1 percent to 28.9 percent on a year-over-year basis. SMP’s consolidated net sales grew 4.4 percent to $239.98 million.

The company’s Engine Management segment came through with $197.97 million in revenue for the fourth quarter of 2017 — up 6.9 percent over the previous year. Engine Management gross margin increased 8.7 percent to $56.26 million. As a percentage of revenue, gross margin grew from 27.9 percent to 28.4 percent. Segment operating profit rose 26 percent to $22.76 million.

SMP’s Temperature Control business generated $40.29 million in revenue for the quarter — down 5.5 percent. Gross margin decreased 11.4 percent to $10.72 million. As a percentage of revenue, gross margin declined from 28.4 percent to 26.6 percent. Temperature Control operating income fell 96 percent to $50,000.

It’s worth noting that the company’s full-year Temperature Control sales were down 1.6 percent, while its customers experienced sales declines closer to 4 percent, according to management. “We anticipate that this will lead to lower pre-season orders this year, as they are entering 2018 with heavier-than-normal inventories,” President and CEO Eric Sills said.

“To explain recent events, you really need to go back two years. 2016 saw record heat; therefore, our customers ended that year light on inventory. They then spent the first half of 2017 restocking their shelves, placing record preseason orders,” Sills told analysts on a Feb. 20 conference call. “We were up 24 percent in the first quarter and 9 percent through the half, but then the summer of 2017 never materialized.

“As we told you on our last call, our customers’ sales out for the third quarter were down approximately 10 percent, but their purchases from us were down 16 percent, reflecting a sell-down of that preseason build. This sell-down continued into the fourth quarter, as they reduced their purchases from us by 5.5 percent.”

The combined result is that Temperature Control sales were down 1.6 percent for the year. “However, customer sales out were down about 4 percent, so … we expect a difficult first half — not only because they’re still sitting with above-typical inventory, but also because the strong first half of 2017 will make for some difficult comps,” Sills explained. “Now, all that being said, it still comes down to how hot it gets this summer, which is anyone’s guess.”

Looking beyond the numbers, Sills said that the company has made progress toward achieving management’s long-term strategic goals. “We made strong strides in our ambitious programs of plant consolidations and relocations. We exited our factory in Grapevine, TX, moving some of the operations to Greenville, SC and others to Reynosa, Mexico,” he stated. “We are closing our electronics facility in Orlando, FL and relocating it to Independence, KS. And, as a result of the General Cable ignition wire acquisition, we are relocating their assembly operations from Nogales, Mexico to our facility in Reynosa.”

Sills said some of the moves are complete, while the balance will be done by the second half of 2018. “In the short run, these moves entail a significant amount of time, effort and cost. But, in the long run, they will make us a stronger company,” he added.

 

ZF Aftermarket Expands North American Sales Team

ZF Aftermarket has added two new positions to its North American sales team: regional manager for the south (Richard Odom, who is based in Montgomery, AL) and regional manager for the west (Matthew McCoy, who is based in San Diego). Both appointments report to Mark Thorpe, ZF Aftermarket’s director of sales for the United States and Canada.

In addition to his regional account duties, Odom is charged with managing and nurturing relationships with the Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance, Automotive Distribution Network and National Pronto Association groups. An aftermarket veteran of more than 35 years, Odom was a program group and retail business development manager at Mahle.

McCoy comes to ZF Aftermarket from Pacific Marketing, where he worked on the rep firm’s southern California team.

 

B’laster Hires Senior Product Manager

B’laster Corp. (Valley View, OH) has hired Anthony Kruczek as its senior product manager, responsible for managing the company’s product portfolio, product life cycles and product development roadmap. Kruczek also supports the company’s marketing and market research activities. He reports to Randy Pindor, president and chief operating officer.

Kruczek brings more than 10 years of sales and product management experience to B’laster. In addition to managing key commercial accounts at Matco Tools, he has held product management roles at JohnDow Industries, the ACCEL Performance Group and PolyOne.

 

Spectrum Reports 1.7% Organic Sales Decline
From Global Auto Care Unit

Spectrum Brands Holdings reported that its Global Auto Care (GAC) net sales decreased by $600,000, or 0.9 percent, to $68.90 million in the fiscal 2018 first quarter ended Dec. 31, 2017, as international growth was unable to offset lower U.S. revenue. Organic sales declined 1.7 percent. According to management, the $1.20-million decrease in organic sales broke down as follows …
• Refrigerant products (A/C Pro) sales declined by $1.40 million tied to early purchasing by customers in the prior period in anticipation of commodity cost increases;
• Auto appearance products (Armor All) sales decreased by $200,000, attributable to the timing of shipping and distribution; and
• Auto performance products (STP) and other product sales increased by $400,000 because of market growth in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Segment adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) decreased by $5 million, or 25.3 percent, to $14.80 million, with adjusted EBITDA margin down 700 basis points to 21.5 percent.

It’s worth pointing out that the fiscal first quarter typically accounts for only about 15 percent or less of GAC’s full year.

Executive Vice President and CFO Doug Martin told analysts on a Feb. 8 conference call that, as GAC moves into its much larger spring and summer periods, the focus will be on accelerating organic growth, adjacency expansions in the United States, larger investments behind new product launches and faster international growth.

“GAC expects further benefits from the second year of its Armor All Ultra Shine Wash & Wax Wipes, which were successfully launched in 2017, and the introduction of a full line of Armor All automotive air fresheners in the U.S. market,” Martin said.

 

Champion Oil Retains Rep Firm For Western U.S., Canada

Champion Oil (Clinton, MO) has retained Airheart Sales as its rep agency for the western United States (California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Alaska and Hawaii) as well as Canada. Airheart Sales specializes in performance auto parts and aftermarket truck, Jeep, race and SUV accessories sales through traditional distribution and e-commerce.

 

Redline Detection Hires Senior Account Executive

Diagnostic leak detection equipment manufacturer Redline Detection has hired Steve Jordan as senior account executive for mobile tool operations. Jordan comes to Redline after 19 years with Bosch North America, where he built strategic alliances with automotive OEM manufacturers and implemented distribution programs. He has been in the tool and equipment industry for 35 years, including stints with General Motors, Chrysler and Sun Electric.

 

Warn Joins Parts Via For Local Pick-Up/Installation Options

The number of suppliers on board for Parts Via delivery continues to grow with Warn Industries joining Leer, K&N, Blue Ox, Borla and Hypertech. Magnaflow and Westin are coming soon, and more suppliers are in process, according to the sales network.

Warn customers can now purchase many of the company’s products at warn.com and have them delivered to a local shop for free pickup and optional installation.

Keystone Automotive Operations launched Parts Via, a “jobber-friendly” e-commerce service, last fall. As you may recall, LKQ Corp., parent company to Keystone, acquired the aftermarket business of Warn Industries last year.

Parts Via provides two shipping options for consumers making purchases on a supplier partner’s website. The ship-to-home option uses third-party shippers like UPS and FedEx. Customers pay the freight charges.

The ship-to-store option is Parts Via’s preferred choice. The item is delivered to a local network merchant chosen by the consumer during the check-out process. Most items are available for pick-up the next day. Shipping is free on these orders and is intended to improve store traffic for the local merchant and provide the opportunity to sell add-on products and services to the customer when they come in to pick up their order, according to John Spaulding, director of communications and events for Keystone.

Shipping large and heavy parts to a home address can be cost prohibitive, so Parts Via is counting on the savings by shipping to a retailer/installer as an incentive to consumers, he said.

Supplier who join Parts Via approve the local merchants that can be part of their network. Requirements vary. Some suppliers require their network partners to have technical training, for example. Others require their network to stock certain items.

“The beauty of this approach is that it is completely flexible and local merchants can be added to a supplier’s network at any time,” Spaulding said. “Cleary, the larger the network — supplier and local merchant — the better the shopping experience can be for consumers.”

The service also is beneficial for suppliers, who, in many cases, don’t want to ship directly to consumers, Spaulding said.

“They prefer to maintain the connections they have in the supply chain and would prefer not to deal with the business requirements — order processing, logistics, freight, customer service, safe and secure credit-card processing, network dealer compensation, transaction workflow, etc. — that comes with single-item, consumer-direct orders,” he said. “For the supplier, Parts Via also builds brand loyalty with the retailer/installer base that is linked to their success.”

Depending on the item, Parts Via’s ship-to-store option also can get products to the customer faster than shipping direct from the manufacturer or any other online source, according to Spaulding.

Parts Via delivers a portion of sale proceeds for both shipping options.

“Each supplier establishes the parameters for the share-of-sales in its agreement with the stores that are part of that brand’s network,” Spaulding said. “If you think about the number of online transactions that bypass local retailers every day, Parts Via is the only local, merchant-friendly solution out there that tries to take organic site traffic driven by consumer demand for branded product and pushes the business back to the local store.”        — Sarah Hollander

 

Chris Thomson Starts Own Performance Consulting Business

Performance industry veteran Chris Thomson has started his own company, Chris Thomson Consulting. Target clients include performance aftermarket manufacturers looking for help with sales, marketing and product offerings. Focus areas include …
• Competitive pricing strategies;
• Retail pricing programs, such as MAP and UPP;
• Sales team management;
• Customer service and retention programs;
• Distribution channel strategies; and
• Consumer marketing.

Thomson, a former SEMA board member, is based in Peoria, AZ (near Phoenix). He has worked in the industry for more than 35 years, most recently as director of business development for Baer Brake Systems. He also has spent 14 years in sales and marketing with Airaid/K&N, and also has worked in sales for Holley Performance and in sales and marketing for Flowtech Exhaust.

 

NATEF, AYES Combined To Form New Organization

The National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF) and Automotive Youth Educational Systems (AYES) have merged to become the ASE Education Foundation. The combined organization, a 501 C (3) charitable foundation, will continue the missions of both NATEF and AYES, concentrating on four key areas …
• Accrediting automotive service technology training programs at high schools and post-secondary institutions;
• Supporting automotive service technology instructors;
• Building relationships between employers and automotive service technology students at high schools and post-secondary institutions; and
• Philanthropic outreach within the automotive service and repair sector.

ASE Education Foundation president Trish Serratore said the core missions remain the same, with students at the center of what the group does. “In addition to focusing on program accreditation, internships, school-to-work efforts and nourishing industry-education partnerships, we also look to support instructors as they work so tirelessly on behalf of the students,” Serratore added.

“The new, combined organization will take advantage of the extremely high ASE brand awareness among consumers, industry and education audiences,” said Tim Zilke, ASE president and CEO. “It will also provide clarity and simplification of message to help us assist our transportation industry partners in recruiting, training, hiring and retaining a strong, viable work force now and into the future.”

 

AASA Plans OES Special Summit

AASA has introduced a new summit designed to bring aftermarket suppliers together with automakers and OE dealers to develop growth strategies for the OE service business. The AASA OES Special Summit is scheduled for Aug. 23 at the Ford Conference & Event Center in Dearborn, MI.

Representatives from the three groups will discuss how they’ve grown their market share through dealer parts and service departments, as well as at aftermarket outlets beyond the dealer. Presentations will address the OES market outlook, the channel’s unique requirements and emerging dealer strategies.

The event is open to supplier members of AASA and fellow MEMA divisions HDMA, MERA and OESA.

AASA’s supplier members have asked the association to explore this marketplace and educate suppliers on its trends, AASA president and chief operating officer Bill Long said.

New car dealers are projected to pick up $4 billion of the do-it-for-me (DIFM) share of aftermarket product volume by 2025, raising their stake from 17 percent of 20 percent, according to AASA’s DIFM Outlook 2025 study.

“In the wake of this trend, AASA members seek to gain a greater understanding of OE service markets to help in developing their strategies,” Long said.

Presentations will explore the OES channel, its outlook, size, key trends and change agents. Attendees also will hear how its partners address such issues as data requirements, contracts, marketing and relationships. Service for technology-enabled vehicles — including diagnostics and service for advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), as well as autonomous and electrified vehicles — also will be addressed.

Learn more about the summit by clicking here or by contacting Chris Gardner of AASA at cgardner@aasa.mema.org.

 

AASA MAP/eMRP Workshop To Feature The Group, eBay Motors Execs

Auto Parts Services Group CEO Larry Pavey and Jordan Hettinga, director of merchandising – motors, parts and accessories for eBay Motors, will discuss minimum advertised pricing (MAP) and electronic minimum retail price (eMRP) policies at the AASA MAP/eMRP Workshop on Friday, March 23. The workshop is exclusively for AASA supplier members. It will run from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm on the day following the 2018 AASA Vision Conference. Both events will take place at the Loews Chicago O’Hare in Rosemont, IL. For more information about the workshop, click here.

 

SEMA Data Co-op Hires West Coast Membership Manager

The SEMA Data Co-op (SDC) has hired Tim Stewart as its West Coast membership manager. He will be dedicated to connecting with current and potential SDC members in the region, where more than 60 percent of SEMA member companies are based.

Stewart has spent the past 12 years with K&N Engineering in sales and marketing, most recently as senior sales director for both the online and distribution channels, working with customers throughout North America. He also has worked for Performance Products, an automotive mail-order catalog and website company, for about 24 years.

Stewart will be based at SEMA’s headquarters in Diamond Bar, CA, and will report to Mike Spagnola, SEMA vice president of OEM and product development programs.

 

N.A. Williams Promotes McKitrick To VP Of HD Sales

Wayne McKitrick is now vice president of sales – heavy duty for N.A. Williams. In his new role, McKitrick is responsible for the execution of manufacturing partners’ sales plans, as well as the day-to-day operations of the rep firm’s heavy duty sales force.

Since joining N.A. Williams in 2005, McKitrick has worked exclusively with the heavy duty division. He started as a territory manager, covering Virginia and North Carolina. He was promoted to sales manager for the heavy duty division in 2012. Prior to joining the firm, McKitrick was a district sales manager for Standard Motor Products.

 

NEW … MAHLE Aftermarket Inc.: Account Manager – United States

Would you like to take on assignments with a high level of responsibility? … Conducts market research to determine appropriate new products, promotions and selling activities to develop additional business … Manage and develop existing accounts, negotiate contracts and leverage the value of the MAHLE brand to secure new business … Works with MAHLE independent representatives to train and support them on MAHLE products … Support representatives with technical advice, pricing, sales and promotions for customers … (more) … Click here to find out more.

NEW … MAHLE Aftermarket Inc.: Data Management Coordinator – Farmington Hills, MI

Would you like to take on assignments with a high level of responsibility? … Develop, maintain, and monitor data, in conjunction with product management, in the catalog database for online and print catalogs … Assist product management with data mapping requirements for electronic catalog … Update ACES & PIES data outputs to customers and 3rd party providers … Manage monthly data validation processes and review reports based on released VCdB from Auto Care Association … (more) … Click here to find out more.

Seeking Manufacturer Representatives

Power Brake, and Power Steering Remanufacturer looking for Manufacturer Representatives to sell our products throughout the United States. (more) … Click here to find out more.

Alltech Automotive LLC.: Entry Level Sales

Responsibilities: Manage assigned accounts and territory to achieve topline sales obligations. … Visit new and existing installers for product information and training. Cover geographic sales territories, developing and maintaining relationships with customers to drive pull through sales. … Support execution of sales plan set by Sales Manager … Execute customer strategy, marketing programs and provide input and feedback … Work hand-in-hand with Sales Manager to support and grow existing accounts … Act as day-to-day contact for customers … (more) … Click here to find out more.

Power Stop: Aftermarket Sales Professional

Power Stop LLC, is seeking a proven sales professional that has a track record of developing and growing new business within the traditional automotive aftermarket channel. Ideal candidate must be a self starter. Candidate must have 5 plus years of experience in working with the national program group members. Brake sales experience is a plus. Candidate must be entrepreneurial. (more) … Click here to find out more.

Alltech Automotive LLC.: Regional Sales Manager

The Regional Sales Manager is a dedicated position, concentrating on leading and generating sales/awareness and support of new products, new programs and updates to the Alltech customer base. This position will dedicate effort and time in a coordinated fashion with the National Account Manager and all downstream customers. (more) … Click here to find out more.

Henkel: Vehicle, Repair and Maintenance (VRM) Key Account Manager – Distribution, Retail & Body Shop Channel – Midwest Region

Position Description: The VRM Key Account Manager will be responsible for driving sales growth in the Aftermarket Industry through the Distribution, Retail and Body Shop Channels for the Automotive, Agricultural, Construction, Commercial Truck and Recreational Vehicle Industry. This position has specific responsibility for national retail accounts including NAPA, Advance Auto, AutoZone, O’Reilly’s and Pep Boys in additional to covering specific states in the midwest.  The VRM steering unit provides adhesives, sealants, and functional coatings for the maintenance and repair of transportation vehicles. (more) … Click here to find out more.

Alltech Automotive LLC.: National Sales Manager – Automotive Retail

Position Description: Alltech Automotive LLC, a dynamic global automotive supplier, is seeking a National Sales Manager to represent products it sells into the retail sector of the Automotive Aftermarket. While the position itself will be based in the Chicago metropolitan area, this position will oversee all sales to national e-tailers and retailers within North America from our global manufacturing footprint. (more) … Click here to find out more.

 

Ex-Ford CEO Joins FleetPride Board Of Directors

Former Ford Motor Co. president and CEO Mark Fields has joined the FleetPride Inc. board of directors. Fields retired as the president and CEO of Ford in 2017, concluding a 28-year career with the automaker. He also recently joined the American Tire Distributors (ATD) board of directors.

This comes as Fields has joined TPG Capital, a private equity firm whose portfolio includes FleetPride and ATD.

 

US Cargo Control Touts New Sales Structure

US Cargo Control (Urbana, IA) has announced a “strategic change” to its sales and service operations. This comes a few months after the hiring of Chris Nelson as the company’s new president and chief operating officer and Zach Schmit as US Cargo Control’s new chief sales officer.

Teams are now divided by industry, allowing the sales personnel within them to focus on an industry in which they have expert knowledge. Each team is comprised of three different roles …
• Inside sales specialists, who will answer calls and explain products in detail;
• Service and solutions specialists, who will update customers on pending orders, as well as manage web orders and freight-related items; and
• Business development consultants, who will address long-term needs, such as developing purchasing strategies.

Additionally, the company is streamlining its phone order process by cutting the amount of inbound phone numbers down to a handful. The goal is to save customers time by having calls directed to the right personnel, right away.

US Cargo Control specializes in cargo control, lifting slings, rigging equipment and moving supplies.

 

AxleTech Drops ‘International’ From Its Name,
Adopts New Brand Mark

AxleTech International (Troy, MI), whose roots can be traced back 100 years to the original Rockwell International, is adopting AxleTech as its new name. This comes with a new brand mark that emphasizes the “tech” in the company’s name. AxleTech specializes in advanced powertrain systems, axles, brakes, components, and aftermarket parts for heavy-duty commercial and defense applications.

 

Link Promotes Vierkant To VP Of Manufacturing

Link Manufacturing (Sioux Center, IA) has promoted Jeff Vierkant to vice president of manufacturing, responsible for overseeing such functions as engineering, production, quality, purchasing, sourcing, shipping and receiving. Vierkant, who joined Link in 2015, was director of manufacturing.

Link is a manufacturer of suspensions systems and accessory products for commercial vehicles and equipment.

 

People Watching 2/22/18

Auto Care Association president and CEO Bill Hanvey took part in a Feb. 15 panel discussion on U.S. infrastructure issues. Washington Examiner chief congressional correspondent Susan Ferrechio moderated the event.

Mike Mohler of the Automotive Parts Services Group has been elected secretary of the CAWA board of directors. Mohler is executive vice president of vendor relations and product strategy for The Group.

KYB Americas Corp. has promoted Chris Gillund to marketing manager, responsible for such marketing activities as national promotions, social media, and digital and print advertising. Gillund joined KYB in 2015 as a marketing coordinator.

Kevin Moran is now executive vice president of Battery Council International (BCI). Moran, who is based out of BCI’s Washington, DC office, was a director in the Chemical Products & Technology Division of the American Chemistry Council.

Original One Parts, a salvage parts supplier, has hired Avery Hodge as a regional account manager for Georgia and the surrounding areas. Hodge most recently was an estimator for Caliber Collision Centers.

Dana Inc. has announced the addition of two members to its board of directors: Mike Mack, former CFO of Deere & Co.; and Diarmuid O’Connell, former vice president of business development for Tesla. This comes as Terrence Keating and Mark Schulz have opted to retire from the board, effective April 26. Keating and Schultz have been on Dana’s board since 2008.

Franklin Feder, former CEO of Alcoa Latin America & Caribbean, will join the PACCAR Inc. board of directors April 30. Feder will succeed Luiz Kaufmann, who is retiring from the board.

 

News Briefs 2/22/18

BBB Industries (Daphne, AL) received the 2017 Sales & Service Award from O’Reilly Auto Parts at its annual managers conference in Dallas.

4 Wheel Parts held grand-opening events Feb. 17 for new stores in Carlisle, PA; Beaumont, TX; and South Elgin, IL. A second Chicago-area 4 Wheel Parts store is expected to open next month in Naperville, IL.

Uni-Select Inc. (Boucherville, Quebec) has announced that The Parts Alliance, one of its subsidiaries, has opened two new branches in the United Kingdom.

TruckPro LLC has acquired the assets of Midwest Truck Parts & Service of Denver and Greeley, CO, a provider of aftermarket truck parts and service in central Colorado.

Truck Gears Inc. (Los Alamitos, CA) is now an Eaton Authorized Rebuilder, the sixth such rebuilder in North America.

Decar Auto Sportiv (Oakville, Ontario) is now Canada’s exclusive importer of 034MOTORSPORT performance parts and accessories. Decar Auto Sportiv, a sister company to EuroSport Tuning, is a distributor for a number of performance parts companies.

• $100,000 in scholarships will be awarded this year specifically for industry employees and family members. Visit automotivescholarships.com for details and eligibility requirements. The application deadline is March 31.

• New this year, high school and part-time students can apply for SEMA Memorial Scholarships. The change is part of an effort by the association’s Scholarship Committee to start students down the automotive path and support their efforts at an earlier stage, according to an article in the Feb. 15 edition of SEMA eNews.

MEMA has written a letter to President Donald Trump applauding the administration’s move to increase U.S. aluminum and steel production, and requesting that there be no blanket quotas or tariffs on the material.

ExxonMobil, on behalf of its Mobil 1 brand, is sponsoring Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) with full primaries at various Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races again this year. And, SHR driver Kevin Harvick will again be the face of the Mobil 1 Annual Protection motor oil marketing campaign.

Permatex is sponsoring the Follow A Dream Race Team for the 2018 NHRA Championship Top Alcohol Funny Car Series. This will be the 14th consecutive season that Permatex has partnered with Jay Blake and his team in the NHRA series as the team’s corporate sponsor.

• The Fram Group has announced a partnership with Racers Edge Motorsports in the Pirelli World Challenge Series.

 

Event & Trade Show Briefs 2/22/18

• April 12 will be Global Remanufacturing Day.

• The Auto Care Association and the U.S. Department of Commerce will host a free webinar March 8 on business opportunities in the Costa Rican automotive industry. The presentation will include a country profile, market information, best business prospects and information on the association’s trade mission to Costa Rica taking place May 21-22.

• Attendees can now book their rooms for AAPEX at aapexshow.com/bookaroom to receive discounted rates. The event will run Tuesday, Oct. 30 to Thursday, Nov. 1 at the Sands Expo in Las Vegas.