Service Executive Issue #8-18 (Full)

Summer Travel Dip Expected Due To Higher Gas Prices

Rising gas prices have put a crimp in travel plans this summer, as more Americans are planning “staycations” instead of hitting the road, according to GasBuddy’s 2018 Summer Travel report. According to the annual survey, only 58 percent of respondents said that they will take a road trip this summer — a 24 percent decrease from last year. And, 39 percent of respondents cited high gas prices for impacting their summer travel decisions, compared to 19 percent in 2017.

The decrease in motorists’ appetite to hit the road comes at a time when the national average gasoline price is at its highest point since November 2014, attributable to a rally in oil prices because of long-term OPEC production cuts, declining U.S. oil inventories, high demand and more. According to GasBuddy, fuel prices were around $2.95 per gallon on Memorial Day — a $0.65 increase over Memorial Day last year. And, the impact of high gas prices will be felt well beyond Memorial Day.

“With refineries now well positioned for the summer months, we may see some relief in mid-June, but expect this summer to remain the priciest since 2014, with a strong likelihood of the national average hitting the psychological $3-per-gallon barrier sometime this summer should we see any unexpected outages or geopolitical tensions flare,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy.

The psychological tipping point to affect miles driven and auto parts sales is more in the $4-per-gallon range, according to comments made by AutoZone Inc. chairman, president and CEO Bill Rhodes on the company’s May 22 conference call.

A few highlights from GasBuddy’s 2018 Summer Travel survey …
• Americans who are taking a road trip this summer won’t cover as much ground, as only 31 percent said they would drive more than 500 miles round trip, compared to 56 percent in 2017;
• 25 percent fewer people plan to take trips longer than one week this summer compared to last year, while weekend trips are up 17 percent; and
• Because of higher gas prices, the No.-1 road trip fear is overpaying for fuel, followed by the car breaking down.

The 2018 Summer Travel report surveyed more than 17,000 GasBuddy members between April 27 and May 3.



Monro Expands In The South With Purchase Of
Free Service Tire

Monro Inc. (Rochester, NY) has acquired the Free Service Tire Co., which has 12 retail and commercial locations in Tennessee; four wholesale centers in Tennessee, Virginia and North Carolina; and one retread facility. Monro plans to continue to operate all Free Service Tire locations as well as retain their store-level, wholesale and retread associates.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. However, Monro has stated that the addition of Johnson City, TN-based Free Service Tire is expected to add roughly $47 million in annualized sales, representing a sales mix of 15 percent service and 85 percent tires.

“This acquisition expands our footprint in the South, while providing Monro with an even stronger platform for further growth in these markets,” said Monro president and CEO Brett Ponton.

The transaction closed May 13.


Monro’s Comps Grew 2.4%, Driven By Higher Average Ticket And Tires

Rochester, NY-based Monro Inc. saw its sales increase by $33.57 million, or 13.3 percent, to $285.58 million for the fiscal fourth quarter ended March 31, 2018 due, in part, to $13.80 million in sales from new stores (including sales from recent acquisitions of $8.70 million), as well as an extra week of sales compared to the previous year.

Comparable-store sales rose 10.3 percent (up 2.4 percent when adjusted for days). Monro’s fourth-quarter adjusted comp-store sales performance breaks down as …
• Tires: up 5 percent;
• Brakes: up 2 percent;
• Front end/shocks: up 2 percent;
• Maintenance services: down 2 percent; and
• Alignments: down 2 percent.

Gross profit rose 15.6 percent to $107.76 million, while gross margin increased 70 basis points to 37.7 percent, attributable to leverage from higher comparable-store sales. Monro’s net income grew 81 percent to $17.48 million.

During the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018, the company opened 15 shops and closed three company-operated locations, ending the quarter with 1,150 company-operated shops and 102 franchised locations. During the quarter, Monro also completed its previously announced acquisition of seven shops in Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia and Virginia from Appalachian Tire Products Inc.

Looking ahead, management expects Monro to post a fiscal 2019 comparable-store sales increase between 1 percent and 3 percent. Full-year sales are forecast to come in between $1.17 billion and $1.20 billion, representing growth of 3.7 percent to 6.4 percent year-over-year.

So far in the current quarter, comparable-store sales decreased 1.7 percent in April (attributable to the late arrival of spring) but increased 3 percent through mid-May.

Analysts with Jefferies LLC expect stronger May trends will continue into June and are modeling a quarterly same-store sales increase of 1.5 percent for Monro. Bret Jordan and Mark Jordan also pointed out in their May 21 Company Note that, for Monro, April’s same-store sales were up against a 3.0-percent increase in the prior year, while May and June are up against lower bars of +1.1 percent and +0.2 percent, respectively.


Monro Says It’s Shifting Its Focus From ‘Transactional’ To Customer Lifetime Value

At the company’s inaugural Investor Day held May 21, the management of Monro Inc. discussed a number of strategic initiatives being implemented across the company. The programs — some of which have already been rolled out and some of which are still in the planning stages — are wide-ranging, touching on a number of issues including customer experience, store image, e-commerce and shop productivity.

President and CEO Brett Ponton told Investor Day participants that — while Monro is in the early stages of executing its strategy — the company has already begun to capture some benefits, particularly as it relates to technology and tools that rolled out during the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018, which ended March 31, 2018. This includes investments made in data-driven analytics.

STORE OPERATIONS … Monro launched tablet-based dashboards and a cloud-based standardized store review process during Q4 fiscal 2018, which management believes will provide greater visibility and better insights for leadership at all levels of the company. “Our tablets and dashboards will allow our store operation leaders to more effectively evaluate and manage each store’s performance across numerous key performance indicators, such as customer satisfaction and online reviews, traffic and sales trends by category, margin performance, and staffing and labor metrics, to name a few,” Ponton said. “Managers will have the ability to track these metrics versus budget, historical trends, and their peers, with information flowing to them in near real-time.”

Ponton added that the new store review process — called Store Operations & Asset Review (SOAR) — is now standardized across all of Monro’s districts.

“Overall, we believe our data-driven approach and related investments in technology will drive efficiency in our stores and our field management organization, reducing the time they spend identifying underlying causes of performance issues and allowing them to prioritize their time and attention to coach our store teams on improving their results,” Ponton explained. “The cloud-based systems will also increase the transparency and accountability throughout our organization and eventually drive consistent improvement in execution across all of our stores.”

ONLINE REPUTATION … The company also has launched a technology-supported customer satisfaction and online review management system — part of a larger effort to improve Monro’s online reputation, deliver a consistent “five star” experience in-store and improve the perception of its shops (including their physical appearance).

“The changes we are making at Monro are more than just about online reviews. At its core, we are fundamentally changing our culture — shifting away from a transactional mindset to one that is focused on the overall lifetime value of our customers, and how we can deliver a ‘five star’ experience to them every time at every one of our store locations,” Ponton told participants.

He extolled the “virtuous cycle” of improving customer experience, noting that it leads to improved online ratings, which drive better visibility online, which leads to increased conversion and, ultimately, higher traffic.

“Our increased efforts to solicit customer feedback has driven a fivefold increase in the number of online reviews. Leveraging the insights from this feedback, we are making improvements to our store operations, which, in turn, is leading to a material improvement in Monro’s overall star rating across online review sites,” Ponton said.

According to Ponton, higher online traffic has led to more actions being taken by consumers, ranging from clicking to call a store, to clicking to get directions to a store, to making an online appointment.

CONSISTENCY … Ponton told participants that creating consistency and quality across Monro’s store base is paramount to delivering a “five star” experience. To do this, the company is working on brand standards and standard operating procedures for every major touchpoint. “From the first impression to the final review, we want to provide a best-in-class experience for our customers,” he explained, “and we want that experience to be the same no matter which store our customers decide to visit.”

New chief operating officer Evan Naylor told participants that Monro is improving its inspection process by providing customers with a more easy-to-understand form and by giving its technicians an easy-to-follow process to help ensure consistent execution of vehicle courtesy checks. As part of this revamped inspection process, Monro also provides customers with a new scheduled maintenance review.

“In the future, we will also introduce an electronic version of the courtesy inspection. This will improve the overall inspection process and will also provide our customers with real-time communication about their inspection,” Naylor stated.

APPEARANCE … Ponton said that it’s important that these standards are aligned with the appearance of Monro’s shops. This is noteworthy considering how Monro has grown by acquisition over the years, leading to a store base that includes a variety of shops and formats.

“We are standardizing our appearance to drive consistency across our markets. In order to accomplish this, we will be executing a store reimage initiative that will begin in Q3 of fiscal year 2019,” Ponton stated.

Along these lines, CFO Brian D’Ambrosia told participants: “By driving consistency and increased productivity across the business, we will be able to more efficiently integrate acquisitions. Clear standards for how we look and how we operate will also benefit our integration process, increasing the value we realize from the companies that we acquire.”

NEW/EXISTING CUSTOMERS … Monro’s new senior vice president of marketing and merchandising, Deborah Brundage, told participants that leveraging customer relationship marketing (CRM) is the company’s No.-1 priority for keeping the customers it has. “CRM allows us to develop long-term, one-to-one relationships with our customers based on specific vehicle needs,” Brundage explained. “It just makes business sense. We’re able to be more efficient and productive to leverage analytics to deliver tailored messages to our customers, especially after they’ve just received a ‘five star’ experience in-store.”

Another key part of Monro’s customer retention plan is its private-label credit card (the Drive Card), which — because it’s in a customer’s wallet — drives top-of-mind awareness, especially for the cost-conscious consumer. “We had a strong Year 1, and, as we begin Year 2, we’re continuing to see nice growth in applications,” Brundage said. “And, early indications are showing higher loyalty and higher spend versus non-Drive Card users.”

Monro plans to leverage its CRM platform to retain these customers by tailoring offers designed to drive them back in-store. 

To bring in new customers, Monro is working with a customer analytics firm to get market segmentation and demographic data on areas in close proximity to its shops. The goal is to identify high-value “lookalikes” and market directly to them, as well as to help management identify key markets for greenfield shops and acquisitions.

E-COMMERCE The company also is working toward a seamless, omnichannel buying experience for Monro customers. This will be done in two phases: The first is modernizing the company’s website for mobile users, while the second is creating a way for customers to view and purchase tires online, schedule appointments, and then go “in store” for installation.

Brundage also stressed the importance of being a preferred tire installer for third-party online sellers.

“This strategy allows us to leverage our core marketing strategies. First, we get to meet the consumer where they are, which is purchasing tires online,” she explained. “Second, we can drive new customer acquisition, since 50 percent of these consumers are new to Monro. This gives us the opportunity to inspect their vehicle, recommend any add-on services and drive conversion in-store. Once the customer is in-store, we can drive retention by adding them to our CRM database and begin to build long-term, one-to-one relationships.”

Monro’s timeframe for rolling out its CRM platform is Q2 of fiscal 2019, with targeting high-value new consumers (working with the new consumer analytics partner) in Q4 fiscal 2019. The website modernization is expected in Q2 fiscal 2019, with the omnichannel program coming in fiscal 2020.

MERCHANDISING … Naylor told participants that Monro can generate higher in-store conversion and expand margins with a stronger merchandise strategy across good/better/best product options. He said Monro has undertaken a comprehensive analysis of its product and service offering in order to develop a more clearly defined merchandise strategy.

“As a result of this analysis, we launched good/better/best service packages in Q1 fiscal 2019 to provide customers with clear options to choose the right services for their vehicle,” Naylor explained. “Offering several options keeps the customer education and in-store selling process simple, and gives our teammates the opportunity to trade customers up to higher-value packages and also increase attachment sales.”

Additionally, the company has optimized Monro’s tire pricing strategy. “Historically, Monro has included the price of the tire installation with the price of the tire, while the majority of the industry sells these items individually,” Naylor stated. “Unless the customer has read the small print, this may have led them to believe our tires were priced higher than our competitors. To alleviate any potential misconception, in Q4 fiscal 2018, we changed our online pricing approach to unbundle tires from installation.”

“Tires are an important part of Monro’s category, given that they represent half of our sales. Therefore, it’s critical for us to offer the right tires at the right price point,” he went on to say. “Through our product assessment, we identified considerable gaps in our tire offering, especially at the higher- and mid-price points. We have taken near-term steps to correct this and optimize our tire assortment.”

Additionally, Monro sees potential in leveraging data analytics to align its tire assortment with consumer demographics, allowing the company to provide the right items for the vehicle population surrounding its stores. “This will further be supported by better sales tools and visual merchandising to educate our customers on their tire options, which we plan on launching across our stores in Q1 fiscal 2020,” Naylor added.

PRODUCTIVITY … Naylor told participants that Monro is working on optimizing its store staffing model as well as offering its employees a clear path for career advancement, including an enhanced training program.The company plans to roll out cloud-based curriculum called Monro University in Q3 fiscal 2019.

“We see the opportunity to recruit technicians at an entry-level capacity, and create opportunities for them to grow and develop by leveraging the online training that we’re going to develop with Monro University,” Ponton said.

“As a service business, staffing and scheduling is a critical aspect of our productivity. Based on our initial analysis, we have identified labor productivity opportunities for improvements to our staffing and scheduling model,” Naylor said. “We want to make sure we have the staffing in each store that’s aligned with its needs. … We will do this by optimizing the right headcount, including both part-time and full-time teammates.”

Additionally, Monro is implementing a new data-driven scheduling system.         — Marc Vincent



Take 5 Oil Change Is Now Franchising

Take 5 Oil Change, a quick-lube chain with locations across 17 states, is now franchising in the Southeast and beyond. The business already has two franchised locations in the Carolinas.

Multi-unit franchising is a focus for Take 5, with management saying they want to ensure franchisees have the opportunity to build their own business within a community and region.

“Our brand has an incredible amount of experience and infrastructure to support new franchisees,” said Ted Rippey, vice president of franchising. “As we continue our path as the fastest-growing quick lube chain in the country, we are excited to bring on partners to further increase our footprint in the U.S.”

“We are focused on finding the right partner, rather than simply a franchisee,” Rippey added. “We see this as an opportunity for a long-term partnership positioned for growth.”

Take 5 has nearly 300 corporate-owned shops. Its parent company is Driven Brands, which also operates Meineke, Maaco and Carstar shops, among others.


U.S. AutoForce Buys Tire’s Warehouse

U.S. AutoForce, the wholesale tire distribution division of Appleton, WI-based U.S. Venture, has acquired Corona, CA-based Tire’s Warehouse Inc. (TWI). Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. U.S. AutoForce plans to retain the Tire’s Warehouse name, company structure, employees and ways of business “for the foreseeable future.”

For U.S. AutoForce the move expands its operations to the West Coast. TWI provides twice-daily deliveries from seven distribution centers (soon to be eight) in California, Nevada and Arizona. U.S. AutoForce has 24 locations, mainly in the Upper Midwest, central U.S. and Southeast. Its closest facilities to the West Coast are in Colorado.

For TWI, the deal means new resources, brands and channels.

The Helmle family established Tire’s Warehouse in 1969, and the business has been family-owned since.

U.S. Venture also is family-owned. It’s one of the largest, privately-held companies in Wisconsin. Along with tires, U.S. Venture businesses distribute petroleum and renewable energy products, lubricants, and aftermarket auto parts.


Mavis Tire Adds Centers In Georgia, South Carolina

Mavis Discount Tire (Millwood, NY) has acquired six shops in Georgia from Dekalb Tire and five shops in South Carolina from Hill Tire Centers. The additions are part of the company’s plan to build its footprint in the Southeast.

The Georgia shops are located in Marietta, Dunwoody, Tucker, Cumming, Buckhead and Sandy Springs. The South Carolina shops are located in Moncks Corner, North Charleston, Walterboro, Summerville and Georgetown.

These latest acquisitions follow Mavis’ purchase of 11 Florida shops from Sun Tire & Automotive Service, and 69 retail locations across Florida and Georgia from Kauffman Tire, earlier this year.

Financial details of the transactions were not disclosed.


National Conference & Tech Sessions (NCTS) Is Back

Autologic Diagnostics is partnering with the Worldpac Training Institute and Carquest Technical Institute to host the National Conference & Tech Sessions (NCTS) Aug. 16-19 at the Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate in Orlando. The event hasn’t been held since 2015.

NCTS offers two days of instructor-led training courses. Traditionally, classes have covered BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar/Land Rover and Volkswagen/Audi service, as well as business management. At NCTS 2018, coverage will expand to include Asian and domestic brands. For more information about the event, click here.



ShiftMobility Offers Blockchain-Secured Vehicle Inspection Sheets App

ShiftMobility Inc., a blockchain-powered connected shop technology specialist, has announced the release of its CarCheck Pro “smart” vehicle inspections application. CarCheck Pro allows shops to add or retrieve vehicle information from blockchains via an integrated VIN scanner or license plate lookup, select from a library of generic or custom inspection forms, and share service recommendations and alerts with customers by email or text messaging.

CarCheck Pro’s digital inspection sheets cover a range of services, including tires, brakes, oil changes and pre-sale reports. And, the app’s blockchain technology allows a complete inspection history to transfer with the vehicle when ownership changes hands.

The app uses ShiftMobility’s Automotive Cloud Platform and works on any mobile device or desktop browser, according to the company. CarCheck Pro can be used independently or integrated with ShopLite, ShiftMobility’s connected shop management system.


ASA Announces 2018 Board Of Directors

The Automotive Service Association (ASA) has announced its 2018 board of directors, which is composed of …
• Chairman: Roy Schnepper of Butler’s Collision in Roseville, MI;
• Chairman Elect: Bob Wills of Wills Auto Service in Battle Creek, MI;
• Secretary/Treasurer: Fred Hules of Tech 1 Auto in Peoria, AZ;
• General Director: Elissa Larremore of CBS 1 Collision in Shreveport, LA;
• General Director: Todd Black of Unlimited Service in Bellingham, WA;
• Mechanical Division Director: Tom Piippo of Tri-County Motors in Rudyard, MI;
• Collision Division Director: Scott Benavidez of Mr. B’s Paint & Body Shop in Albuquerque, NM;
• Immediate Past Chairman: Darrell Amberson of LaMettry’s Collision in Minneapolis; and
• ASA president and executive director Dan Risley, who serves in an ex-officio capacity.

Ed Cushman of C&H Auto in Spokane, WA has retired from the board.


Bridgestone Retail Operations Expands Partnership With Lincoln Tech

Lincoln Educational Services Corp. and Bridgestone Retail Operations (BSRO) have expanded their technician training and professional development partnership nationwide. To date, the initiative has been offered at Lincoln Tech’s campus in Denver. Now, BSRO will provide training equipment and sponsor classrooms at Lincoln campuses nationwide. Additionally, BSRO will offer scholarship grants to Lincoln students.

The goal is to attract more students to Lincoln Tech’s programs and to develop entry-level techs for BSRO, which operates more than 2,200 tire and automotive service centers across the United States under the brands Firestone Complete Auto Care, Tires Plus, Hibdon Tires Plus and Wheel Works.

“In any given month, we’re looking to hire hundreds of technicians around the country,” said Blye Hunsinger, director of talent acquisition at BSRO. “These are excellent opportunities for skilled technicians to begin careers with BSRO and join Bridgestone, which is a large global corporation.”

Lincoln has 23 campuses in 14 states.



Enrollment Begins At UTI’s Campus In New Jersey

Universal Technical Institute (UTI) has opened enrollment to prospective students at its new campus in Bloomfield, NJ, with classes to begin this fall. The 108,000-square-foot campus — which will train students for careers as automotive and diesel technicians — is UTI’s first facility in the area and its 13th campus nationwide. The facility can teach approximately 800 students.


Harbor Freight Tools Doubles Awards For
‘Tools For Schools’ Initiative

Harbor Freight Tools will award more than $1 million in cash prizes to 18 outstanding public high school skilled trades teachers and programs — doubling the amount awarded in last year’s “Tools for Schools” initiative. Three first-place winners will each receive $100,000: $70,000 to the high school skilled trades program and $30,000 to the individual skilled trades teacher (or teacher team) behind the winning program. Fifteen second-place winners will each be awarded $50,000: $35,000 to the high school program and $15,000 to the teacher/team.

For more information, visit Applications are being accepted through July 6. Nearly 700 applications were received from 48 states last year.


Stertil-Koni Recognizes Six Distributors

Heavy duty vehicle lift company Stertil-Koni has honored the following North American independent Stertil-Koni exclusive distributors with “Aspire Program Awards” for their sales growth in 2017 …
Midwest Equipment Specialists of McFarland, WI;
Northwest Lift & Equipment of Hillsboro, OR;
Reeder Distributors of Fort Worth, TX;
USA Lifts of Bloomington, IL;
Southwest Lift & Equipment of San Bernardino, CA; and
Vendor Network of Bronxville, NY.


Spanesi Supports Database Enhancement Gateway

Spanesi Americas has announced its sponsorship of the Digital Enhancement Gateway (DEG), an initiative that allows collision repair shops to directly submit information to the suppliers of databases for various estimating products in order to facilitate the review of published repair procedure labor times. This allows DEG users to help fix omitted and inaccurate information found in collision repair estimating programs. Shops also can use the database to verify and document operations that need to be performed through a confirmation process directly with information providers.


Texas Body Shop Chains Combine

ProCare Automotive, a portfolio company of the private equity firm Kinderhook Industries, has acquired Austin Motor Mile Collision (AMM), which has 12 collision repair shops in the Austin and San Antonio markets. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. AMM marks the fifth add-on acquisition for ProCare, which now has 30 total body shops in the Austin, San Antonio and Houston areas.


Spectra Premium Industries – Regional Sales Manager

Spectra Premium Industries, a leading North American Auto Parts Manufacturer, is seeking a highly qualified Regional Sales Manager to manage aftermarket parts sales throughout the Southwest United States. … (more) … Click here to find out more.

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K&N – National Account Manager

Responsible for multiple customers within a sales channel as part of the sales organization, programs and budgets for multi-brand automotive and motorcycle filtration and accessory parts manufacturer and distributor. … (more) … Click here to find out more.

Champion Laboratories, Inc: Product Manager

We are looking for a Product Manager to join our team to manage the product life cycle process for assigned product lines to insure “best in class” application coverage and competitive pricing. We are looking for someone to roll up their sleeves and work with multiple functions to get things done. … (more) … Click here to find out more.


Kia Makes Changes In Operations, Aftersales

Kia Motors America (KMA) has named Michael Cole as its chief operating officer and executive vice president. Cole is now the central point of contact for all sales, marketing, service, and corporate and product planning functions in the United States. He reports to KMA president and CEO Sean Yoon. Cole has been the chief operating officer of Kia Motors Europe since 2012.

KMA also has promoted Greg Silvestri to vice president of service and aftersales operations, reporting to Cole. The move adds parts sales and dealer fixed-operations responsibilities to Silvestri’s existing duties as executive director of service operations. With nearly 35 years of automotive experience, Silvestri’s background includes corporate and field-based roles in sales, marketing, dealer development, service and dealer relations with Mazda prior to joining Kia in 2004.


Lexus Announces Executive Changes

David Christ has succeeded Jeff Bracken as Lexus group vice president and general manager, overseeing all aspects of U.S. Lexus automotive operations, including sales, marketing, customer service and dealer operations. Christ reports to Bill Fay, senior vice president of automotive operations.

Bracken, who has led Lexus since 2013, is now an executive advisor to Lexus, also reporting to Fay. Bracken will remain in that role until Aug. 1 and then retire after 40 years with the company.

Replacing Christ as Lexus vice president of sales operations is Dejuan Ross, who was Toyota’s Chicago region general manager.


FCA/Waymo Partnership Expands

FCA US has announced a deal to add as many as 62,000 Chrysler Pacifica hybrid minivans to Waymo’s self-driving fleet. This builds upon a previous commitment, announced in January, to deliver thousands of vehicles to Waymo’s driverless ride-hailing service. Vehicle delivery is expected to begin in late 2018.

The FCA and Waymo partnership dates back to 2016.

The two companies also have announced that they are beginning discussions about the use of Waymo self-driving technology — including potentially through licensing — in an FCA-manufactured vehicle available to retail customers.


Trust In Autonomous Vehicles Slips, According To AAA

According to AAA, consumer trust in autonomous automobiles quickly eroded following a series of high-profile incidents involving these vehicles. Recently, 73 percent of U.S. drivers said they would be too afraid to ride in a fully self-driving vehicle — up from 63 percent in late 2017. Additionally, 63 percent of U.S. adults indicated that they would feel less safe sharing the road with a self-driving vehicle while walking or riding a bicycle.

AAA’s survey found that Millennials — the group that had been the quickest to embrace automated vehicle technology — were the most impacted by recent incidents. The percentage of Millennial drivers that said there are too afraid to ride in a fully self-driving vehicle jumped from 49 percent to 64 percent, representing the largest increase of any generation surveyed.


People Watching 6/12/18

• Doug Myers has joined the marketing and communications department of the Automotive Service Association (ASA) as its new content manager. He replaces AutoInc. editor and content manager John Clark, whose last day was June 8. Myers is now responsible for AutoInc., as well as other print and digital projects.

Gail Sharps Myers has joined American Tire Distributors (ATD) as its executive vice president, general counsel, chief compliance officer and secretary. Myers previously was the senior vice president, general counsel and secretary for the snack foods company Snyder’s-Lance Inc.


News Briefs 6/12/18

• A bill (HB 1444) that would have ended the state’s vehicle safety inspection program has been dropped from the Missouri House of Representatives calendar. The Automotive Service Association (ASA) and AASA opposed the proposed legislation, which never received a floor vote.

• Registration is now open for Vision 2018 South of the Border, a biennial management training and networking event for automotive service professionals, that will take place Nov. 8-12 in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. ASA Midwest is hosting the event. For more information, visit

• The Car Care Council has released a new video on YouTube to educate motorists about the importance of oil changes. The video — which was produced in conjunction with AutoNetTV — also is available in the AutoNetTV digital management system for use by repair shops.

• ASA has launched a private Facebook group intended to connect ASA member shops with the association’s operations committee members in order to discuss business management topics and exchange ideas and best practices.

Denso Products & Services Americas has added advanced A/C training to its lineup of instructor-led Technical Training Program courses.

Yokohama Tire’s ongoing instructional video series, “Tire Tips,” returned in May with 10 new segments. Topics included “Choosing the Right Tire for Your SUV/CUV,” “When is a Tire Repairable and When is it Not?” and “Correct Speed and Load Ratings.” The video series is designed to increase consumer awareness and educate the public about a variety of tire-related subjects.

Bridgestone Americas is introducing a new Retail Showroom Program for affiliated tire dealers, promising a more customer-centric environment. The new program accommodates a range of showroom sizes and layouts, according to Bridgestone, and includes a variety of new services, including custom design support and increased in-store branding.

• Bridgestone Americas has relaunched, a consumer website dedicated to providing drivers with tire and driving safety information, including how to check tire pressure and tread depth and how to choose tires.

Bridgestone Retail Operations has launched its annual “Driving Great Futures” campaign to support Boys & Girls Clubs of America. With the funds raised during the campaign, the company will provide grants to help clubs purchase new vans or improve/maintain their existing vehicles.

• Maryland-based Bay Area Tire & Service is implementing VAST point-of-sale and business management technology from MAM Software.

Nexen Tire USA has revamped its website,, with an interactive tire finder and enhanced dealer locator.

Jiffy Lube International has recognized Team Lucor as its “Franchisee of the Year.” Lucor has 158 Jiffy Lube shops in North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Tint World Automotive Styling Centers (Boca Raton, FL) has six franchise locations set to open this summer in Arizona, Delaware, California, Michigan, Tennessee, and Texas, which will increase the total number of Tint World franchises to more than 60 locations. Additionally, a new Tint World location is poised to open in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates this month.

• The Safelite Group, the Columbus, OH-based vehicle glass services company, has reached an agreement to acquire the assets of Richardson Auto Glass, which has shops in Texas and Louisiana.


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