88% Of Shops Investing To Be More Competitive
Over 88 percent of repair shops are making investments to be more competitive, according to a new IMR Insight report titled “How Repair Shops Are Investing.” According to IMR’s research …
• 81 percent of shops with one to three bays are investing;
• 90 percent of shops with four to seven bays are investing;
• 92 percent of shops with eight or more bays are investing;
• 88 percent of shops with owners age 45 and younger are investing;
• 90 percent of shops with owners age 46-55 are investing;
• 91 percent of shops with owners age 56-65 are investing; and
• 79 percent of shops with owners age 66 and older are investing.
For more information, visit automotiveresearch.com.
Michigan Most Affordable State For ‘Check Engine’ Repairs Once Again
For the third consecutive year, Michigan had the lowest average “Check Engine Light” (CEL) repair cost at $333.26 ($138.83 for labor and $194.43 for parts), according to CarMD.com’s analysis of data from over 10.70 million vehicles needing repairs in 2017. Rounding out the five most affordable states for car repairs were …
• Ohio at $335.26 — $134.16 for labor and $201.10 for parts;
• Maine at $337.74 — $129.97 for labor and $207.77 for parts;
• Wisconsin at $337.89 — $133.77 for labor and $204.12 for parts; and
• North Dakota at $339.78 — $134.10 for labor and $205.68 for parts.
According to CarMD’s findings, drivers in the District of Columbia incurred the highest average cost at $402.92 ($141.32 for labor and $261.60 for parts) to address CEL issues. After the District of Columbia, the most expensive places for repairs last year were …
• Georgia at $395.05 — $158.58 for labor and $236.47 for parts;
• Connecticut at $393.16 — $137.15 for labor and $256.01 for parts;
• Hawaii at $389.19 — $133.27 for labor and $255.92 for parts; and
• California at $385.42 — $141.58 for labor and $243.84 for parts.
The average cost to repair a CEL issue in Michigan in 2017 was 3 percent lower than the previous year, while CEL repairs in the District of Columbia were 2 percent lower than in 2016.
For the second consecutive year, Vermont had the lowest average labor cost at $121.98, which CarMD attributed to a loose or missing gas cap being the most common cause of a CEL issue on Vermont cars and trucks in 2017, accounting for 7.5 percent of repairs. Drivers in the District of Columbia paid the most for labor at $141.32.
Drivers in the District of Columbia also paid the most on average for parts at $261.60, where the most frequent repair was to replace a catalytic converter, accounting for 6.3 percent of recommended repairs in the district. Drivers in Michigan paid the least for parts at $194.43.
Hawaii saw the most significant increase in the rankings, moving from the state with the fourth-lowest to the state with the fourth-highest repair cost — a 12-percent increase in average repair cost. One factor, according to CarMD, was a rise in the number of mass air flow and catalytic converter repairs.
Click here to view a state-by-state ranking of average CEL-related repairs in 2017.
CarMD’s state ranking of repair costs was derived from an analysis of needed repairs identified for model-year 1996 to 2017 vehicles between Jan. 1, 2017 and Dec. 31, 2017 that were reported to and analyzed by CarMD’s team of technicians. The repairs were related to a vehicle’s OBD2 system. CarMD did not report on problems that were outside the scope of a vehicle’s OBD2 system.
ASA President Dan Risley Resigns
Automotive Service Association (ASA) president and executive director Dan Risley is resigning effective July 13. He has accepted a position with CCC Information Services in his home state of Illinois.
To help with the transition, Risley will stay on in a consultant capacity until a new association leader is named.
During the transition, ASA’s current CPA, Beth Risch, will serve as interim chief operating officer. Risch will oversee day-to-day operations and report directly to the board of directors.
Over the next few months, ASA will conduct a search to find a new executive director, seeking a person with association management experience.
Second-Largest Affiliate Leaves ASA, To Form Independent Association
Leaders of ASA-Midwest (its board and house of delegates) — the second largest affiliate of the Automotive Service Association — on June 14 voted unanimously to disaffiliate with ASA National and become an independent regional association known as the Midwest Auto Care Alliance (MWACA). Think of the move like dissolving a “franchise agreement” — one that has allowed what will become MWACA to operate as ASA-Midwest.
According to an ASA Midwest/MWACA announcement dated June 15, the decision “was part of a long and strategic process to address member concerns regarding value for their membership dollar,” as well as the requirement to belong to both ASA-Midwest and ASA National.
“ASA-Midwest attempted to resolve these concerns through letters and meetings with ASA National,” the statement reads. “Those efforts did not result in a solid plan that details solutions and progress toward a more member-focused national organization, leaving the affiliate with no other alternative.”
“By changing the name of our organization to Midwest Auto Care Alliance, we have empowered our members, as well as future members, to select their membership participation based on their personal needs and experience,” Jerry Holcom — president of ASA-Midwest/MWACA and owner of S&S Service Center in Kansas City — said in a separate announcement dated June 26. “This is a business decision which should be available to all members, and holds each member-based organization accountable for the programs and services that they offer in return for their dues.”
Holcom also stated that there would be no impact on the organization’s Vision HiTech Training & Expo in March 2019. MWACA also promises exclusive new programs and services.
Current members of ASA-Midwest will have the option to be a member of MWACA or ASA/ASA Midwest. Those interested in MWACA membership can begin applying beginning Sept. 14. For more information, visit mwaca.org.
Meanwhile, ASA National will go forward with a restructured ASA Midwest affiliate following the previous group’s move to disaffiliate and form MWACA. However, Arkansas and Oklahoma will no longer be a part of ASA Midwest; and only Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska will remain. New management for the restructured ASA Midwest will be announced in the coming weeks, according to ASA National.
Additionally, shop owners in Oklahoma or Arkansas who are interested in participating and assisting with the formation of a state association can contact Tony Molla, ASA vice president, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We recognize the need for a strong state association in these areas, and we are committed to making that a reality,” said Roy Schnepper, chairman of ASA National. “State associations are the building blocks and foundation of ASA.”
According to ASA National, ASA Midwest’s members will see a reduction in their annual dues, attributable to a reduction in administrative expenses as well as a shift to a more “virtual environment” for meetings and member services.
“The changes will allow us to better serve a broader base of members in these states, and hopefully garner an increase in participation as we move to a more virtual means to communicate regularly amongst the board of directors, staff and membership,” said Dan Risley, outgoing president of ASA National.
TireHub Begins Operations
Having received clearance from all required regulatory authorities, TireHub LLC — the new passenger- and light-truck tire distribution joint venture between the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. and Bridgestone America — began serving customers this month. TireHub provides U.S. tire dealers and retailers with a variety of tires from both tire companies, with an emphasis on larger-rim diameter premium tires.
The joint venture combines Goodyear’s company-owned wholesale distribution network with Bridgestone-owned Tire Wholesale Warehouse (TWW). According to the tiremakers, TireHub has the scale to reach the vast majority of retail locations in the United States daily. And, the companies state, TireHub will complement both tiremakers’ networks of existing third-party distributors.
Bridgestone Ending Its Relationship With ATD
Bridgestone Americas in late June informed American Tire Distributors (ATD) that it’s discontinuing its passenger and light-truck tire distribution relationship with ATD following approval (and the imminent launch) of TireHub LLC, a tire distribution joint venture between Bridgestone and the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.
Bridgestone’s move came about two months after Goodyear announced plans to drop ATD as an authorized national distributor. Goodyear’s decision followed the formation of TireHub this spring.
In the wake of Bridgestone’s announcement, Moody’s Investors Service placed its ratings for ATD under review for downgrade once again, including the company’s “Caa2” corporate family rating and “Caa3-PD” probability of default rating, as well as the “Caa1” and “Caa3” ratings for ATD’s senior secured term loan and senior subordinated notes. Moody’s cited the Bridgestone move in announcing the review, stating that ATD’s creditworthiness is likely to erode more significantly than the rating agency had originally anticipated.
“The magnitude and timing of earnings and cash flow erosion following the loss of two prominent suppliers will be more severe and immediate than previously envisioned,” Inna Bodeck, Moody’s lead analyst covering the company, said in an announcement dated June 27. “This latest development further evidences the ongoing shift in the approach of premium tire manufacturers to the evolving marketplace and ultimately represents an incremental resizing of the tire distribution channel.”
In a statement provided to Service Executive, ATD said: “ATD remains the nation’s premier tire distributor, as well as the largest independent supplier of tires to the replacement tire market. Importantly, ATD continues to generate substantial cash flows and, as of May 31, 2018, had approximately $300 million of liquidity. We have a loyal base of customers and manufacturer partners with whom we are continuing to work as we always do.
“Our value proposition continues to strengthen as we execute our strategy. Our industry is evolving, and we are bringing game-changing innovation — including digital tools, programs and technical support — that will make us the most connected and insight-driven automotive solutions provider in the industry.
“We are disappointed by Bridgestone’s decision to no longer use ATD as a distributor of their products in the United States, which we believe limits consumer choice. We have been and will continue to take steps to meaningfully offset the potential impact of Goodyear and Bridgestone’s actions. To us, it’s all about keeping the power of choice alive, and we look forward to continuing to support our customers and manufacturer partners like no one else can.”
ATD Touts New Technology
Huntersville, NC-based American Tire Distributors (ATD) — along with its Canadian subsidiary, National Tire Distributors (NTD) — on June 25 announced its “Go-Forward Innovation Strategy” at the company’s 2018 North American Innovation Summit in Dallas. The initiative centers on what ATD calls a “game-changing digital ecosystem” that combines technology and advanced analytics.
The digital business model launched at the summit is expected to be fully integrated into ATD’s business by 2020. Tools and initiatives launching in the coming months include …
• Radius: a value-added services platform designed to drive traffic, enhance operations and maximize profitability for ATD’s customers;
• Traction: a platform for delivery tracking and notifications, payment options, invoices with real-time order changes, and inventory control; and
• A new ATD website and NTD website.
“No one in the industry can offer the capabilities and services that ATD has and will continue to provide our customers and manufacturer partners,” ATD president and CEO Stuart Schuette said in a statement dated June 25. “We have unparalleled experience and, more importantly, the commitment, power and enthusiasm of more than 5,000 associates to develop the tools that will lead the industry. Passion for leading industry change and delivering an exceptional customer experience are a part of our DNA. The industry should expect no less from us. We can’t wait for tomorrow.”
ATD is one of the largest independent suppliers of tires to the replacement tire market. It operates more than 140 distribution centers, including 25 distribution centers in Canada, serving approximately 80,000 customers across the United States and Canada.
Sears Auto Center/Amazon Tire Installation Program Expands
Sears Auto Centers’ “Ship-to-Store” collaboration with Amazon has expanded to an additional 71 shops. This allows tires ordered on Amazon to be installed at a total of 118 Sears Auto Centers — up from the original 47 locations.
Customers who opt for “Ship-to-Store” receive full-service tire installation and balancing at Sears Auto Centers. The option is integrated into the Amazon checkout process. Customers select their tires, the Sears Auto Centers location, and a preferred date and time for installation. Sears Auto Centers then contacts the customer to confirm the appointment.
“Amazon customer reviews have been very positive, and we are two months ahead of schedule,” said Mike McCarthy, vice president and general manager of Sears Automotive. “Customers are taking advantage of additional services during the tire installation process, such as oil changes and alignments. We are meeting our 60-minute tire installation commitment, and over 90 percent of the Amazon customers are new Sears Automotive customers.”
“Ship-to-Store” tire installation is expected to continue rolling out to Sears Auto Centers across the United States over the coming weeks. The goal is to eventually offer the service at all 400-plus Sears Auto Centers.
Delticom Examining ‘Options’ For Its North American E-Commerce Unit
Germany-based online tire and automotive accessories retailer Delticom AG announced June 25 that it’s “examining strategic options” for its e-commerce activities in North America, which are carried out via the web shops tires-easy.com, giga-tires.com and tires-easy.ca under the umbrella of Delticom North America. The sites offer customers a variety of tire options, including top brands and discount brands. Delticom AG holds a 75-percent stake in Delticom North America.
The company stated that it’s considering “alternative development paths” for Delticom North America, and acknowledged that it’s in discussions with potential investors and market participants.
The move comes at a time of growth, according to Delticom AG, which states that its North American subsidiary has increased its revenues by almost 50 percent compared to the previous year.
Bosch Invests In Shop Management, Customer Interaction Platform
Bosch Automotive Aftermarket has made an undisclosed investment in San Francisco-based Shop-Ware Inc. The deal provides independent Bosch Car Service shops in North America with special access to the company’s shop management and customer retention platform, while allowing Shop-Ware to further invest in its system. The move is expected to allow Shop-Ware to offer additional third-party software integrations and “an accelerated features roadmap,” according to a Bosch announcement dated June 20.
“Bosch’s investment enables us to accelerate our capabilities and growth within the North American repair shop landscape,” Shop-Ware founder and CEO Carolyn Coquillette said in the announcement. “These capabilities will help increase the efficiency and productivity of the Bosch Car Service network in the U.S. and other independent repair shop owners.”
Founded in 2013, Shop-Ware provides point-of-sale tools, shop management software and third-party integration to aftermarket auto repair shops. Its technology includes customer access to job status, financial reporting, workflow management, technician productivity, estimating and online parts ordering. And, its offerings can be customized to a shop’s needs.
With Bosch’s investment, all North American Bosch Car Service shops receive access to tailored systems that integrate with current offerings, such as a rewards program, as well as exclusive access to future features.
Financial terms of Bosch’s investment were not disclosed.
Vehicle Trend Data Added To ProDemand
Mitchell 1 has revamped the consumer report maintenance checklist in its ProDemand auto repair information software with vehicle trend information. The new feature gives shops additional insights into vehicle status that can be shared with customers when making recommendations. The new vehicle trend data is based on the SureTrack database of over 1 billion repair records. The data shows users the components most frequently replaced within 7,500 miles of a given maintenance interval.
With New Funding, Openbay Is Developing AI-Enabled Tools
Cambridge, MA-based Openbay — an online marketplace for vehicle repair and services, as well as a provider of software as a service (SaaS) tools for the automotive aftermarket — has landed $8 million in “Series A” financing, according to an announcement dated June 25. Shell Ventures LLC led the round, with participation from existing investor Stage 1 Ventures and an additional undisclosed strategic investor.
Openbay plans to use the new financing to bring to market artificial intelligence-based tools for vehicle repair businesses, and to grow existing and new markets across all its offerings.
“Consumers expect their interactions across websites, social platforms, mobile and messaging apps to be engaging and interactive. This requires natural-language processing, machine learning and predictive analytics,” explained Rob Infantino, founder and CEO of Openbay. “With fresh capital and depth of the resources our strategic and global investors bring to Openbay, the company is now well-positioned to grow and expand its offering globally.”
Openbay provides an online marketplace to help consumers locate shops, compare quotes and transact for automotive maintenance services.
Tire Pros Debuts New Ad Campaign
The Tire Pros independent tire dealers network, a subsidiary of American Tire Distributors (ATD), is rolling out a new marketing campaign this summer designed to highlight its “hassle-free approach to automotive care.” The omni-channel initiative is customizable for use in dealers’ local markets, as well as in regional and national campaigns.
The campaign features an array of creative assets, anchored by a TV commercial designed to harken back to simpler times with kids on tricycles, bikes and skateboards. “Your first set of wheels didn’t come with complications, or strings, or hassles,” a voiceover reads. “It can be that way again.”
There also are streaming radio spots, as well as print, social and digital ads. The spots end with the campaign’s tagline: “Hassle Free. Guaranteed.”
Henley/Valvoline Instant Oil Change Raises $440,000 For Jimmy Fund
Henley Enterprises Inc., the largest Valvoline Instant Oil Change franchisee, raised more than $440,000 for the Jimmy Fund at the 36th annual Jimmy Fund Scooper Bowl, an all-you-can eat ice cream festival that took place June 5-7 in Boston. Over 45,000 people attended the event. The Jimmy Fund supports adult and pediatric cancer care and research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Henley and Valvoline Instant Oil Change will team up with the Jimmy Fund again July 23 to Sept. 3 for the “A Chance For Kids & Families” promotion. Scratch cards will be sold at participating shops for $1 with all proceeds going directly to Dana-Farber.
Henley operates more than 170 service centers across 12 states, including California, Florida, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
ASE Education Foundation Updates Guide For New Automotive Instructors
The ASE Education Foundation has expanded its free online automotive instructor guide targeted toward those exploring a career transition to becoming an instructor as well as new instructors. Units covering advisory committees and student placement have been added to existing resources.
The New Instructor Guide includes video segments that outline best practices, tips and techniques for …
• Developing lesson plans;
• Lesson content and student engagement;
• Managing lab sessions;
• Assessing student progress and mastery;
• Developing advisory boards;
• Staying connected with the automotive industry; and
• Placing students in the work force.
The guide also includes printable resources, such as lesson-planning templates and job sheets.
New Leader For TA Truck Service Commercial Tire Network
Tire industry veteran Robert Eck has joined TravelCenters of America (Westlake, OH) as vice president of the TA Truck Service Commercial Tire Network. In this capacity, Eck leads and oversees daily operations, as well as formulates strategic plans for the growth of TravelCenters’ tire business, including the company’s new TA Commercial Tire Retread Center.
The TA Truck Service network includes 244 truck service facilities with 1,090 repair bays, nearly 3,000 technicians, more than 2,600 RoadSquad and third-party provider service trucks, and over 140 Onsite mobile maintenance vehicles. TA Truck Service is an authorized Freightliner Trucks and Western Star Trucks warranty provider.
Eck worked for the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. from 1982 until 2017, most recently as vice president of sales at Rice Tire.
Spanesi Americas Now A Certified Collision Group ‘Preferred Provider’
Spanesi Americas is now a “preferred provider” of vehicle repair straightening benches, touch electronic measuring systems, spray booths, prep stations, mixing rooms, welders and vehicle lifts to the Certified Collision Group (CCG) and its national collision repair network. Additionally, CCG affiliates will get access to facility design services, training and technical support for all Spanesi products.
Alltech Automotive LLC, a dynamic global automotive supplier, is seeking a National Sales Manager to represent products it sells into the Automotive Aftermarket. … (more) … Click here to find out more.
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. … (more) … Click here to find out more.
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.
Proven investor with over 30 years of experience supporting entrepreneurs is interested in acquiring minority interest in successful, growing, entrepreneur-backed companies. Over 40 successful partnerships. Outstanding track record. Strong references from prior investment partners. Maintain control while also receiving substantial cash for partial buy-out. Diversify your holding and earn substantial potential upside in future years. … (more) … Click here to find out more.
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.
CarAdvise Allies With The General
The General, a Nashville-based auto insurance company, has joined the CarAdvise vehicle repair and maintenance partner network. This gives policyholders access to volume discounts at any CarAdvise shop, including Firestone, NTB, Sears Auto and AAMCO locations, as well as certain dealerships and independent repair shops. The CarAdvise digital platform helps users locate shops, schedule service, approve work and pay by smartphone.
Bosch Invests In Connected Car Services Provider
Bosch has announced a strategic investment in Mojio, a technology platform and software as a service (SaaS) provider for connected cars. The two companies also have inked an innovation agreement to co-develop a suite of advanced connected car services, beginning with vehicle communication and diagnostics, as well as crash detection and notification.
Founded in 2012, Mojio has developed a hardware cloud platform, mobile apps for consumers and small businesses, and services for big data analytics. The company has reportedly gathered real-world data from over 7 billion miles of driving — part of a platform that delivers connected car services to subscribers of major network operators in North America and Europe.
Bosch’s strategic investment was part of Mojio’s “Series B” funding round. Terms of Bosch’s investment in Mojio have not been disclosed.
News Briefs 7/10/18
• In 2016, the demand for new-entrant automotive technicians was 75,900; however, there were only about 38,830 auto-tech graduates that year, according to a new report from the TechForce Foundation. The report also shows that auto-tech postsecondary completions have been declining — down 1,829 completions in 2016 when compared to 2012.
• Valvoline Inc. franchisee Henley Pacific SF LLC has acquired four quick lubes in the San Francisco area that are now operating as Valvoline Instant Oil Change service centers.
• Bolt On Technology reports that its users have taken over 15 million photos with Mobile Manager Pro.
• Ceramic Pro, which specializes in vehicle paint protection technology, has agreed to report product installation details to Carfax. This will allow vehicles that have installed Ceramic Pro products to be identified on Carfax Vehicle History Reports and the myCarfax mobile app.
• Bosch is partnering with the Integrated Supply Network (ISN) to bring Bosch’s new automotive diagnostic tools, the ADS 325 and ADS 625, to market. The partnership includes a hyper-targeted digital campaign, including paid search and social media.
• Caliber Collision Centers collected a record 4.30 million meals in the form of cash and food items during the Seventh Annual Rhythm Restoration Food Drive to feed at-risk children over the summer months. The proceeds will help 53 regional food banks replenish and stock their pantries at a time when demand is highest for families with children who don’t have access to school lunches.
• Tint World Automotive Styling Centers (Roca Raton, FL) has revamped its franchise opportunity website.
• The Automotive Service Association (ASA) and its official publication, AutoInc. magazine, are now accepting entries for the annual “Top 10 Websites” contest. The deadline for entries is Aug. 1.
• The Automotive Maintenance & Repair Association (AMRA)/Motorist Assurance Program (MAP) Fall Technical Committee Meeting will take place Aug. 29-30 at the OLC Education & Conference Center on West Higgins Road in Rosemont, IL. Click here for more information.