Quick Hits …
(A few short items to get us started this week)
• The Meineke Dealers Purchasing Cooperative Inc. (MDPCI) has honored 1-800-Radiator & A/C as its 2020 Vendor of the Year.
• Shopmonkey has integrated with the Integrated Service Estimator from Epicor, giving Shopmonkey users access to Epicor’s parts-ordering catalog and allowing them to transfer parts to Shopmonkey orders.
• asTech, a Repairify Inc. company, is now certified to support the GM Collision Repair Network, providing service centers with scanning, diagnostics and calibration services.
• Reminder: March 31 is the deadline to submit applications for automotive scholarships via Automotive Aftermarket Scholarship Central, AutomotiveScholarships.com.
Obituary: Greg Bringle, Longtime Sales Executive
Greg Bringle, longtime aftermarket sales executive who most recently held the position of vice president of automotive sales at Amrep, died in January after a brief illness. He was 57.
Texas-based Bringle began his career as a merchandise manager for CSK Auto and moved onto positions at Western Auto and Blue Magic before landing his most recent executive role at Amrep, where he spent the last nine years of his career.
Known for his kindness, passionate work ethic and positive attitude, Bringle’s colleagues all spoke of the great loss they felt upon learning of his sudden passing and set up a Go Fund Me page to help his family with funeral and other expenses.
Mike Cole, senior director of sales and marketing for Alliance Parts Warehouse, knew Bringle for 32 years and remembered his friend as a caring, compassionate person and colleague.
“He was my best man and my best friend,” Cole said. “I met him at CSK where we worked together. He was the consummate salesman who was passionate about his brands. He was always hungry and listening for a new sales opportunity. In a sales meeting, he was polite and listened. People knew he was listening and knew he cared.”
In addition to being best friends, Cole reported to Bringle at both CSK and Blue Magic, a situation that could have tested even the strongest of bonds, but not theirs.
“When I reported to him, it could have been difficult being a best friend to your direct report,” Cole said. “We worked it out because we were transparent and truthful with each other. There was no gamesmanship or ego involved.”
Randy Wright of FCI Marketing worked with Bringle at Northern Auto and Western Auto and remembered him for his positive attitude and drive.
“All who knew Greg would agree he was an exceptional person,” Wright said. “Greg was ‘Mr. Positive,” always a positive, upbeat attitude in all situations — even those that may have not been so pleasurable. It was my great fortune to work with Greg at both Northern Auto and Western Auto. Greg’s attitude as well as other positive attributes made him a remarkable leader. Even when the environments were far from perfect, Greg would foster his famous attitude of ‘let’s get this done; we can do it.’”
Wright acknowledged the void his colleague has left behind both personally and professionally.
“Greg has left a large void with his family, his church and the automotive aftermarket,” Wright said. “Greg’s now vacant roles will certainly be immense challenges to replace. If you knew Greg, at numerous Auto Care Association events such as meet-and-greet cocktail events, Greg would inevitably find you, say hello and ask about your family. Greg will be deeply missed by all of us who knew him.”
Jon Rubich, president and owner of Insights2Action, was a colleague and friend to Bringle and said the following about him in a LinkedIn post announcing his death: “It is with a heavy heart that I announce the passing of my dear and close friend, Greg Bringle. For those who knew Greg’s friendly nature, great sense of humor and passion for his lovely wife, Laura; his adult children, Chad, Lauren and Kelly; and his deep and abiding faith, this will be a heavy loss.”
Jerry Opry, senior vice president of sales and marketing for the Technical Chemical Company/Johnsen’s & Blue Magic, remembers Bringle for his positivity and work ethic.
“I knew Greg as a buyer, a co-worker, a competitor and as a friend,” said Opry. “I can say without any hesitation he was the best I had ever seen at all four. Greg was always positive, friendly, honest and always a ‘stand-up guy.’ I would have trusted him to do anything he could to get the job done and never ever complained. It saddened me when I heard the news, as I knew I had lost a great person. I will miss his laughter and his friendship. It is hard to replace a guy like Greg Bringle.”
Dennis Losey, sales manager at CRP Industries, recalled Bringle’s unique ability to use humor and his analytical capabilities to get people to see things his way when making sales deals.
“My relationship with Greg started as a vendor and ended as a very close and special friend,” Losey said. “Greg was a private man who was proud of everything he’d accomplished in life. As a vendor, I saw Greg get the absolute most for his company (Western Auto, Checker, Pennzoil and more) … and somehow, making us feel like we were the ones who had won. I’ve only known a very few people who were able to do complicated mathematical calculations in their head as he did. Greg used this skill and a little humor to disarm our positions and inevitably get the best program for his company.”
Bringle’s passion and dedication to his family and friends also was something Losey admired.
“Greg loved his jobs and the companies that he worked for … , but his family always came first — and at all costs,” Losey said. “He was a very religious man but never a righteous one … . He was very much a family man. He was very smart and successful, but was humble and gracious about it. Greg had very few ‘real friends’ and let them know how much they meant to him. Greg Bringle was the richest man I’ve ever known!”
Marc Graham, president and CEO of Synergy Global Business Solutions, hired Greg at Northern Automotive and recalled all the qualities that made him an exceptional friend, family man and passionate professional.
“I was constantly reminded by Greg every time I saw him of the time decades ago that I hired him into Northern Automotive,” Graham said. “He was young, full of desire to make a difference in the buying dept. Boy, did he excel. Greg had a passion for doing things that allowed the company to grow. Greg cared about people, his coworkers and suppliers alike. He was always fair in his dealings.
“As Greg grew in his career, he and I became great friends. In business, I knew him as a great employee and later as a phenomenal executive who supplied my companies with products. I watched as he grew into the man we all know. I listened to his passion for his wife, children and God. He was the first one there if anyone needed help. He unselfishly gave much of his free time to helping youth. He did like golf, and, in fact, I do think I beat him once out of a hundred times. Greg, we will miss you. Tell God in heaven you need two strokes on the front nine, three on the back.”
No funeral arrangements have been announced. Bringle’s colleagues direct anyone who wishes to leave condolences or to make a donation to go to the family’s Go Fund Me page.
Nexus Automotive Int’l Hires North American Business Development Director
Aftermarket veteran Joe Stephan has joined Nexus Automotive International (NAI) as its North American business development director. Stephan and Executive Director of Supplier Management Robert Kirr are tasked with driving the globalization of North American-based NAI suppliers.
This follows the recent establishment of a U.S. supplier hub in the Detroit area, one of three hubs that Nexus created in 2020 to accelerate and support its partners at a global and local level. The other new hubs are in Germany and Japan.
Stephan also will work with Nexus North America partners to strengthen the value proposition of the regional entity and to introduce various Nexus services and concepts.
Stephan most recently was senior vice president of sales and chief commercial officer for the Trico Group, which is now First Brands. Prior to that, he was chief operating officer of Power Stop LLC. Stephan’s background also includes time as the vice president of business development at Federal-Mogul Motorparts, director of undercar products – global aftermarket for Federal-Mogul and director of key account sales – global aftermarket, also at Federal-Mogul.
In related news, Motus, a large automotive group based in South Africa, has joined Nexus Automotive International. Motus employs more than 17,500 people in four business segments: import and distribution, retail and rental, financial services and aftermarket parts. Aside from its leading position in South Africa, the company also has a presence in the United Kingdom, Australia, Southeast Asia, Southern Africa and East Africa.
Arnold Motor Supply Expands In Nebraska
Spencer, IA-based Arnold Motor Supply — a member of the Auto Value network of independent distributors, auto parts stores and professional service repair shops — has purchased the Central Parts & Machine stores in central Nebraska.
The acquisition gives Arnold Motor Supply more than 60 locations across the Midwest.
Central Parts & Machine has been in business since 1963, with locations in Columbus and Albion. Al Kluever was its owner. The team in Columbus and Albion will stay on with Arnold Motor Supply, including Kluever, who will run the machine shop operations in Columbus.
The Central Parts & Machine stores will be rebranded to Arnold Motor Supply. In addition, the stores’ inventory will expand with replacement parts from such national brands as Bosch, Deka and Perfect Stop.
Vast-Auto Readies New DC
Vast-Auto Distribution plans to open a new distribution center in Longueuil, Quebec in March. Longueuil is on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River, directly across from Montreal.
“Given the inconvenience caused by the major works on the Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine Tunnel in the coming years, this new distribution center on the south shore is part of our strategy of availability through accessibility and will allow us to better meet our commitment to excellence,” said Mauro Cifelli, president and CEO of Groupe Del Vasto. “This is an opportunity to get closer to our south shore customers and be more accessible than ever.”
Vast-Auto Distribution is a division of Montreal-based Groupe Del Vasto, and Groupe Del Vasto is a shareholder of the Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance. Groupe Del Vasto operates the Auto Value, Auto Mecano, Monsieur Muffler, Monsieur Transmission and OCTO Auto Service Plus banners.
NGK Spark Plugs Canada Gets A New President
NGK Spark Plug Co. LTD. has appointed Mike Schwab as the president of NGK Spark Plugs Canada. He replaces Toru Morimoto, who is returning to Japan to begin a new position within the company.
Schwab already serves as a corporate officer of NGK Spark Plug Co. LTD. (Japan), regional president of Pan-America and Australia, and president and CEO of NGK Spark Plugs (U.S.A.). Prior to these appointments, Schwab was a senior vice president at NGK USA. He has been an active member of the global management team for NGK since 2013.
Snap-on Tools Group Reports Second Quarter
Of Double-Digit Expansion
Snap-on Inc. reported double-digit gains across many key metrics in the fourth quarter of 2020, with net earnings up 22.2% to $213.80 million, gross profit up 14.6% to $516.20 million and net sales up 12.5% to $1.07 billion. Organic sales rose 10.6%. “We are encouraged by the quarter,” said Chairman and CEO Nick Pinchuk. “It was strong, but we believe we can reach higher.”
“We believe we exited the year stronger than ever,” Pinchuk told analysts on the company’s Feb. 4 earnings call. “We had disparities from group to group and within each group, but our overall sales and profitability improved both sequentially and year-over-year for the second straight quarter, achieving new heights despite the virus.”
TOOLS GROUP … The Snap-on Tools Group (TG) came through with $494.90 million in net sales for the fourth quarter of 2020 — an increase of 20.2% compared to the same period a year ago. The segment recorded a 19.6% organic sales gain, giving TG two straight quarters of double-digit expansion, both in the United States and overseas. Sequentially, TG’s organic sales increased 9.5% on top of strong third-quarter 2020 sales.
TG operating earnings rose 72.4% to $93.60 million, while operating margin grew from 13.2% to 18.9% on a year-over-year basis.
Analysts with Jefferies LLC stated in a Feb. 4 report that TG remains Snap-on’s standout segment, citing its strong organic growth.
“We are encouraged by the segment’s better-than-expected growth following the record Q3 (+16.8%) and management’s commentary suggesting that retail sales off of the van ‘kept pace’ with sales into the van channel,” Bret Jordan, Mark Jordan and Ethan Huntley wrote. “We see potential for franchisee restocking due to current strong handtool demand and note the segment faces easier comps in the first half of 2021 (-7.8% in the first quarter of 2020 and -19.7% in the second quarter of 2020) before the daunting challenge of ‘lapping’ recent record quarters emerges in the second half of 2021.
“Management also noted that franchisees are investing in smaller-ticket items, which appear to have the strongest sell-through in the current environment, suggesting softer relative demand for higher-ticket items such as tool storage. Despite handtool outperformance, sales of ‘big ticket’ items were said to increase during the quarter (particularly diagnostics) and demand could improve as customers become more willing to invest in longer-payback items.”
Regarding the group’s van network, Pinchuk said that internal metrics indicate that its franchisees are growing stronger. He noted that deep and direct connection with customers is a differentiator, even in a pandemic. Pinchuk told analysts that in the early days of the pandemic, access to repair shops and technicians varied widely, so TG used social media to bridge the gap.
“This turned into a powerful tool for pre-briefing customers on products and promotions, reserving the actual face-to-face interaction for closing the deal, providing significant franchisee opportunity for selling more products and reaching new customers,” Pinchuk said on the call.
“We’ve also made strides in redeploying the time saved from restricted travel — everybody stay-at-home working today — streamlining the van sales process and developing more concise customer presentations, which is so important in pitching products of ever-rising complexity …,” Pinchuk said. “It made the difference, raising franchisee selling capacity to match the strength and capacity of our new products, and the results back it up.”
REPAIR SYSTEMS & INFORMATION … The Snap-on Repair Systems & Information Group (RS&IG) saw its net sales increase 7.8% to $361.10 million in the fourth quarter of 2020. The segment recorded a 7.0% organic sales gain. Sequentially, RS&IG organic sales improved by 13.2%.
A closer look shows double-digit gains with OEM dealerships as auto manufacturers began to release new models and launch more essential programs, as well as high single-digit gains in the sale of diagnostic and repair information products to independent repair shop owners and managers. This was offset somewhat by a low single-digit decline in the sale of undercar equipment as “garage owners haven’t developed sufficient confidence to invest broadly in upgrading or expanding their facilities,” according to Pinchuk.
Jefferies expects sales of diagnostics products to remain strong in the near term. “Longer-term, we continue to expect the [RS&IG] segment to grow organic sales in the low- to mid-single-digit range,” the analysts wrote.
RS&IG operating earnings increased 3.2% to $90 million in the fourth quarter of 2020, yet its operating margin slipped from 26.0% to 24.9% on a year-over-year basis. — Marc Vincent
Original One Auto Parts Appoints Senior Vice President Of Sales
Original One Auto Parts has named Brian Driehorst as its senior vice president of sales. He is tasked with leading a team responsible for the entire sales division, including sales, industry relations and marketing. Driehorst was the vice president of business development for Original One Parts from 2017-‘20.
“Because of our growth and new product lines, we needed to expand our entire sales division, and Brian was by far the best candidate to lead that effort,” President and CEO Wade Hilburn said. “He is an industry-recognized leader with an intimate understanding of our unique brand and the quality that is Original One Parts.”
Driehorst serves as a board member and treasurer of the National Auto Body Council.
His automotive industry career began in 2005 with the salvage auto auction company QCSA Holdings, where he worked in a variety of sales and operational roles, culminating as vice president of sales. In 2013, Driehorst became global salvage manager for AIG Insurance, responsible for managing total-loss auto claims throughout the globe.
CarParts.com Backs MMA League
CarParts.com is now the “Official Auto Parts Retailer” of the Professional Fighters League (PFL), a mixed martial arts league. As part of the partnership, CarParts.com will be an integrated partner throughout the PFL season kicking off as the presenting partner of PFL 1 on April 23. The company also will be a part of a new PFL branded content series, will conduct a nationwide sweepstakes promotion for fans and will produce a co-branded national TV commercial featuring PFL fighters.
Edelbrock Group Closing Torrance Headquarters, Realigning Facilities With Growth In Mind
The Edelbrock Group is closing its headquarters facility in Torrance, CA. The front office of the business will relocate to Olive Branch, MS, while Torrance’s core machining operations will move to other sites.
Intake manifolds, a core product line for Edelbrock, will relocate from Torrance to Olive Branch.
The rest of the Torrance machining — cylinder heads, water pumps and superchargers — is going to San Jacinto, CA, which has historically been the company’s foundry. Additionally, the company is investing millions in San Jacinto to add machining capability, which will allow Edelbrock to cast on-site and be able to machine without having to transport castings, which will generate efficiencies for the company.
Edelbrock also is establishing a tech center in Cerritos, CA that will be dedicated to engineering, compliance and emissions, as well as the company’s relationship with the California Air Resources Board (CARB).
Chris Douglas, chief commercial officer for the Edelbrock Group, told The Greensheet: “We’re not exiting California, as has been portrayed. It’s really a realignment of property.”
“For us, it came down to a couple of factors,” Douglas explained. “As Edelbrock is the process of being joined with the COMP Performance Group into the Edelbrock Group, we need the ability to expand and grow. We are going to continue to be aggressive around acquisitions and adding to the portfolio.
“The Torrance facility just isn’t conducive to that. It’s landlocked, and it’s hard to hire help because the aerospace industry is so dominant in the El Segundo-Torrance area. For those reasons, it just isn’t conducive for us to expand it, and we ultimately made the decision to divvy out the different pieces of it and go in a different direction.”
The Olive Branch site has the space to take on both the front office operations and the intake manifolds work.
Douglas said that when COMP Cams purchased the facility back in 2014, it was too big for the company at the time, but management expected to grow into it. He noted that the distribution aspect of the Olive Branch location was about 50% occupied going into the Edelbrock deal.
Upon closing of the transaction, Edelbrock distribution moved to the facility. Since Jan. 30, 2020, Olive Branch has served as the global distribution center for all of the brands of the Edelbrock Group. Douglas said occupation on the distribution side has grown to about 70% with the Edelbrock finished goods.
The remainder of that aspect of the facility is being readied for machining and manufacturing, as the intake manifolds work from Torrance will be established there as a machining center.
Olive Branch also has a two-story office complex that’s in the process of being remodeled and built out so that Edelbrock’s headquarters — the front office side of the Torrance site — can transition to Olive Branch. Then, after all of the Torrance moves are complete, the COMP Cams business in Memphis also will relocate to Olive Branch, which is about 15 to 20 minutes outside of Memphis.
Douglas described the moves as a realignment of resources designed to make the Edelbrock Group more streamlined and to give it a platform for future growth. “We’re coming off a fantastic year last year. Many in the performance sector have those stories from COVID, where it actually ended up benefitting the business,” he said. “We are looking to provide a great foundation for future expansion and growth.” — Marc Vincent
Keystone Plans In-Person BIG Show In Texas Next Month
Keystone Automotive Operations plans to host the 2021 BIG Show, its annual customer event, March 5-6 at the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center in Grapevine, TX, followed by a virtual event March 15-19.
“We have had extensive communication with our suppliers and customers who have conveyed to us the value of the BIG Show to their businesses and are enthusiastic about the upcoming event,” said Keystone President Bill Rogers. “Our priority is the health and safety of the participants, so our staff and our experienced events team are working closely alongside the Gaylord Texan staff to ensure that the show meets and exceeds required standards.”
The show will be limited in the number of customers, exhibitors and staff in an attempt to facilitate the recommended spacing and other protocols that will be in place this year.
Organizers assure that the event will host the major manufacturers that Keystone’s customer partners have come to expect, as well as other key show elements. The 2021 BIG Show will include Friday’s opening welcome, special programs and events, networking, show vehicles, product education, and a special closing function.
“Nothing replaces doing business in person, and our team, customers and suppliers are looking forward to the opportunity to safely connect at the BIG Show in Texas,” Rogers said. “We recently held a tremendously successful show for our RV dealer customers in Florida and received very positive feedback from enthusiastic attendees. Now we are prepared to apply the benefits of that experience to put on a great show alongside our automotive supplier partners for our customers in March.”
For more information, visit keystonebigshow.com.
Horizon Global Lands $225-Million Term Loan Facility
Horizon Global Corp. — a manufacturer of branded towing and trailering equipment, including Draw-Tite, Reese and Bulldog products — on Feb. 3 announced the closing of a new financing agreement with the Atlantic Park Strategic Capital Fund.
“The six-year agreement addresses all of the company’s near-term maturities, provides long-term stability to its capital structure and offers the financial flexibility necessary to pursue its strategic initiatives,” according to a statement from Horizon Global.
Proceeds received by the company will be used to repay in full all outstanding debt under Horizon Global’s existing term loan, which would have otherwise matured on April 1, 2022. The proceeds also will be used to create a $125-million, delayed-draw term loan with enough capacity to repay all of the company’s outstanding convertible senior notes at maturity on July 1, 2022. When the delayed draw term loan is used to fully repay the converts, the company won’t have any substantial maturities prior to February 2027 other than its asset-based revolving credit facility, according to Horizon Global.
“We’ve gained substantial momentum since late 2019, and we continue to work as one global team to optimize the business on a daily basis. In addition to our significant operating improvements over the past 16 months, we have now fully addressed our capital structure issues,” stated Horizon Global President and CEO Terry Gohl. “This momentum continues as we welcome Atlantic Park as a lending partner. … In executing against our strategic plan, we’ve challenged ourselves to be opportunistic at every level. This financing is consistent with this mindset.
“With a six-year tenor, materially lower interest rate and a flexible covenant structure, this financing optimizes our capital structure and provides the financial flexibility we need to support the long-term growth of this business.”
Matthew Bonanno, managing director at General Atlantic and member of the Atlantic Park investment committee, said: “We look forward to working alongside Terry and the Horizon Global management team to capture additional growth opportunities across the e-commerce sales channels in order to further aid the company’s transformation.”
In connection with the new term loan, Horizon Global issued to Atlantic Park warrants to purchase as much as 10% of the company’s pro-forma fully diluted shares of common stock at an exercise price of $9.00 per share. And Bonanno will join the Horizon Global board of directors as an observer.
Atlantic Park is a strategic joint venture between General Atlantic, a global growth equity firm, and Iron Park Capital Partners, a credit-focused asset manager. Atlantic Park provides capital to address financing needs for high-quality companies.
Jefferies LLC served as the exclusive financial adviser to Horizon Global on the transaction.
Private Equity Firm Buys The Wheel Group
Wynnchurch Capital has acquired The Wheel Group (TWG), a designer and distributor of branded aftermarket wheels, specialty tires and related accessories serving the truck, SUV and car markets. Founded in 1997, the company offers 16 proprietary brands and serves its customers through 20 sales and distribution centers across the United States and Canada.
Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Frank Hayes, managing partner at Wynnchurch, called TWG “a tremendous new platform investment opportunity” for Wynnchurch. “The company fits exceptionally well with our philosophy of investing in businesses that offer a strong value proposition to their customers, possess a differentiated business model and have significant growth potential,” Hayes said.
Neel Mayenkar, also a managing director at Wynnchurch, added: “The Wheel Group has built a strong reputation based on a portfolio of proprietary brands, high-quality products and best-in-class sourcing capabilities. We are excited to partner with management and help facilitate the company’s next stage of growth.”
Stifel was the exclusive financial adviser to TWG, which was a portfolio company of Seidler Equity Partners, in its sale to Wynnchurch. Stifel also was the sole placement agent for a senior secured credit facility to support Wynnchurch’s acquisition.
Wynnchurch, a middle-market private equity investment firm, is no stranger to the automotive aftermarket. Among its current holdings is Team Car Care, formerly known as Heartland Automotive Services. Team Car Care has more than 520 Jiffy Lube shops across 26 states.
Hopkins Manufacturing Hires IT VP
Hopkins Manufacturing Corp. has hired Vince Callaghan as its vice president of information technology, responsible for all company information tools, communication systems, computer systems and networks. He also is tasked with ensuring the proper security of the company’s information assets, planning the information technology future, being an advocate for the implementation of new tools and technology, and supporting current operations.
Most recently, Callaghan was the information technology director for NBHX Trim, a Tier-1 automotive and white goods supplier. Before that, he was the IT director for AEL-SPAN, a third-party logistics provider.
Products From RANDYS Worldwide Added
To Transend Platform
Transtar Industries has announced a partnership with RANDYS Worldwide, a supplier of differential gears, axles and other driveline products. The agreement brings RANDYS’ selection of Yukon Gear & Axle and USA Standard Gear products to Transtar’s proprietary parts lookup and ordering software transend.
Transend catalogs and matches fitments for thousands of parts covering a range of vehicle applications. The partnership with RANDYS augments Transtar’s transmission and driveline parts and products marketplace.
Industry Veteran Joins ATD Tools
Jim Leavens has joined ATD Tools (Wentzville, MO) as director of product management. Most recently with Danaher and the Apex Tool Group, Leavens’ 20-plus years of experience include work in product management, channel marketing and product training. He will primarily work from his office in York, PA.
MACS Changes Name To Mobile Air Climate Systems Association
The Mobile Air Conditioning Society is now the Mobile Air Climate Systems Association. The rebrand comes with a new logo.
MACS President and COO Elvis Hoffpauir said the new name better reflects the whole of the association’s efforts as system technology experts and as an organization dedicated to advancing the next generation of professionals. “Our tagline, ‘Cooling What Moves You,’ encapsulates mobility and speaks directly to climate control in a short, memorable statement,” Hoffpauir added.
MACS also has launched a new website, macsmobileairclimate.org.
The Group Training Academy Offers Technician Coaching Program
The Group Training Academy (TGTA) has launched a coaching program designed to help improve the diagnostic skills of any professional service technician, no matter the skill level. The program includes an online assessment and six group sessions held weekly online. Courses are taught by ASE Master Certified instructors and are designed to improve technician diagnostic problem-solving skills and technical aptitude. There are weekly assignments, and a test is administered at the end of the course.
For more information or to sign up, click here. Future session topics include electrical systems, brakes, engine repair, steering and suspension, engine performance, drivetrain, hybrid and electric vehicles, and heating and air conditioning.
AutoVitals Expands Shop-Ware Integration
AutoVitals has announced an expansion of its integration capabilities with Shop-Ware, a point-of-sale and shop management system provider to automotive repair and maintenance shops. Specifically, canned jobs configured and populated from a technician’s AutoVitals tablet are passed to Shop-Ware’s recommendation field ready to be added to the estimate or approval. And service comments include notes about diagnosis, test and other results.
These upgrades build upon AutoVitals and Shop-Ware’s existing integration that includes …
• Work order information from Shop-Ware is passed to AutoVitals’ “Today’s Vehicle” page.
• AutoVitals’ digital inspection results appear in Shop-Ware’s customer notes.
• Notes, comments, measurements, images and videos taken in an AutoVitals inspection are available in Shop-Ware.
• AutoVitals’ customer opt-in status and text and email conversations from AutoVitals appear in Shop-Ware.
• AutoVitals’ technician clock-in, clock-out and job completion information is available in Shop-Ware.
• Recommended services and inspection results in reminders.
Leeds West Purchases Big O Shops In Oklahoma
Leeds West Groups (LWG) has acquired three Big O Tires locations from MFA Oil, a co-op based in Columbia, MO and the second-largest owner of Big O Tires shops nationally behind LWG. The locations in Mustang, OK; Norman, OK; and Enid, OK marks LWG’s entry into the Sooner State, its sixth state for LWG’s Big O Tires operation and its 18th state overall.
Crash Champions Announces Additional Midwest Acquisitions
Crash Champions has announced the acquisition of six additional repair shops across the Midwest. They are …
• Chicago Collision, DuPage Auto Body and Albany Auto Body, securing positions in the North Shore and Irving Park areas of Chicago.
• Weaver’s Auto Center in Shawnee, KS and Richard’s Collision Center in Grandview, MO, strengthening its presence in the Kansas City market.
• Gillette’s Collision Center in Waukesha, WI, which is near Milwaukee.
This comes shortly on the heels of Crash Champions’ acquisition of three Excalibur Collision repair shops in Northeast Ohio, which now operate as Crash Champions-Streetsboro, Crash Champions-Bainbridge and Crash Champions-South Euclid.
FleetPride Names New CEO
FleetPride Inc. has hired distribution and supply chain veteran Mike Duffy as its CEO, replacing Al Dragone Jr., who is retiring but will remain an adviser to the company through the end of February. Dragone has been FleetPride’s chief executive for the past five years.
From 2018-’20, Duffy was the CEO of C&S Wholesale Grocers, which is billed as the nation’s largest wholesale grocery distributor and 11th largest privately held company based on revenue. From 2006-’17, Duffy worked for Cardinal Health, where he ultimately served as president of hospital solutions and global supply chain. He currently serves on the Republic Services board of directors.
“We are pleased to welcome Mike as the next CEO of FleetPride,” said FleetPride chairman Will Manuel. “Mike brings more than 25 years of executive leadership in distribution, supply chain and retail to the company. He has a consistent track record of success across multiple businesses, and we are confident that FleetPride will grow and continue to prosper under his leadership.”
Manuel is a managing director at American Securities, a private equity firm. FleetPride is majority-owned by affiliates of American Securities.
Duffy also will serve as a director of FleetPride’s parent entity, ASP FleetPride Holdings LLC.
Meritor Taps Bowes As Its Industrial, North America Aftermarket President
Meritor Inc. has announced that Tim Bowes will take over as a senior vice president and president of its industrial and North America aftermarket unit on March 1. He also will have responsibility for Meritor’s procurement organization and global operational strategy.
Bowes will report directly to Chris Villavarayan, executive vice president and COO, who will succeed Jay Craig as president, CEO and a director on the company’s board after Craig transitions to executive chairman of the board of directors on Feb. 28.
Bowes rejoined Meritor in 2020 after serving as president of American Axle’s casting business and its vice president of strategy and business development. Prior to joining American Axle, he was the president and CEO of Transtar Corp.
From 2005-’13, Bowes served in various executive positions at Meritor, including vice president of commercial truck, vice president of industrial, and vice president and managing director of the company’s Asia/Pacific business.
In related news, Ken Hogan has been appointed a senior vice president and president of Truck – Europe & Asia/Pacific, reporting to Villavarayan. In this expanded role, Hogan also will have responsibility for the company’s business in India and Australia.
John Nelligan has been appointed a senior vice president and president of Truck – Americas, reporting to Villavarayan. In this expanded role, Nelligan will have responsibility for the company’s truck business in North America and South America. Prior to this appointment, Nelligan was group vice president of Meritor’s truck business in North America and before that, led its sales and service division.
Additionally, Tim Heffron, senior vice president of human resources and chief information officer, will be leaving Meritor at the end of February after 12 years with the company. Ryan Olivier has been appointed vice president and chief information officer, reporting to Senior Vice President and CFO Carl Anderson, and Darrell Whitney has been appointed vice president and chief human resources officer, reporting directly to Villavarayan.
Marelli Appoints Chief Commercial Officer
Marelli has announced Juan Manuel Molla as its chief commercial officer, replacing Detlef Juerss, who — after two years serving as chief commercial officer and chief technology and engineering officer — is leaving the business at the end of March.
Molla has more than 30 years of international automotive industry experience. He joined Magneti Marelli in 2008. Since 2018, Molla has led business development, sales and marketing for automotive lighting. Now, he covers Marelli’s key international markets, working alongside Hironori Kimura, executive vice president and chief commercial officer in Japan.
Location: Mid-Atlantic Region — Candidate will report to the Executive Vice President of Merchandising and will be responsible for increasing sales, maintaining and improving profitability and market share for assigned product lines and/or categories, and … (more) … Click here to find out more.
Location: Mid-Atlantic Region — Candidate will report to the Executive Vice President of Merchandising and will be responsible for increasing sales, maintaining and improving profitability and market share for assigned product lines and/or categories … (more) … Click here to find out more.
Direct, manage and coordinate a logistics operation incl. budget responsibility, focusing on all topics related to supplier logistics, intra-logistics and customer logistics. … (more) … Click here to find out more.
Premium OE and aftermarket brake company manufacturer is seeking professional and reputable representation. Experience in hard parts with established relationships and a keen understanding of the Traditional channel preferred. … (more) … Click here to find out more.
Expert for the highly complex product portfolio (e.g. competition, trends, user needs, Contact Person for major customers and Work out possible strategic opportunities with them). … (more) … Click here to find out more.
Working under the guidance of Director of Product Management will work to assure high level of ACES/PIES data quality, distribution and analysis of data to help company’s business profitably grow. … (more) … Click here to find out more.
MERA Announces 2021 Board
Justin Greenberg, CEO of DieselCore, has been elected chairman of MERA – The Association for Sustainable Manufacturing. Greenberg is joined in leadership positions by David Overbeeke, owner of Maval Industries, as immediate past chairman and Duncan Gillis, CEO of BBB Industries, as vice-chairman.
Additionally, two industry leaders were elected to the MERA board of directors: Robert Grady, president of Rebuilders Automotive Supply, and Houman “H.K.” Kashanipour, president of Diesel Forward. Other executives on the board are …
• Anita Barlow, managing director – AFM Reman at BorgWarner.
• Peter Butterfield, chairman and CEO of Omega Environmental Technologies.
• Michael Cardone III, president of MC3 Capital.
• Mike Carr, CEO of Cardone Industries.
• Robert Enright, general manager – new and recon parts at Cummins.
• Brian Lewallen, president of Detroit Reman.
• Enrico Manuele, regional president – automotive aftermarket N.A. at Robert Bosch.
• Scott Miller, vice president of remanufacturing for LKQ Corp.
• Jay Robie, CEO of Phoenix Automotive Cores.
• Russ Schinzing, vice president, electronics business unit at BBB Industries.
• Paul Thoms, general manager of Midwest Fuel Injection.
• Allen Wilkie, president of ARW Capital.
• Bill Long, president and CEO of MEMA.
• John Chalifoux, president and COO of MERA.
Exiting the board having reached their term limits are Selwyn Joffe, chairman, president and CEO of Motorcar Parts of America; and Paul Schuck, managing director of UCX Calipers.
New Chair, Vice Chair For Import Vehicle Community
Steve Hughes, president and CEO of HCS International, is now chairman of the Auto Care Association’s Import Vehicle Community. John Treece, president and CEO of DMA Sales, is the outgoing chair of the organization. Vinay Mamidi, vice president of CSF, now serves as vice chairman of the Import Vehicle Community.
The group also has added Michelle Christenson, strategic project manager at IQ Integrated Quality, to its executive leadership council.
Automotive Aftermarket Retailers Of Ontario Elects New President
Eric Mileham has been elected president of the Automotive Aftermarket Retailers of Ontario (AARO) association. Mileham has been in the automotive service profession since 1979 and resides in Orangeville with his wife, Gillian. Together, they employ 28 people between their three businesses: Green Tree Auto Care in Orangeville, Erskine’s Service Centre in Orangeville and Roy’s Service Center in Mono.
Rudy Graf of Graf Auto Centre is now the association’s immediate past president.
AARO held its 81st Annual General Meeting (AGM) virtually on Jan. 23. Tamara Ghosn of Roy Rump & Sons Ltd. in Ottawa was elected to the board as a director, and Steve Gushie, president of Carquest (Canada) — who was appointed to the board in October 2020 — attended his first AGM as a director.
In related news, Bruce Eccles of Eccles Auto Service in Dundas will be an ambassador for AARO.
People Watching 2/8/21
• Nasir Masoud is now a national account manager at Timken Canada. A 20-plus-year veteran of the automotive aftermarket, Masoud was an account executive for Schaeffler Group Canada and a corporate store manager and hub store manager with PartSource.
• Andrew Israel has joined KSI Auto Parts as a territory sales manager. Israel previously worked for Factory Motor Parts as aftermarket sales director for the Northeast and Southeast regions. Prior to that, he was a commercial account manager with Auto Plus and a territory sales representative at Autopart International.
• VP Racing Fuels has added James McVey to its business development team to focus on the OEM business. McVey comes to the performance fuels, lubricants and additives company with more than 20 years of sales experience across a range of industries in domestic and international markets. He most recently was vice president of sales and marketing for GreenStar LED.
• Former Michigan State Representative Leslie Love is now group director of government affairs for the Piston Group, parent company to Piston Automotive, Irvin Products and Detroit Thermal Systems.
News Briefs 2/8/21
• Turn 14 Distribution has added products from Titan Fuel Tanks to its line card.
• Three suppliers joined PartsTech in January: Johnston Autostores, Delcoline Inc. and BC Auto Parts.
• LSI Chemical has announced Eco Lubricantes as an international distribution partner, authorized to distribute the entire line of LSI Chemical fuel and oil additives, as well as the full line of Hot Shot’s Secret consumer products, to Costa Rica.
• Continental has introduced a new packaging design for its high-performance replacement brake fluids. The full portfolio, which is distributed throughout the North American market, includes ATE Super DOT 5.1, ATE SL.6, ATE SL and ATE Typ 200 brake fluids.
• Professional technicians can now view Snap-on Service Resets & Relearns quick tip videos on its website at snapon.com/diagnostics/SRR. The free videos will be published each month. Topics include BMW battery replacement, Nissan idle learn and regeneration of the Ram diesel particulate filter.
• PACCAR Inc. plans to open a new 260,000 square-foot parts distribution center in Louisville, KY in 2022.
• The Collision Repair Education Foundation is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2021.
• LKQ Corp. has made a $25,000 donation to the Collision Repair Education Foundation to assist high school and college collision programs, students and instructors.
• The collision repair chain Crash Champions raised $16,172 for Feeding America during November and December through a combination of customer, employee, local community and corporate support.
• Edelbrock is extending its longstanding partnership with Pat Musi Racing Engines. In 2021, the company will again support the team and driver Lizzy Musi, who will pilot the Edelbrock-equipped Aftershock Camaro on the Streets Outlaws circuit. Edelbrock and Mat Musi Racing Engines also will continue to collaborate on products, such as crate engines, cylinder heads and manifolds.
• Mac Tools’ sponsorship of Kalitta Motorsports will reach and exceed its 20th NHRA season, thanks to a new multiyear extension agreement.
• Liqui Moly is extending its cooperation with Turner Motorsport for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Series and the SRO GT World Challenge America Championship.
• Yukon Gear & Axle has announced a promotional partnership with the National Rock Racing Association (NRRA). For the 2021 season, Yukon will be the Official Drivetrain sponsor for NRRA and the races held by its three regional divisions: SRRS, CRRS and NRRS.
• VP Racing Fuels is now the Official Fuel of King of the Hammers and Ultra4 Racing.
• Davison Oil no longer distributes VP Racing Fuels’ products. Boswell Oil is now the sole VP distributor for Georgia as well as Alabama south of Birmingham. VP Southeast continues to service Florida.
• PROFIL, a manufacturer of mechanically attached fasteners for the automotive market, has launched a new website, profil-global.com.
Financial Briefs 2/8/21
• Stanley Black & Decker’s Tools & Storage operations posted organic revenue growth of 25% for the fourth quarter of 2020. According to management, hand tools and accessories as well as storage delivered “impressive” organic growth for the quarter due, in part, to Mac Tools new product launches and strong performance in emerging markets.
• After a strong third quarter, Dover Corp.’s Vehicle Service Group (VSG) experienced lower shipments over the final three months of 2020, according to comments made by management on Dover’s Jan. 28 earnings call. VSG, however, has a strong backlog into 2021. A part of Dover’s engineered systems segment, VSG includes the brands Rotary Lift, Chief, Forward, Direct-Lift, Ravaglioli, Warn Automotive, Elektron and Blitz.
• Polaris Inc.’s aftermarket segment sales increased 7.7% to $238.10 million in the fourth quarter of 2020, with Transamerican Auto Parts (TAP) sales up 1% to $186 million and the other aftermarket brands’ sales up 45%. Segment gross profit increased 32.5% to $65.20 million, while gross margin grew from 22.3% to 27.4%.
• For the fourth quarter of 2020, PACCAR Parts reported record sales and revenue (up 8.1% year-over-year to $1.07 billion) and record pretax profit (up 8.4% to $222.50 million). For the full year, PACCAR Parts’ sales and revenue decreased 2.8% to $3.91 billion. Management is calling for 7% to 9% sales growth at PACCAR Parts in 2021.
Event & Trade Show Briefs 2/8/21
• SEMA will host a webinar Tuesday, Feb. 9 on how to protect a brand’s online reputation with author Corey Perlman of Impact Social Media. Click here for more information on the presentation.
• A YANG Regional Virtual Happy Hour is scheduled for Feb. 11 in cooperation with CAWA’s Leadership & Educational Forum. Click here for more information.
• The MERA – The Association for Sustainable Manufacturing’s spring conference will be held virtually March 30-31, and MERA’s fall remanufacturing conference will be held Oct. 4-5. The location will be announced in the coming months.
• Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the Latin Auto Parts Expo and Latin Tyre Expo have been rescheduled to Oct. 6-8 in Panama City.