Quick Hits …
(A few short items to get us started this week)
From Service Executive …
• Monro Expanding Into California Via Acquisition; Turnaround Continues
• Independent Repair Shops Are Closing The Satisfaction Gap
• AAA: Nearly 100 Million Americans To Take Family Vacations This Year
• Obituary: Stu Zurcher, Longtime Tire Industry Executive
• Lincoln Tech Facility Renovated Via Icahn Auto’s ‘Race To 2026’ Program
• UTI Program Lets High School Juniors Sample Tech Programs
From The Greensheet …
• Denso Products & Services Americas is the 1Parts North America 2018 “Vendor of the Year.” Denso received the award for its support of 1Parts partners Federated Auto Parts and the National Pronto Association. It was the second consecutive year that 1Parts has honored Denso.
• Levine Auto & Truck Parts (Danbury, CT) honored the following outstanding vendors at its annual awards banquet held March 30: Wix Filters, OSC Cooling Products, the Amalie Oil Co. and SKF Manufacturing. The vendors were recognized for their outstanding service, extraordinary representation and sales support and for providing quality products.
• Purolator has named Marc Alan & Associates as its 2018 “Sales Agency Partner of the Year.” For more than 30 years, the agency has represented Purolator in automotive aftermarket sales throughout the northeastern United States, from New England to Washington, DC.
• Tenneco Inc. and Parts Warehouse Inc. received the inaugural “Channel Excellence Award” at the AASA Vision Conference in Dearborn, MI. The honor, presented by Epicor, recognizes suppliers and channel partners working in concert.
• Registration is now open for AAPEX 2019, which will take place Nov. 5-7 at the Sands Expo in Las Vegas. Over 48,000 targeted buyers are expected to attend, including automotive service professionals, auto parts retailers, WDs, service chains, automotive dealers, fleet buyers and engine builders. Roughly 162,000 automotive aftermarket professionals from 126 countries are projected to be in Las Vegas for AAPEX and the SEMA Show.
IWI Motor Parts Joins The Alliance
IWI Motor Parts of Dubuque, IA is now a Bumper to Bumper member of the Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance. IWI — which derives its name and logo from the states in which it operates (Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois) — was founded in 1962. The now second-generation, family-owned business began in a family station wagon that traveled to local gas stations selling filters, plugs and other engine components. Today, the company employs nearly 240 people, and operates 13 warehouses and a corporate headquarters. TJ Faley is the president of IWI Motor Parts.
This comes at a time when IWI is looking for opportunities contiguous to its existing footprint.
Pronto Gains Massachusetts Member
LaCava & Sowersby Inc. has joined the National Pronto Association. Founded in 1985 by Bill Sowersby, John LaCava, Steve LaCava and Paul LaCava, the company services the greater Fall River, Somerset and New Bedford areas of Massachusetts. LaCava & Sowersby has over 30 fleet delivery vehicles.
Federated Auto Parts Honors Members
Federated Auto Parts recently honored three of its members. The Automotive Supply Co. of Appleton, WI received the Federated “Co-Man Member of the Year” award for outstanding support of the member-owned Co-Man warehouse operation and its programs. Parts Distributing Inc. (PDI) of Milwaukee received the Federated “National Accounts Award” for excellence in serving national accounts customers. And, Cold Air Distributors of Fort Pierce, FL took home the Federated “Marketing Excellence Award.”
Automotive Parts Associates Recognizes Top Suppliers, Members
Automotive Parts Associates (APA) honored the following supplier-partners for their dedication and support of APA owners and initiatives at the group’s 38th Annual Shareholders & Suppliers Conference in Dallas …
• “Outstanding Technology Initiatives Partner” – WHI Solutions.
• “Outstanding Marketing Partner” – KYB Shocks.
• “Outstanding Marketing Partner” – Mahle.
• “Distinguished Original Equipment Partner” – Bosch.
• “Cornerstone Award” – Centric Parts.
• “HQ Supplier of the Year” – BBB Industries.
• “New Supplier of the Year” – NewTek Automotive.
• “Approved Supplier of the Year” – Dorman Products.
• “Preferred Supplier of the Year” – US Motor Works.
In addition, Independent Parts Warehouse (Wauwatosa, WI) was the inaugural recipient of the “APA Line-Backer Award” for changing over the most product lines to APA programs.
Ramac Industries (Minden, NV) and T&L Distributing (Temecula, CA) were presented with “Milestone Awards” for celebrating 32 years and 30 years of business in the aftermarket, respectively.
And, the following new shareholders were recognized …
• Motovicity Distribution (Madison Heights, MI).
• Name South LLC (Mooresville, SC).
• Pennstone Supply (McVeytown, PA).
APA Elects 2019 Directors
The Automotive Parts Associates (APA) elected its 2019 board of directors at the group’s 38th Annual Shareholders & Suppliers Conference held March 20-22 in Dallas. The results are as follows …
• Chairman: Jim Holmquist of H&H Wholesale Parts (Arleta, CA).
• Vice Chair: Douglas Squires of Bestbuy Distributors (Mississauga, Ontario).
• Secretary/Treasurer: Ben Yelowitz of POJA Warehouse (Philadelphia).
• Danny Beyda of Coney Island Auto Parts (Brooklyn, NY).
• Edward Harake of Value Plus Auto Parts Wholesale (Westland, MI).
• Joseph Koudsi of International Metric Specialists (North Hollywood, CA).
• Robert Jacobs of the Automotive Warehouse Co. (Wichita, KS).
• Randall Swedlove of Morris Automotive Supply (Fontana, CA).
Holmquist, the new chairman, previously served as secretary and vice chair. He takes over the leadership role from former chairman Squires, who now serves as vice chair.
Vast-Auto Distribution And L’entrepôt Pièces D’autos Join Forces
Vast-Auto Distribution, a subsidiary of Groupe Del Vasto, has announced a joint-venture partnership on the North Shore of Montreal with L’entrepôt pièces d’autos. The deal is expected to close May 1.
Upon completion of the transaction, four store locations — including L’entrepôt pièces d’autos Sainte-Thérèse, Auto Value Sainte-Thérèse, Auto Value Blainville and Auto Value Prévost — will operate as a combined business unit under the Auto Value brand.
Marc Lafleur and Yves Raymond, current co-owners of L’entrepôt pièces d’autos, will operate the new company as general manager and operations manager, respectively.
Groupe Del Vasto is a shareholder of the Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance, which has over 5,000 Auto Value Parts Stores and Auto Value Certified Service Centers.
Tires Were The Biggest Automotive Product Category Sold Online In 2018
Miles driven in the United States has been rising annually — much to the benefit of tire sales, particularly in the e-commerce channel. Online dollar sales of tires grew 34% in the 12 months ending December 2018, according to The NPD Group’s Checkout E-commerce Tracking. The firm notes that the tire category alone outpaced e-commerce growth for the total market of automotive products, which was up 28% for the year.
“Historically, selling tires online was challenging because consumers had to then find somewhere to have them installed. Today, companies are finding creative ways to have tires reach consumers,” pointed out Nathan Shipley, executive director and automotive industry analyst for NPD. “E-commerce partnerships with traditional brick-and-mortar retailers are solving for this issue by making both the buying and installing process more convenient for consumers.”
Shipley added: “One tire manufacturer recently unveiled a new store format to take the friction out of the transaction by allowing consumers to purchase tires and have them installed wherever the consumer wants, including at home or work.”
Tires, the largest automotive category online, accounted for 21% of automotive dollars spent online in 2018, according to NPD.
Of all consumers who made an automotive purchase online, 7% purchased tires, the firm reports. And, excluding their tire purchase, these consumers spent two-times as much on automotive products online than the average automotive e-commerce buyer. NPD points out that they not only spent more per purchase, but also bought twice as many automotive products during the year.
Battery Systems Acquires Exide’s Branch Network Business
Battery Systems Inc. (BSI) is in the process of acquiring Exide Technologies’ transportation branch network business, which serves the aftermarket for the United States and Canada. The deal would make BSI the exclusive distributor of Exide-branded transportation batteries for the aftermarket in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean.
The transaction closed in the United States on March 31 and is scheduled to close in Canada during the second quarter. Financial details were not disclosed.
According to a statement from Exide: “The agreement enables both companies to focus on core competencies, prepare for future growth and better serve customers. This new relationship will strengthen the Exide brand in the aftermarket and will benefit our customers as well as our employees that support the branch operations.”
The transaction adds 40 Exide branch locations, bringing BSI’s total to 120. Also, 380 Exide employees will become part of BSI.
Based in Garden Grove, CA — and with distribution in all 50 states — BSI supplies batteries for automotive, commercial, golf cart, marine, recreational vehicle, power sports, industrial and solar applications.
APC Automotive Technologies Announces New Sales Organization Structure
APC Automotive Technologies — formed in 2017 by the merger of AP Emissions Technologies (Goldsboro, NC) and Centric Parts (Carson, CA) — has announced key promotions and personnel assignments intended to enhance the overall organization and impact of its national sales force. Changes are noted below per team and markets served.
APC Retail Market …
• Tony Edwards was promoted to vice president of sales for the retail market. Edwards has been a strategic account executive for what is now APC since 2016, leading retail efforts with major customers and new business opportunities. He also is in charge of the category management office in Memphis.
APC Traditional Markets …
• Jayme Farina, vice president of sales, continues to lead the traditional markets program for all APC brands. Since 2015, Farina has been responsible for traditional markets, including wholesale distributor and manufacturing representative relationships.
• Pat Balbo has been promoted to strategic account executive covering the Northeast territory. Balbo has been with AP Emissions for over a dozen years. He is responsible for several key named accounts as well.
• David Young, strategic account executive, has taken on all sales-related responsibility for APC in the Canadian market. As such, Young works directly with Canadian customers, and existing representative agency relationships, to grow sales throughout Canada.
• Several new key sales executives also have joined APC’s traditional sales team, including …
– Greg DelGozzo, sales director for the Eastern region.
– Ryan Bomaster, regional sales manager for the Northeast region.
– John Schommer, territory sales manager for the Central region.
– Anthony Flow, territory sales manager covering western New York and Pennsylvania.
– Ted Radomski, territory sales manager for New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York.
– David Wolsky, territory sales manager for New England.
APC Heavy Duty, Feeders & Specialty Markets …
• Henry Hippert, vice president of sales, continues to lead the sales teams in these markets and helps the company to capitalize on its growth in the heavy duty business, as well as new growth opportunities in other adjacent markets.
• Don Orrell was promoted to director of heavy duty sales, and will direct the sales team’s focus on the expansion of the heavy duty market, including acceleration from the company’s DuraFit acquisition.
• Roger Blaschke has been promoted to strategic account executive for the feeder segment. Blaschke has been with AP Emissions for more than five years.
APC High-Performance & Racing Markets …
• Mark Cornwell, vice president of sales – StopTech, will continue to lead the sales team in this market.
Permatex Promotes Morgan To National Account Manager Of Automotive Groups
Permatex has promoted Jeff Morgan to national account manager of automotive groups – U.S., responsible for developing and maintaining account relationships, growing sales, and creating promotional and advertising programs to drive business to group members. In addition to major accounts, Morgan also will manage smaller, independent automotive buying groups.
Morgan has been with Permatex since 1997. He has served in a variety of sales and account management positions, including account manager – southeast U.S., account manager – key accounts, and national sales manager – groups and key accounts. Morgan’s background also includes time with Loctite Corp.
SMP Buys Pollak Unit From Stoneridge
Standard Motor Products (SMP) has acquired certain assets and liabilities of the Pollak business of Stoneridge Inc. for roughly $40 million, subject to post-closing adjustments. Pollak — with manufacturing and distribution facilities in Canton, MA; El Paso, TX; and Juarez, Mexico — distributes a variety of engine management products, including sensors, switches and connectors. Net sales volume for this business was approximately $45 million in 2018, according to SMP.
SMP plans to relocate all production to existing SMP locations. It is not acquiring any of the Pollak locations or employees. Management expects that the business will be fully integrated within 12 months.
SMP President and CEO Eric Sills called the two businesses “very complementary,” adding that Pollak has a long and successful history of providing custom and standard components to many prestigious customers.
“This acquisition will enhance our growth opportunities in OE/OES, heavy duty, and commercial vehicle markets, and add to our existing expertise in aftermarket distribution, product management and service,” Sills said in an announcement dated April 1. “The new market exposure offers expansion opportunities for our existing product lines, as well as potential for new products to manufacture and sell.”
Sills also stated that the acquisition will be accretive to earnings in year one, excluding one-time integration costs. The transaction was funded through borrowings under SMP’s revolving credit facility.
Engine Pro Adds Product Development Manager
Engine Pro has named Andrew Cardwell of Delphos, OH as its product development manager, tasked with researching and identifying new product opportunities, expanding current parts lines, and overseeing new product introductions for the nationwide engine parts distribution company. Cardwell, a graduate of The University of Northwestern Ohio’s automotive program, has worked in management in the automotive service industry and has been a professional firefighter.
ETI Announces New Executive Director
The Equipment & Tool Institute (ETI) has its new executive director: Brian Plott, who has been the vice president of transportation sales for DCI Artform, a Marmon/Berkshire Hathaway company. ETI’s previous executive manager, Greg Potter, is now the organization’s chief technology officer, as previously reported.
“Brian has a track record of strong leadership both inside and outside of the mobility ecosystem,” said Jim Fish, chairman of the ETI board of directors and head of development for Lemur Vehicle Monitors. “This, combined with his deep industry knowledge and institutional tenure, makes Brian uniquely qualified to lead ETI successfully into the future as we continue to enable the success of our members via championing of collective interests in an environment of increasing vehicle complexity, rapid change, and heightened concern over the safety and security of vehicle repair.”
Plott’s background also includes stints as the director of integrated aftermarket sales – mobile accounts for Bosch Automotive Service Solutions, where he was responsible for sales of Bosch, OTC, Robinair and other brands through mobile distribution; vice president of service sales at Hobart Service; and director of business development at Snap-on Tools.
“Brian has formed lifelong friendships throughout the industry over several decades with his highly collaborative approach to customer-focused solutions,” said Neil Davis, general manager at Snap-on Repair Systems & Information. “As ETI navigates the rapidly shifting mobility landscape, Brian is an ideal fit for the ETI mission.”
LKQ Enters Vehicle Services Market
LKQ Corp. has acquired all assets of Elite Electronics of Richardson, TX, which specializes in various automotive diagnostic and repair services. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
The move launches LKQ into the vehicle services market, augmenting its parts and distribution business. Elite’s technical solutions are both mobile and on-site, and are provided to automotive collision and mechanical repair facilities. This includes re-flashing, programming, pre- and post- collision repair diagnostics, ADAS-related calibrations, air bag replacements, theft and vandalism repair, frame replacements, and full mechanical services.
Elite currently provides services in 13 states, with “significant growth and expansion plans,” according to LKQ.
“LKQ has evaluated numerous options to further assist our loyal customers, and Elite’s services help ease complexity while providing a strong company to address growing automotive technology challenges,” Terry Fortner, LKQ’s vice president of sales and marketing for North America, said in an announcement dated April 1. “We are excited to have [Don Smith, founder and former owner of Elite Electronics] and his entire team of experts from Elite become a part of LKQ.”
Battery-Biz Touts Deal For Goodyear-Branded Tire Inflators
Battery-Biz (Camarillo, CA) has entered into a licensing agreement with the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. to launch a line of Goodyear-branded tire inflators. For Battery-Biz, the partnership allows the company to enter the tire inflator category with a world-class brand to support its premium inflators.
Under the agreement, Battery-Biz has the right to sell Goodyear-branded tire inflators through all major retail channels in the United States and Canada. The initial assortment will include six SKUs ranging in MSRP from $24.99 to $79.99. More product-specific details will be disclosed closer to the official launch this summer, according to the company.
Battery-Biz also sells Duracell-branded automotive power products, including jump-starters, inverters and maintainers.
Tenneco Taps IR Leaders For Post-Separation Period
Tenneco Inc. has named Richard Kwas as its vice president of investor relations. He is anticipated to lead the investor relations team for the new Tenneco company following its separation into two new, publicly traded organizations: a powertrain technology company and Driv, an aftermarket and ride performance company. Most recently, Kwas was a managing director and senior equity research analyst for Wells Fargo Securities, where he led analysis for automotive and industrial stocks.
Linae Golla will continue to serve as vice president of investor relations for Tenneco until the separation, at which time she is expected to become the vice president of investor relations for Driv.
Schwartz Advisors Partners With Morgan Stanley On Aftermarket Conference
Schwartz Advisors was the event partner for an invitation-only motor vehicle aftermarket-focused conference held March 26 at Morgan Stanley’s headquarters in New York. The event, titled “Growth Opportunities in the Auto Aftermarket,” attracted roughly 170 investors and aftermarket executives, according to Schwartz Advisors.
The goal was to inform the investment community on trends and opportunities within the motor vehicle aftermarket. Presentations featured a variety of topics, including …
• Evolving vehicle technology and electrification.
• Macro-economic trends.
• The impact of e-commerce.
• Facts and myths about the automotive aftermarket.
• Evolving aftermarket business strategies.
• The future of automotive service.
Conference speakers and panelists were composed of Morgan Stanley economic and transportation experts; Schwartz Advisors partners; and aftermarket executives. Among the aftermarket presenters were the following …
• Derek Kaufman of Schwartz Advisors.
• Rick Schwartz of Schwartz Advisors.
• Curtis Draper of Schwartz Advisors.
• Malcolm Davidow of Schwartz Advisors.
• Paul McCarthy of AASA.
• Tom Newbern of AutoZone Inc.
• Bob Cushing of Advance Auto Parts.
• Bruce Ronning of Tenneco Inc.
• Lev Peker of U.S. Auto Parts Network.
• Jim Dykstra of Dytech Auto Group.
• Larry Pavey of Federated Auto Parts.
• Mike O’Dell of XL Parts.
• Josh D’Agostino of Mighty Auto Parts.
“We think this conference helped better communicate many of the great opportunities in the aftermarket and perhaps even dispel a few rumors,” said Schwartz Advisors CEO and Managing Partner Rick Schwartz. “We thank Morgan Stanley for allowing us to serve as the event partner for such an important industry event.”
Schwartz Advisors provides M&A advisory services, growth-planning, and strategic analysis to middle-market light-vehicle and commercial truck aftermarket companies and investors.
Kinderhook Announces Three Automotive Deals
SCA Performance, a portfolio company of the private investment firm Kinderhook Industries, has acquired Rocky Mountain Truckworks (RMT), a rival OEM-authorized specialty vehicle manufacturer (SVM) for light-duty trucks. RMT represents Kinderhook’s 71st automotive-related transaction, including the two additional deals detailed below.
Headquartered in Trussville, AL, SCA is an OEM-authorized SVM for light-duty trucks. It receives new vehicles directly from OEMs, adds specialty packages and then sells the up-fitted vehicles to new truck dealers with a full OEM warranty.
Fort Collins, CO-based RMT is a direct competitor to SCA and an OEM-authorized SVM for General Motors and Ram light-duty trucks. Similar to SCA, RMT receives new vehicles directly from OEMs, then sells the up-fitted vehicles directly to new truck dealerships.
Simultaneously with closing the RMT transaction, SCA has opened a new facility in Fort Collins to house the western U.S. production needs of the two businesses.
Kinderhook also has acquired RR Manufacturing LLC and Rocky Ridge Transportation LLC (together, known as Rocky Ridge), also OEM-authorized SVMs for light-duty pickup trucks. Based in Franklin Springs, GA, Rocky Ridge receives new vehicles directly from OEMs through a bailment pool arrangement, adds specialty appearance and performance packages, and sells the up-fitted vehicles exclusively to OEM dealers with a full OEM warranty.
Rocky Ridge has bailment pool agreements with GM, Ford, Nissan and Ram.
Kinderhook also has purchased Adell Corp. to serve as a platform for a buy-and-build strategy focused on genuine OEM parts and accessories, as well as parts that are sold to automotive OEMs’ aftermarket divisions — parts that are often installed for consumers at either a port facility or a dealership. The deal is Kinderhook’s 17th automotive platform investment.
Headquartered in Sunnyvale, TX, Adell is an integrated manufacturer of protective door edge guards as genuine original equipment to automotive OEMs. The company provides a range of production capabilities, including engineering, tooling, extruding, injection molding, metal fabricating, painting and packaging.
J. Pearson, a Kinderhook operating partner, is joining Adell as CEO.
Tuffy Security Products Partners With Jeep Jamboree
Tuffy Security Products (Cortez, CO) is now an official sponsor of Jeep Jamboree events. As such, the Tuffy brand will be advertised on the Jeep Jamboree website, in promotional material and on official vehicles. Tuffy also will be in attendance at several of the 36 Jeep Jamboree events being held in 2019.
Tuffy manufactures security console inserts, underhood security lockboxes, storage security trunks, overhead security consoles, license plate holders, tailgate enclosures, security gloveboxes, hood locks and more. Tuffy is a Kinderhook Industries portfolio company and a sister company of Bestop Inc., maker of Jeep and truck soft tops and accessories.
Bill To Amend California’s Exhaust Noise Law Progressing
SEMA-sponsored legislation to restore law enforcement’s ability to issue “fix-it” tickets instead of citations for exhaust noise violations and broken mufflers in California has cleared its first hurdle. The bill (AB 390) passed the state’s transportation committee March 25 and will be considered next by the assembly committee on appropriations.
The SEMA Action Network is asking supporters to email members of the appropriations committee to encourage them to support the legislation.
AB 390 seeks to repeal the section of a 2018 law (AB 1824) that amended how state law enforcement officials issue citations for these violations. Under the current law, violations may lead to an immediate fine. Previously, “fix-it” tickets allowed motorists 30 days to correct the violation.
The 2018 law generated significant concern within the industry and enthusiast community, according to SEMA. The association believes the proposed amendment will restore clarity for motorists and the companies that manufacture and install exhaust products. The legislation would not change the state’s 95-decibel exhaust noise limits for motor vehicles.
California assembly members Jim Frazier and Tim Grayson introduced the legislation. Christian Robinson, SEMA’s director of state government affairs, testified in support of the bill at last month’s hearing.
SEMA also has drafted a “Fact vs. Fiction” document to help generate support for the bill.
The Marx Group Is Merging With Eisbrenner PR
The Marx Group is merging with Eisbrenner Public Relations. The resulting integrated business-to-business and business-to-consumer marketing communications agency will be called the Marx Buscemi Eisbrenner Group. The firm — which will be headquartered in Bloomfield Hills, MI — will service the automotive, mobility, tech, trucking and consumer goods industries.
The Eisbrenner team plans to relocate from Royal Oak, MI to nearby Bloomfield Hills this spring. The agency will maintain a second location in San Rafael, CA, where the Marx Group has long maintained an office.
Frank Buscemi will lead the new agency as CEO and chief creative officer. Buscemi joined the Marx Group as its president, CEO and creative director back in 2016 when the agency formed an alliance with Near Perfect Media. Buscemi has 20 years of experience in global marketing communications, primarily in the automotive industry, including work with TI Automotive, ZF, Continental and Nexteer.
(It’s worth noting that the Marx Buscemi Eisbrenner Group will continue its affiliation with Near Perfect Media, which provides public relations and marketing services for professionals, corporations and celebrities).
Tom Eisbrenner will serve as president of the Marx Buscemi Eisbrenner Group, while Tom Marx will be chairman and chief strategy officer.
Tom Marx said of the merger: “By joining forces with the Eisbrenner PR team, we now have a combined agency with a tremendous skill set, a ton of experience and a very bright future — all based on being true partners dedicated to helping clients grow their business.”
Buscemi touted the deal as a natural fit for the two companies. “We are bringing together the expert public relations skills of the Eisbrenner team and the wide-ranging advertising, branding development, research and digital experience of Marx Group to create a true full-service marketing communications agency that can deliver top-tier strategy and execution with speed, cost and efficiency in mind,” Buscemi said.
The transaction is expected to close this month.
The Marx Buscemi Eisbrenner Group will be a member of IPREX, a partnership of independent communications firms that has 110 offices around the world.
2019 ‘Next Steppers’ Announced
The Young Auto Care Network Group (YANG) has announced this year’s “Next Steppers,” nine young industry professionals who will receive scholarships to offset most expenses for travel and accommodations necessary to attend the Auto Care Association’s Spring Leadership Days next month in Bonita Springs, FL. The Next Step Program offers an opportunity to develop lasting involvement in the industry by participating in meetings and network sessions during the three-day event.
The 2019 recipients are …
• Christopher Balogh, the Auto-Wares Group of Companies
• Megan Dineff, Ervine’s & Grand Rapids Hybrid
• Jim Holik, Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance
• John McGrane, Schrader Performance Sensors
• Krysta Messier, Rostar Filters
• Caitlin Monson, The Detroit Garage
• Nikki Walker, AutoZone Inc.
• Crystal Weaver, NGK Spark Plugs
• Blake Wilcox, Dayco Products
Following Spring Leadership Days, YANG will be hosting its Annual Leadership Conference. Next Steppers are encouraged to stay and attend.
Sea Foam Sales Company is looking for a knowledgeable, enthusiastic person to assume responsibility for our Wisconsin territory. Candidates must be a self-motivated, sales driven person with a good working knowledge of gas and diesel engines in a variety of industries and applications. … (more) … Click here to find out more.
Battery Biz is looking for a National Sales Manager to join our growing team! Battery-Biz (the Biz) is an employee-owned company with headquarters located in Camarillo, California. … (more) … Click here to find out more.
ZF In Deal To Acquire WABCO
ZF Friedrichshafen AG has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire WABCO, a global supplier of braking control systems, technology, and services for commercial vehicles, including trucks, buses and trailers. WABCO’s products and services include integrated braking systems and stability control, air suspension systems, transmission automation controls, as well as aerodynamics, telematics, and fleet management technology.
ZF is a global driveline and chassis technology company, as well as an active and passive safety technology business. The company has a global work force of approximately 146,000 with roughly 230 locations in some 40 countries. In 2017, ZF had approximately $41 billion in sales, making it one of the largest global automotive suppliers by revenue.
The proposed deal is for $136.50 per share, making this a more than $7-billion transaction. WABCO, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), generated roughly $3.70 billion in revenue in 2018 and has approximately 16,000 employees in 40 countries. Combined, ZF and WABCO would be a global integrated mobility systems provider for commercial vehicles, with roughly $45 billion in sales.
The planned acquisition will expand ZF’s expertise into commercial vehicle braking technology for the first time.
“For ZF, the acquisition of a specialist and leader for commercial vehicle braking systems means adding a stable and growing business segment, and enables our existing commercial vehicle division to expand its expertise in vehicle dynamics control,” Wolf-Henning Scheider, CEO of ZF, said in an announcement dated March 28. “This will create the foundation for ZF to offer comprehensive systems for safe and automated mobility solutions for passengers and goods to our customers.”
In the same press release, WABCO Chairman and CEO Jacques Esculier said that the combined company will be well positioned to capitalize on future demand for autonomous, efficient and connected commercial vehicles. This also would make the company less dependent on the economic cycle of the passenger car industry.
ZF’s management board and boards have approved the planned acquisition, as has WABCO’s board of directors.
The transaction is subject to regulatory approval, other customary closing conditions and shareholder approval from more than 50 percent of WABCO’s outstanding shares. The management of ZF expects the deal to close in the beginning of 2020.
Rush Truck Centers Launches New Online Parts-Ordering System
Rush Truck Centers has launched a new online parts-ordering system called RushCare Parts Connect. It allows users to search for parts for all makes and models of heavy- and medium-duty trucks, check availability from the nearest Rush Truck Center, and place orders. Results are personalized based on a user’s parts and service history, and include images, specifications, cross reference part numbers and VMRS data. Related and alternate parts suggestions also are included.
Bendix To Expand Its Huntington, Indiana Operations
Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems is expanding its Huntington, IN operations with the addition of a sixth location: a 409,000-square-foot facility directly across from Bendix’s main plant in Huntington. The company expects to consolidate several of its current buildings into the newly purchased location. Roughly 30 percent of the floor space will be held in reserve to address long-term expansion opportunities.
Bendix has been operating in Huntington since 1980. Its operations there currently include manufacturing, remanufacturing and assembly, as well as Bendix’s primary North American distribution center.
Bridgestone Completes TomTom Telematics Deal
Bridgestone Europe has completed its acquisition of TomTom Telematics, a provider of digital fleet services in Europe, for roughly $1.02 billion. The telematics business will operate within Bridgestone as a standalone business, yet taking advantage of Bridgestone’s brand equity, customer base, global reach and retail network. Its management team remains unchanged.
Paolo Ferrari, CEO and President of Bridgestone Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), called the transaction a significant milestone on Bridgestone’s transformation from tire producer to mobility solutions leader.
“With demand for fleet-based mobility growing year-on-year, fleet managers need more than ever before a reliable and innovative partner to help them maximize their effectiveness and efficiency through increased productivity and minimized total cost of ownership,” Ferrari stated. “Now together, Bridgestone and TomTom Telematics have the tools, insights and experience to fulfill those demands.”
People Watching 4/4/19
• Former Advance Auto Parts president and interim CEO George Sherman will take over as the CEO of GameStop Corp. on April 15. He was interim CEO of Advance following Darren Jackson’s exit from the company in January 2016. Sherman was a candidate to become Advance’s full-time chief executive prior to the hiring of Tom Greco.
• Advance Auto Parts Executive Vice President of Supply Chain Reuben Slone will be joining the board of directors of off-price retailer Tuesday Morning Corp. effective June 1. Slone sat on the board of Advance from 2016-‘18. His background also includes a two-year stint as a vice president at Federal-Mogul, working in information technology, process development, program management, organizational development, and change management.
• Brooke Regalado, a Northwood University student, is the winner of the Automotive Communications Council’s 2019 Annual Conference Sponsorship. Regalado — who expects to graduate in December with a bachelor’s degree in aftermarket management — will receive an all-expenses paid trip to the ACC Conference taking place April 9-10 in San Antonio.
• ATEQ TPMS Tools (Livonia, MI) has promoted Grant Barnes to creative marketing specialist. As such, Barnes has the primary responsibility for creating, designing, and aiding in marketing ATEQ TPMS Tools and private brands to the market. He has been with the company since 2017.
• Exide Technologies has named John Gasparovic as its executive vice president, chief legal officer and secretary. As such, Gasparovic serves as an advisor to the board of directors and management on all legal and governance matters. He also directs the global legal function of the company from Exide’s headquarters in Milton, GA. Gasparovic retired from BorgWarner Inc. in 2018 after serving as its executive vice president and chief legal officer since 2007. His background also includes time as the senior vice president and general counsel of Federal-Mogul.
• Superior Industries International, a supplier of aluminum wheels for OEMs and the European aftermarket, has announced Majdi Abulaban as its president and CEO, effective May 15. Abulaban most recently was a senior vice president at Aptiv and group president of its Global Signal & Power Solutions segment. His background also includes time as the Asia-Pacific president at Delphi.
News Briefs 4/4/19
• Work is finishing on a new East Penn Manufacturing warehouse in Columbus, OH. Details were not yet available regarding size, the timeline for opening and potential impact on customers. The location will join the battery manufacturer’s network of more than 90 warehouse and distribution locations across the United States and Canada, with a central hub in Topton, PA.
• Trico Products Corp. reports that $108,326 was raised for the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund as a result of its collaboration with NAPA Auto Parts last year. During the fourth quarter of 2018, Trico and participating NAPA Auto Parts stores donated funds to the group for every pair of Trico Force beam blades and Exact Fit wiper blades purchased.
• Summit Racing Equipment now carries BedRug Impact Liner bed liners, K&N exhaust kits for the Jeep Wrangler JL, DIY AutoTune MegaSquirt engine management systems, and Diamond EyePerformance exhaust systems for the Jeep Wrangler JK.
• Turn 14 Distribution (Horsham, PA) has added Mickey Thompson performance tires and wheels to its line card.
• Keystone Automotive Operations now carries performance lighting products from Baja Designs and MEK Magnet.
• The Florida Pneumatic segment of P&F Industries reported $14.43 million in automotive revenue in 2018 — an increase of 3.8% over the previous year.
• Mahle Service Solutions has launched a Facebook page.