No Issue Next Week!
We will not publish next week. Our offices will be closed June 26 through July 2, reopening on July 3. The next issue of The Greensheet will be dated July 6.
Quick Hits …
(A few short items to get us started this week)
• Attendee registration is now open for AAPEX 2020, which is scheduled for Nov. 3-5 at the Sands Expo and Caesars Forum Conference Center in Las Vegas.
• Because of the coronavirus pandemic, event organizers have called off the 2020 edition of INA PAACE Automechanika Mexico City, which was originally slated for July and then moved to September. The show will now occur July 21-23, 2021 at Centro Citibanamex in Mexico City. INA PAACE Automechanika Mexico City is billed as Latin America’s largest international trade show for the automotive aftermarket, OE manufacturing and service industry.
• Nexus Automotive International has appointed Gerson Prado, CEO of the Brazilian auto parts distributor SK Automotive, as its new chairman. He replaces Akram Shahrour, who has held the post for the past six years.
• MagnaFlow veteran Darron Shubin has joined AWE as its director of sales. Shubin spent nearly 20 years with MagnaFlow, starting in technical support and eventually becoming vice president of national sales. He was one of SEMA’s Top 35 Under 35 and the SEMA Young Executives Network Young Executive of the Year in 2010.
• Franchise Holdings International has changed its name to Worksport Ltd. This is part of a global growth strategy that will include new media assets and online branding. Worksport manufacturers tonneau covers.
Auto Care Association Releases 2021 Factbook
The Auto Care Association has released the 2021 Auto Care Factbook and 2021 Auto Care Factbook & Lang Annual. The latest edition of the Factbook includes industry analysis in light of the coronavirus pandemic and stay-at-home orders, as well as an extended industry forecast through 2023 and information on delayed maintenance and market potential.
All Auto Care Association contacts at member companies receive complimentary digital copies of the Auto Care Factbook report as a member benefit. The non-member price for the publication is $1,950. The Auto Care Factbook & Lang Annual report can be purchased for $995 for members and $2,995 for non-members. For more information, visit digital.autocare.org/2021factbook.
NPD Group Details Automotive DIY Project, Recreational Sales Growth
Warmer weather, stay-at-home practices and social-distancing measures have contributed to U.S. sales growth for a number of automotive aftermarket products tied to DIY projects and recreational activities, according to tracking from The NPD Group.
Dollar sales of light-duty shop equipment, paint and coatings, tire care products, vehicle wash, and wax and polish collectively grew 44% in April and May combined when compared to 2019, according to NPD. Other DIY categories that saw growth include …
• Body repair: up 44%.
• Body fillers: up 43%.
• Paint restoration: up 23%.
• Parts cleaners, including brake cleaner and engine degreaser: up 22%.
“Consumers may be driving less over the past few months but with more time spent at home and limited places to go, the otherwise time-consuming tasks of working on their vehicles or pulling the cover off a project car in the garage have become leisurely ways for car owners to seek enjoyment,” said Nathan Shipley, NPD’s automotive analyst. “The aftermarket industry has long been worried that enthusiasm for DIY car repair and projects is waning, but today we have a huge opportunity to encourage and reinvigorate this behavior.”
With states loosening restrictions, consumers gearing up for outdoor activities and summer vacation on the horizon, other aftermarket categories are experiencing growth. According to NPD, sales growth has been reported over the last two months for …
• Automotive batteries: up 30%.
• Marine starting cycle batteries for boats: up 33%.
• Powersport batteries for Jet Skis, ATVs and more: up 49%.
• Motorcycle oil: up 30%.
• Car and RV hitches: up 42%.
• Portable air compressors: up 37%.
• RV antifreeze and coolant: up 31%.
NPD data across industries point in the direction of outdoor recreation and regional U.S. travel being popular this year as air travel restrictions and social-distancing measures continue. Notably, sales have increased for U.S. travel books and road maps, camping equipment, outdoor toys, and summer seasonal apparel.
“The end of April brought a few key realizations: COVID-19 will be keeping families closer to home for the unforeseeable future, travel plans will need to change, stimulus checks will be hitting consumers’ bank accounts and fuel prices at the pump are at historical lows,” Shipley said. “These factors are likely providing an even greater incentive than usual for consumers to make recreational purchases that get them outside and prep their cars and RVs for road trips.”
45% Of Drivers Are Fueling Their Vehicles No More Than Once A Month
An online survey of 719 motorists conducted by Honk Technologies between May 15 and June 4 indicates that 25% of respondents are now fueling up at least once a week — down from 56% of drivers in surveys conducted prior to the coronavirus pandemic. Additionally, 45% of motorists now fill up once a month or less compared to only 11% pre-pandemic.
In the recent survey, when asked what destinations they had driven to in the prior seven days …
• 83% went to a grocery store, pharmacy or some other store for necessary supplies.
• 32% drove to work.
• 31% made a visit to family or friends.
• 25% drove to a restaurant or café.
• 21% traveled to outdoor recreation activities.
• 17% went shopping.
• 4% did not drive at all.
Honk provides a roadside assistance platform that connects drivers, towing professionals and insurers.
Tim Nash Shifts Role At Northwood University
Tim Nash, senior vice president for strategic and corporate alliances at Northwood University, will step down from that position June 30 and shift his focus to economic research with Northwood’s McNair Center for the Advancement of Free Enterprise and Entrepreneurship, where he was already a director.
“I will still report to our president and will continue to be on his executive committee,” Nash said. “I will continue leading research through McNair on the economy, the whole of the auto industry, etc. And, I look forward to continued involvement with the automotive aftermarket … one of America’s entrepreneurial strongholds.”
In this part-time role, he will continue his writing and research activity, while providing leadership to the center and serving as the primary contact with the McNair Foundation.
Nash spent his career at Northwood both as a professor and in various leadership roles. His work with the aftermarket has been well-known and respected, conducting research and consulting for a number of companies and organizations, including MEMA and the Auto Care Association. He also has been a frequent speaker on economic topics for the University of the Aftermarket.
“Tim Nash has been a friend and mentor to me for many years,” said University of the Aftermarket Executive Director Brian Cruickshank. “I — and his many, many aftermarket friends — thank Dr. Nash for his numerous contributions to business education and the industry. We all benefitted from his perspective, which provided a deeper understanding of the motor vehicle aftermarket and its place in the global economy.”
AWDA Conference To Include Face-To-Face And Virtual Elements
AWDA is making changes to its 2020 conference, which it is calling AWDA+. A face-to-face event will take place in conjunction with AAPEX 2020 Nov. 3-5 in Las Vegas. However, these face-to-face meetings will be held either in vendors’ booths or in modular meeting rooms attached at the show floor, rather than in The Venetian guest suites.
AWDA+ also will include a virtual event with pre-scheduled one-on-one meetings via private video conference, which will occur Nov. 17-19. The virtual experience also will include the group’s awards ceremony, member recognition and a general address.
For more information about AWDA+, click here. Registration is scheduled to open later this month.
Collision, Cooling Industry Veteran Joins Parts Authority
Jim Hastie has joined Parts Authority as its vice president of category management for collision and cooling. Hastie was the vice president of product development for U.S. Auto Parts Network, where he managed a full line of imported collision parts. This includes coordinating product evaluation, financial reviews, launch and sales optimization.
His background also includes time as the national business development manager for U.S. Auto Parts, more than two years as the president and CEO of American Condenser & Coil and time as a marketing manager for Perfect Cooling Industries.
“When Jim became available, I knew it was a perfect fit for Parts Authority,” said Randy Buller, president and CEO. “His experience in cooling and collision, as well as his experience and skill set made him a ‘must-have’ for our product team. I look forward to working with Jim for a very long time.”
Meyer Distributing Expands In Northeast
Meyer Distributing (Jasper, IN) has acquired the Automotive Distribution Company (ADC) of Scott Township, PA, which is near Scranton. “We have been looking to expand our relationships in the Northeast. ADC provides a great opportunity to increase coverage and improve customer service with employees with lots of experience in the automotive aftermarket. We’re hiring for sales and purchasing positions there currently,” said CEO Jeff Braun, adding that Meyer also is looking for distribution and acquisition opportunities in its automotive, lifestyle, and janitorial and sanitation businesses.
LKQ Reports Better Than Expected April-May Revenue Performance
LKQ Corp. on June 15 provided an update on its second-quarter 2020 operating performance through May, noting that the effects of the coronavirus pandemic have not been as significant as expected at the time the company reported its first-quarter 2020 results.
According to the announcement, revenue has been tracking ahead of internal expectations, with quarter-to-date parts and services organic revenue down roughly 25% when compared to the same quarter in 2019, with April revenue down approximately 30% and May revenue down roughly 20%.
“Each of our segments has experienced weekly sequential revenue improvement since mid-April,” President and CEO Dominick Zarcone stated. “With economies reopening in recent weeks, we are cautiously optimistic that we can capitalize on the momentum we’ve built through May to finish the quarter strong.”
According to the LKQ announcement, the company was able to turn in an operating profit for both months, attributable to the contribution of cost structure actions announced with LKQ’s first-quarter 2020 results. Additionally, the company said it generated positive free cash flow in April and May, which management used to pay down more than $250 million in debt and build cash balances during the two-month period.
In related news, LKQ and its lenders have amended a credit agreement dated Jan. 29, 2016. According to the company, the amendment modifies the maximum permitted net leverage ratio through the quarter ending Sept. 30, 2021.
Beginning with the quarter ending Dec. 31, 2021, the maximum permitted net leverage ratio reverts to the terms in effect prior to the amendment. And, LKQ can cancel the modifications to the maximum permitted net leverage ratio at any time and revert to the terms in effect prior to the amendment, subject to compliance with a 4.0x ratio. Click here for more information on the amended credit agreement.
“With this amendment, we are able to enhance the flexibility in our net leverage covenant, which — combined with our cost management efforts — provides LKQ additional financial strength to weather this difficult period should the markets we operate in take longer to recover from the effects of the pandemic,” said Executive Vice President and CFO Varun Laroyia.
“I am confident we will emerge from this crisis a stronger and leaner organization, which should drive long-term value for our stockholders,” Laroyia stated.
As of March 31, 2020, LKQ’s balance sheet reflected net debt of $3.50 billion, and its net leverage ratio was 2.5x. The company also had approximately $1.90 billion in total liquidity. As of May 31, 2020, LKQ’s net debt had decreased to $3.10 billion, while its total liquidity increased to roughly $2.20 billion.
The company is scheduled to provide its next business update with the disclosure of its second-quarter 2020 results on July 30.
Original One Parts Appoints LKQ Veteran To Board Of Directors
Original One Parts, a recently added Kinderhook Industries portfolio company, has appointed LKQ Corp. veteran Steven Greenspan to its board of directors. Greenspan joins current board members …
• Wade Hilburn, CEO of Original One Parts.
• Jerry Sullivan, executive chairman of Original One Parts.
• Paul Cifelli, managing director of Kinderhook Industries.
• Nate Druckenmiller, vice president of Kinderhook Industries.
Greenspan is the COO of asTech Inc. He joined the company in January after more than 20 years with LKQ. Greenspan began his LKQ career in 1998 as a plant manager. He was promoted to regional vice president in 2003 and became a senior vice president in 2012.
Headquartered in Dallas, Original One Parts is a provider of certified OEM auto parts for use in both collision and mechanical repairs.
Motorcar Parts Of America Reports Record Q1 Sales, Wider Net Loss
For the fiscal fourth quarter ended March 31, 2020, Motorcar Parts of America (MPA) reported a record $150.74 million in net sales — an increase of 16.8% compared to the same period a year ago. Gross profit rose 41.0% to $36.58 million, while gross margin expanded from 20.1% to 24.3% on a year-over-year basis.
Nonetheless, MPA came through with a net loss of $8.19 million that was wider than the $2.77-million net loss the company reported in the year-ago period. It’s worth noting that results for the fiscal 2020 fourth quarter were impacted by $25.80 million in items on a pretax basis, including $23 million tied to the remeasurement of lease liabilities and the company’s forward foreign exchange contracts because of a devaluation of the Mexican peso. The net loss for the prior-year period included roughly $17.20 million in items on a pretax basis.
“Notwithstanding the global pandemic, which began to impact the automotive aftermarket in mid-March, we achieved record sales and generated strong cash flow from operations,” said Selwyn Joffe, chairman, president and CEO. “While the sharp decline in the value of the Mexican peso/U.S. dollar exchange rate resulted in large non-cash expenses, the underlying operating results for the company are strong.”
Joffe also noted that the company’s facilities expansion in Mexico and brake caliper launch are nearing completion.
He told analysts on MPA’s June 15 earnings call that the company’s Mexican brake caliper remanufacturing facility is up and running and that core sorting is taking place in a temporary facility until the main building is completed. He said that while Mexico is still experiencing tough times from the coronavirus pandemic, work remains on track.
Brake booster production is currently split between California and Mexico. Joffe noted that the California production should go to Mexico over the next six months. However, engineering capabilities for calipers and boosters are both in California. That includes quality assurance and cataloging.
He told analysts on the call that management expects MPA’s brake caliper business to be at a run rate of at least $50 million by the end of the 2021 fiscal year, which will end March 31, 2021. “We’ve got lots of traction,” he said.
“Our investments are starting to bear fruit. We remain confident that this is the right way to go for the future,” Joffe stated. “We have solid new business commitments for brake calipers. We expect strong business growth as we ramp up our production.
“Notwithstanding the many challenges that we have in the world today, new business commitments and business is continuing. That’s supported by an expanding line of products in both hard parts and diagnostics. The near-term outlook appears positive.”
PANDEMIC IMPACT … Joffe told analysts that the impact of stay-at-home orders drove a 40% to 50% decline in April revenue. However, May revenue was down only 4% to 10%. And, through the first half of June, revenue was even with last year, trending upward. He called unit volume “very, very strong.”
“From what I can tell right now, … for our industry, it looks like there’s a V curve of recovery,” he said. “That’s going to be subject to all sorts of variables as this pandemic evolves.”
“Clearly, the past few months have been challenging for all of us but from our vantage point, we see light at the end of the tunnel,” Joffe said. “While the month of April was strongly impacted across the automotive aftermarket, consumer demand has picked up over the past month and a half, with industry observers and retailers reporting encouraging trends as states have opened up and consumers are driving more.
“We experienced unprecedented declines in April, followed by sharp gains in May and expect that June will continue with this strong sales trend. It is still too early to determine if this trend will continue moving forward, but we are cautiously optimistic.” — Marc Vincent
Aisin’s Chuck Pariano Retires
Charles “Chuck” Pariano has retired. Since 2006, Pariano has been responsible for Aisin’s aftermarket sales and marketing strategy, developing and implementing programs for various sales and distribution channels in North America, selling various OE product categories into the aftermarket in both the United States and Canada.
In a June 17 email, he wrote that Aisin has seen substantial growth in revenue over the last 14 years, with many new OE products being introduced every year. Pariano said he believes that the current Aisin aftermarket sales team is well-positioned to continue this growth.
Pariano held various management positions within the aftermarket over a more than 35-year span prior to joining Aisin. He was the business development manager for Douglas Battery, vice president of aftermarket sales at Schrader Bridgeport International and the national account sales manager for the Modine Manufacturing Company. He also has been a member of the CAWA Manufacturers Council.
“Over the years I’ve been in the aftermarket, I’ve had the distinct pleasure to work with great people, customers and industry leaders, which enabled me to make many friends while conducting daily business together,” Pariano wrote. “I’ll definitely miss seeing everyone at various industrywide events during the year as I step away.
“Now that I won’t be flying around the country for business every week, my wife and I look forward to traveling leisurely and seeing what I’ve flown over during these past 35-plus years. I’m sure it will look much different from the ground instead of up in the air.”
Pariano lives in La Quinta, CA with his wife, June.
Dayco Announces Organizational Changes In Sales, Marketing
Dayco Products has hired T.J. Fontana as its director of sales for North America and Shannon Lara as director of marketing for the North American aftermarket. Additionally, the company has promoted Tyler Samagalski to director of industrial, fluid power and performance markets – North America.
Fontana leads the light- and commercial-vehicle aftermarket segment, while Samagalski heads up the industrial, fluid power and performance markets for the United States and Canada. Lara works with Fontana and Samagalski to deliver new products, programs and applications to the market.
Lara has more than 25 years of experience in brand strategy, business-to-business and consumer campaigns in the automotive aftermarket. Most recently, she led marketing for the NORMA Group’s aftermarket and OE businesses. Lara also brings aftermarket experience from her tenure with Honeywell International as senior global marketing communications manager for the company’s transportation systems business unit.
Samagalski has been with Dayco for 10 years, including time as Canadian aftermarket director.
Fontana brings 30 years of leadership experience from Tenneco Inc. and Johnson Controls.
Fontana, Lara and Samagalski report directly to Tom Tecklenburg, vice president of Dayco’s North American aftermarket.
IXS Coatings Names President
IXS Coatings (Huntsville, AL), parent company to the Ultimate Linings and Line-X Protective Coatings brands, has announced Barry McConway as its new president.
McConway is responsible for global leadership and strategic direction for the company’s executive management team, as well as operational strategies for the brands within its portfolio. He also is in charge of directing IXS Coatings’ short- and long-term goals, operational and sales strategies, corporate finances, and human resources in addition to developing business at manufacturing, industrial and retail levels.
McConway was the executive vice president of IXS Coatings and Ultimate Linings, where he provided strategic direction for corporate finances, human resources and strategic business planning.
LSI Hires Global Sales VP
Lubrication Specialties Inc. (LSI) — the Mt Gilead, OH-based manufacturer of Hot Shot’s Secret-brand performance additives and oil — has hired Todd Cawley as the company’s first vice president of global sales. He is tasked with developing a global sales strategy for the company’s oil and fuel additives.
Cawley brings extensive experience in chemicals, fuel and lubricant additives sales. This includes roughly 20 years with the Sinclair Oil Corp., where he was responsible for the development of new fuel and lubricant products and markets, as well as two years as the director of sales, global business development and blended lubes manager for the American Refining Group. Cawley’s background also includes time as vice president of global sales and marketing for Nanotech Industrial Solutions.
Obituary: Donald C. Seyfer, Longtime Shop Owner And Industry Advocate
Donald C. Seyfer, longtime shop owner of Seyfer Automotive in Wheat Ridge, CO, died June 3 after a long illness. He was 79.
Seyfer was passionate about the automotive aftermarket, having started his own repair shop in 1961. He was involved in many organizations that supported the industry, most notably having served in all board positions for the Automotive Service Association (ASA), rising to the level of chairman of both ASA Colorado and the ASA national organization. Seyfer also was chairman of the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation and served on the board of directors of ASE.
Seyfer himself was an ASA Master Technician. His commitment to excellence extended to his work as a founding member of the Automotive Management Institute (AMI).
“We will always remember him for his quiet nature, but also how he would get excited in telling a story which more often than not ended in laughter for him and everyone else,” noted Tim Zilke, ASE president and CEO. “He had a real passion for making sure that the next generation of technicians was trained and prepared to enter the work force. He was an early believer in technical education and spreading the word to the aftermarket service world.”
Seyfer also is remembered as a mentor to others in the industry, willing to offer advice or share his knowledge when called upon.
“I’ve known Don for his entire life,” said Tony Molla, vice president of industry relations at ASA. “I will always think of him as one of my mentors. You could always go to him about anything. He gave great advice and was always willing to help.”
Molla wrote a tribute to Seyfer for AutoInc magazine, saying: “Don walked the talk and was, by any measure, a good man. While those of us who knew Don are diminished by his passing, we are stronger for having known him.”
Ron Pyle, president of AutoMotivation and former president of ASA, remembers Seyfer for his negotiation skills, his openness to new ideas and his vision.
“He was a true gentleman,” Pyle said. “He was really good at welcoming diverse viewpoints. He was somebody who could walk the fine line when there were differences of opinion. Don was a peacemaker and really just a champion of the industry. He was one of those guys who welcomed everyone’s viewpoints.”
An ASA member since 1963, Seyfer was respected in the automotive service industry for his involvement and volunteer work at both the state and national levels. He served as ASA’s Mechanical Division director from 1990-’94, was a founding member of AMI in 1989 and was among the first to achieve Accredited Automotive Manager (AAM) status. As a volunteer leader, Seyfer served as ASA Colorado’s president for six years and was a member of the Automotive Hall of Fame.
His most recent recognition came in 2016 when he received the ASA Chairman’s Award of Excellence in 2016, which was presented to him by his son, Donny, who followed in his father’s footsteps as chairman of ASA.
Seyfer is survived by his wife, Margie, a longtime automotive industry trainer and community activist; sons Donny and Troy; and six grandchildren.
Additional information can be found in his online obituary.
Obituary: Jack Pohanka, Co-Founder Of ASE
Jack Pohanka, one of the founders and a former chairman of ASE, died May 17 at the age of 92.
Pohanka was a co-founder of ASE in 1972 and also instrumental in and the first chairman of the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation, which merged with Automotive Youth Educational Systems in 2018 to become the ASE Education Foundation.
“Jack Pohanka was a visionary who made an incredible impact on the entire automotive industry. We owe him a debt of gratitude for his work in laying the groundwork for making ASE what it is today,” said Tim Zilke, ASE president and CEO. “A U.S. Senate subcommittee was holding hearings on the quality of automotive service and repair, with the idea of technician licensing and national diagnostic centers being considered. I remember being very impressed by how quickly he could sort through complex issues and get to the core of what needed to be dealt with.
“He was able to articulate the core in a way that led to consensus. His vision in working with private industry and creating a voluntary program to solve an industry problem created a much more impactful organization, which ultimately benefits the entire motoring public.”
Pohanka became the Pohanka Automotive Group’s dealer principal in 1958 after the death of his father, Frank. The family business was founded in 1919 and is one of the nation’s oldest dealership groups. Today, with 17 new vehicle stores and one non-franchised location, the company employs approximately 1,600 people across Maryland, Virginia, Delaware and Texas.
Ron Pyle, president of AutoMotivation and former president of ASA, remembers Pohanka as a visionary who changed the automotive aftermarket with his leadership.
“He was one of the guys willing to work with the independent side of the (aftermarket) business,” Pyle said. “He was very influential on the dealership side. He stepped up and said we need an organization that serves independent car dealerships. That was a big deal, and we needed that kind of commitment from the industry so that the aftermarket side understood we weren’t the enemy.”
Pohanka was involved in several other national and local industry and business groups, including serving as president of the National Automotive Dealers Association (NADA). He was the first U.S. auto dealer to sell both foreign and domestic vehicles and was named an Automotive News Visionary Dealer in 2009.
According to his obituary in The Washington Post, Pohanka earned the Automotive Hall of Fame Distinguished Service Citation in 1986. And, in 2019, the Pohanka Automotive Group celebrated its 100th year in business. Members of the third, fourth and fifth generation still work in the family business.
Pohanka is survived by his wife, Lynn; children, Geoffrey and Anne Kline and Susan and Jay Madden; daughter-in-law, Cricket Bauer; grandchildren, Laura Pohanka, Erich Pohanka, Matthew Schantz and Melissa Schantz; and great-granddaughter, Raegan Pohanka.
He was preceded in death by his former wife, Jean; former wife Lori McCalip; and son, Brian Pohanka.
Gifts in his memory can be made to the Washington National Opera, P.O. Box 101510 Arlington, VA 22210 or the Wagner Society of Washington, DC, P.O. Box 11842 Washington, DC 20008.
Obituary: E.K. “Chic” Fox, First Automotive Lift Institute President
Longtime Automotive Lift Institute (ALI) leader E.K. “Chic” Fox died at his home in Indialantic, FL on June 6 after a long illness. He was 83. Fox dedicated 43 years of his life to ALI and improving automotive lift safety. He was the first president of ALI. Fox retired in 2005.
His leadership is credited with moving ALI onto the path of redefining industry safety requirements, establishing ALI as the safety watchdog for the North American vehicle lift industry.
“ALI would not be the organization it is today without the decades of hard work and leadership Chic provided,” said R.W. “Bob” O’Gorman, ALI president. “Millions of technicians across North America owe their safety on the job to initiatives he spearheaded with our member manufacturers.”
During Fox’s tenure, ALI moved the industry from a basic lift design standard to a performance-based safety standard approved by ANSI; developed requirements for third-party lift testing and certification; introduced the ALI Gold Certification label; and created the first lift safety training material, including Lifting It Right.
“Chic’s friends will long remember him as an inveterate debater of matters political, editor of texts composed by others, and always a warm but sometimes irascible conversationalist,” recalled longtime friend F.G. “Rick” Heath, ALI technical liaison and secretary of its safety and standards technical committee.
Fox is survived by his wife and career partner, Anne, as well as a widespread family. Per his wishes, no services will be held.
Quadratec Staffing Up To Address High Call Volume
Jeep products specialist Quadratec has been experiencing the most explosive call volume, email and social message surge in its history, according to an update posted on its website and communicated via email. This comes amid ongoing social-distancing and protective measures for the company’s fulfillment staff while the majority of its contact center staffers are working remotely.
This has led to longer-than-normal hold times as well as delays in email and message responses. At the same time, Quadratec’s major freight carriers are experiencing heavy demand, leading to some shipping delays.
“For our entire history, we’ve helped Jeep enthusiasts enjoy [their] vehicles through superior products and world-class service. This pandemic will not deter us from that mission,” CEO Ted Wentz III said. “Over the past several weeks, incoming calls and orders have far exceeded even our best estimates. This has led to unacceptable wait times for some of you. We are doing everything we can to address these crucial issues and keep you out on the trail.
“We are hiring more staff, adding shifts and working overtime to make sure your needs are met and packages get out the door as swiftly as possible.”
Holley Hires Two More From Race Winning Brands
Mark Gearhart has joined Holley Performance Products as its digital marketing director. Gearhart has spent the last four years with Race Winning Brands, most recently as director of content marketing. His background also includes nine years with PowerTV Media.
Also joining Holley from Racing Winning Brands is Evan Perkins in the capacity of digital content manager. At Race Winning Brands, Perkins was content marketing manager. Prior to that, he worked for TEN: The Enthusiast Network as editor in chief of Hot Rod Magazine.
Their addition follows Holley’s hiring of Sean Crawford, also a Racing Winning Brands veteran, as its chief marketing officer.
Firm Offers Limited-Time Free Marketing Analysis, Direct Sales Consultation Package
Martin & Company (Whites Creek, TN) — a full-service marketing solutions firm specializing in both traditional and digital branding for the performance automotive aftermarket — is offering businesses a free research-based digital marketing analysis and direct sales consultation through July 31. This free package is for all automotive aftermarket companies (performance or traditional) and also for startups and global companies with multiple markets and brands.
“When fully absorbing the ramifications that this COVID-19 pandemic caused not only for my business, but our industry as a whole, it was overwhelming to say the least. During these unprecedented times, and to assist this industry, we have chosen to offer a free marketing stimulus package,” explained Zan Martin, president and CEO. “This service is an analysis of the effectiveness of your digital marketing efforts and will help determine if now is the time to develop direct sales options for your business.”
Martin & Company’s expertise includes brand development, public relations and digital strategy. For more information, visit martincoadvertising.com, call (615) 330-5622 or email email@example.com.
In related news, Martin & Company has added Dani Boudreau as its traffic and communications manager. Boudreau is responsible for ensuring all projects are completed according to budget and the client’s timetable. She also assists in internal and external communications.
UM Named Global Agency Of Record For Energizer Holdings
UM is now the global media agency of record for Energizer Holdings, a manufacturer of batteries, portable lighting and auto care products, including the Armor All, STP, A/C Pro, Refresh Your Car, Eagle One and Nu Finish brands. UM has been Energizer’s North America media planning and buying agency since February 2019. Under its expanded global scope, UM will take on all strategy, planning, buying, research, and data and analytics media duties for the company’s entire global portfolio.
Peterson Manufacturing Grows Its Sales Team
The Peterson Manufacturing Company has added David Black as its business development manager of fleets for the Eastern and South-Central United States and Joe Shaw as its product sales manager for Canada.
Black’s career began at a Lexington, KY warehouse and trucking company while a student at the University of Kentucky. He eventually ran the entire operation as vice president and general manager for an absentee owner. After the owner’s death, the business was sold and Black moved on to sales for such companies as Bose Ride and most recently, FlowBelow.
Shaw is tasked with growing Peterson’s presence in the Canadian market. As such, he will handle all the lines for retail, WD and Canadian fleet dealers. His résumé includes time with Holland Binkley, Jost International, Pac-Lease, Bose Ride and most recently, Sears Seating.
Longtime Acme Manufacturing Sales, Marketing Executive Retires
Joe Saad has retired as senior vice president of sales and marketing for the Acme Manufacturing Company (Auburn Hills, MI), a manufacturer of integrated robotic automation for polishing, buffing, deburring and grinding systems. Saad, an industry expert in metal finish, has been with Acme for 46 years. He has been involved in the development of polishing automation solutions for automotive trim, truck bumpers, aluminum wheels, hand tools and more.
Concurrent with Saad’s retirement, Acme has announced the following promotions …
• Jack Karagozian to vice president of global sales engineering, responsible for leading the company’s global sales team in bringing unique material removal solutions to market.
• Scott Kilpatrick to vice president of global business development, responsible for transforming Acme’s robotic solutions to the latest IoT and Industry 4.0 standards.
• Mike Lamb to director of global service sales and parts, responsible for ensuring customer satisfaction and Acme machine readiness.
• Rob Thornton to director of global engineering, responsible for product development.
Ziebart Announces Senior Management Appointments
Ziebart International Corp. (Troy, MI) has promoted three employees to senior-level positions: Larisa Walega as vice president of marketing, Jason Theisen as director of franchise operations, and Brian Jackman as vice president and treasurer.
Walega has been with the company for 11 years, the past seven as director of marketing. She is now responsible for brand awareness strategies, including digital marketing, sales promotions, public relations, store layout, and new product and services marketing. Walega manages the internal marketing team at Ziebart, as well as vendor partner relationships.
Theisen has been with the company for 16 years, working his way up from store technician to store management and eventually corporate sales. As the director of franchise operations, he is responsible for U.S. regional sales, product sales, and technical support and customer service.
Jackman has held a number of positions at Ziebart over the past decade, most recently as director of corporate finance. In his new role, Jackman is responsible for all aspects of corporate finance, including financial and tax reporting and cash management, as well as being a liaison to independent auditors, banks and investment institutions.
The Group Training Academy Adds Electric Vehicle Course, Training Tool
The Automotive Parts Services Group has added electric and hybrid electric vehicle technician training to The Group Training Academy. The course is designed to teach experienced automotive professionals about proper and safe procedures for diagnosing and repairing these vehicles. The program also can be used in secondary and post-secondary education settings.
To complement the new course, The Group has introduced a classroom visual training tool in partnership with Automotive Video Innovations (AVI) and John Forro of AST Training. The tool, a modified Toyota Prius, gives students the chance to interact with non-energized, high-voltage components in order to learn proper techniques and necessary personal protective equipment.
The vehicle also contains energized versions of the components for use when the instructor feels the class is ready. Other features include factory scan tool capabilities, visible high-voltage components and cables, and a soon-to-be-added fault box.
“We continuously assess the training needs of our Federated and Pronto members and their customers, and realized that existing online electric vehicle training offerings only took us part of the way toward bringing this important material to those that need it,” said Larry Pavey, CEO of The Group. “This new suite of instructor-led electric vehicle training materials offered by The Group Training Academy allows us to offer an even greater variety of relevant blended-training formats.”
Openbay Adds Tire Catalog To Its Online Chat Platform
Openbay Inc. has added a tire catalog and new features to its online chat platform, Openbay Otis. Otis, which installs on an automotive service center’s website, now allows consumers to search for major tire brands, retrieve tire pricing and availability information, and book installation appointments all within the chat.
Openbay also has released Otis Banners, a tool that allows shops to display key messages or promotions at the top of the Otis chat window. This can include safety precautions a business is taking to service vehicles during the coronavirus pandemic.
Point S Opens Its First Shops In China
Point S has opened its first pilot locations in China in partnership with the Chinese vehicle maintenance companies Suremoov and Harson. Both repair shops are in the southern city of Foshan, which is near Canton. One shop has 15 bays, and the other has 10 bays.
Point S aims to have more than 1,000 franchised shops in China by 2025.
Continental Tire Extends, Expands Partnership With Synchrony
Continental Tire has extended its partnership with Synchrony. The Continental Tire card from Synchrony will continue to offer cardholders special financing on purchases of Continental tires, with the addition of General Tire products at dealers across the United States.
With Synchrony Car Care, cardholders can make purchases across multiple auto-related categories, including gas, auto parts, car washes, parking and ridesharing. Cardholders receive six months of promotional financing for purchases of $199 or more at more than 730,000 locations, as well as the ability to fill up at over 200,000 gas stations across the United States and Puerto Rico.
In addition, cardholders can use the Synchrony Car Care mobile app to manage their accounts, find locations where the card is accepted and access offers on the go.
The extended agreement also gives dealers access to Synchrony’s business center technology, which provides enhanced consumer credit decisions and a dashboard with insights to help dealers manage applications. Dealers also have access to dApply, which allows customers to apply for credit and receive decisions in seconds.
Roll By Goodyear Donating Money To Feeding America For Each Tire Sold
Roll by Goodyear, a new tire-buying and installation initiative from The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, is donating $10 to Feeding America — the cost equivalency of 100 meals — for every tire sold at rollbygoodyear.com or from any of the 16 participating locations in the Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. markets. This donation applies to all tires purchased from these venues through June 30.
The company has committed to making a donation of at least $10,000.
“We’ve seen the devastating effect [the coronavirus pandemic] has had on our neighbors in the greater Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. areas,” said Seth Klugherz, head of Roll by Goodyear. “We’re proud to contribute to Feeding America to help this incredible organization continue to provide much-needed meals to these communities, where so many have lost income and are turning to food banks for support.”
Roll by Goodyear is designed to make tire buying and installation convenient and contactless. Tires can be purchased online or over the phone, and customers can arrange for installation to occur at their homes, workplaces or other qualifying locations at no extra charge.
Valet services also are available at no additional charge, where Roll by Goodyear picks up and returns customers’ vehicles for tire service at qualifying preferred locations. Employees wear gloves and use steering wheel, seat and floormat covers to avoid contact with the interior of customers’ vehicles. And all touchpoints are disinfected upon entering and exiting vehicles.
Cooper Tire Building New, Larger DC In Indiana
The Cooper Tire & Rubber Company is building a one-million-square-foot regional distribution center in Whiteland, IN. The new facility will replace Cooper’s nearby Franklin, IN warehouse, with all employees expected to transition to the new location. The Whiteland warehouse is expected to open in early 2021, providing increased capacity for product storage and enhanced logistics capabilities. Cooper operates six distribution centers across the United States.
Carfax Recognizes Top-Rated Shops
Vehicle owners can now identify Carfax Top-Rated Service Shops when they are looking to perform repairs or maintenance on their vehicles. According to Carfax, the shops recognized on the list have an average star rating of 4.77 out of 5.00 based on verified customer reviews from Carfax Car Care members (formerly myCarfax).
“We have over 10 million active Car Care subscribers who use the program to help keep up with maintenance and recalls on their vehicles,” said Mike Liou, head of service marketing at Carfax. “We want to utilize this community to highlight the service shops that are going above and beyond when it comes to customer care, and we do so with reviews from only verified customers.”
Top-Rated Service Shops will receive digital assets that they can use to highlight their status, including on social media using the hashtag #CarfaxTopShop.
LeasePlan Adds Contact-Free Vehicle Maintenance Via YourMechanic
LeasePlan USA has announced a partnership with the mobile maintenance and repair services provider YourMechanic. The alliance brings a mobile, contact-free option to LeasePlan’s maintenance and repair management offering by connecting with YourMechanic’s network of more than 700 certified technicians across 2,500-plus U.S. cities.
With this move, LeasePlan customers can schedule contact-free service on-site at a driver’s home or office. YourMechanic works with a network of background-checked and certified technicians, who average more than 15 years of industry experience, according to the company. All services performed on YourMechanic’s platform are backed by a 12-month or 12,000-mile guarantee, as well as a $1 million liability policy.
Roadside Assistance Provider Buys Road America From MAPFRE
Roadside assistance provider Agero Inc. has purchased the assets of the Road America Motor Club from MAPFRE Asistencia, an insurance provider based in Spain that has opted to exit the North American roadside assistance market. Financial details of the acquisition have not been disclosed.
Agero is taking over roadside and accident support for Road America’s more than 100 U.S.-based insurance, auto reseller, fleet, RV and other client programs. Agero supports more than 115 million U.S. consumers, servicing approximately 12 million annual breakdown and accident events, according to the company.
Protractor Now Integrates With RepairLink From OEConnection
Richfield, OH-based OEConnection LLC has announced an integration between its RepairLink mechanical parts ordering platform and Protractor’s management platform for auto and tire shops. This allows repairers to remain in their shop management system while using RepairLink’s capabilities to find and order OEM parts from dealerships. The RepairLink integration with Protractor will be available in the United States and Canada.
Mazda Picks RepairLink For Its Mechanical Parts Marketing Program
OEConnection LLC (OEC) has announced an agreement to provide RepairLink, its mechanical parts sourcing technology, to Mazda North American Operations. This makes Mazda the 10th OEM to adopt RepairLink to facilitate its online OEM parts marketing program.
RepairLink allows participating Mazda dealers to offer OEM parts to the repair facilities that actively use the platform to search for and buy parts each month. According to OEC, that amounts to more than 40,000 shops.
The technology also gives dealers the opportunity to offer promotional pricing on popular parts through the Parts Marketing Program, as well as online access to part ordering and fulfillment.
F&I Provider Joins Armor All SmartShield Warranty Program
American Guardian Warranty Services — a finance and insurance (F&I) provider that offers products and services to the automotive, RV, powersports, marine and commercial trucking markets — has added Armor All to its Appearance Protection Solutions program. This allows select authorized agents and dealers to access the Armor All SmartShield warranty program, which provides coverage not available from the manufacturer. Covered products protect vehicle exteriors from environmental elements such as acid rain, hard water spots and insects, and protect interiors from accidental food or beverage spills and more.
Sonic Automotive Reports Steadily Improving Q2 Parts, Service Gross Profit
On June 16, Sonic Automotive provided an update on its second-quarter 2020 and anticipated future vehicle sales volume and parts and service gross profit, noting continued improving operating conditions across the majority of its markets since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. The exception is California, where Sonic has experienced a slower recovery, particularly on the parts and service side.
Franchised dealership same-store parts and service gross profit declined 43% in April when compared to April 2019. May was down 27% year-over-year, with the current month down only 10% through June 16.
The information is based on Sonic’s actual (but unaudited) results, as well as management’s expectations for the remainder of 2020, assuming a continued path toward reopening the economy and the absence of a second wave of the pandemic in the United States.
As of March 31, 2020, Charlotte-based Sonic had 86 stores in its franchised dealerships segment and nine stores in its EchoPark segment. The franchised dealerships segment consists of 99 new vehicle franchises representing 21 brands of cars and light trucks and 15 collision repair shops across 12 states.
NHTSA Updates Its Early Warning Reporting Data Portal
NHTSA has launched a new Manufacturer Portal designed to simplify and improve the early warning reporting data submission process. The portal serves as the central site for manufacturers to submit aggregate data required by law, including the reporting of possible safety-related defects, product noncompliance, safety recalls and other safety campaigns conducted outside of the United States.
With the new portal, manufacturers can …
• Upload files directly to NHTSA, eliminating the need for paper, email, disk and secure file transfer.
• View historical submissions.
• View the status of submissions.
• Respond directly to inquiries, including uploading attachments.
People Watching 6/22/20
• Belron International, a vehicle glass repair and replacement and ADAS recalibration company, has hired Bram Paris as its head of vehicle technology services. Paris was the director of calibrations for AsTech. Belron is the parent company to Safelite.
• The REV Group — a designer, manufacturer and distributor of specialty vehicles and related aftermarket parts and services — has named Mark Skonieczny as its CFO. Skonieczny was the vice president and corporate controller at Adient PLC. His background also includes time as the vice president of finance – global aftermarket for Johnson Controls’ Power Solutions unit.
• NASCAR has appointed Brandon Thompson to be its vice president of diversity and inclusion. In this newly created role, Thompson leads the sanctioning body’s strategy for diversity and inclusion, as well as programs and initiatives designed to champion and enhance diversity across NASCAR. Thompson was managing director of the NASCAR Touring Series.
• Richard Freeland, the former president and COO of Cummins Inc., has joined the Cooper Standard board of directors. Freeland also serves on the board of directors of Valvoline Inc.
News Briefs 6/22/20
• H&E Equipment Services, one of the largest equipment companies in the United States, is adding Continental Battery to its list of preferred national account vendors. Continental has 75 branches nationwide and 20,000 dealer locations.
• S&W Performance’s Spring City, PA manufacturing facility has reopened. According to the company, staff members are on-site, and all departments are manned. Parts orders will be produced and shipped in the order in which they were received.
• Valvoline Inc. has announced a three-year global partnership agreement with the professional European soccer club Sevilla FC that will include Valvoline appearing on the sleeve of the Men’s First Team.
• Valvoline rang the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) honorary closing bell June 18, recognizing Valvoline Instant Oil Change employees across the United States for their efforts to service front-line workers and first responders during the coronavirus pandemic.
• Christian Brothers Automotive is expanding to 20 shops in Colorado following a recent agreement to open a facility in Falcon, which is near Colorado Springs.
• Tint World Automotive Styling Centers (Boca Raton, FL) has announced a partnership with BioPledge, which sells a disinfectant for treating microbes that can build up on high-touch surfaces inside vehicles, boats and more.
• The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, through its fleet servicing platform, AndGo by Goodyear, is now providing on-demand and on-location professional vehicle services in Southern California for Turo, a peer-to-peer car-sharing marketplace. More markets are expected to be added over time. AndGo by Goodyear provides on-site inspections, vehicle servicing and professional cleaning for connected vehicle platforms.
• Lincoln Educational Services Corp. has reopened its Columbia, MD campus and resumed on-site instruction on a limited basis. The campus went to remote, distance learning March 17 in accordance with local and federal coronavirus guidelines.
• CAWA has awarded $14,250 in 2020 scholarships to 14 people pursuing an education and career in the auto care industry.
• JTEKT North America has selected Evokat Premier from Illumaware to communicate product and application information leveraging ACES and PIES.
• Turn 14 Distribution has added floor mats and interior accessories from 3D MAXpider to its line card.
• The Automotive Lift Institute (ALI) has updated its website, autolift.org, to provide additional resources to lift owners, operators, installers, inspectors and manufacturers. This includes an enhanced ALI Store with photos and descriptions of lift safety material.
Financial Briefs 6/22/20
• Dana Inc. has commenced a registered offering of $400 million in 5.625% senior notes due 2028 and $100 million in 5.375% senior notes due 2027. The company intends to use the net proceeds from the 5.625% offering to partially repay borrowings under its revolving credit facility and for general corporate purposes. Dana also intends to terminate the undrawn $500-million bridge facility that it entered into in April 2020. The company expects to use proceeds from the 5.375% offering for general corporate purposes.
• Energizer Holdings — parent company to a number of auto care brands, including Refresh Your Car, California Scents, Eagle One, Nu Finish, Armor All and STP — has launched a $600-million offering of 4.75% senior notes due 2028. The company intends to use the net proceeds from the offering, together with cash on hand if necessary, to fund the purchase of any and all of Energizer’s 5.50% senior notes due 2025 in an aggregate principal amount of as much as $600 million pursuant to a cash tender offer announced by the company June 17.
• Fox Factory Holding Corp. has initiated an underwritten public offering of 2.40 million shares of its common stock at a price of $76.00 per share. This would generate roughly $182.40 million in gross proceeds, according to the company. Net proceeds from the offering are to be used for general corporate purposes.
Event & Trade Show Brief 6/22/20
• The International Tire Exhibition & Conference (ITEC), hosted by Rubber & Plastics News, is moving to a virtual event Sept. 8-18. Click here for more information about ITEC 2020.
• The Great Canadian Aftermarket Trade Show, a virtual event from the publishers of Indie Garage and Jobber Nation, will host a distribution panel session Tuesday, June 23. Click here for more information about the event.
• Frost & Sullivan will host a webinar June 23 on the political and financial incentive to re-shore or home-shore manufacturing and chemical businesses. The presenters will be Robert Outram, the firm’s chemicals, materials and nutrition business unit leader; and Gary Jeffery, senior partner. Click here for more information on the webinar.
• MEMA will host a webinar Wednesday, June 24 on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement’s (USMCA) uniform regulations, which clarify the rules, terms, phases and calculations used in the pact. The presentation will feature conversations with representatives from U.S. Customs & Border Protection and Arent Fox LLP. Click here for more information.
• AASA will host a webinar Thursday, June 25 on rebounding from the coronavirus pandemic featuring Bret Jordan of Jefferies LLC. Jordan will discuss recent conversations with top aftermarket CEOs regarding what to expect. Click here for additional information about the presentation.
• The Auto Care Association will host an online panel discussion Thursday, June 25 discussing recent data and trends regarding coronavirus’ impact on the automotive aftermarket. Topics will include supply chain interruptions, retail e-commerce trends and social media’s influence on consumer behavior. Michael Chung, the association’s director of market intelligence, will lead the discussion. Click here for additional information on the webinar.
• NAPA AutoCare will host a virtual business conference July 9-10 on Zoom. The event will include general sessions, various seminars, a trade show and virtual vendor booths. The theme will be “Together Towards Tomorrow.” Click here for additional information about the event.
• HDA Truck Pride reports that, in partnership with suppliers, it hosted 68 webinars in April and May focused on sales opportunity development and technical skills. The presentations attracted more than 5,000 participants. The webinars remain on HDA Truck Pride University for viewing on-demand. The organization plans to follow this with a summer training series in July and August.