Quick Hits …
(A few short items to get us started this week)
• The Dynamic Friction Co. (DFC) is now an approved vendor to the Automotive Distribution Network, DFC announced July 8. DFC is a full-line supplier of brake components for passenger cars, as well as light-duty and medium-duty trucks.
• Mast Motorsports is moving its manufacturing facility from Detroit to its headquarters in Nacogdoches, TX. The company’s products will be cast in Michigan but machined and finished in Texas.
• The COMP Performance Group has announced Dan McKinstry as its director of supply chain management. McKinstry has 25 years of supply chain experience with mid-size and large companies.
• Ryan Brancheau has joined Randys Worldwide (Everett, WA) as its national account director. Brancheau is a Valvoline veteran, most recently serving as director of national account sales.
A Record $557,600 In Scholarships Awarded
For 2019-2020 Academic Year
The University of the Aftermarket Foundation has awarded a record $557,600 in scholarships to nearly 400 students for the 2019-2020 academic year. Recipients will attend either two-year or four-year colleges and universities or an accredited automotive vocational program. Each will receive a scholarship worth $1,000 to $5,000 to advance their education.
The majority of the recipients are studying to become a mechanical, collision or heavy-duty repair professional, or are pursuing a business or engineering degree that will lead to a career in the automotive aftermarket. A list of scholarships awarded can be found at uofafoundation.com/recipients.html.
“The University of the Aftermarket Foundation has reached a new milestone by awarding over $550,000 of scholarships to worthy students preparing to enter the work force,” said Bob Egan, chairman of the foundation. “While the amount of scholarships awarded this year is impressive, there is more work to do when you consider the size of our industry. The University of the Aftermarket Foundation is working diligently to expand the number of scholarships and educational opportunities available in order to help develop a strong aftermarket work force.”
New AASA President Discusses Association Priorities And Challenges
Paul McCarthy, AASA’s new president, said he’s looking forward to encouraging growth and innovation at a time when the supplier community and its aftermarket partners are witnessing more industry changes than they’ve seen in many years.
McCarthy talked with The Greensheet recently about the challenges facing the association as well as the group’s top goals and priorities.
“Uncertainty is the new certainty, and I think that will be the case for a while,” McCarthy said. “There’s a strong need for collaboration and rational behavior.”
Near-term, for example, AASA plans to continue working with other industry groups weighing in on the prospect of looming federal tariffs. “We’ve heard from across the chain that it’s been hard the last several months working on this issue and figuring out how to deal with it,” he said.
AASA began investing more heavily in its advocacy and education efforts a few years ago and will continue to do so, McCarthy said. “We need to make sure that legislators understand what we do and how important we are.”
“Traditionally, we were a pretty unregulated industry, and the further away the government was, the happier we were,” McCarthy said. “But, we don’t have that luxury anymore.”
AASA is working on not just tariff issues, but 14 bills making their way through state legislatures.
The association plans to encourage its members to get even more involved by engaging not only politicians, but consumers, too. “I think, as we move forward, we’re going to see a different role for both our suppliers and the whole industry,” McCarthy said. “We don’t quite recognize the power and strength of the voice we have.”
Various mobilization efforts are in the works to help members work with AASA to promote consumer choice, free markets and access to data.
“Advocacy was an area that wasn’t that important to the industry 10 to 15 years ago,” he said. “But now, it’s vitally important.”
The market is doing pretty well, with decent growth prospects, McCarthy said, pointing to the 2019 Joint Channel Forecast Model recently released by AASA and the Auto Care Association.
He noted that, to really take advantage of this context, suppliers will need to embrace technological changes to both distribution (how consumers want to buy) and cars themselves.
AASA hopes to help its members be nimble and entrepreneurial by providing thought leadership and insight into what the market might look like in five to 10 years, McCarthy said.
Until recently, a number of members feared the potential for drastic industry changes surfacing overnight, he said. “But, fear is turning into knowledge more and more.”
“We predict a more realistic view,” he said. “We believe the vast majority of changes will come from product categories we already know. At the same time, we can’t put our heads in the sand. We know we need to be more innovative to win.”
The association plans to encourage members to rise to the challenge with its new Channel Excellence Award, which recognizes innovation and collaboration between suppliers and channel partners.
“We need to stay relevant and capture our share of the market,” McCarthy said. “We know there are things we can do, starting at the shop level and working back. It’s still about getting the right part to the right place at the right time.” — Sarah Hollander
MEMA Taking Congressional Outreach To The Grassroots Level
MEMA has launched an effort to connect its company members with federal legislators to address how decisions made in Washington impact local businesses and their communities.
The initial phase of this Supplier Advocacy Network (SAN) will span 12 states and 48 representatives. It will involve member companies hosting industry roundtable discussions and facility tours during the August Congressional recess.
The goal is to have members of Congress better understand motor vehicle parts suppliers and the issues that impact their ability to grow investments and jobs in their districts.
MEMA President and CEO Bill Long said that the association has made strides at the federal level. “With this success, we are now pushing to a new frontier,” Long stated. “We believe our members will be able to best tell the story of the supplier industry and demonstrate the importance of our manufacturers to the American economy. Additionally, the Supplier Advocacy Network is an important step in advancing our member companies’ business interests locally through grassroots advocacy.”
Companies that participate in the program will get support from MEMA, including meeting facilitation, print material and talking points. For more information or to participate in the program, contact Melanie Weiland at email@example.com or (202) 312-9242.
MEMA and its divisions plan to post updates on social media about this effort. Look for the hashtags #SuppliersAreTheBestPart and #SupplierAdvocacyNetwork.
Margaret Beck No Longer With MEMA/AASA
Margaret Beck, senior director of marketing and communications for MEMA and AASA for the past 21 years, is no longer with the association. Her position was cut.
Beck joined the association in 1998 and also was director of communications for the Overseas Automotive Council, an AASA peer council.
“After many years of valued service with MEMA, Margaret is no longer with the association,” new AASA President Paul McCarthy said. “She served the association and the industry well for many years in our view, and the whole team supports her in her next chapter.”
Prior to joining MEMA/AASA, Beck served as communications director for the Independent Garage Owners of North Carolina and the North Carolina Bankers Association.
Liqui Moly Issues Strikingly Direct Message
Editor’s Note: Rarely do we at The Greensheet run press releases or announcements word-for-word. Mindful of our subscribers’ busy schedules, we write with a “Just the facts, ma’am” approach and aim to weed out the marketing message in order to get straight to the point of the story. The following is an exception. It is, on its surface, exceptionally honest. It’s also a masterful job of delivering a message to a key audience and a bold attempt to set a narrative. In the nearly two decades that I’ve been an aftermarket journalist, I can’t recall anything like it. So, I present it to you in its entirety. — Marc Vincent, Editor
Oil error message: Mixed results at LIQUI MOLY for the first half of the year – major difficulties with new software.
The introduction of new company software in January has turned LIQUI MOLY into a permanent building site. The system that was supposed to simplify processes and reduce costs for the oil and additive specialist, has had precisely the opposite effect and negatively affected the half-year results. “If we were listed on the stock exchange, I would have to issue a profit warning,” says CEO Ernst Prost.
Among other things, the company software manages purchases, controls production, handles shipping and issues invoices. In other words, it is key to LIQUI MOLY’s prosperity or decline. The previous software had been in use for decades and was increasingly reaching its limits. So, after years of preparation, it was replaced at the turn of the year.
But instead of the anticipated minor teething issues, there were major difficulties that are still ongoing. Difficulties that have had a direct impact on business operations. “Despite the support of a well-known software company, we have still not succeeded in getting our production and delivery levels back to where we and our customers expect them to be,” says Ernst Prost.
Understandably, customers are becoming frustrated and angry. “In my entire professional career, I have not had to apologize so often to customers, as I have had to in the last six months. The level of service that we are currently delivering really pains me,” says Ernst Prost. The company is also incurring considerable extra costs, for example, because containers can only be half filled, delivery vehicles have to wait longer than planned to be loaded, or air freight needs to be used when items that are needed urgently do not arrive by ship in time. “It’s not our customers’ fault that we are having problems, so we are doing everything we can to minimize the impact on them and to bear any additional costs.” These expenses are not the whole story either. “In addition to the huge cost of having the software installed, every day produces new things to trouble shoot and problems to solve.”
All of this has left significant tracks in the company’s figures. Compared to the first half of 2018, turnover has fallen slightly by 0.8 percent to €259.6 million, and this is only because the high backlog of orders cannot be fully processed due to the computer problems. Earnings for the half-year fell by around 30 percent to €11 million. “I never would have thought that in 2019 a change of software could send a whole company skidding off the road.”
LIQUI MOLY has long been used to success — year on year, more turnover, more profit. The current situation has caught the company unawares. Fortunately, high performance levels mean that this is just a dent in profits and is a long way from threatening the existence of the company. “We will not be making any short-sighted decisions such as short-time working or redundancies,” says Ernst Prost. “We will stay on track, we will continue with our expansion strategy, we will employ new people, we will invest in new products and new markets.”
So, no change in strategy and no austerity measures. Quite the contrary: “The current issues have highlighted areas where we can invest to improve even further,” says Ernst Prost. Building a new central warehouse, for example, would simplify logistics. “The storm that we are currently going through is a lot stronger than predicted. Big waves are breaking over our ship, some of the crew are getting wet and some of the passengers are a bit nauseous. But our ship is seaworthy and not at risk. And the storm will soon be over. I hope that, together with our software company, we will have resolved all the computer problems by the end of the year at the latest.”
Jefferies Lowers Q2 Sales, EPS Expectations For SMP
Jefferies LLC has lowered its second-quarter 2019 sales and earnings per share (EPS) forecast for Standard Motor Products (SMP), citing expected softer A/C business tied to a lack of meaningfully warm weather versus record prior-year heat.
Jefferies analysts now expect SMP’s second quarter sales to come in around $300 million — down from $309 million. The consensus of analyst estimates calls for $305 million in sales for the quarter. Jefferies also forecasts SMP’s quarterly EPS to be $0.80 — down from $0.84, with a consensus estimate of $0.83.
“We believe that a lack of meaningfully warmer weather year-over-year likely weighed on temperature control demand and expect Q2 retailer commentary around product trends to highlight A/C-related products as particularly weak in April/May, with improvement seen in June and July month-to-date,” analysts Bret Jordan, Mark Jordan and Ethan Huntley wrote in a July 17 estimate change note.
They added: “We remain optimistic that Q3 quarter results may offset Q2 weakness, as a significant warm up in June and July appears to be driving A/C demand recovery that could still result in mid-season re-stocking at retail.”
Jefferies Lowers Monro Q2 Comp, EPS Forecast
Jefferies LLC has lowered its 2019 second-quarter comparable-store sales guidance for Monro Inc., citing regionally wetter weather in the northeastern and central markets, which the analysts believe may have contributed to some underperformance versus the national average. Jefferies now forecasts a +1.5% comp for Monro, which is down from +2.5% and compares to the consensus of analyst estimates calling for +2.1%.
“While we believe that service demand generally improved throughout the quarter, we note that Monro faced increasingly challenging comparisons in May (+3.3%) and June (+3.6%) than April (-1.7%),” analysts Bret Jordan, Mark Jordan and Ethan Huntley wrote in a July 17 estimate change note. “And, we believe significant regional exposure to record rainfall may have limited service traffic.”
Additionally, Jefferies now expects Monro to come through with $0.66 in earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter. This is down from $0.69.
AutoZone Taps Relex For Forecasting, Replenishment Solutions
AutoZone Inc. has selected Relex Solutions, a retail planning technology outfit, to provide forecasting and replenishment services to AutoZone distribution centers. The goal is to enhance AutoZone’s inventory position and forecast accuracy while implementing best practices. Relex’s technology will automate processes and introduce time-saving efficiencies throughout the company’s supply chain, according to Relex.
“We are very excited about the opportunity to gain greater insights into our existing data and use those insights to better inform our decisions,” Mitch Major, senior vice president of supply chain for AutoZone, said in an announcement dated July 17. “AutoZone’s partnership with Relex will assist us in heightening our inventory visibility, while also improving our ability to forecast, replenish and enhance our customer experience.”
Obituary: John Weber, Remy’s Turnaround CEO
John Weber, best known as the tough-talking leader who led Remy International through an aggressive turnaround, died in a small plane crash in Utah July 1. He was 63.
Weber joined Remy as president and CEO in 2006. At the time, a group of investors owned the former General Motors company. Under Weber’s direction, Remy restructured its heavy debts during less than two months in Ch.-11 bankruptcy. Weber removed nearly all senior management; closed plants in Indiana, Virginia and Mississippi; and became one of the company’s Top 10 shareholders.
“When John joined Remy in 2006, the company was in dire straits and many people — internally and externally — thought it would liquidate,” Arik Ruchim a partner with H Partners, Remy’s largest shareholder at the time, said. “John was forced to make some extremely difficult decisions as CEO, but, if he hadn’t, Remy would likely not exist today.”
Weber was always “on,” Ruchim said and would frequently work so late that he’d spend the night on his office couch.
“Whenever I sent John an email, he would reply within five minutes, no matter where he was in the world,” Ruchim said. “His intense focus, incredible work ethic and unwavering commitment to constant improvement truly differentiated him from other business leaders.”
Ruchim credits Weber’s success at Remy to his decisions to restructure the company’s operations, including the streamlining of manufacturing processes and facilities, along with his strategic investments in technology, including start/stop engine technology and hybrid motor technology. Those investment eventually caught the eye of BorgWarner, which acquired Remy in 2015 for about $1.20 billion, he said.
By that time, Remy had renegotiated unfavorable agreements with GM, the company’s largest customer and former parent, as well as agreements to allow future commodity cost increases to pass through to customers. He also shifted manufacturing operations to lower-cost labor regions.
People drove his dedication, Ruchim said. “What mattered the most to him was providing his employees with a reliable and rewarding place to work, and helping to ensure their personal career success,” he said.
Weber served as CEO until joining Remy’s board of directors in 2013. He was a director until becoming chairman in 2015. He left the board in November 2015 after the exit of majority shareholder Fidelity National Special Opportunities Inc. and subsequent sale of company.
Chip McClure, managing partner of Michigan Capital Advisors, served briefly on Remy’s board with Weber.
“I immediately felt he was, not only an effective executive, but a true gentleman,” McClure said. “I’m sure he will be truly missed by not only his family, but the business world as well.”
Jay Pittas took over as Remy’s CEO and president after Weber. The two met when both worked at Honeywell. Weber was with AlliedSignal Inc. when it merged with Honeywell in 1999. He led the industrial controls division of what became Honeywell International and served as Pittas’ boss. The two teamed up again at Remy, where Pittas helped with the restructuring.
“It takes someone who’s singularly focused, committed to the outcome and intelligent enough to know the right moves to make,” Pittas, now a board member for UCI Holdings and Plews Edelmanm, said. “He liked to think two steps ahead and make sure we knew what the next move after the next move would be.”
Weber could be very brusque and had a large bravado, but he used it to his advantage, Pittas said. He recalls early meetings at Remy’s home office in Indiana. An employee wanted to know why the company hadn’t started building a budgeted employee gym. Weber said that, if it wasn’t going to help the company, it wasn’t happening.
“He said, some people are going to understand what we need to do,” Pittas recalled. “For those who don’t, don’t let the door hit you on the ass when you go.”
Pittas believes Weber really grew to understand and value the aftermarket business while at Remy.
“The aftermarket business basically drove our cash flow,” he said. “The consistent flow out of the aftermarket made our strategy work.”
Neither Pittas nor Weber were lifetime autotmotive guys. “I think the fresh set of eyes helped us both,” Pittas said.
Earlier in his career, Weber was president and CEO of EaglePicher, a U.S. battery manufacturer. He also served in leadership positions for GE, AlliedSignal, Honeywell, Vickers, Baxter Healthcare and KN Energy.
At the time he died, Weber was living in Scottsdale, AZ and serving on a number of boards, including ATC Drivetrain, Bish’s RV Inc., Stevens Institute of Technology and Docutech LLC.
A Calgary native, Weber graduated from the University of Toronto, and was inducted into the school’s Engineering Hall of Distinction in 2016.
Weber was pursuing his longtime hobby of piloting gliders when he crashed in a remote area near Ephraim, UT. Another man, Thomas Bjork, 66, of Orangevale, CA, also died in the crash, which is under investigation.
According to a Wall Street Journal obituary, Weber’s survivors include a sister and two children from his first marriage, which ended in divorce. He also is survived by his wife, Connie Mariano. Mariano reportedly got to know Weber when she gave him a check-up at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale.
New CEO For Dayco
Troy, MI-based Dayco has announced Joel Wiegert as its new CEO, responsible for the global operational performance and strategic direction of the company. He also will be a member of Dayco’s board of managers.
For the past 16 years, Wiegert has held senior leadership roles with BorgWarner, most recently as the president and general manager of BorgWarner Morse Systems. His career also has included seven years with Dana Corp. in engineering and sales roles.
Industry Vet Jay Litsey Opens Consulting Business
Jay Litsey has opened his own automotive and automotive aftermarket consulting business, GoForBroke LLC.
“I most enjoy talking to companies who want to grow or have a particular puzzle to solve,” Litsey said. “I’m open to helping with either short-term engagements or full-time roles.”
Litsey served as vice president of sales and marketing for Factory Motor Parts from 2015 to 18, senior vice president of sales and marketing and global marketing director for the Technical Chemical Co., global sales director for ITW Global Brands, and various positions in district management for the Shell Oil Co. and the Ford Motor Co.
“The roles people approached me with over the last 33 years gave me the opportunity to build a 360-degree knowledge base of the key growth drivers for both the front and back of stores,” Litsey said. “First at OEM Ford Motor Company in automotive sales and marketing, then at Shell in aftermarket fluids and wiper blades marketing, later as a private-label supplier of retail and installed channel products, and, more recently, as a major parts distributor for Ford, GM and multiple other aftermarket parts brands.”
Litsey is based in the Houston area but willing to commute. He can be reached at (936) 524-0948 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dover Adds Senior VP Of Operations
Dover Corp. has named David Malinas as its senior vice president of operations, effective July 29. He will provide direction to all of Dover’s operating companies in the areas of manufacturing and engineering operations, sourcing, safety, and quality. Dover is the parent company to the Vehicle Service Group (VSG), among other businesses. VSG is composed of 13 vehicle lift, wheel service, diagnostic and collision repair brands, including Rotary Lift, Chief, Forward, Direct-Lift and Ravaglioli.
ATEQ TPMS Tools Hires Communications, Tech Support Staffers
ATEQ TPMS Tools (Livonia, MI) has added Emily Humpert as a marketing communications specialist, responsible for managing external and internal communication, the TPMS website and social media content, as well as organizing trade show events. Humpert is a recent graduate of Central Michigan University.
The company also has added Elliot Morin to its sales and technical support team. Morin is responsible for aiding customers in troubleshooting and training for ATEQ TPMS tools as well as TPMS Tools with “powered by ATEQ” software, assisting customers in both English and French. He is located at ATEQ’s Canada office.
LTA Mfg. Names Western Regional Sales Manager
Eric Torrell has joined LTA Manufacturing as its western regional sales manager. Torrell began his career at a Thermo King dealership in Seattle. He became a district sales manager for Thermo King Corp. in 1992. Later, after several years in national accounts, Torrell helped parent company Ingersoll Rand launch a retail solutions division, responsible for coordinating the sales and marketing efforts of all offerings to Ingersoll Rand’s largest customers.
Torrell also has been the director of fleet sales for Desert Trailer Systems, a utility trailer dealership in Boise, ID. Most recently, he was northwest sales manager for National Truck Protection, a provider of warranties and service contracts to the used semi-truck industry.
His new employer, LTA, is the parent company to ATC Truck Covers, Jason Industries, Ranch Fiberglass and LoadMaster in-pickup bed cargo carrying systems.
DEI Announces New Sales Reps
Avon Lake, OH-based thermal and acoustic specialist Design Engineering Inc. (DEI) has announced two additions to its inside sales department: Eric Baun and Will Farkas. Baun was a senior production engineering technician with the Rapid Prototyping & Manufacturing division of the Thougus Products Co. Farkas worked for Porsche Beachwood (Beachwood, OH), preparing new and used cars for delivery and assisting with inventory.
They now work with both existing and new automotive and powersports accounts to grow sales of heat and sound control products in North America. Both report to Tom Miller, DEI’s vice president of sales and marketing.
Premier Adds An Off-Road Director
Ryan Mitchell has joined Premier Performance Products Distribution as director of off-road, a new position. Mitchell’s main responsibilities include …
• Researching prospective accounts in the off-road market.
• Maintaining existing dealer and vendor relationships.
• Building new relationships.
• Promoting products and services.
He also will play a significant role in the development of entry-level employees and collaborate with Premier’s sales, marketing, and purchasing departments to ensure the company is following the latest industry developments.
Prior to joining Premier, Mitchell spent over 20 years with Transamerican Wholesale, including time as national wholesale sales manager. He was also director of B2B distribution sales for Transamerican Auto Parts.
Denso Announces South Africa Aftermarket J-V
Denso Corp. and Smiths Manufacturing (Pty) Limited have established Denso Sales South Africa (Pty) Limited, a joint venture dedicated to selling aftermarket products and services in southern Africa. The new company’s head office is in Gauteng, South Africa. Its president is Selvin Konar. Denso owns 51% of the joint venture, while Smiths Manufacturing (Pty) owns 49%. Smiths Manufacturing is owned by Metair Investments Limited.
Auto Care Association Senior VP Talks Repair Restrictions With FTC
On Tuesday, July 16 Auto Care Association Senior Vice President of Regulatory and Government Affairs Aaron Lowe took part in a U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) public workshop on repair restrictions. The discussion, according to the association’s Capital Report e-newsletter, focused on the impacts of repair limits instituted by manufacturers and whether such practices affect consumer protection under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act. Click here to read Lowe’s testimony, which addressed “Right to Repair,” in-vehicle data, the Secure Vehicle Interface and the limits of Magnuson-Moss.
Auto Care Association Announces New Directors
Mark Finestone of AutoZone Inc. has been elected chairman of the Auto Care Association board of directors for 2019-’20. Finestone is joined by fellow officers …
• Vice Chairman: Brad Kraft of Hopkins Manufacturing Corp.
• Treasurer: Todd Hack of Mevotech.
• Secretary: Roger McCollum of N.A. Williams.
• Immediate Past Chair: Michael Klein of Las Colinas Investments.
The other board members are …
• Steve Bearden of H.B. International Marketing Services.
• Mike Boyer of TASCO Sales Reps.
• Jeff Darby of Dorman Products.
• Jim Dykstra of the Dytech Auto Group.
• Larry Pavey of Federated Auto Parts.
• Tammy Tecklenburg of Tecklenburg Advisors.
AIA Canada Appoints Eastern Canada Leader
AIA Canada has appointed Michael Paul to its management team as executive director for eastern Canada. The move is effective upon the retirement of Roger Goudreau, who served as executive director for the Quebec division for three years.
Paul has held senior management positions with Valvoline Canada since 1996. At the time of his retirement in 2018, he was national DIFM sales manager. Prior to joining Valvoline, he worked for GSF Canada and Petro Canada.
Truck-Lite Announces EVP Of Business Development
The Truck-Lite Co. (Falconer, NY) has appointed David McKean to the position of executive vice president of business development, responsible for the development and maintenance of strategic partnerships for the Road Ready business division. McKean began his career with General Motors in 1983 and was executive director of global purchasing and supply chain before leaving the company in 2013. From there, he became vice president and chief procurement officer for Navistar.
Fort Garry Ind. Augments Footprint In Ontario
Winnipeg-based Fort Garry Industries (FGI) has purchased all the outstanding shares of Pinwood Truck Parts, making the company a wholly owned subsidiary of FGI. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Pinwood has three locations in Ontario: in Chatham, Sarnia and Comber. They will continue to operate under the Pinwood name until Dec. 1, when they will go under the FGI brand.
FGI is a provider of trailers, heavy truck aftermarket parts and services in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario. The company is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.
German Company Buys B&M Oil
Brenntag, a global chemical distribution business based in Germany, has acquired the B&M Oil Co., a regional lubricants distributor headquartered in Tulsa, OK. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
B&M sells, markets and distributes lubricants to automotive, industrial, commercial, construction and agricultural consumers throughout Oklahoma. Products distributed are primarily from ExxonMobil, including Mobil-branded lubricants.
B&M is a bolt-on acquisition for J.A.M. Distributing, Brenntag’s lubricants platform in the central United States.
Fenix Parts In Deal To Acquire Cox Truck & Van
Fenix Parts Inc. has reached a definitive agreement to acquire the assets of Cox Truck & Van Inc. (CTV), which operates a full-service auto recycling facility in Gainesville, GA, as well as full-service and self-service facilities in Moultrie, GA. The Georgia locations are seen as expanding Fenix’s distribution, dismantling, warehousing and yard capacity in the Southeast. Hurst, TX-based Fenix is a recycler and reseller of OEM automotive products.
The deal is expected to be completed later this month. The proposed transaction would be the first addition to the Fenix platform since affiliates of Stellex Capital Management acquired Fenix in 2018.
XPEL To Be Listed On Nasdaq
XPEL Inc. — a San Antonio-based provider of protective films and coatings, including automotive paint protection film — will see its common stock begin trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market under the symbol “XPEL” on July 19. Shares have been trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
“Our listing on Nasdaq is an exciting milestone for our company that we’ve been considering and working toward for quite some time,” said President and CEO Ryan Pape in an announcement dated July 17. “As a Texas-based company, it makes sense for XPEL to trade in the U.S. as an SEC-registered company. And, we believe this move will enhance our visibility in the marketplace, expose our company to a larger audience of investors, and ultimately increase liquidity and shareholder value.”
The Director of Distribution is responsible for providing value to our customer. This is accomplished by working with a team to develop and implement measured standards at all company locations. This position requires the exercise of independent judgment and discretion. … (more) … Click here to find out more.
DC Battery Hub is a remanufacturer of hybrid batteries located in Holland, MI with shipping hubs in Dallas, TX and Los Angeles, CA is seeking aggressive rep agencies for many territories across the U.S. and Canada. … (more) … Click here to find out more.
Babcox Buys Transmission Digest
Babcox Media (Akron, OH) has acquired Transmission Digest, expanding its reach further into the automotive repair marketplace. Based in Springfield, MO, Transmission Digest got its start in 1980 with Les and Carol Langsford of MD Publications Inc. Transmission Digest Publisher Bobby Mace will continue to serve in his role, and the operations will remain in Springfield.
According to information provided by Babcox, Transmission Digest magazine is delivered to more than 18,000 shops in the United States each month, providing information and educational resources to shop owners and technicians serving the transmission/powertrain aftermarket. The brand’s digital publications are ePowertrain Bulletin and Transmission Tech/Talk.
People Watching 7/18/19
• David McKinney, vice president of government and community relations for AutoZone Inc., has joined the CAWA board of directors.
• John Larson is now chairman of the IAA Inc. board of directors in addition to serving as the current CEO of Jeep soft tops and accessories maker Bestop Inc. Larson had served as the lead independent director of KAR Auction Services since 2014. IAA recently spun off from KAR. Chicago-based IAA operates a global marketplace connecting vehicle buyers and sellers.
• Pro Spot International (Carlsbad, CA), a supplier of welding and repair products to the collision repair industry, has named Frank Kirmis as its director of sales and OEM relationships for Europe and Asia. He is charged with building relationships with European automakers, developing European sales strategy, building the company’s distribution service network, and overseeing locations in Europe and Asia.
• Dick Boyer has joined Race Winning Brands (RWB). Boyer brings expertise in machining processes, fixture design, and implementation of quality control procedures. “I am excited to have the opportunity to join the RWB team, representing Race Winning Brands companies with an emphasis on Dart Machinery,” Boyer said. “I am confident my experiences and product knowledge will assist in bolstering relationships and brand dominance with engine builders in the field.”
• MiX Telematics, a fleet and mobile asset management technology company, has named John Granara as its executive vice president and CFO. He succeeds Paul Dell, who has filled the role of interim CFO since early 2017. Dell will continue with MiX Telematics in an “alternative senior role,” according to the company.
News Briefs 7/18/19
• The Auto Care Association has developed an industry and consumer toolkit to help educate and engage employees and customers on vehicle data, why they should care, and how they can help raise awareness.
• The Auto Care Association now offers a Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act toolkit and resources page.
• Nominations are now being accepted for SEMA’s annual awards: GEN-III Innovator, Manufacturer of the Year, Person of the Year, Rep Agency of the Year and WD of the Year. For more information, visit sema.org/awards.
• The Battery Council International now offers a lithium battery training toolkit.
• The American Petroleum Institute (API) has issued an updated standard — the 18th edition of API 1509, Engine Oil Licensing & Certification System — which governs how engine oil marketers certify that gasoline and diesel engine oil meet API’s performance standards.
• Denso Corp. subsidiaries the Nippon Wiper Blade Co. Ltd. and the Asahi Manufacturing Co. Ltd. will merge Oct. 1 and become Denso Wiper Systems Inc. The company will design, manufacture and sell wiper system and washer system products. It will be based in Japan.
• The Universal Group LLC (Pennsauken, NJ) — a supplier of leaf springs and related suspension components to the heavy-, medium-, and light-duty truck and trailer parts industry — is poised to launch a new website and revamped e-commerce system.
• A&A Midwest of Chicago and Las Vegas is celebrating its 70th anniversary.
Event & Trade Show Briefs 7/18/19
• Icahn Automotive Group CEO Dan Ninivaggi will keynote the CAWA Annual Dinner Gala in Las Vegas, which takes place the Sunday night before the opening of the AAPEX and SEMA shows. All proceeds from the event go toward the association’s scholarship programs.
• Seven member companies from AASA and MERA – The Association for Sustainable Manufacturing are in Washington, DC this week to dialogue with members of Congress on issues related to data access and consumers’ right to choose who repairs their vehicles. They are meeting, individually and in groups, with more than 20 lawmakers, according to AASA.
• Nearly 200 employees, retirees and other guests — joined by the Skok family — recently celebrated Elgin Industries’ 100th anniversary at the company’s headquarters in Elgin, IL.
• The TechForce Foundation will be the charity beneficiary of the inaugural Las Vegas Concours d’Elegance Opening Night Gala, which will be part of four days of events featuring historic vehicles from some of the top collections in the world. The gala will take place Oct. 25 at the Keep Memories Alive event venue in downtown Las Vegas. The foundation plans to use funds raised to support high school auto shop makeovers, starting with the auto lab at Southeast Career Technical Academy in Nevada; scholarships for students to pursue post-secondary technical training; and the “FutureTech Success” campaign. For more information about the event visit LasVegasConcours.com.
• Registration is now open for the 2019 Performance Racing Industry (PRI) Trade Show, which will take place Dec. 12-14 at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis.
• Registration is open for the 2019 Commercial Vehicle Solutions Network (CVSN) Aftermarket Summit, which will take place Sept. 14-18 at the Rimrock Resort Hotel in Banff, Alberta. Click here for more information about the event.