Quick Hits …
(A few short items to get us started this week)
• According to the Auto Care Association, the Massachusetts Right to Repair Committee turned in 24,000 signatures regarding a ballot initiative that would require car companies to provide motorists with control of the repair data generated by their vehicles. The submission was more than the 13,374 signatures that are required to have a question placed on the ballot in Massachusetts.
• According to new study from Deloitte, 37% of Americans are delaying large purchases, such as a new car, and 47% of U.S. consumers plan to keep their current vehicles longer. Additionally, 25% of U.S. consumers are putting off regular vehicle maintenance. Click here to read more about Deloitte’s new study, “How the Pandemic is Changing the Future of Automotive.”
• The Automotive Service Association (ASA) is calling on its members to send a letter to their senators to oppose a federal “Cash for Clunkers” program in the next COVID-19 economic stimulus legislation. This comes as some automakers have proposed reviving the 2009 initiative, which paid the owners of older vehicles as much as $4,500 in an effort to stimulate the economy and new vehicle sales.
• U.S. Auto Parts Network has relaunched J.C. Whitney on its flagship site, CarParts.com. Visits to jcwhitney.com now redirect to CarParts.com. This follows the launch of a line of J.C. Whitney-branded accessories and a redesign of CarParts.com.
Perspective: Latest Carmaker Attempt To Quash ‘Right To Repair’ Takes An Absurd Turn
“Have you no sense of decency?” I couldn’t help but think of this seminal moment from the 1954 Army-McCarthy hearings when I saw the letter that the Alliance for Automotive Innovation wrote June 3. The group, which also goes by the name Auto Innovators, was formed early this year out of the merger of the Association of Global Automakers and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. The association represents most major automakers.
Auto Innovators wrote U.S. Reps. Frank Pallone and Greg Walden, both members of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, seeking a five-year federal preemption on any state taking action on the sharing of telematics data. The effort for new “Right to Repair” legislation in Massachusetts was cited.
“ … a ballot initiative being pushed by outside parties in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts would force motor vehicle manufacturers to allow outside parties to be granted real-time, bi-directional access to vehicle data, including a consumer’s driving data,” the letter reads.
“This controversial initiative, which is expected to be on the ballot in November, is not just about getting data from a vehicle; it is about mandating real-time, two-way access,” Auto Innovators argues. “Proponents of the initiative not only want to receive data from a vehicle but also want to be able to send data, including software, to uniquely designed critical vehicle systems — even while a car or tractor-trailer is driving down the roadway. Not only does this initiative pose cybersecurity, personal safety and privacy risks to the owner of the vehicle, but it also endangers others on the nation’s roadways.”
None of this is especially surprising to those of us who have been following the “Right to Repair” and vehicle data access issues over the years. What was shocking to me — and a low blow for certain — is the point in Auto Innovators’ letter where the group claims that misuse of vehicle data “could be used by stalkers to prey on their victims.”
Seriously? Allowing motorists to have their vehicles repaired at the shop of their choosing and ensuring that independent repair centers have the means to repair these vehicles …. will lead to people being stalked by predators? I hardly know what to say in response. It’s specious and an insult to those who’ve had to endure this type of menacing. Like I said, have they no decency?
Clearly, opponents of “Right to Repair” legislation are willing to go to some crazy places to protect their control of our vehicle data. Let’s hope that lawmakers see through strawman arguments like this and consider what benefits motorists the most.
The Massachusetts effort is moving forward. The Auto Care Association reports that the Massachusetts Right to Repair Committee was able to turn in 24,000 signatures regarding its ballot initiative. The submission was more than the 13,374 signatures that are required to have a question placed on the fall ballot in the state.
Of course, getting on the ballot wasn’t as simple as just producing the necessary signatures. First, the coalition had to gather signatures electronically because of the coronavirus pandemic. Then, vehicle manufacturers — under the guise of the Coalition for Safe and Secure Data — submitted a legal challenge, according to the Auto Care Association. The argument was that the Right to Repair Committee disobeyed electronic signature-gathering requirements by storing signatures in a separate file and tracking personal data without notification.
However, the vehicle manufacturer coalition ultimately withdrew its challenge after a candidate who used the same signature-gathering vendor had her challenge approved. So, the voters in Massachusetts will have their say … unless automakers are successful in getting legislators in Washington, D.C. to assert federal authority over matters like this.
The progress in The Bay State is encouraging, but what Auto Innovators is attempting to do on Capitol Hill deserves our attention and action. Let’s keep a close eye on what’s happening on both fronts between now and Election Day.
Masks Will Be Required At SEMA 2020
SEMA 2020 showgoers will be required to wear a face mask or a face shield. Event organizers have released a video that outlines precautions that will be taken to focus on the health and well-being of those at the show. The guidelines, which include the following, also are posted at semashow.com …
• Required use of face masks or face shields, frequent hand washing, and social distancing.
• Designated entrance and exit areas to control and screen visitors with daily health queries and thermal cameras.
• Traffic flow with one-way aisles where possible.
• Installation of hand-sanitizing stations throughout the venue, roughly every 200 feet.
• Enhanced cleaning procedures with hourly sanitizing of high-traffic areas throughout the show floor and common areas, including doorways, elevators and escalators, as well as nightly sanitization of the facility.
GPC Announces Resignation Of Group President – North American Automotive
The Genuine Parts Company (GPC) on July 14 announced the resignation of Scott Sonnemaker as group president – North American automotive “to pursue other opportunities.” Sonnemaker joined GPC in this newly created role in February 2019. He was responsible for all aspects of the automotive business in the United States, Canada and Mexico.
Sonnemaker came to GPC from Sysco Corp., where he had worked since 1996. Most recently, he was senior vice president – international Americas, with responsibility for Canada, Mexico, Central America, South America and the Caribbean. Sonnemaker also was chief customer officer and senior vice president of sales from 2010-‘16. His background also includes service in the U.S. Navy and time as national sales manager for Mobil Corp.
“We thank Scott for his many contributions since joining GPC and wish him the very best in his future endeavors,” GPC Chairman and CEO Paul Donahue said in the aforementioned announcement. “Scott’s role was created to advance the company’s global focus and GPC has made significant progress in this area during his tenure. As a result, our talented and experienced management teams are well-positioned to build on this progress and maximize the future growth potential for our automotive business in North America.”
N.A. Williams Appoints Danielle Sonnefeld As Business Development VP
The N.A. Williams Company has appointed Danielle Sonnefeld as its vice president of business development. Sonnefeld, who has been with the Atlanta-based manufacturer’s rep agency since 2010, has been an account executive for the last three years working exclusively on the Advance Auto Parts and Carquest account.
Her tenure with N.A. Williams also includes time as director of marketing. Sonnefeld began her career in the auto care industry as the marketing manager for the Chicago Pneumatic Tool Company.
Capoli Grows Its Northeast Sales Team
Al Urban, a former regional salesman for Liberty Engine Parts, has joined the Capoli Sales Company’s Northeast sales team. Urban resides in Clarks Summit, PA. He is responsible for sales and service for Capoli’s northeastern Pennsylvania and western New York distributor partners.
Arnold Motor Supply Expands In Iowa
Arnold Motor Supply — a member of the Auto Value network of independent distributors, auto parts stores and professional service repair shops — plan to open a 21,847-square-foot retail store and distribution center in Iowa City, IA in September. The location will serve as a central hub for midday deliveries between stores in Southeast Iowa. It will be the 67th location for the company.
Brian Tarnacki Launches Marketing Firm
Former Federal-Mogul Motorparts Marketing Director Brian Tarnacki has established a strategic marketing firm dedicated to helping auto care companies “build powerful brands by using proven disciplines in the art and science of marketing.” His agency, Motor City Brandcraft, offers a range of services, including …
• Using market research to assess brand health and uncover market opportunities.
• Creating advertising campaigns, packaging, collateral, digital and other manifestations of the brand.
• Exploring and launching new products into the market.
• Positioning brands.
Tarnacki brings 35 years of experience as a brand champion with parts suppliers as well as advertising and marketing agencies. His background includes nearly 20 years with Federal-Mogul/DRiV Inc., with time as director of global brand planning and strategy, and two years as a brand manager at Tenneco Automotive. His agency experience includes four years as a partner and senior account supervisor with J. Walter Thompson Worldwide and four years as an account executive at Stone & Simons Advertising.
More specifically, Tarnacki has handled some of the industry’s top brands, including Anco, Fel-Pro, Moog, Champion, Wagner, Monroe, Walker, Rancho and Bosch. He has been a longstanding member of the Auto Care Association’s Marketing and Communications Committee, through which he was involved in developing the “Be Car Care Aware” campaign. Tarnacki also participated in the association’s Category Management and Market Intelligence committees.
Additionally, as a founding member of the AASA Marketing Executives Council, he helped create the “Know Your Parts” campaign. Tarnacki is a past board member of the Automotive Communications Council and a longtime presenter for the University of the Aftermarket’s “Aftermarket 101” program.
“Having a breadth of global experience, combined with unique marketing expertise, enables me and my associates to engage with clients in ways that provide the greatest business value, whether serving in a retained capacity or providing a variety of discrete agency or advisory services on a project basis,” Tarnacki said.
Tech Entrepreneur Joins U.S. Auto Parts Board
Nanxi Liu, CEO and co-founder of the digital display software company Enplug, has joined the U.S. Auto Parts Network board of directors. Liu also serves on the board of advisors at Covington Capital and is a partner at XFactor Ventures, where she invests in women-founded startups.
“We are excited to welcome Nanxi to our board of directors,” said Lev Peker, CEO of U.S. Auto Parts Network. “Nanxi is a leader in the tech industry, and we are proud to welcome her energy and expertise. Nanxi will be instrumental in enhancing the customer experience as CarParts.com continues to evolve in the tech and e-commerce space.”
Liu is a Forbes “30 Under 30” and Fortune “10 Most Promising Women Entrepreneur.”
She will serve as a “Class II” director at U.S. Auto Parts. The board has determined that Liu is an independent director under the listing standards of the Nasdaq Global Market. She has been appointed to the board’s audit committee, as well as the nominating and corporate governance committee.
There are no family relationships between Liu and any director or executive officer of U.S. Auto Parts.
Another LKQ Vet Joins Original One Parts
Brad Willen has joined the leadership team at Original One Parts as an executive vice president responsible for global supply chain. According to Original One Parts, Willen will leverage his 28 years of experience in the automotive recycling industry and aftermarket to oversee similar areas at the company. He also will assist in assembling Original One Parts’ management team.
Willen got his start at his family’s business Triplett Auto Recyclers in Akron, OH before it became LKQ Corp.’s first acquisition in 1998. He spent the next 20 years as a member of LKQ’s management team, including time as its vice president of salvage procurement and pricing.
His new position comes about a month after Original One Parts announced the appointment of LKQ veteran Steven Greenspan to its board of directors.
Original One Parts is a portfolio company of the private equity firm Kinderhook Industries.
Remy/BPI Europe Group Hires Sales And Marketing Leader
Remy/BPI Europe Group has added Fabio Cidral as the head of sales and marketing for Remy Europe, responsible for implementing growth strategies, increasing overall value to the company’s customers, developing and coordinating all marketing and sales activities, customer service and revitalizing Remy/BPI Europe Group overall.
Cidral began his career working in finance and information technology before transitioning to the automotive sector, where he has spent the past 20 years. In his previous position at FREMAX Brakes, Cidral was responsible for sales, marketing, supply chain, logistics and operations.
Martin Klein, CEO of Remy/BPI Europe Group, called Cidral a person with in-depth market knowledge and proven expertise in change.
“Fabio has a track record of turning businesses around, combined with strong commercial acumen, strategic vision and a keen eye for meeting customer expectations that will create an engaging brand experience with maximum value for stakeholders,” Klein said. “He has a solid international background working with multicultural and highly talented teams, an open mindset, and he places a strong emphasis on building lasting and trusting relationships with customers. He shares our vision to establish Remy/BPI Europe Group as the market leader in Europe, Middle East and Africa.”
Obituary: Willa Stauffer, Co-Founder Of Northwood University
Willa Stauffer, the last living co-founder of Northwood University, died July 6 in Midland, MI. She was 91.
Stauffer was an entrepreneur who helped found Northwood in 1959 in a joint venture with her husband, R. Gary Stauffer, and Arthur E. and Johann Turner. Then known as the Northwood Institute, classes were held in a 19th-century mansion in Alma, MI before moving to its current campus in Midland in 1961.
The university, with a current enrollment of 1,244, was founded on the principles of “The Northwood Idea” — free enterprise, personal responsibility and making a difference in the community. According to her son, Jeff, Willa Stauffer lived and breathed that spirit until the very end of her life.
“She was the cook and cleaner and bottle washer,” Jeff Stauffer, president and chief marketing officer of the StaufMan Marketing Group, recalled of the early days. “She even painted the facility. She and my dad — they really launched a business together, and that work ethic is one of the things that they instilled in us.”
Jeff said he will always remember his mother’s way of connecting with people, how much she valued her relationships with others and, in particular, how encouraging she was of other women.
“She was just one of those people that had a way of connecting with others; she had a knack for it,” Jeff said. “She made so many friends and was the initiator for a lot of great things around Northwood. It was very important to her to connect with women in the community and make them feel welcome. She was always hosting events — teas, book-reading clubs, receptions. She had a way of making people feel comfortable around her, and she was always smiling.”
Among her accomplishments was recognizing outstanding women in business by establishing an annual “Distinguished Woman Award,” an accolade she eventually received herself. Willa Stauffer was also the impetus for the Northwood University International Auto Show, an annual event featuring new and classic cars, as well as off-road, heavy-duty and military vehicles that draws more than 100,000 visitors to the campus. (The event has been cancelled for 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic, according to Jeff, but plans are in the works to reschedule the event for Spring 2021).
Willa Stauffer was also active in many community organizations as well as a dedicated supporter of Northwood’s athletics programs.
Northwood President Kent MacDonald said Willa Stauffer’s legacy will live on as she inspires others through her many accomplishments. “All of us here at Northwood University mourn the passing of Willa Stauffer, and we unite in honoring her exemplary life” MacDonald said. “We appreciate Willa’s inspiring leadership and entrepreneurial spirit as we carry on her legacy of developing future leaders of a global free-enterprise society.”
Because of the pandemic, a celebration of Willa Stauffer’s life has been postponed until the spring, her son said. A scholarship in memory of both Willa and R. Gary Stauffer is being planned.
To learn about Willa Stauffer’s passion and legacy, go here.
Oracle Lighting Wins Intellectual Property Rights Lawsuit In China
Oracle Lighting, a Louisiana-based maker of automotive aftermarket LED lighting, scored an intellectual property rights victory last month in China against an alleged counterfeit producer.
The ruling, issued June 28 by a Chinese court, stated that the manufacturer not only infringed upon Oracle’s copyright for the Vector LED Grill System but also owed significant monetary damages as well as court costs.
According to Justin Hartenstein, director of product development, the counterfeit activity started in 2017, just after Oracle had unveiled its new LED lighting system at a trade show.
“After nearly a year of work designing and developing this product, it was honestly heartbreaking to find knockoff products pop up online,” Hartenstein said. “I had seen this happen before to other manufacturers in our industry and decided that we were not going to stand for this blatant design theft.”
Like something out of a spy novel, Oracle embarked on a covert infiltration of the manufacturing plant to prove the duplication was actually taking place. Private investigators both in China and from the United States crafted a cover story to gain access to the factory and, with hidden cameras, obtained evidence of the counterfeit parts, according to Oracle.
The entire operation had to be covert because factories producing knockoff goods are often designed to be packed up and moved overnight, making them hard to pin down, Oracle stated in a press release after the ruling.
It took about four months to carry out the investigation, and the evidence presented to the court not only had to be irrefutable but also notarized — something critical in the Chinese judicial system, according to Jeffrey Banyas of Edwin A. Sisson Attorney at Law LLC, the firm that represented Oracle.
“We had a local (private investigation) company out of North Carolina that we work with, and (Oracle) had boots on the ground in China to trace the goods back to the factory that was making the lights,” Banyas said. “It was all undercover. The end goal is to get notarized evidence because the Chinese legal system relies heavily on notarized evidence. Getting that evidence out of the factory and getting it notarized was a challenge, but we had a good investigative team.”
Though the counterfeit manufacturer still has the right to appeal the verdict, Banyas said Oracle’s win sends a strong signal to other U.S. aftermarket manufacturers to not shy away from fighting trademark rights.
“There is a lot of mythology around enforcing intellectual property rights in China,” Banyas said. “China certainly has a culture that is very ripe for companies to counterfeit and knock off other companies’ products. And, because of the mystique and misinformation, many U.S. companies think there is nothing that can be done.”
On the contrary, Banyas said a well-done and thorough investigation like Oracle’s can be very beneficial and worthwhile, though very few manufacturers are willing to take on the work and the cost involved in fighting for their rights.
“It’s rare to see a U.S. company enforcing its intellectual property rights in this manner.” Banyas said of Oracle. “Out of 250,000 patent infringement cases filed in China every year, only about 1,000 are filed on behalf of U.S. plaintiffs. This (win) sends a strong message to businesses: Don’t believe everything you are hearing; you don’t have to accept the loss of market share and revenue to counterfeiters.”
Hartenstein also hopes the actions taken by his company, which celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2019, will be an inspiration to other aftermarket businesses.
“It really is a good feeling to know that auto parts manufacturers are protected against this type of flagrant overseas knock-off activity,” Hartenstein said. “I was told by many people that I was wasting my time and that the system of law in China was ‘corrupt’ and would not enforce U.S. intellectual property against a Chinese factory. We hope that our victory sends a message to other manufacturers that you can protect your valuable intellectual property in China if you are willing to fight for it.”
SEMA Data Co-op Taps Gigi Ho As VP Of Operations
The SEMA Data Co-op (SDC) has appointed Gigi Ho as its vice president of operations. She joined SDC in 2019 as its director of operations. Prior to that, Ho was the vice president of product development and customer success at PartsHub and before that, director of product services for Direct Communications Inc. (DCI).
“Gigi has been instrumental in developing the vision and implementation of the future of the SDC,” said Mike Spagnola, SEMA vice president of OEM and product development. “In her new role, she will continue to oversee all SEMA Data Co-op programs and services, which have resulted in increased member growth and participation since she joined the SDC.”
Bodyguard Truck Accessories Hires Marketing Director
Chris Ripper has joined Bodyguard Truck Accessories as its marketing director. He is tasked with managing all marketing aspects for Bodyguard Bumpers and BadgeCaps.com, creating brand awareness and sales growth. Previously, Ripper was the digital marketing manager for Chux Trux. His background also includes time as the COO of ATC Truck Covers and the vice president and general manager of the AfterMarketer Club.
Rancho Continues As Jeep Jamboree Event Sponsor
Rancho performance suspension and shocks from DRiV Inc. will be an official event sponsor of Jeep Jamboree gatherings for the fourth consecutive year. At select 2020 events throughout the summer and fall, a Rancho-outfitted Jeep Wrangler JL will be available for participants to experience Rancho products firsthand. Participants also will be able to experience the Rancho-sponsored Jeep Jamboree Outdoor Garage, where they can see Rancho suspension parts on display and ask questions.
Spectra Premium Introduces Classic Car Parts Category
To boost the visibility of its classic and muscle car products in the U.S. and Canadian markets, Spectra Premium Industries has introduced a category for undercar parts ranging from the 1960s-‘80s. The company’s new Classic Car Parts category includes more than 500 existing products spread across four main product lines: classic injection tanks, fuel tanks, sending units and body panels.
The classic injection tanks are fuel tank assemblies that combine the fuel tank following original specifications with their respective pre-installed sending unit. All the components of this classic tank assembly — the fuel tank, sending unit and lock ring — are available separately. Undercar body panels, such as wheel housings, round out Spectra Premium’s classic undercar offering.
“Spectra Premium has long provided classic fuel tanks which assisted enthusiasts to keep their dream classic or muscle car on the road. These decades produced gorgeous machines, and we want to do our part in keeping them on the road,” said Martin Brazeau, vice president of operations – aftermarket. “Our renewed emphasis on classic product lines acknowledges how this is a distinct market from everyday vehicle repair. The differences will help our clients to provide the right part to the right person.”
Two Women Elected To Lead YANG Advisory Council
For the first time, the Auto Care Association’s Young Auto Care Network Group (YANG) will be led by two women. Ashlee Arnold of the Arnold Oil Company has been elected chair of the 2020-’21 YANG advisory council, with Jacki Lutz of Sensata Technologies taking on the vice-chair role.
Dave Shapiro of SRS Marketing will be the past chair.
YANG also has announced the following new advisory council members for 2020-’21…
• Cotter Collins of Standard Motor Products.
• Megan Dineff of Ervine’s Auto Repair & Grand Rapids Hybrid.
• Patrick J. O’Leary of Drive Sales and Marketing.
• Cindy Talamantes of Global Parts Distributors.
They will join current council members Kyle Byrne of The Arnold Group of Companies and Jon Clements of Experian Automotive.
One ‘Next Step’ Scholarship To Be Designated In Memory Of Jim Shapiro
Beginning in 2021, one recipient of an AWDA and Young Auto Care Network Group (YANG) “Next Step Program” scholarship will be presented in memory of Jim Shapiro, president of SRS Marketing, who died in May. The designated recipient, a future manufacturer’s rep, will be the “James Shapiro Next Stepper.”
The “Next Step” initiative is designed to support future auto care industry leaders by providing opportunities to experience up close how the Auto Care Association and various aspects of the industry work. Scholarship recipients attend the association’s Spring Leadership Days meeting, participate in committee meetings and get to network with industry veterans.
ASE Education Foundation Schedules Virtual Instructor Training Conference
The ASE Education Foundation will host a free virtual instructor training conference Aug. 4-5. This event is designed for high school and post-secondary instructors from auto, truck and collision repair programs nationwide. Topics to be covered include …
• Three Scenarios for Instruction: In-Person, Virtual and Hybrid.
• The T-TEN “Safe Lab” Plan.
• Keeping Distance Learners Engaged.
• Classroom Management Tools in Your E-Learning Curriculum.
• How COVID-19 Affects ASE Program Accreditation.
• Putting Work-Based Learning to Work.
• Developing Students’ Employability Skills.
All sessions are 30 to 90 minutes and count toward the 20-hour annual update training requirement. Seats are limited. Click here to register.
ASE Test Centers, Summer Registration Now Open
ASE test centers are open, and registration for the summer testing window is available through Sept. 30. People who register for an ASE test will have 90 days to schedule an appointment to take their selected ASE tests, whether registering on the first day of the registration window or the last.
ASE tests are conducted days, nights and weekends at nearly 300 secured, proctored test centers. A registration fee is paid once during the registration window no matter how many tests a person takes.
More than 50 ASE certification tests are being offered for automotive, collision, medium- and heavy-duty, school bus, transit bus, and truck equipment repair.
People renewing their A1-A9 certifications can use the ASE renewal app to maintain their certification status.
The Alliance Launches Summer Webinar Series
The Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance, with the support of many of its channel partners, will host webinars each week throughout the summer for its Auto Value and Bumper to Bumper members as part of what The Alliance calls its Summer Webinar Series.
Training sessions will be held at a variety of times throughout the week. Topics will include diagnostic strategies, charge systems, wheel bearings, ride control and engine sealing, to name a few.
“Our daily webinars earlier this year proved to be an incredible benefit for our shops, stores and warehouse distributors,” said JC Washbish, vice president of sales and marketing at The Alliance. “We’re delighted to be continuing these training efforts this summer with the support of our vendor partners.”
Partners will include DRiV Inc., BBB Industries, BCA Bearings, Epicor, GCommerce, Motorcar Parts of America, NGK and ZF Aftermarket.
On-Demand Services Provider Begins Franchising
Get Spiffy Inc. — an on-demand car care, technology and services company based in Research Triangle Park, N.C. — is now accepting applications for franchise licenses in new markets across the United States. Spiffy currently offers a variety of services in nearly 20 metropolitan areas, including oil changes, tires, vehicle wash, detailing, disinfection and fleet fueling.
The company will offer the following support to potential franchisees …
• Upfitting service vehicles with proprietary equipment.
• Software for appointment booking and monitoring.
• Access to a range of corporate resources, including accounting, customer service and marketing.
Connor Finnegan, vice president of strategy, called the decision to begin franchising a crucial moment for Spiffy. “We’ve been steadily growing toward this milestone since we secured additional funding last year and have been in contact with many individuals looking to learn more about operating under our brand,” Finnegan said. “We’re eager to expand our reach with many talented operators across the country.”
Spiffy is available in the following locations …
• Dallas/Fort Worth.
• Fort Lauderdale, FL.
• Los Angeles.
• Las Vegas.
• New York.
• Raleigh, N.C.
• Durham, N.C.
• San Francisco.
• Washington, D.C.
For additional information, visit getspiffy.com/franchise.
RepairPal Partners With Vehicle Warranty Provider
ProGuard Warranty, a provider of new and pre-owned vehicle protection plans to dealerships across the United States, has announced a partnership with RepairPal. The move opens up RepairPal’s network of certified repair shops to ProGuard’s base of independent and franchise dealers.
“For our dealerships without service facilities, it was critical to have access to a trustworthy network of shops that are dedicated to helping their customers throughout the ownership of their vehicle,” said Dominic Limongelli, president of ProGuard Warranty. “Not only does RepairPal offer the largest nationwide network of auto repair shops in the U.S., but we felt their product offering added to the value we bring to our customers.”
With this alliance, ProGuard customers can now take their vehicles to participating RepairPal-certified shops for service and can access RepairPal’s Fair Price Estimator, an online tool that informs consumers about the cost of repairs in advance of any service.
TBC Introduces Road Hazard Protection Plan
TBC Brands now offers a one-year road hazard protection plan on select consumer and trailer tire lines backed by Automotive Business Solutions (ABS), an administrator of warranty program in the automotive aftermarket. The plan includes …
• Coverage for 12 months from the purchase date or within the first 2/32nds of an inch of tread wear, whichever occurs first.
• Free tire replacement up to the retail price of the eligible tire.
• Flat tire repair reimbursement up to $20 for non-trailer tires.
• A website for processing claims.
For additional information, visit tbcbrands.com/road-hazard-protection-plan.
Continental Combines Global Activities Of Special Purpose Tire Segment
Continental has combined the global activities of its special-purpose tire segment. Effective July 1, the business areas of Commercial Specialty Tires, Two Wheel Tires and Hoosier Racing Tire have been consolidated into a new Specialty Tires business unit.
As a result, the entire Continental specialty tire business is now being developed, manufactured and distributed worldwide under the umbrella of this new business unit — from tires for material handling to agriculture to motorcycle to racing.
Wolfgang Thomale, who has led Commercial Specialty Tires, is responsible for the new business unit, which also includes the Two-Wheel Tires area under the leadership of Thomas Falke and racing under the leadership of Joerg Burfien.
Adpearance Joins Toyota Parts & Service Program
Adpearance is now a certified provider in the Toyota Parts & Service search engine marketing (SEM) program. Starting this month, Toyota dealers can partner with the marketing company to revamp their digital advertising. Adpearance offers search, display, social, video and email campaigns.
OEConnection Buys Collision Repair Industry Software Firm
Richfield, OH-based OEConnection (OEC) has acquired NuGenIT Inc. of Nevada, a company that provides integrated workflow applications for collision repairs, as well as data mining and reporting capabilities for the collision and insurance industries. The acquisition of NuGenIT is seen as adding collision repair industry expertise to augment OEC’s growing collision operations.
“NuGenIT brings high-quality collision market solutions and repair expertise that will help expand our value to the collision industry,” said Ike Herman, OEC’s chief marketing officer. “I am excited to work with [Pete Tagliapietra, founder and president of NuGenIT] and the NuGenIT team to help better serve the collective needs of our OEM, dealer and collision industry customers.”
Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
We are now looking for a team member responsible for guiding product and merchandising strategies and functions to ensure the achievement of objectives related to key performance indicators, sales, gross margins, inventory, service levels and overall profitability. … (more) … Click here to find out more.
CARS Cooperative Taps VeriFacts For Coaching, Support
VeriFacts Automotive (Newport Beach, CA) is now the exclusive provider of independent, third-party collision repair business coaching, evaluation and verification services for the CARS Cooperative and its members.
With the partnership, CARS members will receive special pricing on new services with VeriFacts, including …
• Third-party, independent in-shop reviews and quality calibrations to help businesses improve repair quality and process efficiency.
• Customized on-the-job technician evaluations and coaching.
• Repair clinics on key processes and advancements.
• A review of a shop’s equipment, processes and training credentials.
• Monthly performance measurements.
• Newsletters, technical advice, tips and more
• Monthly webinars
• Participation in VeriFacts Academy, an online learning center.
CARS is a stock-issuing business cooperative that brings collision repair facilities together with vendors and suppliers to gain discounts, rebates, rewards, and training on products and services used in their shops.
Universal Technical Institute Using Government Funding To Provide Laptops To Students
Universal Technical Institute (UTI) will use a portion of its CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF) to provide laptops to roughly 14,000 students to facilitate their participation in UTI’s newly designed blended curriculum.
In response to the coronavirus pandemic, UTI has transitioned its on-campus, in-person education model to a blended training model that combines online, instructor-delivered teaching and demonstrations with hands-on labs.
Initially, students who start school by Sept. 28 — along with existing active students and those returning from a leave of absence with more than four classes to complete — will receive a laptop.
UTI also is using HEERF funding to provide emergency financial aid grants to students impacted by the disruption caused by the pandemic and for other purposes in support of students continuing their education during the pandemic.
People Watching 7/20/20
• RANDYS Worldwide (Everett, WA), which manufactures products under the Yukon Gear Axle, USA Standard and Zumbrota Drivetrain brands, has hired Ted Caldwell as its COO and Tim Spiller as its director of distribution operations. COO is a new position at RANDYS aimed at creating a scalable, world-class operational structure, processes and systems.
• Ed Monte of Auto Meter Products is returning to serve another two-year term on the SEMA Motorsports Parts Manufacturers Council select committee. He will be joined by new members Mike Deatsch of DeatschWerks, Scott McGlaughlin of Holley and Adriene Peters of General Motors.
• Wendy Miles of The Shop magazine, Matt Reasoner of Roll-N-Lock and Chuck Morrison of Truck’n America are returning to serve two-year terms on the SEMA Truck & Off-Road Alliance select committee. They will be joined by new members David Ayers of The AAM Group and Dave Williams of Go Rhino-Big Country Truck Accessories.
• Cesar Gracida of RK Sport and Stephanie Ortega of 4 Wheel Parts are returning to the SEMA Young Executives Network (YEN) to serve two-year terms on the select committee. They will be joined by new members Jeffrey Banyas of Edwin A. Sisson Attorney at Law LLC, Matt Beenen of BuiltRight Industries and Jerid Suchy of Derive Systems Inc./SCT Performance.
News Briefs 7/20/20
• Federated Auto Parts member Dobac International/Kashima System has introduced a new Spanish-language training platform to the North American aftermarket. Kashima University provides online and face-to-face training. It includes courses on automotive mechanics, electricity and electronics, car engines, safety and comfort, diagnosis, and auto repair shop management.
• Valvoline Inc. is now the “Official Motor Oil” of the MotorTrend Group’s digital and print platforms, as well as the presenting sponsor of the new U.S. format of Top Gear America. The partnership gives Valvoline exposure across MotorTrend’s various platforms, including website badging, media placements, and content and marketing alignments over the coming months.
• Champion Brands has begun bottling, labeling and packaging private-label alcohol hand sanitizer for racing and performance manufacturers and WDs. The Clinton, MO-based company had previously prioritized hand sanitizer production for first responders, hospitals and local municipalities.
• Mitchell 1 has developed a series of SocialCRM marketing tips and tricks for automotive repair shops. Topics include “Connect with Customers by Text Message” and “Communicating with Customers During the Pandemic.”
• The Car Care Council has created new brochures and flyers that repair shops and parts stores can share with their customers. The print-ready handouts can be downloaded for free at carcare.org/handouts-and-flyers and feature information about key vehicle systems as well as vehicle telematics and warranties.
• ASEtoolkit.com includes free ASE-approved marketing communications resources for shop owners, technicians and corporate partners, including logos, photography, infographics, brochures, posters and videos.
• Highline Aftermarket, a national distributor of automotive products, has launched a new website (HighlineAftermarket.com) that unites its nine legacy companies under the Highline brand.
• Performance Racing Industry (PRI) has revamped its website, performanceracing.com.
Event & Trade Show Briefs 7/20/20
• Shiva Bhardwaj, founder and CEO of the cloud-based prognostic maintenance platform Pitstop, will share his insights on how telematics and e-commerce can fuel the aftermarket supply chain during a panel discussion at the AASA Technology Conference, a virtual event that will take place Sept. 28-30. Click here for more information about the conference.
• The Great Canadian Aftermarket Trade Show, a virtual event taking place through August, has uploaded a video featuring a discussion with Norm Rose of Excel Sales Consulting on how aftermarket professionals can deal with stress and be effective in today’s changing economy and new normal. The trade show is a project of CHAT Integrated Media, publisher of Jobber Nation and Indie Garage.