Quick Hits …
(A few short items to get us started this week)
• Jefferies LLC reports that recent parts and service channel checks show a moderation in recovery pace, yet still up year-over-year. “Given very robust early-summer spending on parts and service and a seeming record spike in DIY interest, we are not surprised to hear channel feedback that the pace of recovery post-March/April lows slowed in August,” analysts Bret Jordan, Mark Jordan and Ethan Huntley wrote in Jefferies’ September Monthly Tune-Up report. “Notably, commentary around lower stimulus levels and slower sales is consistent with earlier feedback that tied the May/June spike to the timing of initial unemployment and stimulus payments.”
• Jefferies’ predictive model indicates that July vehicle miles traveled (VMT) was 257.30 billion miles — down 13% year-over-year, with an upper limit of 267.10 billion miles and a lower limit of 245.20 billion miles. August VMT is predicted to be 262.40 billion miles — down 9% year-over-year, with an upper limit of 272.80 billion miles and a lower limit of 250.70 billion miles.
• AWDA has come out in support of the Massachusetts “Right to Repair” ballot initiative. Proponents assert that the initiative if passed by voters will give motorists access to the diagnostic and repair data generated by their vehicles in order to have any repair professional (dealership or independent repair shop) perform necessary repairs.
• According to a Sept. 9 update from Performance Racing Industry (PRI), the 2020 PRI Show’s health plan has been submitted to the Marion County Public Health Department and currently meets all the requirements for the association to move forward with an in-person trade show Dec. 10-12 in Indianapolis. The plan includes a number of health measures, which can be found here.
• SEMA News has announced its “35 Under 35” honorees. Click here to read about the latest batch of young trendsetters.
Buyer Registration Opens For SEMA360
Attendee registration for buyers and resellers to participate in SEMA360 is now open at sema360.com. Available to SEMA-member buyers at no cost, SEMA360 is a business-to-business online marketplace taking place Nov. 2-6 in the absence of the traditional, in-person SEMA Show.
SEMA360 is designed as an alternative to the Las Vegas trade show, providing the automotive specialty equipment industry with a venue to obtain information about new products and project vehicles while allowing manufacturers and resellers to connect.
“The industry made clear that they are in need of a resource that will bring businesses together, focus on new products and give them the tools to help them successfully move into 2021,” said Tom Gattuso, SEMA’s vice president of events. “I’m confident that SEMA360 is the best solution for helping the industry during this challenging time. While I wish that we would be able to gather in person, SEMA360 is the industry’s best alternative to a live event.”
During SEMA360, manufacturers will have staff members and product specialists available to connect and provide information. And, throughout the weeklong event, buyers will have access to seminars and online networking discussions.
The fee is $25 for qualified buyers who are not SEMA members.
Virtual ASA Annual Business Meeting Slated For Oct. 9
Originally scheduled for May then rescheduled for August, the Automotive Service Association’s annual business meeting will now take place online Oct. 9. It will be a members-only event.
“Due to two delays brought on by COVID, the ASA board of directors has announced that the normal format of the annual meeting, which provides opportunities for co-located meetings, management training and networking opportunities, will return again in 2021,” ASA President Ray Fisher said. “However, for 2020 we will have an open board session, as we are required to do so annually.”
The Oct. 9 session will include …
• An open board meeting.
• Departmental reports.
• Swearing-in of board members.
• Awards for volunteers.
• A review of outstanding business for members present.
The event will be free to attend. Registration information can be found here.
Motor Magazine Is Going Digital
Starting in January, Motor Magazine will go from a print publication to a digital one available on Motor.com. For 117 years, the magazine has served an audience composed primarily of repair shop owners and technicians. In 2021, it will expand to include information dedicated to part suppliers, fleets, technology providers and vehicle manufacturers.
Bestbuy Distributors Adds Purchasing, Inventory VP
Bestbuy Distributors Limited (Mississauga, Ontario) has added Robert Chartrand as its vice president of purchasing and inventory. Chartrand is responsible for Bestbuy’s purchasing, inventory and all related initiatives. He reports directly to President Bill Hay.
Chartrand brings more than 30 years of automotive aftermarket experience, most recently as vice president of product management, purchasing and procurement at Altrom. He also spent nearly 15 years with Auto-Camping Ltd., including time as a branch manager and product manager.
First Brands Hires Sales VP
Glenn Barco has joined First Brands LLC (formerly known as the Trico Group) as vice president of sales. Barco most recently was senior vice president of sales for BBB Industries. His background includes time as the director of program distribution sales – North America for Exide Technologies, vice president of sales at Dorman Products and vice president of sales for Cardone Industries.
Dan Luna Rejoins Technical Chemical Company
Dan Luna has rejoined the Technical Chemical Company (TCC) as its vice president of new business development. Luna was the vice president of wholesale distribution for RPP Products. He previously spent more than 30 years in sales with TCC between 1986 and 2019.
Cleburne, TX-based TCC is known for its Johnsen’s performance chemical products, BlueMagic appearance chemical products, Spray-X premium foaming glass cleaner, Pure Citrus air freshener and Turbo 108 fuel additives, to name a few. The company also produces private-label products.
Preparations Begin For New Bosch Automotive Aftermarket Home
Bosch has selected the general contracting firm J.C. Anderson to make renovations at One Tower Lane in the Chicago suburb of Oakbrook Terrace, IL in preparation for the relocation of roughly 350 automotive aftermarket division employees from nearby Broadview, IL.
J.C. Anderson will build out 92,840 square feet on the top five floors of the 31-story office building, as well as 15,883 square feet in a separate commercial asset on the property called the “annex.” Scheduled for completion in November, plans call for the addition of conference and training rooms, private offices, and open office and seating areas in the office tower. The “annex” space will serve as a testing and lab facility for Bosch.
BendPak Expanding On Both Coasts
Less than six months after opening a 100,000 square-foot distribution center near Mobile, AL, BendPak is building a 70,000-square-foot facility next door. The new building will include four dock doors, warehouse space, and a covered flatbed staging and loading area. Administrative offices, a conference room and a call center also are planned for the new site.
From Mobile, BendPak offers next-day or two-day delivery to a large portion of its customers on the East Coast.
Meanwhile, a 50,000 square-foot expansion of BendPak’s Santa Paula, CA headquarters is on track for completion this month. The company’s headquarters underwent a 70,000 square-foot expansion in 2017, growing its Santa Paula footprint to more than 350,000 square feet. The new shipping and receiving facility will increase that to over 400,000 square feet.
BendPak’s California headquarters and distribution complex handles shipping and order fulfillment for roughly 15 western states.
Holman Parts Distribution Lands GSA Contract For
OE Powertrain Units
Holman Parts Distribution (Pennsauken, NJ) has received a U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) Multiple Award Schedule contract. With it, Holman offers government agencies a range of OE engines and transmissions via the GSA Advantage e-commerce platform. The company also provides access to a variety of specialized equipment and upfit solutions through its work-truck upfitter, the Auto Truck Group, allowing these government organizations to customize fleet vehicles for a range of vocational applications.
“The GSA program is a tremendous resource for government entities across the country, and we’re looking forward to providing comprehensive powertrain solutions for fleet operators in this sector,” said Anne Williams, president.
The GSA program is designed to streamline the procurement of items — in this case, OE powertrain components — for local, state and federal agencies. The goal is to reduce the time, cost and administrative burden typically associated with the traditional bid solicitation process.
Established in 1946, Holman is a national supplier of OE powertrain components. The company offers a single-source, powertrain-sourcing service featuring nationwide distribution and OEM-backed warranties. Holman also is a provider of OE core collection services and is the Ford Authorized Distributor of powertrain assemblies and diesel components in the Northeast and Great Lakes.
Jefferies: LKQ’s Specialty Segment Exceeding Expectations
According to a Sept. 10 investor day recap from Jefferies LLC, LKQ Corp.’s specialty segment has exceeded expectations, attributable to “robust” demand for RV aftermarket parts, as well as the truck and enthusiast segment. The analysts wrote that recent sales were up year-over-year, noting that second-half 2020 revenue is expected to be in line with full-year 2019 levels. They added that inventory availability appears to be a limiting factor.
“Longer term, we view the segment’s expansion potential favorably, given new products, such as OE RV warranty offerings, and adjacent markets, such as marine and powersports,” Bret Jordan, Mark Jordan and Ethan Huntley wrote in their report. “Further, we see the specialty segment’s industry-leading inventory depth and supply chain as being a key differentiator going forward.”
Energizer Expects 3% To 6% Full-Year Organic Net Sales Growth
According to an update announced Sept. 9, Energizer Holdings expects to report organic net sales growth of 3% to 6% for the fiscal fourth quarter ending Sept. 30, 2020 and full-year organic net sales growth of 1.5% to 2.5% due, in part, to “sustained growth in auto care.”
Energizer’s auto care business is composed of the following automotive appearance and performance product, refrigerant and freshener brands: Refresh Your Car!, California Scents, Driven, Bahama & Co., Lexol, Eagle One, Armor All, STP and A/C Pro.
Management also expects Energizer to come through with full-year adjusted EBITDA between $575 million and $585 million and net earnings from continuing operations between $130 million and $144 million.
“To date in the fourth quarter, we are continuing to see elevated demand across each of our categories,” CEO Alan Hoskins said in the Sept. 9 announcement. “In order to maintain the high service levels our customers expect and deliver the products consumers want and need, we are also incurring incremental manufacturing and product costs, the majority of which we expect to abate in the first half of fiscal 2021.”
In related news, Energizer has repaid $200 million on its revolving credit facility, with management noting that the free cash flow generated by the company “continues to be strong.”
Schrader’s Parent Company Raises Q3 Guidance
Sensata Technologies has raised the third-quarter 2020 financial guidance originally provided on July 28. “We are seeing increased business activity, especially in our automotive business in Europe and the U.S., which has translated into higher orders and deliveries within the quarter,” President and CEO Jeff Cote said in an announcement dated Sept. 8. “We now expect third-quarter revenue to be in the range of $735 to $765 million … assuming no significant reversal in current market conditions.”
This would represent a 28% to 33% increase in revenue when compared to the second quarter of 2020, with sequential organic revenue growth between 27% and 32% and year-over-year organic growth of 12% based upon the midpoint of this guidance, according to Jefferies LLC. Management’s initial third-quarter guidance called for revenue growth of $675 million to $705 million.
Sensata also expects adjusted net income to come in between $79 million and $89 million — a notable increase to the $60-million to $74-million guidance management issued on July 28. The new estimate would represent sequential adjusted net income growth of 185% to 221%.
“[Sensata] had previously noted an improved auto-order book into 3Q while commentary at our August Industrials Conference suggested strong July and August trends and likely sequential ramp through year-end,” Jefferies analysts David Kelley and Gavin Kennedy wrote in a Sept. 9 report. “Yet, prior 3Q guidance caution … reflected a lack of visibility to sustained recovery, suggesting today’s raised outlook is more in line with peers and reflects likely ongoing auto rebound through quarter’s end.”
Sensata is an industrial technology company that develops sensors and sensor-based products, including controllers and software, for the automotive, heavy-vehicle, off-road, industrial and aerospace industries. Schrader is an aftermarket brand of Sensata Technologies.
Automotive Communications Award Submission Deadline Extended
Women in Auto Care has extended the submission deadline to Oct. 2 for the 2020 Automotive Communications Awards program. The initiative recognizes companies and agencies that provide automotive information to consumers and trade professionals through outstanding advertising, marketing and merchandising, as well as effective public relations.
Click here for an entry form. Recipients will be recognized during a virtual awards ceremony Nov. 3 and at Women in Auto Care conferences and events in 2021.
A portion of the proceeds from award submissions goes toward providing scholarships to women entering the automotive aftermarket.
Advantage Lifts To Distribute, Make Backyard Buddy
Hanover, PA-based Advantage Lifts, a home auto-lift manufacturer, is now the exclusive sales, marketing and production manager of Steel Valley Lifts, maker of customizable car lifts for auto hobbyists.
“It’s an honor to take a leadership role in distributing and manufacturing the high-quality selection of Steel Valley products,” Stacey Mack, president and CEO of Advantage Lifts, said in an announcement dated Sept. 3. “Steel Valley has been manufacturing their line of lifts, including the Backyard Buddy, in Warren, OH for more than 30 years.
“We plan to grow the business by expanding production and adding high-quality manufacturing jobs for local workers. We look forward to introducing the Backyard Buddy to a whole new generation of car enthusiasts, home-wrenchers and auto collectors.”
Dealerships Gaining Market Share For Vehicle Service In Canada
Dealerships in Canada are improving their service satisfaction, as well as increasing market share and per-visit cost for maintenance and repair of vehicles four to 12 years old, according to a new report from J.D. Power.
The 2020 Canada Customer Service Index—Long-Term (CSI-LT) Study shows that dealers have captured 49% of all service visits for vehicles in that range, while at the same time, have experienced an increase in cost-per-visit (CDN$375 in 2020 versus CDN$323 in 2019) when compared to non-dealer facilities (CDN$241 in 2020 versus CDN$222 in 2019).
J.D. Power’s research indicates that, in an industry estimated at CDN$9.20 billion annually, the high cost-per-visit means that dealerships captured 60% of service revenue in Canada, or approximately CDN$5.50 billion. Additionally, the dealership segment also saw an increase in the average number of customer visits (1.4 in 2020 compared to 1.3 in 2019), while non-dealer facilities declined to 1.5 visits versus 1.6 visits in 2019.
According to the study, dealerships and non-dealers combined to achieve an overall satisfaction score of 791 (on a 1,000-point scale) — up from 779 in 2019. It’s worth pointing out that non-dealers averaged 795 compared with 788 for dealerships.
“Despite the challenges facing dealers and aftermarket service providers due to the pandemic, we’re seeing markedly improved levels of customer satisfaction this year,” said Virginia Connell, automotive research and consulting manager for J.D. Power Canada. “This is quite a testament to the commitment and resiliency of brands, dealers and independent service facilities to deliver an effective and sometimes exceptional service experience to their customers.”
Audi dealerships ranked highest in overall customer satisfaction with a score of 833, followed by NAPA AutoPro at 827 and Lexus dealerships at 810.
According to J.D. Power, dealers in Canada have been doing a good job in capturing returning customers for paid service, stemming from increased satisfaction while vehicles were still under warranty. In 2020, 60% of owners of three-year-old vehicles said they “definitely will” return for paid service — up from 53% in 2015. This has helped dealers increase their overall share of service visits among owners of four- to seven-year-old vehicles during that same time period (58% in 2020 compared to 39% in 2015).
The study also shows that non-dealers did a better job of greeting customers immediately than dealers (49% versus 35%, respectively), while dealers were more likely to return vehicles cleaner (38% versus 12%, respectively).
Chuck Searles Joins AMI As President
The Automotive Management Institute (AMI) has announced the appointment of Chuck Searles as its new president, succeeding Jeff Peevy, who has returned to I-CAR as its vice president of technical products, programs and services.
Searles has been an active part of the automotive service and training community for nearly 30 years. His career began as a dealer service technician in 1992. Searles eventually took on a technical service support position with Nissan North America. Over the last 19 years, he has served in various roles with Nissan, including technical training instructor and technical training instructional design manager.
Dobbs Tire & Auto Centers Picks Garage Gurus For Tech Training
DRiV Inc. has announced a multi-year technical training partnership with Dobbs Tire & Auto Centers, which has 41 shops in the St. Louis area. The agreement calls for DRiV to provide its Garage Gurus instructor-led automotive training to technicians employed across Dobbs’ network. The partnership will include classroom instruction as well as hands-on, diagnostic-focused training. Garage Gurus will conduct the training at its Maryland Heights, MO technical service center.
Valvoline Instant Oil Change Joins CarAdvise Network
CarAdvise has added Valvoline Instant Oil Change (VIOC) to its vehicle repair and maintenance technology platform. The inclusion of VIOC boosts CarAdvise’s network by nearly 1,500 shops. With CarAdvise’s discounted fleet pricing, drivers can save between 10% and 40% on maintenance work. They also can use the platform to schedule appointments, approve and pay for services, and view their service history.
RepairSmith To Donate $250,000 In Free Vehicle Repairs To Nonprofits
RepairSmith, a Los Angeles-based mobile auto care provider that’s backed by Daimler AG, has launched a philanthropic initiative to support nonprofit organizations. The program, called Jump Start, is designed to remove the financial burden of vehicle repair from these nonprofits, allowing them to deliver essential services without disruption.
Over the next year, RepairSmith plans to donate $250,000 in free repair services to organizations that meet its criteria. “RepairSmith launched Jump Start to provide relief to organizations that advance socioeconomic, racial and ethnic equality,” said CEO Joel Milne.
Each non-profit is eligible for as much as $10,000 in free services to its passenger and light-duty vehicles. Eligible organizations include those that provide at-risk people with essential services, food or personal care products, health and wellness resources, education, job training, family services, housing assistance, or rehabilitation programs.
Jump Start’s first partner is Project Angel Food, a Los Angeles-based organization that delivers meals to people impacted by serious illness. Every year, its vans travel 125,000 miles throughout the area delivering medically tailored meals to people living with cancer, heart disease, kidney failure and HIV/AIDS.
Qualifying organizations that meet the following criteria can apply at community.repairsmith.com: In need of vehicle repair or maintenance service to restore their capacity to provide programs and resources to their community; and 501 (c) organizations in locations where RepairSmith operates (California, Nevada and Arizona).
The Jump Start initiative follows RepairSmith’s donation of more than $100,000 in free service to vehicle owners impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, either by loss of employment or acting as a frontline worker.
GoMobile Tires Adds To Its Fleet
The mobile tire service provider GoMobile Tires has announced the deployment of 50 additional mobile tire vans out of its recently developed 20,000-square-foot vehicle upfitting facility in Jacksonville, FL. The site includes a national training center for all GoMobile Tires franchisees and tire technicians.
Management calls the deployment stage one of a multi-step strategic plan. The next phase will include a national call center to manage calls and appointments around the United States.
GoMobile has 13 vehicles operating currently in 10 franchise markets. It does business in …
• Jacksonville (first franchise).
• North Orange County, CA.
• South Orange County, CA.
• Kansas City, MO.
• Las Vegas.
• Portland, OR.
• Austin, TX.
• Northwest Washington.
• Greenville, SC.
Key target areas are …
• New York.
• San Francisco.
E-Solution Professionals Adds Data Mobility Product
Dubuque, IA-based E-Solution Professionals (ESP) has announced a new service, Data Mobility, for its flagship Tireweb B2B software. It allows point-of-sale (POS) companies to integrate with ESP’s network of tire, wheel and auto parts vendors. Distributors are able to use their own inventory data to process orders directly from a dealer’s POS software.
“There are two sides of the data discussion: First, the data provider, or tire distributor, who owns the data, and second, the consumer of the data, the tire dealer. It results in enormous complexity for tire business owners. Each tire distributor, tire dealer and POS system has their own processes, formats and part numbers,” said ESP Managing Director Kevin Marley. “This creates many combinations of data for the tire distributors and tire dealers to exchange for inventory, pricing data and to transact orders. Our Data Mobility offering overcomes the complexity and manages the data interchange in real-time.”
Data Mobility will be available at no cost for all distributors using ESP’s Tireweb e-commerce platform.
Roadside Assistance Platform Adds Virtual Assistant
The roadside assistance platform Honk has released a new contact center customer engagement tool: Honk Virtual Assistant, which combines interactive voice response capabilities with a synchronized mobile web visual interface.
The system helps motorists navigate through self-service menus, making the information-gathering process faster, streamlined and comprehensive. This includes entering service request details, as well as vehicle and location information. Motorists can interrupt to ask questions or speak to a call center representative at any point.
According to Honk, the tool significantly reduces call wait times.
Truck Center Companies Buys Harrison Truck Centers
Truck Center Companies has acquired Harrison Truck Centers, which has eight Freightliner/Western Star sales and service locations in Minnesota and Iowa. Truck Center has 10 Freightliner/Western Star dealership locations — offering sales, leasing and rentals of trucks, as well as parts and services — across Nebraska, Kansas and Iowa.
The Harrison ownership group is staying on in a managerial capacity.
The addition of Harrison’s locations is believed to make Truck Center the third-largest Freightliner/Western Star dealer in the United States.
Alliance Envisions Vehicle-Initiated Payment Platform For Fleets
Discover has announced a partnership with the financial technology startup, CarIQ, that would create a vehicle-initiated payments platform. It would allow fleet vehicles connected to CarIQ to be able to transact autonomously for various services using the infrastructure of Discover’s global network.
CarIQ’s touchless machine payment platform would allow vehicles themselves to automatically initiate and complete payments for such things as service and repair, fuel, tolls and parking.
NYSE Accepts Superior Industries’ Compliance Plan
Aluminum wheel supplier Superior Industries International announced on Sept. 8 that the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) has accepted the company’s plan to regain compliance with NYSE continued-listing standards.
In June, Superior received notice from the exchange that the company was not in compliance because at the time, Superior’s average global market capitalization over a consecutive 30-trading-day period was less than $50 million and at the same time, its shareholder equity was less than $50 million.
Superior has until Jan. 1, 2022 to regain compliance with continued-listing standards. The company’s common stock will continue to be listed on the NYSE during this time.
Superior also is subject to quarterly monitoring for plan compliance. If the company fails to comply with the plan or does not meet continued-listing standards at the end of the cure period, it will be subject to NYSE suspension and delisting procedures.
Electric Vehicle Battery Supplier To List On NYSE
Kensington Capital Acquisition Corp., a publicly traded, special-purpose acquisition company, has reached a deal to combine with QuantumScape Corp., a developer of batteries for electric vehicles. The resulting company would be called QuantumScape and would trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “QS.”
The business combination values QuantumScape at an implied $3.30 billion. Management expects the proceeds from the transaction to fully fund QuantumScape through the start of production via its joint venture with Volkswagen.
The boards of both companies have approved the proposed deal, which is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2020. The transaction is subject to, among other things, the approval by Kensington’s stockholders.
The private placement of common stock includes commitments from institutional investors, the Fidelity Management & Research Company and Janus Henderson Investors.
UBS Investment Bank, Stifel Nicolaus & Company and Robert W. Baird & Company are financial advisers to Kensington. Goldman Sachs & Company is serving as financial adviser to QuantumScape.
Kensington is sponsored by Kensington Capital Partners LLC and its management team, which includes …
• Chairman and CEO Justin Mirro, former automotive group head and managing director of Jefferies LLC.
• Vice Chairman and President Bob Remenar, former president and CEO of Chassix Inc. and Nexteer Automotive.
• Chief Technology Officer Simon Boag, former president of Chrysler global parts and service.
Kensington also is supported by a board of independent directors that includes …
• Tom LaSorda, former CEO of Chrysler.
• Anders Pettersson, former CEO of Thule.
• Don Runkle, former Delphi vice-chairman.
• Matt Simoncini, former CEO and CFO of Lear Corp.
As a leading North America Manufacturer & Brake Product Supplier, we are seeking an experienced individual to become a valuable addition to our growing and expanding team. … (more) … Click here to find out more.
Primary responsibilities: Lead nationwide sales team members to achieve sales targets. Communication and team management skills are essential for this position. Should be able to … (more) … Click here to find out more.
Talented Sales Manager to develop product and account strategies to expand distribution within the aftermarket retailers, heavy-duty truck, online retailers, industrial aftermarket, industrial OE, motorcycle aftermarket and marine. … (more) … Click here to find out more.
P.E Firm Opens Michigan Office, Hires Two Executives
Stellex Capital Management, a middle-market private equity firm, has opened an office in Ann Arbor, MI. Shankar Kiru has joined the firm as a managing director along with Andrew Arton as a director. They will both be based in the Ann Arbor office.
Kiru is responsible for working with both current portfolio companies on operational matters as well as new acquisition targets. He joins Stellex from George Industries, an aerospace and defense supplier, where he was CEO. His background also includes time as a managing director at Madison Capital Partners, a Chicago-based investment firm.
Arton is responsible for expanding relationships with constituents in the Michigan area, including lenders, business owners and advisers, as well as providing expertise on the credit structuring of transactions. He was senior vice president of the specialty lending group at First Midwest Bank.
Stellex has experience investing in the automotive industry. Among its holdings are Fenix Parts, Paragon Metals and Custom Glass Solutions.
“As a result of our long-established ties in the automotive industry and in the Detroit area, we are excited about the opening of our new office in Ann Arbor,” said Michael Stewart, managing partner. “As we continue to look at investment opportunities with a focus on industrial manufacturing and service businesses and a particular emphasis on the automotive sector, we believe in expanding our local presence where we see opportunities that can add value for our investors.”
People Watching 9/14/20
• Jasper Engines & Transmissions has appointed Randy Bauer as its vice president of support services. Bauer, a nearly 30-year veteran of the company, previously was director of corporate maintenance.
• EnPro Industries has hired Jerry Johnson as its senior vice president of strategy, corporate development and investor relations. He succeeds Chris O’Neal, who has been promoted to an executive financial position within the company’s sealing products segment. Johnson was a founding member and partner of the private equity firm RLJ Equity Partners.
• PurePower Technologies (Columbia, SC), a company that specializes in engineering and remanufacturing diesel fuel injectors and turbochargers, has announced Jon Huckaby as its engineering director of research and development. Reporting to Managing Director Greg Butler, Huckaby is a member of PurePower’s leadership team and Stanadyne technical team, responsible for leading OE and remanufacturing design, development and validation testing.
• Premier Manufacturing (Tualatin, OR), a trailer components company, has announced Matt Weinmann as its COO. Weinmann comes to Premier with more than 30 years of experience, most recently as president and vice president of global operations for Testing Machines Inc.
• Fontaine Modification has announced Mike Randolph as president of its Light Duty Truck & EV Solutions division, which provides electrification packaging, integration and installation, as well as a variety of light-duty vehicle modifications. Randolph comes from sister company Fontaine Fifth Wheel, where he was vice president of sales and marketing. Prior to that, he spent six years with Volvo in national account sales leadership roles and 20 years with Freightliner in sales and marketing roles at corporate and dealer locations.
• The Envision-AESC Group has added Bill Williams as director of business development to spearhead its battery product line expansion plans into other markets. While the group’s Smyrna, TN facility will continue to produce batteries for the Nissan Leaf, as it has for the last 10 years, it is expanding into other markets, including medium- and heavy-duty buses and trucks, as well as other light-duty automobiles.
• Romeo Power, a manufacturer of batteries for electric vehicles, has named President Lionel Selwood Jr. as its CEO. Michael Patterson, the founder of Romeo Power, will remain chairman of the board. Selwood joined the company in 2016.
• Volta, which operates a nationwide electric vehicle charging network, has hired Nadya Kohl as its chief marketing officer. Kohl is responsible for Volta’s brand and marketing strategy, as well as advertising, creative services, social media and corporate communications.
• Amanda Mathis, CFO of Bridgestone Americas, has been appointed to the board of directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta’s Nashville branch. Mathis is responsible for overseeing all strategic aspects of finance, accounting, financial shared services, financial reporting, cash flow and debt management at Bridgestone Americas. She joined the company in 2012.
News Briefs 9/14/20
• August online research data from MontAd Media shows a 10% increase in consumers researching brake replacement and a 14% rise in consumers researching tire replacement.
• The National Pronto Association is awarding 12 Pronto Auto Service Center scholarships for the 2020-‘21 academic year. The recipients will attend two- and four-year accredited colleges; ASE- and NATEF-certified post-secondary automotive, heavy-duty and collision technician training programs; and licensed and accredited vocational schools.
• The Saturday, Sept. 12 NASCAR Federated Auto Parts 400 marked the 25th consecutive year of Federated’s involvement in NASCAR.
• CAAPA, a China affiliate of Temot International and the Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance, has added 39 new members over the last six months, giving CAAPA more than 100 total members across 17 provinces and three municipalities.
• An O’Reilly Auto Parts store in Santa Fe, NM was fined $79,200 by the state’s environment department for employees not wearing face coverings during a July inspection and for not encouraging or posting signage urging customers to wear face coverings while inside the store. According to the state, upon subsequent inspections, the store appears to have corrected these violations.
• Turn 14 Distribution has added RaceQuip’s catalog of automotive racing safety equipment to its line card.
• Keystone Automotive Operations now carries mobile electronics and automotive accessories from Scosche Industries, including mobile cell mounts and chargers, portable jump starters, and dash cams.
• Kukui has added a Connect SMS application to its Kukui Text Connect platform, allowing shops to engage in real-time, two-way instant messaging with customers using the Desktop & Mobile App.
• Tech Tire Repairs has officially launched Tech University online, offering a wide-ranging wheel and tire repair library. An annual subscription goes for $50.
• TBC Corp. of Palm Beach Gardens, FL — parent company to Tire Kingdom, NTB, Big O Tires and Midas — has extended the donation of its unused 24,000-square-foot distribution center in greater Miami to Feeding South Florida for providing food to area residents in need.
• Bridgestone Retail Operations is donating $760,000 to support coronavirus relief efforts at Boys & Girls Clubs across the United States. With these additional funds, Bridgestone has donated a total of $1.60 million to the organization’s COVID-19 relief fund.
• The Car Care Council suggests the following website updates in advance of Fall Car Care Month in October: Add a Fall Car Care Month digital banner, add a link to sign up for free custom service schedules and e-mail services and link to the group’s digital Car Care Guide.
• Class Eight Manufacturing Inc., a truck fenders, brackets and accessories company, has announced that Steve Henman will represent Class Eight in the Maritimes region of Canada. Henman, a longtime aftermarket sales rep and product manager in the Atlantic Canada region, recently started his own company designed to help heavy-duty truck manufacturers with their sales and marketing.
• The American Chrome Company (ACC) has joined the OptiCat network.
Event & Trade Show Briefs 9/14/20
• Registration is open for the Custom Automotive Network’s online conference, CAN Connect Virtual, which will take place Oct. 5-9. The event will include a new product showcase, virtual booths, one-on-one private meetings, networking opportunities, industry trend sessions and more.
• AASA will host a third-quarter 2020 aftermarket review and forecast webinar Sept. 17 featuring Bret Jordan of Jefferies LLC. Click here for more information on this mid-year automotive aftermarket review.
• The Automotive Maintenance & Repair Association (AMRA) will host a free webinar Sept. 16 featuring Bill Thompson of IMR Inc. discussing vehicle service and repair trends, as well as consumer perception and service expectations amid the coronavirus pandemic. Click here for more information.
• The Auto Care Association will host a “REV Talk” session Sept. 25 during Fall Leadership Days to address equipping member companies with the tools and resources needed to advocate for the industry with policymakers and customers. Click here for registration information.