Quick Hits …
(A few short items to get us started this week)
• Advance Auto Parts has recognized Mann + Hummel as its 2020 Vendor of the Year. Advance’s New Vendor of the Year award went to AkzoNobel, while Valvoline received the DIY Excellence Vendor of the Year honor and ACDelco received Professional Excellence Vendor of the Year recognition.
• GCommerce Inc. has inducted Federated Auto Parts into its customer hall of fame. Their relationship goes back to 2007, when GCommerce began working with Federated member KOI Auto Parts. In 2009, GCommerce partnered with Federated member Fisher Auto Parts before beginning its relationship with Federated Auto Parts later that year.
• Shops using PartsTech through their shop management system can now order from O’Reilly Auto Parts, as well as Pioneer Rim & Wheel (a family-owned-and-operated WD with locations in Minnesota and Wisconsin).
• More than 200 people — including members, suppliers and staffers — took part in Auto Pride’s first virtual member meeting last week. The two-day event included presentations on Auto Pride marketing, product and technology with a focus on Network Academy online training programs. Members and suppliers also participated in one-on-one sessions to discuss business opportunities.
• Garage Gurus, the training and support platform from Tenneco Inc. and DRiV, has relaunched its e-learning platform. Updates to the online training platform, which features more than 110 courses, include individual progress tracking and an updated mobile experience.
Parts Authority Gets A New Private Equity Backer
Kohlberg & Company has reached an agreement to acquire a majority stake in Parts Authority, which has been a portfolio company of The Jordan Company (TJC). Specifics regarding the transaction have not been disclosed.
Parts Authority’s existing management team, led by CEO Randy Buller, will continue to lead the company and remain “significant” owners of the business, according to an announcement dated Oct. 1.
Also, TJC will retain a “significant” ownership position in Parts Authority. TJC, founded in 1982, is a middle-market private equity firm that has managed funds with original capital commitments in excess of $11 billion since 1987.
“TJC has been an excellent partner to Parts Authority over the past several years as we have continued to expand our footprint in the U.S. through new greenfield locations and acquisitions,” Buller said. “The entire Parts Authority staff is excited to partner with Kohlberg for this next phase as we look to continue expanding our business across the nation.”
Parts Authority, a member of the National Pronto Association, is a national distributor of automotive replacement parts, tools, equipment and transmissions with more than 200 locations servicing customers in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, the District of Columbia, Virginia, Ohio, Georgia, Florida, Texas, Arizona, California, Oregon, Washington, Massachusetts and Utah.
Evan Wildstein, a partner at Kohlberg, said that Parts Authority has established itself as a leading national distributor within the automotive aftermarket.
“We believe [Parts Authority] is well-positioned to continue on an accelerated growth trajectory through a highly successful organic and acquisition-driven strategy,” Wildstein said.
Kohlberg is a private equity firm headquartered in Mount Kisco, NY. Since its inception in 1987, Kohlberg has organized nine private equity funds, through which it has raised over $10 billion of committed equity capital. Over its 33-year history, Kohlberg has completed 81 platform investments and approximately 200 add-on acquisitions, with an aggregate transaction value in excess of $25 billion.
Kohlberg is no stranger to the auto care industry.
Among its realized investments are Trico Products, a corporate carve-out made in 2007, and Pittsburgh Glass Works (PGW), a corporate carve-out made in 2008.
One of its current investments is Stanadyne Corp., a designer and manufacturer of highly engineered, precision-machined products used on diesel and gasoline engines, primarily for off-highway applications, such as agricultural and construction equipment, and also for on-highway vehicles.
Harris Williams was financial adviser and Kirkland & Ellis was legal counsel to Parts Authority. Cowen served as an adviser to the board. Stifel was lead financial adviser, and Paul Weiss was legal counsel to Kohlberg.
BorgWarner Completes Delphi Deal
BorgWarner Inc. has completed its acquisition of Delphi Technologies. According to BorgWarner, adding Delphi Technologies’ commercial vehicle and aftermarket business results in more balance across light vehicles, commercial vehicles and the aftermarket.
“Through this combination, BorgWarner is even better positioned with a more comprehensive portfolio of industry-leading propulsion products and systems across combustion, hybrid and electric vehicles,” said President and CEO Frederic Lissalde. “We expect that the combination will also strengthen our commercial vehicle and aftermarket businesses.”
In connection with the close of this transaction, Delphi Technologies’ common stock will cease to be traded on the New York Stock Exchange.
Additionally, Nelda Connors and David Haffner have joined BorgWarner’s board of directors from the Delphi Technologies board of directors.
Connors is the founder, chairwoman and CEO of Pine Grove Holdings, a woman- and minority-owned, privately held investment company. Prior to founding Pine Grove, she was the president and CEO of Atkore International, formerly the electrical and metal products division of Tyco International.
Haffner retired as the chairman and CEO of Leggett & Platt, a diversified manufacturing company, in 2015.
Les Schwab Tire Centers Has Its Buyer
Les Schwab Tire Centers on Sept. 29 announced an agreement to sell the Bend, OR-based retail tire and automotive service chain to the Meritage Group, a family-owned investment firm. Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed. Les Schwab has roughly 500 shops across Oregon, Washington, Utah, Wyoming, Nevada, Montana, Idaho, Colorado, California and Alaska.
Nearly 70 years after Les Schwab founded the company — and about a dozen years after his passing — the board and shareholders in late 2019 announced that they would seek to sell the company, hiring an investment banker to court potential buyers.
“The decision to sell has always been about securing the long-term success of the company,” CEO Jack Cuniff said in an online statement. “Meritage Group has a history of preserving culture and values while growing its companies with investment over time. This is a great fit and aligns well with Les’ vision and all we have built together.”
An online statement from the Les Schwab family expressed confidence in Meritage to carry forward the Les Schwab vision into the future. The family wrote: “We are thrilled with this outcome. The company’s long-term outlook, the opportunities for employees and the tremendous importance of our customers will remain as Grandpa always imagined.”
Meritage — which has offices in San Francisco; Greenwich, CT; and New York — had more than $10 billion in assets under management as of Dec. 31, 2019.
Obituary: Len Vogt, Motorist Assurance Program Founder
Leonard “Len” Vogt — co-founder of the Motorist Assurance Program (MAP) and longtime board member for the Automotive Maintenance & Repair Association (AMRA) — died Sept. 19. He was 71.
Vogt spent his entire career devoted to the automotive aftermarket in a variety of roles. His career began in Montgomery Ward’s automotive department, where he held several progressive positions over 35 years before opening his own business, LENCO, in 1998. At LENCO, Vogt represented a handful of niche automotive equipment manufacturers to compete with the marketing strength of larger manufacturers.
In addition to his career achievements, Vogt was known for devoting countless hours to mentoring others and volunteering his time with various organizations focused on helping others in the aftermarket.
He not only served for many years as secretary/treasurer of the AMRA board, but he was a key contributor to the development of the group’s Uniform Inspection & Communication Standards (UICS). He also was actively involved in the Automotive Aftermarket Charitable Foundation (AACF).
In an announcement dated Sept. 21, AMRA and MAP executives paid tribute to Vogt.
“Len spent countless hours with the AMRA staff and has been instrumental in the success of AMRA/MAP and where we are today,” the statement read. “To many of us, he was more than just a board member. He was a colleague and good friend and a great storyteller.
“Whether it was a technical conference or any other industry event, you could always see Len smiling and sharing stories. Len will be deeply missed by everyone whose lives he touched, leaving behind many fond memories for all us. His positive outlook on life was most admirable and a contagious laugh that would brighten anyone’s day.”
AMRA President Jeff Cox worked closely with Vogt and praised him, not only as a mentor and businessman, but also as a friend. “Len and I go back a long time,” Cox said. “We were very close in the last 10 years. Prior to being president, I worked for Bridgestone. Len was a big reason I left Bridgestone and came over to AMRA. He was always a mentor to me, as he was for many others. Without his mentorship and his guidance, I would not be the president of AMRA.”
Cox also recalled Vogt’s perennially positive attitude and his refusal to allow his age to define or limit him.
“He never thought of himself as an older person, and he never acted like an older person” said Cox, who shared a love for hunting with Vogt. “He still had a lot of things he wanted to do. I was going on an elk hunt in September. A year ago, he said he would love to do one elk hunt before he died. As someone in his 70s, doing that or even thinking about doing that, was remarkable. He was never willing to give up what he loved.”
Others remembered Vogt for his fighting spirit, including a family member who called him “a force of nature,” according to his online obituary.
Lynn Parker, AACF president and a friend of Vogt’s, agreed that such a description was fitting for a man who never gave up and continued fighting to the very end. “He was physically a big man, and I always used to tell him ‘Len, you are a big man, but your heart is even bigger,’” Parker said. “We always teased him about the fact that he was like a cat. He was so full of life.
“Any other person would have died from all the complications he had. He just kept going. It was to the point that, when I got the call he had passed, I didn’t believe it. I said ‘you better go check on that’ because he always pulled through.”
Parker credits Vogt’s generosity over the years as one of the drivers behind the success of the foundation. “It’s people like Len Vogt who help make the AACF successful,” Parker said. “Len always supported the foundation. Not only did he donate personal money, but he and (wife) Carol donated a lot of time at our big fundraiser golfing event that was always held on the first day of SEMA. He was a big man, and his passing is going to leave a big hole.”
Paul Lacroix, general manager – Americas region at Midtronics, also served with Vogt on the AMRA/MAP board and remembers how his drive and passion elevated everyone around him.
“Len had a long, successful career in the automotive aftermarket and made a lasting impact on Midtronics” he said. “Beginning with Montgomery Ward in the early 1990s, Len was an important customer for Midtronics. He was always passionate and driven to make the solution better for the technician, and his drive pushed us to get better.
“Later, Len became part of the Midtronics team as a sales representative through his company, LENCO. He was one of the early cheerleaders for conductance testing technology. Len believed and exemplified the core values we hold onto at Midtronics, and that relationship continued all the way to the end.”
Jeff Campbell, AMRA chair and vice president of purchasing for Tire Discounters, remembers Vogt for his mentorship, as well as his generosity and desire to serve the industry in any way he could. “What I respected about Len was his willingness to donate his time to the association” Campbell said. “He put more time into it than anyone else on the board and staff. He always went above and beyond.”
When Campbell first came onto the AMRA board five years ago, he said Vogt helped him learn the ropes and was always available to help provide guidance. “I leaned on him a lot, since he had been there since the beginning,” Campbell recalled. “I was new in 2016 and needed help understanding the bylaws of the association and help with general oversight, and Len was always very transparent and easy to talk to. I always appreciated that.”
Vogt is survived by his wife of 51 years, Carolyn; sons, Brian and Jason; daughter, Kristi; and grandchildren; Josh, Makayla, Katy, Dustin, Kory and Benjamin.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the family plans to hold a memorial service at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that any donations be made to a charity, “which Len would much rather appreciate, such as the American Heart Association or National Parks Conservation Association.”
Uni-Select Reports Sequential Improvement In Market Conditions
Uni-Select Inc. on Sept. 30 provided a business update noting that its sales trends have improved progressively month after month, going from down 45.8% in April to down 10.9% in August. According to the company, U.S. claim counts are gradually recovering, Canadian traffic is getting closer to 2019 levels and U.K. transport use has returned to more normalized levels.
“Market conditions in all three of our segments have improved sequentially since the trough set in April, which is encouraging in the current context. In turn, our monthly organic sales growth has mirrored the improvement in the market,” President and CEO Brent Windom said.
He added that the Canadian Automotive Group and the Parts Alliance U.K. are returning to historical sales levels at a faster rate than FinishMaster U.S.
According to the company, Uni-Select has improved its access to liquidity to over $200 million as of Aug. 31, 2020 — up from $182 million at the end of the second quarter. Management attributed the liquidity improvement to better-than-expected operations.
“We continued executing our ‘Continuous Improvement Plan’ and, as of the end of August, realized over 90% of the targeted $28 million annualized cost savings,” Windom stated. “We will continue to diligently monitor the evolution of COVID-19 and its impact on our business, improve our operations, and transition to automation to enhance organizational speed and position the corporation for growth post-COVID-19. In addition, we continued to focus on our cash management plan. As at the end of August, we had sufficient liquidity and were in compliance with our covenants.”
Uni-Select plans to issue its third-quarter 2020 results Nov. 13.
XL Parts Expands Self-Driving Delivery Alliance With Udelv
Following a pilot project this summer, XL Parts has expanded its driverless delivery partnership with the autonomous delivery van company Udelv. XL Parts plans to use Udelv’s self-driving delivery vans in Houston.
Udelv’s system has been used to operate deliveries on a pre-set public road between two XL Parts-owned stores. Autonomy and parking lot maneuvers are assisted by a teleoperation system located thousands of miles away from the field operation.
Mike Odell, president and CEO of XL Parts and Marubeni Automotive Aftermarket Holdings, called the pilot project impressive in terms of its ability to deliver, “both literally and figuratively.” He added that Udelv’s team is dedicated and has continued to show steady progress.
“Recent events have driven increased demand for contactless delivery,” Odell said. “XL Parts is committed to expanding its partnership with Udelv to allow us to advance our business and provide the highest quality of service at the lowest possible cost for our customers.”
Schrader’s Parent Company Invests In Predictive Maintenance Platform
Sensata Technologies — an industrial technology company that develops sensors and sensor-based products, and parent company to Schrader TPMS Solutions — recently led a round of “Series A” funding for Pitstop, an automotive predictive maintenance platform.
Pitstop plans to use the funds, the amount of which has not been disclosed, to expand market reach, enhance product features and build additional prediction algorithms for the automotive industry. According to an Oct. 1 funding announcement, Sensata’s investment will allow Pitstop to work toward a bumper-to-bumper prognostics platform, benefitting both companies by enhancing their product features and creating new business models.
Pitstop aggregates data to identify vehicle failure before it happens. Its platform ingests time-series data from vehicle telematics along with text-based event data to classify its models. Then, machine learning and artificial intelligence are used to create predictions like component-level failures for batteries, engines or brakes.
Also participating in the recent “Series A” funding were existing investors Ripple Ventures and Hike Ventures.
Dorman Adds Merchandising, Supply Chain Expert To Board Of Directors
Lisa Bachmann has joined the Dorman Products board of directors as an independent director. Bachmann was an executive vice president and chief merchandising and operating officer for the discount retailer Big Lots. Prior to that, she held various roles with Big Lots, including executive vice president of supply chain management, chief information officer, as well as senior vice president of merchandise planning, allocation and presentation.
Bachmann’s appointment expands Dorman’s board to eight directors, six of whom are independent, according to the company. Bachmann will be a member of the board’s audit, compensation, and corporate governance and nominating committees.
The Technical Rubber Company Announces VP Of Global Marketing
The Technical Rubber Company (TRC) has promoted Joe Cole to vice president of global marketing, responsible for leading the development and implementation of marketing plans and strategies “to ensure success in all the industries in which [TRC competes],” according to an announcement dated Sept. 30.
Prior to this, Cole was the marketing director for the company’s TECH Americas businesses and a brand manager for all TRC brands.
TECH is TRC’s global tire and wheel brand.
Kent Automotive To Distribute Lift King Equipment
The Kent Automotive division of Lawson Products has landed a deal to distribute Lift King portable lifting equipment to collision shops, service departments and trucking companies. The Lift King products mechanically lift and move semi-truck hoods, car or truck doors, and pickup beds. They are manufactured by Network 1 Solutions.
“The opportunity to partner with Kent Automotive gives us a knowledgeable field sales team and distribution network to help some of the busiest and largest collision shops and trucking companies across the country,” said Lyn Tetreau, CEO of Network 1 Solutions.
Hiring Goal Set For SK Battery Americas Site In Georgia
SK Innovation plans to hire more than 1,000 skilled workers by the end of 2021 as it prepares for initial production at the first of two electric vehicle battery plants being built in Commerce, GA, about 70 miles northeast of Atlanta.
This follows the recent on-boarding of the company’s first 60 employees in Commerce. They include production supervisors, engineers, and quality and logistics specialists who will set up, work and serve as the trainers for the EV battery production workforce at the two SK Battery America plants under construction.
SK Innovation of South Korea is building two EV battery plants at the Georgia site as part of a $2.60-billion investment in its U.S. battery business that is expected to create more than 2,600 permanent jobs in the area by 2024.
The first SK Battery America plant is scheduled to begin operations in 2021, with mass production in 2022. A second plant at the same site is expected to begin mass production in 2023.
SEMA Opposes California Gas-Powered Cars Ban
SEMA has come forward in opposition to California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recent executive order instructing the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to draft regulations requiring that all new cars and passenger trucks sold in the state be zero-emissions by 2035.
“SEMA is deeply disappointed in Gov. Newsom’s decision to escalate his ongoing feud with the Trump administration at the expense of the consumer and California’s small businesses,” said Daniel Ingber, SEMA’s vice president of government and legal affairs. “SEMA will work with the industry and enthusiasts in opposing the governor’s proposal on all fronts.”
Once drafted, CARB’s proposed regulations will be subject to a regulatory process that includes legal, economic and environmental analyses, as well as public comment and hearings. Newsom’s order also is likely to face numerous legal challenges.
Auto Care Association Receives Funds To Expand ACES, PIES Standards
The International Trade Administration (ITA) has awarded the Auto Care Association $299,000 from its Market Development Cooperator Program (MDCP) to help facilitate the implementation and adoption of ACES and PIES standards in China and Latin America. The funded project will allow the association to organize seminars on standards development and maintenance.
The Auto Care Association will match the MDCP award with an investment of its own resources, as each awardee must pledge at least two-thirds of the project costs and sustain the project after the initial MDCP award period ends.
“Efficiency in the digital supply chain is critical to increasing sales, reducing returns and strengthening the U.S. automotive aftermarket industry,” said Bill Hanvey, president and CEO of the association. “We are very appreciative of this award and look forward to building on our great relationship with the International Trade Administration as we work together to strengthen and grow the auto care industry on a global scale.”
This is the second time the Auto Care Association has received an MDCP award. In 2015, it received funds to expand U.S. exports throughout Latin America through trade missions, technology standards seminars and an international matchmaking program at AAPEX.
Virtual AAPEX Welcomes Students
Students pursuing careers in the automotive aftermarket are invited to attend the Virtual AAPEX Experience taking place Nov. 3-5. Students will have the opportunity to participate in under-the-hood training, learn about career paths and connect with potential employers. Student registration is required and can be completed here. To attend, students must be enrolled in post-secondary automotive training programs or accredited colleges and universities.
Leadership Changes Coming For TBC, Big O Tires, NTW
TBC Corp. has announced Jim Bull as the next vice president and general manager of Big O Tires. Bull currently serves as the east divisional vice president of Big O Tires, overseeing nearly 200 locations across 13 states. Prior to joining Big O, he held leadership roles with Western Auto Supply, Advance Auto Parts and TBC Retail.
He replaces John Kairys, who is joining TBC’s purchasing team as vice president of the TBC Parts & Service Group. As such, Kairys will lead non-tire purchasing initiatives.
For the next few months, Kairys will work alongside Andy Dudash, executive vice president of the Parts & Equipment Buying Group. Dudash plans to retire in March, according to the company. He has been with TBC for 19 years.
Meanwhile, TBC Purchasing Company President and COO Glen Gravatt will retire effective March 31, capping a 36-year career at TBC. In his current capacity, Gravatt has overseen all tire and non-tire purchasing-related activities and relationships for all TBC business units, as well as the commercial and consumer product marketing teams.
Succeeding Gravatt will be Don Byrd, president and COO of National Tire Wholesale (NTW), TBC’s distribution division. Byrd joined TBC in 2018. His background includes leadership roles in distribution, operations and marketing for Michelin North America and Procter & Gamble.
Gravatt and Byrd will work together over the next six months on the leadership transition, according to TBC.
Rodger Smith is joining TBC from Sysco Corp. to lead the NTW organization as president and COO, overseeing all sales initiatives as well as leading NTW. Smith was vice president of national sales for hospitality, travel and retail at Sysco.
TBC also has promoted Greg Ortega to senior vice president and general manager of purchasing for the TBC Tire Group, and named purchasing team members Patricia Del Aguila and Travis Cripe senior directors of retail tire programs and services.
LWG Enters Into Real Estate Deal For 17 Current ASE Division Midas Shops
The Leeds West Groups (LWG) has entered into a long-term agreement with SJD Realty, purchasing ownership interest into all of its 17 Midas properties held in Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma.
SJD was established in 1957 and is principally owned by Steven Altheimer, the former owner and son of the founder of Auto Systems Experts (ASE).
ASE is a division of LWG that was purchased in 2017 from the ASE ESOP board of directors following its purchase of the business from Altheimer in 2001.
The new deal secures the real estate of all 17 properties under the LWG umbrella in long-term leases with acquisitions of all properties spread throughout the life of each lease. The deal goes into effect Dec. 1, with the first acquisition of the 17 parcels of real estate completed by Dec. 31, 2020.
This acquisition solidifies LWG’s real estate ownership control for more than 50% of the ASE division’s real estate. It also marks LWG’s 34th purchase of real estate in its automotive division within the last 24 months.
GB Auto Acquires Oklahoma-Based Tate Boys Tire & Service
GB Auto Service, a portfolio company of the Greenbriar Equity Group, has expanded into Oklahoma with the acquisition of Tate Boys Tire & Service. GB Auto also owns brands in California, Nevada, Arizona and Texas. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Founded in 1988, Tate Boys has seven shops in northeast Oklahoma: two in Bartlesville and one each in Broken Arrow, Catoosa, Owasso, Skiatook and South Tulsa.
The acquired shops will continue to do business as Tate Boys under GB Auto’s ownership. “Tate Boys leadership remains intact and will continue being as much a part of the community as ever,” said GB Auto CEO Frank Kneller.
According to the company, the transaction positions GB Auto as the sixth-largest independent tire and automotive service company in the United States.
Valvoline Buying 33 Quick Lubes In Idaho, Missouri And Kansas
Valvoline Inc. on Oct. 2 announced plans to acquire 33 quick lubes in Idaho, Missouri and Kansas in two separate transactions. Both acquisitions are expected to close early in the current fiscal quarter ending Dec. 31, 2020. Financial terms for the deals were not disclosed.
The company has signed a definitive agreement with L&F Enterprises, which does business as Einstein’s Oilery, to purchase 12 quick lubes in the Boise, Idaho area. The shops will be rebranded as Valvoline Instant Oil Change (VIOC) after closing of the transaction.
Valvoline also has signed a definitive agreement with franchisee Westco Lube Inc. to acquire 21 existing VIOC service centers in the Kansas City area as well as in Topeka and Wichita, KS.
Valvoline operates and franchises approximately 1,400 quick lubes. It bills itself as the No.-2 chain in the United States and the No. 3 chain in Canada by the number of locations.
Strickland Brothers Expanding Into Georgia, Tennessee
Strickland Brothers 10 Minute Oil Change is expanding into Georgia and Tennessee, new states for the company.
Al and Michael Jaramillo will open a Strickland Brothers service center in the Atlanta area, while Brad and Cathy Freeman plan to open three Strickland Brothers shops in the South Atlanta area.
Meanwhile, Strickland has acquired Express Lube of Tennessee Inc. (ELT), marking Strickland Brothers’ entry into Tennessee. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. ELT is based in Shelbyville, with additional locations in Lawrenceburg and Tullahoma.
Generational Equity, a mergers and acquisitions advisor for privately held businesses, advised ELT on the sale.
Bosch Partners With Web Chat, Contactless Payment Provider
Bosch has entered into a strategic collaboration with Broadly to bring various reputation management and customer communications tools to Bosch Car Service shops.
Participating independent repair shop shops get access to Broadly’s platform, which integrates current shop management tools and infrastructure, along with training to help them grow their businesses. This includes web chat, text messaging, automated review requests and contactless payment services. For more information, visit getbroadly.com/bosch.
Spiffy Introduces Vehicle Disinfection Verification App
Mobile, on-demand car care provider Get Spiffy Inc. has released a free vehicle disinfection verification app, SpiffySafe, that provides rental car companies, ride-hailing drivers and car-sharing hosts with a 40-point checklist for properly disinfecting their vehicles.
Once a checklist is completed, it’s encrypted and stored for future verification searches. Passengers and renters can look up vehicles by license plate or VIN numbers to find out when they were last disinfected.
“As we continue through this pandemic, it’s become clear that there’s a need for more detailed disinfection verification, particularly for the rental industry and shared mobility,” said Spiffy CEO Scot Wingo. “We see the SpiffySafe app as a means to promote effective disinfection practices for drivers and operators, which can put passengers at ease.”
Spiffy offers a range of zero-contact car washing, detailing and disinfection services for vehicles and facilities in addition to oil changes, tire work and routine maintenance. Service is performed on-site at fleet lots, office parks and residences.
The company’s services are available in a number of cities, including Atlanta, Charlotte, Denver, Los Angeles, Miami, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Diego, St. Louis and Washington, DC.
In related news, Spiffy will present at Venture Atlanta, a venture capital conference scheduled for Oct. 21-22.
TIA Offering Retail Tire Store Manager Training
The Tire Industry Association (TIA) is partnering with the training company MOHR Retail on an October online training class targeted at retail tire store managers and assistant managers.
The Retail Tire Store Leadership program is designed to help tire store managers develop the interpersonal and leadership skills needed to retain, engage and enhance their teams’ productivity, as well as deliver exceptional performance and customer service.
The four-week online class features two, two-hour sessions per week starting Tuesday, Oct. 13, and ending Thursday, Nov. 5. The course has four modules …
• Foundations: Role of the Leader.
• Setting Performance Expectations.
• Improving Below-Standard Performance.
• Effective Floor Supervision: Coaching in Real-Time.
Glen Nicholson — a former automotive service technician, tire store manager, district manager and past senior director of retail training for TBC Corp. — will teach the course. Nicholson is well known in the tire industry as an expert in employee training. He was TIA president in 2015-‘16.
The cost is $750 per student. Class size is limited to 16 people, with a minimum of nine. Click here for more information on the class.
UTI Hires VP To Lead Blended Learning Development
Universal Technical Institute (UTI) has hired Jeff Bergin to lead its blended learning initiatives as vice president of learning products and experience. Bergin was vice president of professional learning for Western Governors University. Prior to that, he was vice president of learning research and design for Macmillan Learning, where he led efforts to expedite Macmillan’s digital transformation, and researched and designed a blended learning platform.
According to UTI, its blending learning model will combine hands-on training with instructor-facilitated online learning in an effort to increase access for students, as well as optimize UTI’s physical footprint.
“Our response to the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated our journey toward blended learning,” said CEO Jerome Grant. “And because today’s technicians perform many day-to-day tasks and continuing education courses online or on a digital device, this training model can give our students an even better and more relevant education experience.”
Lithia Announces Proposed Public Offering Of Common Stock
Lithia Motors plans to offer $700 million of shares of its “Class A” common stock in a public offering. In addition, Lithia intends to grant the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase as much as an additional $105 million of shares of common stock.
Management intends to use the net proceeds of the offering for general corporate purposes, which may include financing acquisitions, repaying or refinancing debt, working capital and capital expenditures.
Concurrently, the vehicle retailer plans to offer $500 million in senior notes due 2031 via a private offering.
Medford, OR-based Lithia operates 188 locations representing 30 brands across 20 states as of June 30, 2020.
Truck Service Chain Adds Industry Veteran As VP
Jim Reed is now the vice president of Grand Island, NE-based Boss Truck Shop, which has 47 locations across 23 states, providing repairs, tires and roadside assistance to the over-the-road trucking industry. Reed most recently was the vice president of truck service new business for TravelCenters of America, where he helped grow TA’s full-service truck repair network by more than 85%.
Bendix CVS Acquires Full Ownership Of Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake
Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems, a subsidiary of Knorr-Bremse, has acquired full ownership of Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake (BSFB), a joint venture it formed in 2004 with Dana Inc.
Dana had previously held a 20% stake in the joint venture, which combined the air disc brake, slack adjuster and actuator business units from Bendix with the foundation drum brake business from Dana. Both companies contributed product and technology, as well as manufacturing and distribution leadership.
Now, Bendix plans to incorporate the wheel-end business as one of its five “Centers of Competency” (COC) and change the name to Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems, effective Jan. 1.
The Bendix wheel-end COC will remain based in Elyria, OH and will continue operating its research and design center in Kalamazoo, MI, as well as a recently expanded wheel-end manufacturing plant in Bowling Green, KY.
“Bendix and Dana have enjoyed a strong and vibrant partnership, as we have successfully guided the strategic path of the joint venture for the past 16 years,” said Mike Hawthorne, president and CEO of Bendix. “Now, we look forward to continuing that relationship as we undertake other joint projects and initiatives. As it was with the formation of BSFB, there are considerable mutual benefits when industry leaders collaborate. We anticipate the future will hold exciting opportunities for both of our companies.”
“Bendix has been a longstanding and outstanding partner in our brake joint venture, and we look forward to continued technical collaboration with them as we support the needs of our mutual customers,” said Ryan Laskey, senior vice president of Dana Commercial Vehicle Drive & Motion Systems.
XPEL Reaches Deal To Acquire French Distributor
XPEL Inc. has agreed to acquire certain assets of France Auto Racing, a distributor of automotive paint protection film serving France. The business will be run as a part of XPEL’s Netherlands-based European operation, where the company plans to add additional account management, training and customer service personnel. Additionally, XPEL will offer French-language training onsite in France and at its Netherlands training center.
Terms of the pending transaction were not disclosed. Closing is subject to customary conditions and is expected in the fourth quarter.
Icahn Enterprises Announces Management Succession Plan
Icahn Enterprises and its investment management subsidiary, Icahn Capital, have entered into an agreement with Brett Icahn, the son of Chairman Carl Icahn. It calls for Brett Icahn and a new team of portfolio managers to manage a portfolio of assets within Icahn Enterprises’ investment segment over a seven-year period, subject to certain veto rights by Carl Icahn.
Brett Icahn also will join the Icahn Enterprises board of directors, as well as purchase $10 million in depositary units from Carl Icahn.
Icahn Enterprises also announced a management succession plan, calling for Brett Icahn to succeed Carl Icahn as chairman of Icahn Enterprises and CEO of the investment segment following the end of the seven-year term of the agreement … or earlier, if Carl Icahn should so determine.
Icahn Enterprises is a master limited partnership and a diversified holding company engaged in a variety of business segments, including automotive. Icahn Automotive is engaged in the retail and wholesale distribution of auto parts (AutoPlus and Pep Boys) and in providing automotive repair and maintenance services (AAMCO, Precision Tune and Pep Boys).
Icahn Enterprises’ investment segment and its automotive segment are separate businesses under the Icahn Enterprises umbrella.
We are currently seeking to hire an Aftermarket Product/Catalog Manager to join our team and improve customer support, covering current and new product introduction of aftermarket products. This individual will be an important part of developing GSP North America strategies … (more) … Click here to find out more.
Looking to augment Inside sales/telemarketing/customer support for group approved programs. Make calls to jobber level accounts from home. Great for a retired factory or independent rep looking to supplement income by working 20 to 25 hours/wk. … (more) … Click here to find out more.
We are looking for an accomplished Vice President of National Sales to join our growing team to expand distribution and sales of Sea Foam products throughout various channels to include aftermarket retailers, heavy-duty truck, marine, farm, hardware, C-store, motor sports and small engine. … (more) … Click here to find out more.
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.
People Watching 10/5/20
• Jerit Daley of Brake Parts Inc. has been honored as the S.A.E. Warehouse 2019 Representative of the Year.
• Michael Beam has joined Idemitsu Lubricants America as a senior account manager – aftermarket. Beam previously was a regional sales manager with Total Lubricants.
• GSP North America has added Heather Reid as inventory manager to oversee finished goods inventory. Reid comes with more than 20 years of inventory supply chain management experience. GSP North America is a manufacturer of CV axles, hub assemblies, loaded strut assemblies, engine mounts and ATV/UTV axles.
• Rodney McLean has joined Enterprise Kaizen, a management consulting business based in Milwaukee, as a managing partner. He was the executive director of business development improvement and program management at Tenneco Inc. Prior to that, McLean was Tenneco’s executive director of merger and acquisition integration, where he worked on separating business units of the combined Tenneco/Federal-Mogul into two companies.
• Mark Nugent, who was BBB Industries’ senior director of strategy and business development, has joined Comcast NBCUniversal as senior director of business development. Nugent also spent more than 10 years with Cummins Inc. in various product planning and business development roles.
• Sheila Andrews will be the next executive director of the Independent Distributors Association (IDA), a global non-profit association for independent businesses that supply parts, service and equipment to the heavy construction industry. Andrews has spent the last eight years with the Auto Care Association, including time as director of heavy-duty markets and director of government affairs. This included the role of staff liaison for the Heavy Duty Distribution Association.
• Nancy Dickerson has left Bridgestone, where she served as manager of learning and development, to become a learning partner – orientation at Stanley Security. Dickerson was director of commercial sales training at Advance Auto Parts from 2009-’15.
• Meritor Inc. has announced the addition of Fazal Merchant to its board of directors, with a term expiring at the 2023 annual meeting of shareholders. Merchant recently retired as the co-CEO of Tanium Inc., a private information technology security and management company. His appointment increases the size of the company’s board to 10 members.
• Tom Loftus is retiring as an executive vice president and the CFO of VSE Corp., parent company to Wheeler Fleet Solutions. Loftus, who joined VSE in 1978, became its finance chief in 2002. He will remain with the company through year’s end to help with the transition of his duties. VSE expects to name Loftus’ successor during the fourth quarter.
• Neil De Koker, founding president and former CEO of the Original Equipment Suppliers Association (OESA), has resigned from the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) board of directors, where he was chairman but will now hold the title of chairman emeritus. De Koker retired from OESA in 2013.
• Michael Gimm has joined Mann + Hummel as a logistics manager. Gimm is a nearly 20-year veteran of Meritor Inc., most recently serving as senior manager of logistics and packaging.
News Briefs 10/5/20
• Everyday Diesel Treatment from Lubrication Specialties Inc. and Hot Shot’s Secret is now available at AutoZone, O’Reilly Auto Parts and Advance Auto Parts stores nationwide. The additive is designed to improve the power and fuel economy of diesel vehicles.
• Turn 14 Distribution has added Road Armor’s line of off-road products to its line card, as well as off-road products for Subarus and CUVs from LP Aventure.
• Redline Detection’s new SpeedSmoke diagnostic leak detector is available exclusively through Matco Tools for a limited time. SpeedSmoke was designed to address the proliferation of boosted vehicles in the aftermarket, according to Redline Detection.
• CRC Industries has launched a new multi-use automotive parts cleaner, CRC Parts Cleaner & Degreaser Pro Series. The new offering is designed to clean a variety of metal parts, including carburetors, chokes, air intakes, throttle bodies, brake drums, rotors and calipers.
• Holley Performance Products has created a digital magazine, Motor Life, providing technical and how-to content along with car features, event coverage and more.
• Champion Brands has debuted The Blue Flame Diesel Blog to serve as a resource for diesel performance enthusiasts. It includes links to diesel fuel prices, truck stop locations, technical information, torque specs and distributors.
• Nissan’s NISMO Performance brand is starting a new line of off-road parts — including a high-performance suspension kit, off-road bumper, off-road lighting and off-road wheels — for the 2005-2020 Frontier, 2016-2021 Titan and 2005-2015 Xterra. The line also will be offered on the forthcoming, next-generation Frontier. Products will be available from Nissan dealers, select NISMO retailers and via NISMOparts.nissanusa.com.
• Sirco Industries of Elkhart, IN is now an authorized Bulldog HD Shocks distributor. Bulldog HD Shocks, which are manufactured and sold exclusively by DMA Sales, is a complete, ultra-premium line of more than 271 shock absorbers for the commercial vehicle market.
• The Automotive Content Professionals Network (ACPN) is looking for volunteers to judge entries in its web-based Content Excellence Awards competition. Submissions are judged by a panel of ACPN committee members and volunteer automotive content professionals. Participating judges can receive credit toward their Automotive Content Professional (ACP) designations. The deadline to volunteer is Oct.30. Click here for more information or to apply.
• Radiator Genie has unveiled an updated version of radiatorgenie.com.
Event & Trade Show Briefs 10/5/20
• AAPEX organizers are hosting a webinar Oct. 6 on the changing landscape of low-cost countries. This presentation will focus on how trade, tariffs, coronavirus constraints and navigating the “new normal” in global supply chains are increasingly common themes in today’s board rooms. The scheduled speakers are Steve Ganster and Pilar Dieter of YCP Solidiance. Click here to register.
• The Auto Care Association’s Import Vehicle Community has released a new episode in its Coffee & Conversation series, addressing challenges importers face from logistical issues unfolding at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. It features Steve Hughes, president and CEO of HCS International; Kenneth O’Brien, COO of the Gemini Shippers Association; and Weston LaBar, CEO of the Harbor Truckers Association.
• SAE International will hold a Brake Colloquium Digital Summit Oct. 12-13. The conference will address recent discoveries in brake material and systems for OEs and the aftermarket, along with end users. Click here for additional information.
• The Automotive Maintenance & Repair Association (AMRA) will host a free webinar Oct. 14 featuring John Dixon of DRiV Inc. and Garage Gurus discussing the diagnosis of modern chassis systems. Click here for more information.
A “People Watching” item from last week’s issue of The Greensheet omitted the first name of a new member of Tenneco’s board of directors. The write-up should have stated the following: “Belden Inc. Executive Chairman John Stroup has joined the Tenneco Inc. board of directors. Before assuming the role of executive chairman of Belden this year, Stroup was the company’s chairman, president and CEO. His background also includes time as a group executive – motion group at Danaher Corp. According to Tenneco, there is no arrangement or understanding between Stroup and any other person pursuant to which he was selected as a director. Additionally, Stroup has no family relationships with any of the directors or executive officers of Tenneco.”