Last Issue Of The Year!
This is the last issue of The Greensheet for 2020. Our next issue will be dated Jan. 4, 2021. Our offices will be closed from Monday, Dec. 21, 2020 through Friday, Jan. 1, 2021. We will be back in the office starting Monday, Jan. 4, 2021. Best wishes for a prosperous New Year!
Quick Hits …
(A few short items to get us started this week)
• The December 2020 Monthly Tune-Up report from Jefferies LLC indicates that channel feedback and recent mild weather supports the view of slowing demand into year-end. “Notably, supplier feedback projects overall market contraction in 2020, as surprising strength in DIY and share gains by the major parts retailers was more than offset by smaller distributor weakness, potentially making the industry growth ‘hurdle’ in 2021 somewhat less challenging than consensus opinion,” analysts Bret Jordan, Mark Jordan and Ethan Huntley wrote.
• Jefferies’ predictive vehicle miles traveled (VMT) model calls for October VMT of 255.40 billion miles (down 10% year-over-year), with an upper limit of 266.60 billion miles and a lower limit of 244.30 billion miles. Additionally, Jefferies’ model predicts that November VMT was 246.00 billion miles (down 6% year-over-year), with an upper limit of 258.10 billion miles and a lower limit of 233.70 billion miles.
• Winhere Brake Parts has recognized John Oster as its 2020 Sales Representative of the Year. Oster, a 41-year industry veteran, recently celebrated his 24th year with the Tall Sales Company.
• Turn 14 Distribution has awarded its 2020 Supplier of the Year Award to WeatherTech/MacNeil Automotive Products.
Pronto Merging With The Network
The National Pronto Association and Automotive Distribution Network will merge Jan. 1 to form the Pronto Automotive Distribution Network.
Pronto President Robert Roos will lead the new organization as president, while the Network President David Prater will serve as executive vice president of the Pronto Automotive Distribution Network.
Headquartered in Grapevine, TX, the Pronto Automotive Distribution Network will represent more than 250 members across North America with an estimated $5 billion in annual revenue. Members will continue to market under the Pronto, Parts Plus and Auto Pride names.
Additionally, the Pronto Automotive Distribution Network — together with Federated Auto Parts — will comprise the Automotive Parts Services Group.
Roos said that Pronto members and staff are excited to partner with The Network. “The similarities between our two groups are significant, making the transition into one company a much easier path,” Roos said. “This merger will benefit Network and Pronto members, as well as our valued vendor partners, by increasing our membership footprint throughout North America and helping to ensure our collective future viability.
“In addition, the merger will enhance our position within The Group, working alongside our partners at Federated. I can’t think of a better way to start off the new year.”
Prater added: “By forming the Pronto Automotive Distribution Network, we will have the ability to build on past success; make a greater impact in the marketplace; and identify more ways to benefit our members, supplier partners and associates. Because the aftermarket is always evolving, taking this proactive step and merging two of the major program groups will help ensure that our combined membership is well-positioned to compete and achieve mutual success well into the future.”
The Greensheet inquired about the new organization’s status regarding both 1Parts Global Aftermarket Services and Nexus North America/Nexus Automotive International. Roos said that once the merger is official Jan. 1, 2021, “that will be only the beginning.”
“David and I will have many items to address at the outset, including affiliations with international trade groups that bring value to our members, and it is our intention to review these items together as quickly as possible following the merger,” Roos said. “Until then, we will remain individual associations, confidentially conducting business on behalf of our respective memberships.”
The Alliance Honors Top Channel Partners Of 2020
The Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance has recognized Gates Corp. as its 2020 Channel Partner of the Year for consistently performing with a high level of distinction, maintaining exceptional support of the Alliance’s brand strategy, and repeatedly scoring high in all award categories. The following channel partners also were honored for their efforts …
• Customer Service: BBB Industries.
• Technology Support: Dorman Products.
• Logistics: DuraGo.
• Training Support: Standard Motor Products.
• Manpower: Wix.
• Exclusive National Brand: Perfect Stop by Bosch.
• Lone Star: East Penn Manufacturing.
• Marketing: DRiV Inc.
Additionally, Alliance Parts Warehouse, in collaboration with the Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance, named Sunsong as its 2020 Diamond Award Winner.
NPW Acquires Denver-Based EPWI
Miami-based NPW Companies has acquired Denver-based Engine & Performance Warehouse Inc. (EPWI), which is billed as the largest engine parts specialty warehouse distribution company in the United States. EPWI boasts more than 6,500 active customers, including automotive jobbers, machine shops and engine rebuilders.
In addition to having a strong focus on the western United States, EPWI has a national reach. It has 13 warehouse locations across 10 states, including locations in Texas, Oklahoma and Tennessee. The addition of EPWI further expands NPW’s footprint, which now totals 30 warehouse locations along with 50 stores across the United States and Canada.
“EPWI is known for experienced, knowledgeable employees; robust logistics capabilities; substantial inventories; consistent performance and strong supplier partnerships,” said Larry Pacey, founder, president and CEO of NPW Companies. “They make for a fantastic addition to the NPW family.”
EPWI’s master catalog includes more than 100 engine parts product lines and over 200,000 SKUs. It supports 100-plus brand names, as well as a handful of private-label brands, including EPWI Private Label, E-Force Performance, E-Direct Value Brand and Engine Pro & Engine Pro Performance.
“NPW shares the same values as we do, along with the same challenges, and we are growing a highly successful entity,” said Paul Van Woensel, president of EPWI. “So many things are required of a distributor these days, and the list keeps growing. The strengths of our companies when combined create the critical mass to address these changing requirements and successfully carry us into the future.”
NPW is an Auto Value and Bumper to Bumper shareholder owner of the Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance as well as a member of The AAM Group. NPW services more than 150 certified service centers and over 100 Parts Pro jobbers.
AutoZone Reports Second Straight Quarter Of Double-Digit Same-Store Sales Growth
For the fiscal first quarter ended Nov. 21, 2010, AutoZone Inc. reported $3.15 billion in net sales — an increase of $361.22 million, or 12.9%, compared to the same period a year ago. Sales were higher than management forecasted at the beginning of the quarter and higher than the company’s historic norms.
Domestic same-store sales rose 12.3%. While same-store sales were lower on a sequential basis, same-store sales for the three months ended Aug. 29, 2020 were up a record 21.8% due, in large part, to economic stimulus payments. The fiscal first quarter’s 12.3% same-store sales growth was still quite strong yet not as consistent.
Chairman, President and CEO Bill Rhodes noted on AutoZone’s Dec. 8 earnings call that last quarter’s sales were more consistent, particularly across the first 12 weeks of the 16-week period. The recently completed quarter was a bit less consistent. Same-store sales increased 16.5% over the first four weeks of the fiscal first quarter, followed by a 11.4% increase over the middle four weeks and then an 8.8% increase over the last four weeks.
“The deceleration appears to be related to a combination of normal seasonality and how far away we were from the benefits of economic stimulus,” Rhodes told analysts on the call, adding that traffic was far more beneficial to same-store sales than ticket growth “by quite a wide margin.”
Despite the deceleration, Rhodes said AutoZone’s same-store sales performance did outperform management’s expectations, which contemplated above-normal growth but not double-digit same-store sales.
TRENDS & DRIVERS … “We were anxious to see what would happen as we got further away from enhanced unemployment benefits. While the initial stimulus package ended at the end of July, there were still funds being distributed on a state-by-state basis at lower levels this fall,” Rhodes said on the call. “As you recall last quarter, we reported finishing the quarter with comp sales running at 16.5%, and you can see we remained strong for this quarter.
“While our enhanced sales growth declined over the quarter to still historically high levels, we believe the noise around the election, the reemergence of COVID in many areas and the beginning of seasonal weather patterns hurt foot traffic, particularly in the last four-week period. While it remains extremely hard to predict sales performance in the near term, we believe the fundamentals of our business remain quite strong.”
Both AutoZone’s retail and commercial businesses showed strength in the first quarter of fiscal 2021.
DIY same-store sales rose approximately 13%, and AutoZone continued to experience historically unprecedented share gains, according to Rhodes. “The data show that the industry has been growing in the high single digits, and our sales have been growing at close to double that rate,” Rhodes told analysts on the call.
Domestic commercial sales increased 11.9% to $695.34 million. Notably, the company averaged more than $58 million in weekly commercial sales, which was more than $11,500 in sales per program per week — up 9.2% on a per-program basis versus $10,600 per week last year.
“While average weekly sales per program decelerated from last quarter, that is normal as we change seasons. Moving forward, we expect our commercial business to show continued strength as we execute on our growth initiatives and gain additional share in this space,” Rhodes said.
A closer look at AutoZone’s trends for the quarter shows that, while sales have increased in merchandise categories like brakes, rotors and motor oil, they aren’t growing as fast as other categories, attributable to last year’s mild winter and lower current miles driven.
“We believe miles driven will continue to improve, and maintenance parts will increase as miles driven go up,” Rhodes said. “And, we know from history that the muted brake and rotor growth is also still being impacted by last year’s very mild winter. As for this year’s winter, all indications we have call for a normal winter. Anything normal in this environment would be welcome.
“We expect that our sales growth from the pandemic-related surge will moderate over time. However, we will continue to invest in growth initiatives in both retail and commercial that position us well for the future. In addition, we continue to believe our products and services will be in high demand during more difficult economic times, and this resiliency gives us significant confidence about our prospects.”
SUPPLY CHAIN & MARGINS … AutoZone’s inventory increased 3.7% for the quarter, attributable to new stores and improved product assortment. Notably, the company’s inventory growth was well below its sales growth of 12.9% for the quarter.
“Last quarter, we talked about the pressure our supply chain was experiencing to make sure we were in stock and replenishing the stores on a timely basis. I’m very happy to say, today, we feel we have made significant progress in this area,” Rhodes told analysts on the call. “Our in-stocks are much improved, and our supply chain and most of our vendor partners have done an exceptional job reacting to the unprecedented surge in volumes that have now lasted six-plus months.
“The progress has been significant, but at the end of the quarter, we had only closed about half of the gap from our depths to our normal levels of in-stock.”
For the quarter, while AutoZone’s gross profit rose 11.6% to $1.68 billion, its gross margin slipped 62 basis points to 53.1%. About a third of the downward pressure on margins came from one-time markdowns on COVID-related goods, such as hand sanitizer, where AutoZone experienced a significant slowdown in sales velocity. Another third came from higher loyalty transactions, which translate to higher sales and profits but slightly lower margins. The remainder of the downward pressure came from mix and pricing.
MISCELLANEOUS … Other items of interest from AutoZone’s quarterly report and earnings call …
• Net income rose 26.3% to $442.43 million, attributable to the company’s strong topline growth.
• During the quarter, AutoZone opened 39 new stores in the United States and two in Brazil, giving the company a total of 5,924 stores in the United States, 621 in Mexico and 45 stores in Brazil.
• The company opened three new megahubs during the quarter, giving it a total 47 megahub locations.
• AutoZone now has commercial programs in 85% of its domestic stores.
• “All Other” sales, which includes Alldata, increased 5.8% to $52.66 million.
• The company repurchased 584,379 shares of its common stock for $678.30 million during the quarter at an average price of $1,161 per share.
• At quarter’s end, AutoZone had $117.60 million remaining under its current share repurchase authorization. — Marc Vincent
Jefferies Upgrades AutoZone To Buy
Jefferies LLC on Dec. 11 upgraded AutoZone Inc. to a “buy” rating and set a $1,325 price target on the company’s stock. AutoZone’s stock closed trading Dec. 10 at $1,137.08.
Jefferies’ rationale for the upgrade is based, in large part, on management’s efforts to grow DIFM market share, which the analysts believe will bolster AutoZone’s long-term growth.
“We view AutoZone’s ability to take share from smaller competitors in the faster-growing commercial/DIFM segment as key to long-term sales growth,” analysts Bret Jordan, Mark Jordan and Ethan Huntley wrote in their Dec. 11 upgrade notice. “Notably, many smaller independents and warehouse distributions appear to have struggled in the pandemic-impacted operating environment and accelerated the long-term shift of share to the ‘Big Three’ auto parts retailers.”
They also stated that AutoZone should be able to grow its DIFM penetration, noting that 15% of the company’s domestic store base (roughly 880 locations) still does not offer a commercial program.
Additionally, the analysts contend that AutoZone’s significant DIY mix (78% of sales) should provide near-term support, pointing out that a soft economy and further stimulus is likely to boost older vehicle maintenance.
Meyer Distributing Expanding Service In Southwest
Meyer Distributing has added a cross-dock in San Diego. The facility has a direct, next-day feed from the company’s Kingman, AZ distribution hub, which houses a large inventory of automotive accessories and RV parts.
“We were servicing the Southwest market with 50,000 square feet in Ontario, CA since we entered the market with our first customers in 2013,” said CEO Jeff Braun. “We are thrilled now to move Kingman, AZ into 250,000 square feet, expandable in three more phases to 1 million square feet.
“Between the facility and inventory, we’ll have $60 million dollars of investment in the region with next-day service to New Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada and Utah. The new facility will be fully operational Jan. 1, and we are looking for vendors to partner with on substantial increases to supply in the region.”
P.E. Firm Inks Deal To Buy Truck Hero
L Catterton, a consumer-focused private equity firm, has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Truck Hero Inc.
CCMP Capital Advisors, current holder of a majority interest in Truck Hero, and Truck Hero’s founding CEO, Bill Reminder, will remain “significant investors” as part of the deal, according to an announcement dated Dec. 8. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
“With their extensive knowledge and proven success in developing and elevating consumer brands, L Catterton is the model partner for the next phase of Truck Hero’s growth,” said Reminder, who will retain his current leadership position, post-transaction.
Truck Hero provides consumers with a range of branded automotive accessories for trucks, Jeeps and cars, including hard and soft truck bed covers, truck caps, bedliners and more. Its family of brands includes Advantage Truck Accessories, Alloy USA, AMP Research, A.R.E., Auto Ventshade, BAK Industries, BACKRACK, BedRug, Belmor, Bushwacker, Extang, Husky Liners, LUND, N-FAB, OMIX, Rampage Products, Retrax, RoadWorks, Roll-N-Lock, Rugged Liner, Rugged Ridge, Stampede, Superlift, Tonno Pro, TruXedo and UnderCover.
“We are thrilled to acquire Truck Hero and partner with Bill and CCMP at this exciting moment in the company’s history of market leadership, innovation and growth,” said Marc Magliacano, managing partner at L Catterton. “We are especially excited about the potential for RealTruck.com, Truck Hero’s direct-to-customer digital marketplace that has become the ‘go to’ online retailer for truck enthusiasts across the country.”
Highlander Partners, a Dallas-based private investment firm, also will remain an investor in Truck Hero.
Highlander acquired Lund International in 2011 and, after nine add-on acquisitions, merged it with Truck Hero in 2019. Partnering with CCMP, which acquired Truck Hero from TA Associates in 2017, Highlander assisted in growing Truck Hero.
“Bill Reminder and his team have demonstrated incredible vision and executed a perfect strategy. We believe they will continue to have immense success, and L Catterton is an ideal partner to take Truck Hero to another level,” said Jeff Hull, president and CEO of Highlander and a director of Truck Hero. “We have thoroughly enjoyed our partnership with CCMP and really appreciate the close working arrangement we had. This is an outstanding outcome for everyone.”
The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2021, subject to customary closing conditions.
Jefferies LLC was lead financial adviser, Robert W. Baird & Company was financial adviser and Ropes & Gray LLP was legal counsel to Truck Hero.
BofA Securities was financial adviser and Kirkland & Ellis LLP was legal counsel to the L Catterton-led investor consortium.
Katten was legal counsel to Highlander.
Debt financing will be provided by Jefferies and BofA Securities.
Truck Accessories Group Readies New Production Facility
The Truck Accessories Group (TAG) plans to open a fifth fiberglass cap manufacturing facility. Production is expected to begin at the new facility, which is located in Mexico, in early 2021.
“Over the past year, we have recognized a growing demand for capacity,” said TAG President John Aleva. “That, along with a thriving fleet vehicle market and increased interest in specialized projects within the automotive industry, made this the right time to extend our capabilities.”
Elkhart, IN-based TAG is a large manufacturer and supplier of fiberglass and aluminum truck caps and tonneau covers. Its brands include Leer, SnugTop, Century, Pace Edwards by Leer and BedSlide.
CRP Automotive Expects More Targeted Meetings, Workshops In Virtual Format In 2021
When the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered trade shows and conferences earlier this year, New Jersey-based CRP Automotive was forced to reimagine how to reach clients and developed an approach that may forever change how it does business. The company launched the CRP Virtual Roadshow early this fall using an online platform to conduct virtual one-on-one meetings and workshops with key customers.
CRP Automotive Director of Sales Warren Morley hailed the roadshows as a silver lining in the cloud of an unprecedented economic crisis, enabling the company to build stronger relationships with its clients and drive more business.
“This definitely created a buzz,” Morley said of the roadshows. “We’ve got a few prospects that now want to talk to us within the next couple of weeks. They got wind of what we were doing and didn’t want to be left out. Our goal was to have this kind of reaction — we wanted to differentiate CRP from everyone else. And, we wanted our customers to view us as proactive — we were making lemonade out of lemons.”
Initially, CRP Automotive was just trying to figure out a way to stay afloat in the midst of the COVID tidal wave. “Back in March, the automotive aftermarket took a gut punch with the pandemic,” Morley said. “We knew we had to reinvent ourselves.
“We have some military folks in our company, and we decided to lead with the Marine Creed, which says ‘Improvise, Adapt and Overcome.’ We knew things were shutting down around us, but we were not going to let these circumstances define how our year was going to go.”
In an effort to recreate the tradeshow experience, CRP in September kicked off the roadshow, a six-week series of virtual workshops and meetings that allowed reps to learn more about their clients through one-on-one, deep-dive sessions, according to CRP’s Vice President of Marketing and Sales Mike Palm.
“One of the objectives that are always a part of this business is talking to people about new products,” Palm said. “The opportunity here as far as the quality of meeting with clients was far superior to the quality we had at AAPEX due to how it was structured with one-on-one conversations. We had product line managers and buyers making decisions right on the spot for parts we were putting in front of them.”
The virtual approach also fostered stronger relationships between existing clients and reps, creating more demand for CRP and its products. “We’ve had customers tell us that we should have been doing this a long time ago,” Morley said. “Customers have said to us ‘guys, this has been awesome’ and ‘can we do this on a regular basis?’
“We have customers we only met with once or twice a year who now want to meet monthly or quarterly. They love the open communication and are very appreciative of getting in-depth information about all of our products.”
What’s on tap for 2021? According to Morley, the plan is to build on the success of the roadshows with more targeted meetings and workshops, using the virtual format. “We want to create a rhythm of action around this,” Morley said. “We will be doing something along the same lines as the roadshows, and I envision this taking place each quarter.” — Susan Pappas
Dura-Bond Names New President, Announces Two Promotions
Joe Kerick will become president of the Dura-Bond Bearing Company on Jan. 1, with Chuck Barnett in 2021 continuing as chairman and CEO.
Additionally, Andre Moser will move from general sales and marketing manager to vice president of sales and marketing, and Jennifer Pasquali will go from controller to CFO.
Kerick, a veteran of the transmission and aftermarket replacement parts industries, joined Dura-Bond in March as its new product development manager. His background includes time as the director of product management for Restoration Parts Unlimited, a senior category manager with Transtar Industries and a senior product manager at Standard Motor Products.
Akebono Hires Regional Sales Manager
Akebono Brake Corp. has added Matt Kenefick to its aftermarket team as eastern region sales manager.
Kenefick will be based in Atlanta and receive support from Bill Perlmutter, district sales manager, who is based in New Jersey, covering Pennsylvania, New York and all Northeast states; and Dom Ramirez, district sales manager, who is based in Chicago, covering the Midwest as well as overseeing key customers in Mexico and Latin America.
He joins Akebono from K&N Engineering, where he was a regional sales manager. His career also has included stints as eastern regional sales manager with Lumileds, an area sales manager for Dorman Products and a territory sales manager for Gates Corp.
Kenefick is a graduate of Northwood University’s Automotive Aftermarket Management program.
New Head For ZF Aftermarket
Philippe Colpron will take over as an executive vice president and head of ZF’s aftermarket division on Jan. 1. In parallel, he will continue to lead Fleet Solutions, a business of ZF’s Commercial Vehicle Control Systems division (formerly WABCO).
Colpron’s predecessor, Helmut Ernst, will take on the transition role of aftermarket affairs, representing ZF in select aftermarket associations, leading strategic projects and supporting the onboarding process of Colpron as the new aftermarket head.
Mast Motorsports Debuts New Brand, Product Line
Mast Motorsports (Nacogdoches, TX) has launched a new brand and product line called Factory Mast to provide engine and chassis builders with premium, economical systems to modify and install late-model performance for OE factory vehicle, custom chassis and retrofit applications. Factory Mast will focus on four powertrain platforms: LS Gen III/IV, LT Gen V, Ford Godzilla and the new LST platform.
Factory Mast will provide enhanced OE components, turnkey crate engines, CNC and remanufactured cylinder heads, engine components, engine controls, retrofit systems, drivetrain integration and “swap” components. For more, visit FactoryMast.com.
Mast Motorsports plans to maintain and continue to enhance its premium line of in-house manufactured Black-Label cylinder heads, Mozez – Pro Race solutions and hand-built turnkey engines.
AAM Group Extends Virtual Trade Show Into January
The AAM Group is extending its virtual trade show, The Event, into January because of high demand. The Event — which is designed to provide automotive resellers and installers with an opportunity to learn about new products for Jeeps, trucks and the off-road market — was originally scheduled to run from Nov. 30 to Dec. 13. AAM reportedly logged more than 11,000 views during the first week of The Event.
The Event is free to qualified resellers and installers. Visit aamevent.com for more information.
‘Motor Sound Challenge’ Raising Money For Charities
SEMA Cares is engaged in a social media campaign called the “Motor Sound Challenge” to raise money to help children in need. Funds raised will go to such organizations as the Austin Hatcher Foundation for pediatric cancer, Childhelp for the prevention and treatment of child abuse, and the Victory Junction camp for children with serious medical conditions and serious illnesses.
To participate, post a video on social media using #MotorSoundChallenge where you use your mouth to make the sound of a motor engine, tag friends and colleagues and encouraging them to do the same, and follow it up with a donation to SEMA Cares.
Only 1.3% Of Shops Don’t Expect To Recover Financially From Pandemic
As of Dec. 1, 91% of independent repair shops have experienced a decrease in revenue this year, according to new research from IMR Inc., yet only 1.3% of those shops expect that their business won’t financially recover from the hardships brought on by the coronavirus pandemic response. Interestingly, none of the urban repair shops surveyed felt that their businesses wouldn’t financially recover, compared to 1.5% for suburban shops and 2.0% for rural shops.
In May, 33.9% of shops believed it would take less than a year to recover financially. That dropped to 22.9% in IMR’s December survey. Now, 17.4% of shops anticipate that it will take more than a year to financially recover — up from 2.5% back in May.
IMR’s research also shows that independent repair shops are still experiencing delays in parts delivery, but those delays are less frequent. When asked about delivery delays in May, 25.8% of shop owners stated that they were either “frequently” or “very frequently” experiencing disruptions. In November, that fell to only 3.6%. Now, less than half (47%) of shops surveyed are experiencing occasional delays — up from 23%.
And, among shops having issues with parts supply, 58.6% indicated that they are “rarely” ordering those delayed parts from alternate suppliers. Only 11.1% replied that they are “frequently” ordering from another source.
Click here for more details on IMR’s insights into independent repair shops, the pandemic’s impact and parts delivery issues.
NASTF Picks Diagnostic Network As Its Community Platform
NASTF has selected Diagnostic Network as the community platform for its members. A new NASTF user group on Diagnostic Network is available exclusively to NASTF’s members, enabling discussion of industry issues affecting vehicle repairability with fellow NASTF members and management. In addition, Diagnostic Network is now the home of NASTF’s Service Information Request (SIR) system, a tool that service professionals can use to help identify and resolve gaps with OEM service information, tooling, reprogramming, security and more.
Executive Officer Donny Seyfer and the rest of NASTF’s management team will liaison with OEMs on behalf of their members to resolve SIRs posted to the new NASTF user group.
Diagnostic Network is a community platform designed to enable the successful repair of modern vehicles through peer discussion, partner collaboration and education. Features include discussion topics, user groups and custom message types.
Vipar H-D Expands In Mid-South
MSP Diesel Solutions, previously known as Mid-South Power Distributors, has joined the Vipar Heavy Duty network. Headquartered in Memphis with additional locations in St. Louis and Nashville, MSP specializes in diesel fuel injection components for engine repair.
The company’s headquarters location includes a 60,000 square-foot warehouse, a fuel injection shop and a five-bay service shop offering a variety of services, including transmission, wheel end, engine, fuel injection, radiator and air conditioning repair. Its customers include repair shops and fleets, as well as city, county and state entities in the agriculture, marine and construction equipment industries.
DTNA, UTI Expanding Finish First Program In 2021
The Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) Finish First program is expanding to the East Coast in 2021. The program, an elective offered exclusively at the Universal Technical Institute (UTI), trains students to maintain, diagnose and repair DTNA’s brands, including Freightliner, Western Star and Detroit.
UTI campuses in Avondale, AZ, and Lisle, IL currently offer the Finish First program. UTI’s location in Orlando will start offering the program this summer.
Goodyear Debuts Interactive Fleet Tire Management Portal
The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company has launched Fleet Central, an interactive portal that allows fleets to purchase tires, activate service and maximize the efficiencies of their tires.
According to Goodyear, its Fleet Central dashboard allows users to view information at a total fleet level all the way down to specific vehicles, tires or service events in real time. It also allows fleets to interact with Goodyear directly to purchase tires, schedule service, request tire inspections or activate emergency roadside assistance.
Other features include …
• Emergency, Scheduled Services: The platform allows fleets to track events with a live, interactive dashboard to stay updated throughout the service process. Fleets also can view service performance by dealer, vehicle, geography and more with historical service reporting.
• Retreading: Fleet Central can help fleets monitor retread and casing performance with a view into all retread activities, as well as work order tracking and current inventory levels across Goodyear’s authorized retreading network.
• Approval, Purchase Order Management: Fleets can use the portal to interact with Goodyear’s expedited approvals program to manage and issue purchase orders, as well as approve and dispute work orders before they are invoiced.
• Tire Deliveries: Fleets can schedule tire deliveries and track shipping directly within Fleet Central.
• Push Alerts: Fleets can configure alerts and reports to be sent via text or email.
Fleet Central is available through GoodyearTruckTires.com.
Dealer Tire Readies $150-Million Notes Offering
Dealer Tire LLC, a Cleveland-based distributor of replacement tires to automotive dealerships, intends to offer $150 million in senior notes due 2028 via a private offering, subject to market and other conditions.
A wholly-owned subsidiary of Dealer Tire, DT Issuer LLC, will act as co-issuer in the offering. The notes are being offered as additional notes under an indenture dated Feb. 5, 2020 pursuant to which the company previously issued $350 million in 8.00% senior notes due 2028.
The new notes will be unsecured senior obligations and will be guaranteed by certain of the company’s domestic subsidiaries. Management intends to use the net proceeds from the proposed offering for working capital and other general corporate purposes.
Caliber Appoints Chief Operations Officer
Caliber has appointed its current chief talent officer, Dave Goldstein, as its COO. Goldstein will move into his new position Jan. 1 in conjunction with the recently announced transitions of Steve Grimshaw from CEO to full-time executive chairman and Mark Sanders to president and CEO.
Goldstein began his career as a technician in the collision repair industry in 1988. He relocated to Dallas in 1994 to a facility that Caliber acquired in 1997. After time as a regional leader in the Dallas area, Goldstein moved to California and oversaw expansion in the state. He was senior vice president of operations in California prior to being tapped as chief talent officer in 2017.
Crash Champions Completes Rebrand Of Pacific Elite
Crash Champions, an independent collision repair chain operating in the Midwest and Southern California, has rebranded Pacific Elite. Crash Champions acquired Pacific Elite earlier this year and began transitioning its 23 shops to the Crash Champions brand in November, with the final location changing its banner Dec. 1.
With the rebrand, all Pacific Elite logo placements, branding and color schemes transitioned to Crash Champions. This included employee uniforms, building signage, and all marketing and administrative material. Additionally, the Pacific Elite website, pacificelite.com, has begun auto-forwarding to Crash Champion’s website, crashchampions.com.
Crash Champions has 52 shops across six states.
Ziebart Continues Global Expansion
Ziebart International Corp. has reached agreements to bring its vehicle appearance and protection services to Australia and the Netherlands in 2021. Australia’s first Ziebart location is expected to open by April in Sydney. The master agreement calls for as many as 20 sites throughout the country over the next 10 years.
The Netherland’s first Ziebart location is expected to open this spring near Amsterdam. The master franchise agreement calls for as many as 40 franchises across the county, with plans to open three to four locations near Amsterdam in 2021.
With the addition of Australia and the Netherlands, Ziebart will operate in 34 countries. The company has roughly 400 worldwide licensed locations and 1,200 service centers globally.
Solera Buys InSyPro/PlanManager
Solera Holdings has acquired InSyPro following a three-year strategic partnership on the creation of an integrated, end-to-end bodyshop management platform. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
In an announcement dated Dec. 2, Solera said it plans to invest “significant resources” to globally scale and accelerate the product enhancement roadmap of InSyPro’s bodyshop management technology, PlanManager.
PlanManager is designed to help users run an efficient shop, using real-time tracking of all management tasks and vehicle repairs.
The leadership of InSyPro, Tony Delodder and Martine van Campenhout, are joining Solera to support the integration and international rollout of PlanManager.
GM Launches Canadian Collision Repair Network
General Motors has introduced the GM Canada Collision Repair Network, a program that closely mirrors an initiative launched in the United States in 2018.
Mitchell manages both programs, overseeing enrollment and verifying that repairers meet standards for facilities, training, tools and equipment. Core member requirements — including a list of essential tools and curriculum for technician development — will now be standard throughout North America, according to Mitchell.
Participating facilities will use Mitchell Cloud Estimating with Integrated Repair Procedures to create estimates and repair plans that offer line-level access to GM procedures as the appraisal is written. Additional information is available on the Mitchell website.
U.S. Experienced Lowest Thanksgiving Week Gasoline Consumption Since 1997
U.S. motorists stayed off the road during the Thanksgiving holiday in overwhelming numbers, according to a survey of retail fuel stations by OPIS, an IHS Markit company. For the seven-day period ending Nov. 28, gasoline sales fell 8.4%, or nearly 185 million gallons, when compared to the previous week.
Notably, 2020 Thanksgiving week gas consumption was the lowest since 1997.
Thanksgiving week gasoline consumption varied greatly by region. For example …
• Northeastern gasoline sales decreased 10.1% during the week with a year-over-year decline of 25.9%.
• New Jersey was the hardest-hit state, as gasoline volume fell nearly 30% from 2019.
• The Midwest was down 23.3% compared to 2019, led by Illinois, which reported a year-on-year drop of 26%.
• California posted a year-over-year downturn of 17.3%.
• Texas came through with a year-over-year volume decline of 15.8%.
• The Rockies recorded the smallest decrease at 5.6%.
• Only two states, Wyoming and Utah, were outliers with gasoline consumption rising year-on-year – up 0.2% in Wyoming and 1.1% in Utah.
Tom Kloza, an executive director at IHS Markit and an analyst of North American fuel trends, said the gasoline data show that additional waves of coronavirus are impacting travel decisions. “We’re heading toward a 90-day period where gasoline demand gets further crimped by winter weather and post-holiday cocooning,” Kloza said. “By January, we may regularly see demand numbers not witnessed since the last century.”
Daniel Yergin, vice chairman of IHS Markit, noted: “We likely won’t see a turnaround until the [coronavirus] wave breaks and the new vaccines are deployed.”
University Of The Aftermarket Foundation Debuts New Giving Program
The University of the Aftermarket Foundation (UAF) has announced a new contribution opportunity that gives current industry leaders the ability to support the education and growth of future leaders.
Membership in the UAF Legacy Club recognizes those who have designated a special gift to benefit the UAF through a variety of arrangements, such as …
• Naming the foundation as a beneficiary on an insurance policy, IRA, retirement account or brokerage account.
• Establishing a life-income gift that provides an income to a donor or beneficiary.
• Including the foundation in estate plans.
“The UAF Legacy Club provides a way for philanthropic individuals who have spent their lives in the aftermarket industry to now ensure that their contributions continue to thrive in perpetuity,” said UAF Secretary Roger McCollum.
Any size contribution to the club will be welcomed and recognized, unless the donor prefers to remain anonymous. Club members will be honored in foundation communications, on its website and at special events, including the AWDA Annual Conference and AAPEX. For more information, visit uofa-foundation.org/legacyclub.
“Central to the mission of the University of the Aftermarket Foundation is to secure the future of the automotive aftermarket industry by providing scholarships and grants to promote the education, training, skills and professionalism of today’s youth — our industry’s future leaders,” said UAF Chairman Bob Egan. “Contributions to the Legacy Club will not only help achieve the UAF mission, but will also recognize the impact the donors have had on the success of the aftermarket.”
AAAMS Names 2020-’21 Board Of Directors
Tim Jones of Tim’s Auto Parts in Sylva, NC, will serve as president of the Automotive Aftermarket Association of the Mid-South (AAAMS) board of directors for 2020-’21. He is joined by fellow officers …
• Vice President: Rich Blose of Interstate Batteries in Monroeville, PA.
• Treasurer: Ron White of Duragloss Appearance Products in Burlington, NC.
• Secretary: Randy Lisk of AAAMS Inc., Raleigh, NC.
• Immediate Past President: Monty Hightower of Wholesale Parts Inc. in Chase City, VA.
Rounding out the board of directors are …
• Director (District 1): Richard Gerard Jr. of the Piston Ring & Machine Company in Washington, NC.
• Director (District 2): Max Miller of Miller Parts & Paint in Newton Grove, NC.
• Director (District 3): Nat Walker of Walker Auto & Truck in Raleigh, NC.
• Director (District 4): Scott Winchester of Battery Service Inc. in Charlotte, NC.
• Director (District 6): Doug Moore of the Superior Parts Co. Inc. in Pickens, SC.
• Director (At-Large WD): Michael Snyder of Carquest Auto Parts in Charlotte, NC.
• Director (At-Large WD): Dan Guzik of NAPA Auto Parts in High Point, NC.
In related news, the AAAMS board of directors has approved a program to assist members with their essential safety product needs as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The program includes such products as steering wheel covers, paper automobile floor mats and hand sanitizer. Click here for more information.
The successful candidate will be responsible for overseeing all aspects of the organization, ensuring that we are operating efficiently and effectively to meet business and recruitment goals. … (more) … Click here to find out more.
Expert for the highly complex product portfolio (e.g. competition, trends, user needs, Contact Person for major customers and Work out possible strategic opportunities with them). … (more) … Click here to find out more.
Working under the guidance of Director of Product Management will work to assure high level of ACES/PIES data quality, distribution and analysis of data to help company’s business profitably grow. … (more) … Click here to find out more.
Alltech Automotive LLC is seeking a Director of Sales for the Traditional and Buying Group segments of the North American Automotive Aftermarket. This position will oversee sales to all Strategic partners from our global manufacturing footprint. … (more) … Click here to find out more.
The applicant will be responsible for developing and executing product strategies, objectives, budgets and promotions for a variety of product lines throughout the product lifecycle. … (more) … Click here to find out more.
People Watching 12/14/20
• Danielle Kaspar has joined the Heavy Duty Manufacturers Association (HDMA) as its manager of councils and member engagement. Kaspar is responsible for the oversight of all HDMA councils and forums; supporting council and forum activities, including budgeting, recruitment, marketing communications; and managing members. She joins the association from the Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club and JB Duke Hotel, where she was director of community relations and the executive club.
• Phillips Industries has named Tom Peterson as its senior mechanical design engineer responsible for designing and developing products for the commercial vehicle industry. Peterson originally joined Phillips Industries in 2006 as a design engineer. In 2018, he began work as a mechanical systems engineer at Phillips Connect. Peterson now reports to Rob Myers, president of Phillips’ aftermarket business unit.
• Bryan Harrison, former director of councils and networks at SEMA, has joined Shriners International as its chief membership officer, where he leads all recruitment, retention and restoration of membership.
• BorgWarner Inc. President and CEO Frederic Lissalde has joined the Autoliv Inc. board of directors as an independent director effective immediately. Lissalde’s addition has expanded Autoliv’s board from 11 to 12 directors.
• Nexen Tire America has named Brian YoonSeok Han as its CEO, succeeding J.S. Kim, who has retired after leading the company since 2018. Han was Nexen Tire Corp.’s global marketing vice president. Prior to that, he spent six years as the president of Nexen Tire Italia.
• The Michelin supervisory board has announced its intention to appoint Barbara Dalibard as its chair to replace Michel Rollier, whose term of office will expire at the close of the next annual shareholders meeting. Rollier has been the chair and a member of the board since 2013. He was the managing general partner of Michelin from 2005-’12. Dalibard has been a member of the board since 2008. She has been the CEO of SITA, an air transportation IT and communications specialist, since 2016.
• Original One Parts has added Jim Porcari, founder and managing partner of Insurance Resources International, to its board of directors.
• Free Flow Inc. — parent to the recycled auto parts and supplies companies Accurate Auto Parts, Motor & Metals and Citi Autos Corp. — has added Shah Wali Khan to its board of directors to assist with planned global expansion.
News Briefs 12/14/20
• Turn 14 Distribution has added tonneau cover products from BAK Industries its line card.
• Online auto parts retailer FCP Euro has reportedly surpassed $100 million in annual parts sales. The company — which started as a brick-and-mortar store in Groton, CT in 1986 — has been recognized as one of Inc. magazine’s 5,000 fastest-growing, privately-owned companies for seven years. By 2025, management anticipates FCP Euro achieving $500 million in annual revenue.
• Corporate raider Carl Icahn has sold more than 660,000 additional shares of Tenneco Inc. common stock for nearly $7.25 million between Dec. 3-7. This followed the sale of more than 350,000 shares for nearly $3.85 million between Nov. 30 and Dec. 2.
• Batteries Plus Bulbs — a national retailer of batteries, specialty light bulbs and phone repair services — now offers online appointment scheduling for auto battery replacement work.
• KSI Auto Parts has opened its 25th location in Indianapolis. The facility provides next-day delivery across the area.
• FDP Friction Science has opened a classroom for its employees’ children and a childcare center at its Tappahannock, VA headquarters and manufacturing facility. Led by an educator with nearly 20 years of experience teaching K-9 students as well as special education programs, the FDP Momentum Center works with local school systems to implement the class syllabus and daily coursework while parents are on the job. It also provides after-school care.
• The East Penn Manufacturing Company has added new battery accessories to its product offering, including ring terminals, spade terminals, snap plugs, male and female quick disconnects, butt connectors, quick splices, piggybacks and closed-end connectors.
• QA1 has launched a new limited lifetime warranty program for many of its most popular shock lines. Click here for additional information.
• MiddleGround Capital — a private equity firm that makes control equity investments in lower middle-market North American companies in the industrial and specialty distribution sectors — has acquired majority ownership of Shiloh Industries, which designs and manufactures products within body structure, chassis and propulsion systems.
• Snap-on has launched a new Diagnostics website that features its diagnostic tools, information and software products, news, and training and support.
• AAMP Global — parent company to the vehicle technology brands PAC, Connects2, EchoMaster and Stinger — has unveiled a rebrand and new corporate positioning, as well as revamped website.
• ADVICS has launched an official ADVICS North America Aftermarket Facebook page. The company plans to use the platform to provide automotive service professionals with technical content, product information, photos, articles and more.
• RelaDyne — a larger provider of lubricants, fuel and reliability services — is celebrating its 10th anniversary, having been established in 2010 by four companies based in Cincinnati; Chicago; Sulphur, LA; and Houston.
• Mahle is celebrating its 100th anniversary.
Event & Trade Show Briefs 12/14/20
• Fixed operations veteran Jim Roche of WarrCloud will address the Dec. 17 OES Special Summit on what dealer service will look like in 2021, what service departments are focused on, what challenges lay ahead and how suppliers can support their dealer customers. Click here for more information on the virtual event.
• Heavy Duty Aftermarket Week ‘21 (HDAW) conference organizers have announced details for its Service Opportunity Learning Day (SOLD) education workshop taking place Jan. 26. SOLD is geared toward owners and managers of service operations and independent distributors offering service. The goal of the workshop is to help independent service owners and their managers run more profitable businesses.
• The 2021 AASA Global Summit, a virtual event, will take place Feb. 4-5. The summit will address global business challenges during the coronavirus pandemic and the aftermarket’s recovery. Topics will include “The New Rules of our COVID-19 World,” “Breakdown of Regional COVID-19 Effects,” “New Career and Opportunities in Global Trade,” “USMCA: Updates & What’s Next” and “The Changing Relationship with the China Aftermarket.” Click here for more information or to register for the 2021 AASA Global Summit.
• Applications are due Jan. 15 for the 2021 AASA Channel Excellence Award competition, which recognizes and rewards innovation and collaboration between suppliers and channel partners to drive aftermarket growth. Winners will be announced during the virtual 2021 AASA Vision Conference, which will take place March 16-18. Click here for additional information on the conference.
• In an attempt to better the odds of it being an in-person event, the Battery Council International (BCI) has moved its 2021 BCI Convention & Power Mart Expo from April to Sept. 22-25 in San Diego. Registration is scheduled to open in early 2021.