Recent College Grad Launches Appointment Scheduling Site For Repair Shops
Onlinemechanix.com, an appointment scheduling website for auto repair shops, has added a price quote feature. Participating shops can also use the site to post reviews and store service records.
“We want to be known as the one-stop place to go for scheduling an appointment and being done with it,” CEO John Formento Jr. said. The site is customer-friendly and can help shops attract and maintain business, he said.
The company compares itself to the OpenTable concept used by restaurants.
Onlinemechanix launched in late April and now has nearly 1,000 participating shops in 17 states, Formento said. Most are sole proprietorships and family-run businesses, with some regional chains, he said. They see the site as an alternative to hiring a web development company for a basic online appointment system.
Formento is reaching out to shops with a one-year free offer, followed by $25 a month thereafter. The service is free for car owners.
When a car owner logs in and schedules an appointment, it’s marked as pending. When the repair is finished, the work description and any notes are then moved into a records file for the vehicle. “It’s much better than digging around in the glove compartment for an old piece of paper,” Formento said.
Formento, 24 and a recent Penn State IT graduate, describes himself as a life-long car fanatic with experience in detailing and auto sales. He developed the idea for Onlinemechanix.com while trying to schedule an auto inspection. He called his regular repair shop and got a busy signal. Ten minutes later, he tried again and the line was still busy. On the third time, he got through.
With help from his father, John Formento Sr., and a partner with a programming background, he created the site. “You can pretty much do everything else online now, why not this?” he said. — Sarah Hollander
Vehicle Check-Up Event Added To Northwood International Auto Show
This year’s Northwood University International Auto Show will have a vehicle service and repair element for what is believed to be the first time in the event’s 49-year history. The Car Care Council — along with volunteer technicians and students from Northwood’s Automotive Aftermarket Management program — will host a vehicle check-up event from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm on Sunday, Oct. 7 in the parking lot of Dow High School, which is adjacent the Northwood campus in Midland, MI.
Event promoters are calling the vehicle check-up the largest of its kind.
Featuring free vehicle inspections to consumers by volunteer technicians, the event will provide students first-hand experience working with the aftermarket companies that will exhibit and provide educational demonstrations about preventive maintenance. According to Larry Silvey, chairman of Northwood’s Automotive Aftermarket Management program, the car care event fulfills his desire to reach beyond the classroom.
“We put our students in real-world situations with a unique internship program and the opportunity to travel to some of the industry’s premiere automotive shows and events,” said Silvey. “The vehicle check-up event is another extraordinary way for our students to connect with the industry in which they will be working, and the bonus is that they will be helping the community while they’re helping themselves.”
In addition to the inspections at the vehicle check-up event, aftermarket companies will host demonstrations showing worn versus new parts like wiper blades, hoses, belts, tires, brake pads and rotors, as well as dirty versus clean engine oil and fluids.
Additionally, during the entire Northwood University International Auto Show being held Oct. 5-7, the Car Care Council will operate a booth near the parking shuttle bus drop-off on campus. Staffers will be on-hand to discuss “Be Car Care Aware,” distribute free car care guides to consumers and provide information about the Sunday vehicle check-up event.
The Northwood University International Auto show is billed as the largest student-run new car outdoor auto show in North America. It features more than 500 new cars, trucks, RVs, semis, and specialty and promotional vehicles. It is expected to draw nearly 50,000 attendees. More than 600 Northwood students from all curricula will participate in the show.
Aftermarket companies interested in having a table and demonstration at the event can contact Jennifer Tio at firstname.lastname@example.org or (312) 768-7379. For more information about the vehicle check-up event, contact the Car Care Council at (240) 333-1088. And, for more information about the Northwood University International Auto Show, visit http://www.northwood.edu/autoshow.
Zurich Transferring Aftermarket Business
The property and casualty insurance provider Zurich plans to transfer its book of aftermarket business and related brokered business to the Arrowhead General Insurance Agency, a program administrator with which Zurich has a 15-year relationship. Roughly 170 Zurich employees from sales, underwriting, operations and customer service will move to employment with Arrowhead, effective Oct. 1. Additionally, Adam Johnson, currently head of Zurich’s aftermarket business, will join Arrowhead to lead and manage the program.
Headquartered in San Diego, Arrowhead is one of the largest insurance program managers for commercial and personal products in the United States with $654 million written premiums in 2011.
Ken Walker Joins 1-800 Radiator & A/C Board Of Directors
Ken Walker, the former CEO of Driven Brands, has joined 1-800 Radiator & A/C as its non-executive vice chairman and a member of the board of directors. Benicia, CA-based 1-800-Radiator & A/C is a distributor of aftermarket automotive cooling parts, fuel pumps, undercar parts and collision parts. The company has 220 locations, most of them franchised, in the United States and Canada.
Walker has, until recently, served as the chairman and CEO of Driven Brands, parent company to Meineke Car Care Centers, Maaco Franchising, Econo Lube N’ Tune and more. (As you may recall, Driven Brands was purchased in late 2011 by the private equity firm Harvest Partners). Walker joined Meineke as president and CEO in 1996 after serving nearly four years as the president and CEO of Parts Inc.
Click here to read more about Walker’s exit from Driven Brands.
Click here to read more about Harvest Partner’s purchase of Driven Brands.
Point of View: Suppliers Must Support Service Shop Success
Satchel Paige, the legendary and longtime Negro League baseball pitcher who eventually received his due in the majors, once said: “Don’t look back. Something might be gaining on you.” For many shop owners, that is a mantra that drives their business strategy every day. But, despite the competitive nature of the service shop business, in reality, it is less about competing and more about a tack that addresses delivering service right the first time, every time.
At the shop level, every day is a real adventure. Most days, shops are facing a compilation of a few jobs left over from the previous day, a number of appointments scheduled in advance, and a good handful of walk-in jobs that usually need immediate diagnosis, repair and completion, all in a same-day timeframe. The pace is frenetic, and there are never enough minutes in the hour, and certainly never enough hours in the day.
So, rather than staying ahead of their competitors, what most shops are focused on is meeting the customers expectations – or at least that is hopefully the message this industry is conveying to service shop owners in the independent aftermarket.
As suppliers, you face a plethora of problems every day and a myriad of challenges in keeping your business moving forward. Meeting sales and profit goals, gaining or protecting market share, controlling costs, advancing strategic marketing plans – these are what drive you during your daily grind. But, in crafting that game plan, you are hopefully guided by over-arching fundamentals that make the daily decisions easier to understand, making your actions effective in literally doing what needs to be done.
Among those fundamental guiding principles should be the realization that everything you do should make it easier for the service shops to meet or exceed their customers’ needs. In fact, it should probably be your prime directive.
Too often, strategies are developed at the supplier level that make a lot of sense and that address the current trends in business management. But the true test of effectiveness – especially in an industry like ours that is totally built on customer service and customer satisfaction – is what gets the job done right the first time, at a reasonable price and usually in the same day. That is a challenge no other industry attempts to meet, but it is what defines us as the industry that keeps America on the road.
Right now, as we read the latest projections for the aftermarket for the coming months and review the performance for the previous period, it is generally optimistic for our industry. And, as some have noted, the combination of deferred work coming out of the mild winter in early 2012, coupled with the punishing summer temperatures that most of the United States has seen, bode well for service work in the coming months
Most industry indicators are positive, and that should have shops busy for the near term. Hopefully, we continue to make those busy shops as effective as possible with advanced inventory management tools that get the right part to the right shop quickly and cost-effectively. Hopefully, we make the necessary training available in methods and means that make today’s technicians effective in diagnosing and repairing today’s complex vehicles. And hopefully, the necessary repair information is made available by everyone in the process, from tool suppliers through service repair information providers.
I have told the story many times in my life of the friend I knew early in my years in this business who was a trainer, who bought a shop after being let go from his supplier employer, and who decided to take all the advice he had given to shop owners and apply it to his new venture. Long story short, he could not have been more successful, building his business substantially while affording a strong employment opportunity to dozens of technicians and other support staff. He was quick to say it was never easy, but it substantially boiled down to the simple fundamental of treating the customers well, training and supporting his staff, and always doing the right thing when it came to the customer’s needs.
No, there is nothing easy about this business, whether you are a shop owner or supplier. But, when the right priorities are in place, the decisions become clear. And that is more than half of the battle.
Gary A. Molinaro
New Sears Auto Center Ad Campaign Debuts
Sears Holdings Corp., along with creative partner the McGarryBowen agency, is rolling out a new national advertising campaign for Sears Auto Centers that emphasizes convenience, trust and doing what’s right for the customer. Most of the ads are accompanied by the tagline: “This is the exception to the rule; This is Sears Auto Center.”
Key elements of the campaign include …
• 15-second and 30-second TV spots designed to illustrate the anxieties of car repairs from a customer’s perspective, as well as highlight Sears Auto Centers’ commitment to doing what’s right for the customer every time by providing certified, helpful technicians.
• Outdoor billboards emphasizing a commitment to honest vehicle maintenance at convenient locations nationwide.
• Radio commercials that invite listeners to stop by neighborhood Sears Auto Centers, which are open seven days a week, for service with the latest automotive maintenance technology.
• Public relations initiatives, digital menu boards and new in-store signage.
Bosch Introduces Scan Tool Subscription Program
Bosch is launching a scan tool subscription program available exclusively through NAPA Auto Parts Stores. The program, called ESIAccess (pronounced “Easy Access”), is designed to help shops avoid the need to invest in multiple scan tools.
Shops sign an initial two-year commitment and receive a Bosch M-VCI scan tool, bundled in a subscription program where the shop pays a $299 activation fee and a $149 monthly fee. Bosch provides the shop with the scan tool and allows subscribers to update their software without unexpected expenses. And, if the scan tool needs repair, Bosch will provide a replacement.
Users can cancel at any time, though fees may apply.
Alldata Launches Online Customer Support Site
Alldata has developed a new online resource called MyAlldata (my.alldata.com) where customers can get product tips and information, including “how to” articles and videos, FAQs, and troubleshooting assistance. It includes an open forum for posting questions and an opportunity for customers to provide answers to other Alldata users.
Robert McBride, Alldata director of sales and operations, called MyAlldata’s user forum an alternative to Alldata’s standard customer support channels. “Our primary goal is to give our customers multiple ways to get support — by calling us directly for one-on-one help through our dedicated call center, contacting us by email, chatting online, or finding quick answers to common questions on MyAlldata,” McBride said.
Mac Tools Offers Discounted Franchisee Program For Veterans
Mac Tools has announced a new incentive program to help veterans begin a new career after their service in the military has concluded. Recognized by the International Franchise Association’s veterans transition franchise initiative (VetFran), the new program offers vets or their spouse discounts of as much as $10,000 off their starting franchise inventory. Added incentives apply for additional routes.
Identifix Says Direct-Hit Subscriber Base Up 40% In Last Two Years
Identifix Inc. reports that its online tool Direct-Hit has exceeded 35,000 subscribers, with the number of vehicle look-ups reaching 15 million per year. That’s up from 25,000 subscribers with 12 million look-ups in 2010. Additionally, Identifix reports that its number of Hotline Archives has reached 525,000, which represents a 25,000 increase over the past six months.
KYB Launches Stability Control & Sales Training Program
KYB Americas Corp. has launched a new stability control and sales training program for service providers. Topics include shock and strut technical information, how to evaluate shock and strut performance, and how to communicate the purpose and value of maintaining vehicle-designed ride control performance to customers. The program includes live classroom sessions and interactive online webinars.
AAA Forecasts Labor Day Weekend Automobile Travel Up 3.1%
AAA Travel projects that 33 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Labor Day holiday weekend — a 2.9 percent increase from the 32.10 million people who traveled last year. The total number of 2012 Labor Day holiday travelers is expected to reach a new post-recession high, and would mark the third increase in holiday travel this year.
Roughly 28.20 million people, or 85 percent of holiday travelers, are expected to make their Labor Day journey by automobile. This is a 3.1-percent increase over the 27.30 million people who took to the nation’s roadways over the 2011 Labor Day weekend.
A survey of intended travelers found that 66 percent said their current financial situation would not negatively impact their Labor Day holiday weekend travel plans. Of the remaining 34 percent of travelers who said their current finances would impact their travel plans, 21 percent will economize in other areas, 9 percent are planning to take a shorter trip, and the remaining 4 percent will travel by an alternate mode of transportation.
The group of surveyed travelers who indicated their intent to economize in other areas plan to reduce spending on shopping and sightseeing and will stay with friends and relatives instead of reserving a hotel room.
The Labor Day holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, Aug. 30 to Monday, Sept. 3.
RMA Forecasts Lower Replacement Tire Shipments For 2012
Tire shipments in 2012 are projected to increase by roughly 1.2 percent, or less than 3 million units, to 288 million units, according to the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA). The modest growth can be attributed to an increase in new vehicle sales and a slight increase in vehicle miles traveled.
OE tire shipments for both the light-vehicle and commercial-truck markets are forecast to increase 16 percent, while growth in replacement tire shipments is expected to drop by 2 percent.
More specifically, RMA projects that replacement passenger tire shipments in 2012 will decrease by 2 million units, or nearly 1 percent, to 192 million units as pent-up demand has failed to materialize. This is attributed to softer economic conditions than previously forecasted. However, vehicle miles travelled for 2012 has increased, in part because of a mild winter. As a result, an uptick in replacement shipments is expected in the second half of the year.
Replacement light-truck tire shipments are forecast to decrease by approximately 900,000 units, or 3 percent, to 28 million units. RMA attributes the drop to new light-truck vehicle sales decreasing demand for replacement tires. However, the decline should moderate because of anticipated stronger second-half growth in 2012 given soft market conditions in the latter part of 2011.
Replacement medium, wide-base and heavy on-highway commercial truck tires shipments are expected to decline by roughly 6 percent, or 1 million units, to 15.5 million units as fleets opt for new equipment and the economy remains sluggish.
RMA Mass Mailing Highlights Tire Repair Standards
The Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) is mailing free tire care and service material to more than 200,000 tire dealers, auto repair shops and dealerships this month. This is part of an effort by the association to help tire and automotive repair businesses better educate consumers about proper tire repair.
RMA is providing these businesses tools to address punctured tires with industry-approved tire repair standards. This includes a puncture repair wall chart with detailed procedures to teach and remind technicians to properly inspect, assess and, if conditions warrant, repair tires according to industry standards.
Also included is a one-page summary of RMA’s puncture repair procedures suitable for explaining to customers who ask about tire repair policies, as well as a “Repaired Right Here” decal to display once RMA’s tire repair procedures are implemented.
“Consumers should understand that there’s a right way and a wrong way to repair tires,” said Charles Cannon, RMA president and CEO. “Improper tire repairs are a safety risk and should be avoided. We hope that these materials will not only serve as important reminders and training tools for tire and auto repair technicians but also will be used to help educate consumers about proper tire repair.”
ATD To Open Second Arizona DC
American Tire Distributors is opening a 125,000-square-foot distribution center in Tucson, AZ at an estimated cost of $19.50 million, according to Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities (TREO). The facility, ATD’s second in the state, will service tire retailers in Arizona, New Mexico and California. Construction is nearly complete, according to TREO.
Jasper Partnering With Ohio Technical College
Jasper Engines & Transmissions has formed a partnership with Ohio Technical College (OTC) to use Jasper products in the school’s automotive and auto-diesel programs. Jasper will provide engines, transmissions and differentials, along with manufacturing, marketing and sponsor support to OTC.
OTC students will train on the company’s products during a six-week course held in the new Jasper Engines & Transmissions Training Center Lab building. The training center will consist of five classrooms: three engine labs, one automatic transmission lab, and one manual transmission and differential lab.
Students will learn disassembly, measuring, cylinder honing, how to work with heli-coil inserts, timing belt installation, and proper re-assembly and torque procedures. The Jasper course also will train students on automatic transmissions in rear- and front-wheel drive vehicles, which will be covered in car diagnostic testing as well as transmission removal and reinstallation. In addition, manual transmission classes will cover differentials.
OTC is an accredited private, proprietary technical school based in northeast Ohio. OTC in Cleveland — along with its PowerSport Institute branch campus in nearby North Randall — encompass nearly 800,000 square feet of classroom and workshop space. OTC offers technician training programs in automotive, diesel, auto-diesel, collision repair, classic car restoration, high performance and racing, and welding and powersport technology, as well as specialization in BMW, alternative fuel vehicles, custom bike building, custom paint and graphics, and power generator systems. Motorcycle technician training is provided through the PowerSport Institute.
Leadership Changes In UTI’s Marketing And Operations
Universal Technical Institute (UTI), a provider of technical education training, has announced key leadership changes in its marketing and operations units.
Tom Riggs, senior vice president of operations since March 2011, has been named senior vice president of marketing. Riggs was senior vice president of campus operations from 2009 to 2011. Prior to joining UTI, he served in senior human resource leadership positions with Sears, Honeywell and BFGoodrich Aerospace.
Riggs succeeds Rick Crain, who is leaving the company. Crain has been UTI’s senior vice president of marketing and strategy since 2007.
Meanwhile, Sherrell Smith has returned to UTI as senior vice president of operations. Prior to his departure from UTI in 2009, Smith had been with the company for 23 years serving as a campus president, regional vice president of operations and executive vice president of operations. During his time away from UTI, Smith advised a private equity firm on acquisition opportunities in the education field and served as CEO of the American Institute of Technology.
Smith’s wife, Lori, works for UTI as vice president of business intelligence and has been employed by the company for 19 years.
Headquartered in Scottsdale, AZ, UTI is a provider of post-secondary education for students seeking careers as professional automotive, diesel, collision repair, motorcycle and marine technicians. UTI offers undergraduate degree, diploma and certificate programs at 11 campuses across the United States, as well as manufacturer-specific training programs at dedicated training centers. Through its campus-based school system, UTI provides specialized post-secondary education programs under a variety of brands, including the NASCAR Technical Institute.
U.S. Auto Dealership Network On Track To Achieve Record Sales Per Store
The U.S. dealership network is stable, healthy and poised to reach record-breaking throughput and profitability levels by the end of the year, according to the 2012 midyear automotive Franchise Activity Report (FAR) from the retail consulting firm Urban Science.
Because of a downsized retail network and year-end projected sales of 14.30 million vehicles, Urban Science projects that the average number of sales per dealership (or throughput) will rise to 805 vehicles per year. This increase would be an all-time high, surpassing the previous record of 784 based on 17 million unit sales in 2005.
“The first six months of the year have been very strong for automotive retailers,” explained John Frith, vice president of retail channel solutions at Urban Science. “Automakers have kept their networks relatively flat, giving existing dealerships the opportunity to take advantage of increased sales volume. By doing this, and in turn achieving record throughput levels, dealers are making a profit for the first time in more than three years without having to rely on their service departments to do so.”
As of June 30, 2012, there were 17,770 dealerships (rooftops) in the United States — a 0.02 percent increase from January 2012. Additionally, the nation’s dealership network is trending to achieve its second straight annual store increase after growing by 0.6 percent in 2011. Urban Science data shows that, in the long term, the network typically experiences a 2-percent decline per year, making an increase —even a slight increase — significant.
“While individual states experienced minor dealer count fluctuations, 85 percent of markets in the United States remained stable and experienced no change since the beginning of the year,” Frith said. “We’re seeing tremendous consistency across the country and perhaps one of the most stable, profitable periods for dealerships in 20 years.”
Other details from the midyear FAR include:
• The three states that added the most stores in the first six months of 2012 were California (13), Iowa (8) and Florida (8).
• The three states that lost the most dealerships were Michigan (10), Ohio (8) and Georgia (8).
• While the number of dealerships increased slightly, the number of franchises (the number of brands a dealership sells) declined slightly to 29,233 — a 1 percent decrease from Jan. 1, 2012.
Penske Same-Store Service & Parts Revenue Up Only 0.6% In Q2
The Penske Automotive Group saw its service and parts revenue rise $29.16 million, or 8.6 percent, to $368.80 million in the second quarter of 2012. This year-over-year increase largely came from a $27.20-million uptick in revenue from dealership acquisitions. On a same-store basis, Penske’s service and parts revenue rose $2.00 million, or 0.6 percent.
The increase in same-store service and parts revenue was positively influenced by a $3.00-million, or 1.2 percent, increase in customer-pay revenue, as well as a $1.80-million, or 55.2 percent, rise in vehicle preparation revenue. The same-store revenue increase was negatively impacted by a $2.20-million, or 3.3 percent, drop in warranty revenue, in addition to a $600,000, of 2.4 percent, decrease in body shop revenue.
Service and parts gross profit grew 11 percent to $216 million in the quarter — also largely because of dealership acquisitions. On a same-store basis, the company’s service and parts gross profit was up 3.1 percent.
Penske operates 340 retail automotive franchises, representing 41 different brands and 30 collision repair centers.
Sonic Automotive’s Q2 Service Revenue Climbed 3.1 Percent
Sonic Automotive reported higher fixed operations revenue and gross profit in the second quarter of 2012. Overall revenue for this segment (Sonic’s parts, service and collision repair operations) came in at $304.57 million, which was up 3.2 percent over the previous year. Gross profit increased 2.2 percent to $148.79 million.
Parts revenue rose 3.7 percent to $160.69 million in the quarter, while service revenue increased 3.1 percent to $130.76 million. Collision repair revenue decreased 1.1 percent to $13.12 million.
Overall customer-pay revenue increased 3.9 percent, wholesale parts revenue rose 8.1 percent and used vehicle reconditioning revenue grew 7.7 percent. Revenue from warranty work fell 7.9 percent.
At quarter’s end, Sonic operated 116 dealerships in 15 states representing 25 brands of cars and light trucks, as well as 24 collision repair centers.
Lithia’s Same-Store Wholesale Parts Sales Up 11.3% In Q2
Lithia Motors, the ninth largest automotive retailer in the United States, saw its service, body and parts revenue grow 9.4 percent to $88.59 million in the second quarter of 2012. Gross profit rose 8.9 percent to $43.24 million.
Same-store service, body and parts revenue was up 6.8 percent due, in part, to an 8-percent rise in same-store customer-pay revenue, an 11.3-pecent increase in same-store wholesale parts revenue and a 15.4-pecent uptick in same-store body shop revenue.
Lithia sells 27 brands of new vehicles at 85 stores, which are located in 11 states.
Group 1 Customer-Pay Parts & Service Sales Up 3.5% In Q2
Group 1 Automotive’s parts and service revenue came in at $220.31 million (up 7.9 percent) and gross profit came in at $116.90 million (up 9 percent) for the second quarter of 2012.
Same-store parts and service revenue was up only 1.3 percent year-over-year. Management attributed the increase to a 3.5-percent rise in customer-pay parts and service sales, a 2-percent uptick in wholesale parts sales and a 0.4-percent increase in collision revenue. These increases were partially offset by a 4.6-percent drop in warranty parts and service revenue.
Group 1 owns and operates 122 automotive dealerships, 159 franchises, and 28 collision centers in the United States and the United Kingdom that offer 32 brands of automobiles.
Asbury’s Q2 Parts & Service Revenue Essentially Flat
The Asbury Automotive Group was able to increase its parts and service gross profit 4 percent to $85 million despite essentially flat revenue in the second quarter of 2012. Parts and service revenue decreased $3 million, or 0.2 percent, to $145.70 million in the quarter, as a $2.40-million, or 11-percent, decrease in warranty revenue was partially offset by a $1.90-million, or 2-percent, increase in customer-pay revenue.
As of June 30th, Asbury operated 98 franchises (77 dealership locations) and 25 collision repair centers in 10 states.
AAIA Releases 2012 Digital Collision Repair Trends Report
Collision repair shop sales in 2011 totaled an estimated $38.70 billion — up 3.3 percent from $37.50 billion in 2010, according to the 2012 Digital Collision Repair Trends report from AAIA. Independent paint and body repair shops made up $25.70 billion, or 66 percent, of the total market.
The report combines data from original AAIA research, government and independent research sources. It’s designed to capture the size and scope of the collision repair sector of the automotive aftermarket. Copies of the new study are now available at http://www.aftermarket.org/ProductPull/Publications/75046.aspx. The cost is $125 for AAIA members and $250 for non-members.
News Briefs 8/29/12
• A new emissions inspection law has been enacted in North Carolina that exempts vehicles of the three latest model years — as well as 1996 or later models with 70,000 miles or less — from state emissions inspections.
• Snap-on Inc. reports that more than 2,750 franchisees (a record) attended its annual franchisee conference held earlier this month in Las Vegas. Total attendance topped 6,500, according to the company.
• BB&T Capital Markets was the financial advisor to Service King Collision Repair Centers in its sale to the Carlyle Group and company management. For more information on the transaction, click here.
• Gates Corp. was presented with the Friends of NACAT award by the North American Council of Automotive Teachers at the organization’s July conference. The annual award is given to a company that is active in supporting NACAT in its mission to promote, update and improve automotive service education.
• AutoTraker Inc., a software and technology provider to the tire and automotive aftermarket, has added Carfax QuickVIN to its AutoTraker Plus and AutoTraker EZ software. This allows users to retrieve the year, make, model and VIN information of their customers’ cars by entering only the license plate number.
• Mitchell 1 is now offering free online training sessions for its ProDemand repair information software every weekday at 12:00 pm and 5:00 pm (EDT). To join the sessions or to learn more about them, click here.
• MACS Worldwide will host a fall Mobile A/C Boot Camp Sept. 28-29 at its training facility in Lansdale, PA. The two-day event will include a Section 609 training class and certification test and an update on the new refrigerant HFO-1234yf. For more information, visit www.macsw.org or call (215) 631-7020 ext. 306.
• Craig Clark, president and chief operating officer of WellSpring, is scheduled to speak at the International Tire Exhibition & Conference (ITEC), which will be held Sept. 18-20 in Cleveland. He will discuss how business intelligence disciplines, such as reporting, online analytical processing and predictive analytics, can be used to increase profits for businesses in the tire and auto service industry.
• Alldata has updated its corporate website. New content includes client video testimonials and full webinars.
• The first Tint World franchise in Illinois has opened. It’s in the Chicago suburb of Bensenville.
People Watching 8/29/12
• Todd Westerlund is now the vice president of sales at Shop Management Services, an exclusive distributor for R.O. Writer software. He is a former regional manager for Demandforce.
• The Equipment & Tool Institute (ETI) has appointed Robert Vogt and Zachary Parker to fill open board seats expiring in 2014. Vogt is the CEO and chief engineer at IOSiX LLC, an automotive engineering company based in Ann Arbor, MI. Parker is the CEO and owner of Redline Detection, a manufacturer of automotive diagnostic equipment.
• Jay Sicht has returned to the Parts & People staff as a feature writer and special assistant to the publisher. He has primary responsibility for the collision supplement. Sicht was a regional manager for Parts & People from 1999 to 2007.
• Kevin Krutell of St. Claire Shore, MI is the 2012 Mitchell 1 Automotive Technology Outstanding Student. Krutell graduated from Lakeview High School in May and is currently working as an automotive technician at Jefferson Motor Service. He is enrolled in the automotive program at Ohio Technical College for the fall semester.
• Toyota Motor Sales USA has appointed Dave Camden as its vice president of service and parts support.
• Stertil-Koni, a heavy-duty vehicle lift specialist, has hired Rand Johnson as its sales manager for GSA and U.S military customers. Johnson most recently was a sales manager for K&L Microwave.