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Service Executive Issue #11-19 (Full)

CAWA Pursuing Safety Inspections In California

CAWA and Auto Care Association representatives met with the chief of California’s Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) and his team last week to discuss the feasibility of creating a vehicle safety inspection program in the state.

While recognizing that the proposal would be a “heavy lift,” the assembled group decided to move forward and develop a plan to pursue the inspections, CAWA President and CEO Rodney Pierini said.

Preliminary tasks include developing a coalition of supporters for safety inspections; assessing the legislature’s and governor’s appetite for supporting a program; looking for support of state administrative agencies, such as the California Highway Patrol and Office of Traffic Safety; determining the interests of consumer groups; and continuing to communicate with the leadership team of BAR.

Vehicles require inspections before registration in California, but the inspections focus on emissions standards, not mechanical safety.

 

Report: Driven Brands May Be Put Up For Sale

According to an Aug. 13 Bloomberg news report, Roark Capital is considering running an auction in the fourth quarter for Driven Brands. The news service, citing “people with knowledge of [Roark’s] plans,” reports that no final decision regarding a sale has been made, adding that Driven Brands would attract interest from other private equity firms.

Service Executive reached out to representatives for Roark and Driven Brands for comment. Roark was unavailable for comment, and we did not receive a reply from Driven Brands prior to publication.

Charlotte-based Driven Brands is the parent company to Meineke Car Care Centers, Maaco, Carstar North America and 1-800-Radiator & A/C, to name a few automotive holdings. The company has nearly 2,700 shops across North America and generates over $2.60 billion in system sales.

Roark acquired Driven Brands from Harvest Partners more than four years ago.

 

VIP Tires & Service Announces Senior Management Appointments

VIP Tires & Service has announced the appointment of John Quirk as executive chairman. Quirk has been the Auburn, ME-based company’s chairman and CEO. Tim Winkeler, who has been VIP’s president and chief operating officer, will become its president and CEO. The moves are effective Sept. 1.

Other personnel changes taking place that date include …
Gary MacCausland from vice president of operations to senior vice president of operations and merchandising.
Scott Pickard from vice president of finance to CFO.
Allan Kirkland from CFO of VIP to CFO of Quirk Automotive.

In their new roles, Quirk and Kirkland will focus on real estate management, new store development and acquisitions.

VIP, a Quirk family-owned business, operates 59 locations across Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts that provide retail and wholesale tires and installation, as well as professional automotive services.

 

 

GB Auto Adds Texas-Based Driver’s Edge Chain

The Greenbriar Equity Group has acquired another repair shop chain, Driver’s Edge Complete Tire & Automotive, to add to its GB Auto Service platform. The deal includes 20 shops in the Dallas-Ft. Worth and Austin areas.

The acquisition increases the company’s foothold in the West, GB Auto Marketing Director Jeffry Gardner said. Greebriar acquired 18 Lamb’s Tire & Automotive Centers in central Texas earlier this summer.

The purchase of Driver’s Edge from BRHACO Holdings was completed in May, and two final Driver’s Edge franchises from TXDM came a few weeks after. Financial terms were not disclosed.

In addition to Driver’s Edge and Lamb’s, GB Auto operates under the BRAKEmax, Tire Works, Ramona, and Evan’s Tire & Service Centers brands.

 

Another Strong Quarter For Valvoline’s Quick Lubes Unit

For the fiscal third quarter ended June 30, 2019, Valvoline’s Quick Lubes segment (Valvoline Instant Oil Change) came through with $211 million in sales — an increase of $44 million, or 26.3%, compared to a year ago. Volume growth increased sales by approximately $13 million, with transactions and average ticket both up.

According to management, transactions benefitted from customer acquisition and retention programs, while premium mix, pricing and an increase in revenue from non-oil-change services led to the improvement in average ticket.

System-wide same-store sales growth was 9.7% on top of a 7.9% gain in the prior year for a two-year stack of +17.6%. Company-owned same-store sales were up 9.2% (two-year stack of +17.9%), while franchised same-store sales growth was 10.0% (two-year stack of 17.4%).

Service center additions and same-store sales growth drove overall momentum in sales and earnings for the period. Operating income rose 26.3% to $48 million, while EBITDA increased 26.7% to $54 million. Adjusted EBITDA rose 21% to $57 million.

Over the last 12 months, 198 total net new service centers have been added to the VIOC system. For the quarter, it was 25 net new locations (18 company-owned and seven franchised). There were a total of 1,352 VIOC shops as of June 30, 2019.

It’s worth noting that Valvoline opened its 500th company-owned service center during the quarter. Additionally, the 850th franchised service center also opened during the period.

The company is currently building 25-plus shops a year. For 2020, the goal is to get to the 40 shop to 50 shop range.

Management has raised its full-year 2019 guidance for VIOC same-store sales. Its previous expectation was +8% to +9% growth. The new guidance calls for +9% to +10% growth.

Other items of interest from Valvoline’s Aug. 1 quarterly report conference call …
• The company is launching a VIOC app. One of its key features is giving customers the ability to see wait times at nearby shops. “We’ve recently moved from the pilot phase to starting a full rollout of the app in our company markets,” CEO Sam Mitchell told analysts on the call. “Our focus in the near term is to drive adoption of the app within our company-owned stores and then do a broader rollout to our franchisees over time.”
• Management touted VIOC’s recall referral initiative. “Our vision for how we grow our business is to be more than just an oil change provider, but really that trusted partner for the car owner in helping them care for the vehicle. And, that includes even referring our customers to our partners to have other services done,” Mitchell said on the call. He also noted early success with its recall awareness program, where VIOC is referring its customers to Valvoline’s car dealer partners for safety recall service.
• The initiative isn’t just for recalls. “There can be some real synergies here in terms of referring our Valvoline Instant Oil Change customers to our partners for service,” Mitchell said, “whether it’s recall work, repair work … potentially a tire sale someday, too.”
• Management is optimistic about VIOC’s pilot program in China. As for the company’s plans for China, Mitchell said “it’s too early to say what that looks like or how fast we are going to go in China.”
• Expansion to other places outside North America isn’t in the cards right now. Mitchell said the Quick Lubes business is not planning on being as aggressive about growing in other countries right now “because of what we have on our plate closer in Canada and the pilot in China, and obviously, just the growth opportunity that we have in the U.S.”         — Marc Vincent

 

Take 5 Expands In Texas

Take 5 Oil Change, a quick lube operator with over 400 locations across the United States and Canada, has acquired the six Bolton Oil Change shops in Lubbock, TX. The move gives Take 5 eight locations in the Lubbock market, including two from the previous acquisition of Advance Kwik Lube. The Bolton family will continue to own and operate the Bolton gas stations that are next to the oil change facilities.

 

Tireweb Marketing Incorporates Openbay’s Otis

Tireweb Marketing, a software development firm specializing in the tire and wheel industry in North America, is incorporating Openbay’s interactive, AI-powered virtual service advisor, Otis, into its Ezytire technology for tire e-commerce websites.

Tireweb’s Ezytire websites include BJ’s Wholesale Club, Tire Outlet, OneClickTires, Express Oil Change & Tire Engineers and Chabill’s Tire & Auto Service.

Customers can use Otis to search for tires or book an appointment using AI technology and natural language processing. Otis can deliver a more personalized online experience that’s attractive to modern consumers, according to Openbay.

“The automotive service industry has been historically slow to adopt cutting-edge technologies involved with online customer engagement,” Openbay Founder and CEO Rob Infantino said. “This new partnership aims to help speed up adoption of newer technology to deliver an accurate, more human and personalized experience when inquiring about automotive services.”

 

 

Discount Tire Extends Partnership With Team Penske

Discount Tire (Scottsdale, AZ) has renewed its partnership with Team Penske, enhancing its presence on the No. 2 Ford Mustang driven by Brad Keselowski. The multi-year agreement will see Discount Tire as the primary sponsor for five additional NASCAR Cup Series races — including the Daytona 500, the Brickyard 400 and the season finale in Phoenix — for a total of 15 events.

Additionally, Discount Tire will continue to be an associate sponsor of Team Penske drivers Ryan Blaney and Joey Logano in the NASCAR Cup Series, along with NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Austin Cindric.

The company also will continue its partnership with the Team Penske Indy Car Series program as an associate sponsor on the No. 2 car driven by Josef Newgarden and the No. 22 car with driver Simon Pagenaud.

Team Penske drivers will make store appearances across the country for meet-and-greets, autograph sessions with fans, and tire-safety advocacy efforts.

 

Black’s Tire Service Expanding North Carolina DC

Black’s Tire Service (BTS) is expanding its distribution center in Whiteville, NC. The $2.70-million project will add 60,000 square feet to the company’s largest DC.

“This expansion project will essentially double our warehouse, allowing us to continue to serve our customers, stay competitive and create much needed job opportunities for new BTS team members throughout southeastern North Carolina,” BTS Vice President Rick Benton II said.

The family-owned company plans to create 26 new jobs with the expansion.

Currently, the warehouse provides inventory for 46 retail locations in the Carolinas and more than 4,000 wholesale customers.

 

Jack Williams Tire Turns 90

The Jack Williams Tire Co. is celebrating its 90th year in business. Founded by Jack Williams Sr. in Kingston, PA in 1929, the company is now a multi-generation, family-owned business with 36 retail locations across northeastern and central Pennsylvania, as well as 12 wholesale warehouses serving Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Delaware.

Headquartered in Moosic, Pa, Jack Williams also operates two aftermarket specialty shops under the brand Auto Addictions and a dealer marketing program called MyTireShop, and distributes shop supplies and equipment.

 

Tire Registration Plus Partners With Blue Note Marketing

A new partnership between Tiremetrix LLC and Blue Note Marketing Services will focus on website content development and SEO services for the core Tiremetrix product, Tire Registration Plus.

“Dealers are now required by law to perform electronic tire registration for every tire they sell — new and used,” Tiremetrix President Joe Donehue said. “Our mission is to add more value for dealers through easy-to-use and innovative software products. This partnership will enhance our ability to reach the market online and expand our message.”

Blue Note will create online content centered on tire safety. The initial goal of the partnership is to enhance the Tire Registration Plus website by adding a Resource Center and a Tire Industry Registration Center that can be leveraged by tire dealers and consumers.

 

Snap-on Buys Cognitran Limited

Snap-on Inc. (Kenosha, WI) has acquired Cognitran Limited for roughly $31 million in cash. Based in the United Kingdom, Cognitran specializes in flexible, modular and scalable “Software as a Service” (SaaS) products for OEM customers and their dealers. Its offerings are focused on the creation and delivery of service, diagnostics, parts and repair information to the OEM dealers and connected vehicle platforms. Cognitran will be part of Snap-on’s Repair Systems & Information Group.

 

Raybestos Launches New Tech Portal

Raybestos has added a Brake Solutions & Training Online Portal (STOP) to its website, raybestos.com. STOP is designed for professional repair technicians. The password-protected site offers visitors access to such resources as how-to videos, technical service bulletins, tips and tricks, and more. At STOP, technicians can unlock application-specific repair procedures, share their own tips and tricks with other technicians, and find local distributors that carry Raybestos brake products.

 

VDO Debuts TPMS Sensor Warranty Website

Continental Commercial Vehicles & Aftermarket has just launched a new warranty registration website for VDO TPMS sensors, including VDO REDI-Sensor multi-application TPMS sensors. The site allows shops to register any VDO TPMS sensors that they are installing on customers’ vehicles, as well as access the warranty information for every VDO TPMS sensor they install. It also houses a collection of downloadable TPMS installation instruction sheets for popular vehicle makes.

 

 

NASTF Hires Managing Director

The National Automotive Service Task Force (NASTF) has hired Holly Wolfe of Wolfe Strategies LLC as its managing director. As such, Wolfe will spearhead several outreach initiatives for NASTF, as well as oversee the communications and heavy-duty teams. She also will be the primary liaison for NASTF’s continuing interactions with associations and other industry stakeholders in Washington, DC.

A former Capitol Hill staffer, Wolfe got her start in automotive policy at the Automotive Service Association (ASA), serving as a legislative analyst and government affairs manager. During her tenure, she directed association-wide lobbying events, managed educational programs in multiple cities, and acted as an advocate for the independent repair industry at the federal and state level.

“Adding someone of Holly’s caliber to our team will significantly expand NASTF’s ability to respond to requests for information and assistance,” said NASTF Executive Officer Donny Seyfer. “I am very excited to see what we can accomplish in the next year.”

 

ASE Conference To Address Tech ADAS Competency

An ASE conference next month will tackle the need for assessing technicians’ competency in diagnosing, repairing, replacing and calibrating Advanced Driver Assist Systems (ADAS) and components.

The Sept. 10 conference in Detroit is designed to gather input from the industry to determine ASE’s path forward regarding accurately and fairly assessing the skills and knowledge required to service this emerging technology, said Trish Serratore, ASE’s senior vice president of communications.

“It is important for technicians working on these systems to have their knowledge validated by a third-party, independent organization like ASE, given the serious safety implications of ADAS,” she said.

Technicians are already familiar with ADAS systems (sensors, cameras, radar, LiDAR, modules and CAN bus communication networks), and questions on various elements of raw technology appear on several ASE certification exams. But, the conference will look at the issue holistically.

Participants at the invitation-only event will include OE manufacturers, ADAS suppliers, employers, technicians, and industry associations in the automobile, medium- and heavy-truck, and collision repair sectors.

Using results from the conference — along with additional workshops held to develop the scope and number of assessments — ASE will develop a plan for future ADAS assessments.

 

Comdata Launches National Tire Discount Program

Comdata Inc., a Fleetcor company, has announced a national commercial tire discount program for trucking fleets. The benefit is available to Comdata’s MyFleet program members, and features national account pricing on truck, trailer and retread tires.

The program was made possible through partnerships with unnamed tire manufacturers. “We will be officially announcing our main partner tire manufacturers soon,” said Justin King, senior vice president of product and innovation for Comdata’s North American trucking division.

To date, MyFleet has more than 10,000 customers with over 100,000 trucks.

“Over the course of our 50 year history, we’ve successfully helped our customers reduce their costs on everything from fuel to maintenance and repairs,” King said. “Offering a national discount on tires is a natural next step for us.”

 

Navistar Begins Service Partnership With Love’s/Speedco

Navistar‘s warranty performance and service partnership agreement with Love’s Truck Tire Care and Speedco is now fully operational. The partnership adds more than 320 Love’s and Speedco locations and more than 1,000 technicians to Navistar’s International Truck service network, bringing the network to more than 1,000 sites in North America.

Since announcing the partnership in March, the companies have been traveling the country with six training trailers, putting technicians through classroom, online and hands-on training to help ensure customers have a consistent experience whether going to a Love’s, Speedco or International Truck dealer.

“This newly activated partnership with Love’s is providing our customers with increased repair velocity, expanding their access to same-day service for a wide array of light mechanical repairs,” said Friedrich Baumann, Navistar’s president – aftersales and alliance management. “This added repair velocity is, in turn, delivering enhanced uptime, which is a critical factor in our customers’ business success.”

Under the partnership agreement, most Love’s and Speedco service locations are now authorized to perform warranty work with service repair times of three hours or less for all International Class 6 through 8 trucks covered by a Navistar-issued new-product warranty, as well as the company’s extended warranties and used truck warranties.

As part of the partnership, Love’s and Speedco locations also now accept Fleet Charge cards.

 

 

AutoNation’s Same-Store Customer-Pay Gross Profit Rose 8% In Q2

For the second quarter of 2019, AutoNation’s Customer Care (parts and service) revenue rose 5.2% to $901.50 million. On a same-store basis, Customer Care revenue increased 5.4% to $886.70 million.

Customer Care gross profit grew 6.4% to $411.90 million. Same-store gross profit increased by $25.30 million (or 6.7%) to $405.20 million, primarily because of an increase in gross profit associated with customer-pay service of $12.60 million (up 8%), warranty service of $9.10 million (up 12%) and wholesale parts sales of $3.20 million.

According to management, AutoNation’s customer-pay service gross profit benefited from an increase in volume, higher-value customer-pay repair orders, the company’s parts initiatives and price increases. Warranty service gross profit benefited from an increase in volume and improved margin performance largely due to a shift in mix toward higher-margin service work and improved parts and labor rates negotiated with certain manufacturers. Gross profit from wholesale parts sales increased because of the company’s brand extension strategy, according to management.

AutoNation, through its subsidiaries, is the largest automotive retailer in the United States. As of June 30, 2019, it owned and operated 324 new vehicle franchises from 237 stores, predominantly in major metropolitan markets in the U.S. Sunbelt region. The company also owned and operated 83 AutoNation-branded collision centers.

 

Penske’s Customer-Pay Revenue, Gross Profit Declined In Q2

The Penske Automotive Group reported a $2.90-million (or 0.5%) increase parts and service revenue from its retail automotive dealerships in the second quarter of 2019. U.S. parts and service revenue was up 1.6%, while international parts and service revenue decreased 1.5%.

Management attributed the overall increase in service and parts revenue to a $5.40-million (or 1.0%) rise in same-store revenue during the period, partially offset by a $2.50-million decrease from net dealership acquisitions and dispositions.

Excluding $11 million in unfavorable foreign currency fluctuations, same-store service and parts revenue increased 3.1%. The increase in same-store revenue breaks down as a $15.90-million (or 12.6%) rise in warranty revenue that was partially offset by a $10.50-million (or 2.8%) decrease in customer-pay revenue. It should be noted that the customer-pay business went up against an especially strong quarter a year ago.

Penske retail automotive dealership service and parts gross profit was up slightly, going from $328.20 million a year ago to $328.30 million for the three months ended June 30, 2019. Same-store service and parts gross profit increased by $1.30 million (or 0.4%) to $323.20 million.

Excluding $6.40 million in unfavorable foreign currency fluctuations, same-store gross profit was up 2.4%, attributable to the increase in same-store revenue, which increased gross profit by $3.20 million. This was partially offset by a 0.4% decrease in gross margin, which decreased gross profit by $1.90 million.

The same-store gross profit increase breaks down as a $6.60-million (or 9.6%) rise in warranty gross profit that was partially offset by a $5-million (or 2.8%) decline in customer-pay gross profit and a $300,000 (or 0.4%) decrease in vehicle preparation and body shop gross profit.

Bloomfield Hills, MI-based Penske bills itself as the second-largest automotive retailer headquartered in the United States, as measured by the $20.80 billion in total retail automotive dealership revenue it generated in 2018. As of June 30, 2019, Penske operated 334 retail automotive franchises, of which 149 were located in the United States.

 

Asbury Reports Same-Store Parts & Service Revenue, Gross Profit Growth

The Asbury Automotive Group’s parts and service revenue rose by $20 million (or 9.8%) to $224.50 million in the second quarter of 2019, attributable to …
• An $11.70-million (or 8%) increase in customer-pay revenue.
• A $6.70-million (or 19%) rise in warranty revenue.
• A $1.60-million (or 5%) uptick in wholesale parts revenue.

Same-store parts and service revenue increased by $15.70 million (or 7.8%) to $217.50 million, attributable to …
• An $8.60-million (or 6%) increase in customer-pay revenue.
• A $5.70-million (or 16%) rise in warranty revenue.
• A $1.40-million (or 5%) uptick in wholesale parts revenue.

Asbury’s parts and service gross profit rose by $11 million (or 8.5%) to $140.60 million. Excluding reconditioning and preparation, parts and service gross profit was up 10%. Same-store parts and service gross profit increased by $7.90 million (or 6.2%) to $135.80 million. Excluding reconditioning and preparation, same-store parts and service gross profit was up 8%.

Same-store customer-pay gross profit increased 5.3% to $77.20 million. Same-store warranty gross profit rose 18.7% to $21.60 million. Same-store wholesale parts gross profit grew 5.6% to $5.70 million.

One item of interest from Asbury’s quarterly report and conference call: The company’s parts and service business continues to see traffic growth for its digital scheduling tool, with a record 128,000 online service appointments in the second quarter — up 26% from the previous year.

Duluth, GA-based Asbury is one of the largest automotive retailers in the United States. As of June 30, 2019, it owned and operated 105 new vehicle franchises (86 dealership locations) and 24 collision centers in 17 metropolitan markets across nine states.

 

Group 1 Reports Record U.S. Same-Store Parts & Service Revenue

Group 1 Automotive came through with $378.17 million in total parts and service revenue for the second quarter of 2019 — an increase of 5.6% (up 6.8% in constant currency). Same-store revenue increased 7.9% to $372.30 million (up 9.1% in constant currency). U.S. same-store parts and service revenue rose 10.1% to a record $307.09 million. This breaks down as …
• U.S. same-store customer-pay parts and service revenue up 11.9%.
• U.S. same-store warranty parts and service revenue up 14.7%.
• U.S. same-store wholesale parts revenue up 6.8%.
• U.S. same-store collision revenue up 4.0%.

Group 1’s total parts and service gross profit rose 4.6% to $204.10 million (up 5.8% in constant currency). On a same-store basis, parts and service gross profit increased 6.0% to $200.25 million (up 7.2% in constant currency). U.S. same-store parts and service gross profit came in at $165.18 million — up 8.7%, with growth in all sectors of the business, especially customer-pay and warranty.

As of June 30, 2019, Houston-based Group 1 owned and operated 230 franchises, representing 31 brands of automobiles, at 178 dealership locations and 47 collision centers worldwide. In the United States, the company had 148 franchises at 116 dealerships and 29 collision centers.

 

NEW … Seeking Warehouse Operations Professional

The Director of Distribution is responsible for providing value to our customer. This is accomplished by working with a team to develop and implement measured standards at all company locations. This position requires the exercise of independent judgment and discretion. … (more) … Click here to find out more.

NEW … Seeking Sales Manager

Talented Sales Manager to develop product and account strategies to expand distribution within the aftermarket retailers, heavy-duty truck, online retailers, industrial aftermarket, industrial OE, motorcycle aftermarket and marine. … (more) … Click here to find out more.

NEW … Dorman: NAPA Business Development Manager, Mountain Division

The Area Sales Manager (ASM) is the primary contact for all assigned warehouse distributors within their area of responsibility, and secondary contact for all assigned jobbers. … (more) … Click here to find out more.

NEW … Dorman: NAPA Business Development Manager, Eastern Division

The Area Sales Manager (ASM) is the primary contact for all assigned warehouse distributors within their area of responsibility, and secondary contact for all assigned jobbers. … (more) … Click here to find out more.

WAREHOUSING – WEST COAST

Ideal warehouse space available in So. Cal. Importer/Distributor of Automotive Components has 25,000 square feet of excess Racked or bulk storage space available. … (more) … Click here to find out more.

Valvoline: Division Account Manager – 2 Openings (1 in Denver, 1 in Dallas)

The Division Account Manager will manage and grow the Valvoline business across all Branded & Private Label business by developing, calling on, and servicing Valvoline’s largest customer starting at the Division level. … (more) … Click here to find out more.

Advanced Innovative Technology/TrakMotive: LATAM Inside Sales Support/ Customer Service Rep

We are seeking a Bilingual Experienced Inside Sales support / Customer Service specialist with knowledge of Export procedures to support our LATAM team. … (more) … Click here to find out more.

 

Sonic Automotive’s Q2 Same-Store Customer-Pay Gross Profit Up 7.9%

Fixed operations revenue for Sonic Automotive’s franchised dealerships segment increased 1.5% to $347.34 million in the second quarter of 2019. Same-store fixed operations revenue rose 5.5% to $346.22 million.

Fixed operations gross profit increased 2.5% to $170.71 million. On a same-store basis, gross profit grew by $10.87 million (or 6.8%) to $169.92 million. Taking a closer look, that works out as …
Customer-pay gross profit up $5.70 million (or 7.9%) to $77.08 million.
• Warranty gross profit up $4.40 million (or 12.5%) to $39.25 million.
Wholesale parts gross profit up $300,000 (or 3.9%) to $6.81 million.
• Internal, sublet and other gross profit up $600,000 (or 1.3%) to $46.78 million.

As of June 30, 2019, Charlotte-based Sonic operated 92 locations in its franchised dealerships segment and eight locations in its EchoPark segment. The franchised dealerships business consisted of 104 new vehicle franchises representing 23 different brands of cars and light trucks, as well as 15 collision repair centers, in 13 states.

 

Lithia’s Same-Store Customer-Pay Revenue Rose 7.7% In Q2

Lithia Motors’ service, body and parts revenue increased 7.7% to $333.50 million in the second quarter of 2019. On a same-store basis, revenue rose 9.7% to $330.20 million, mainly because of a $12.80-million (or 7.7%) increase in customer-pay revenue. Same-store warranty revenue grew 18.8%, wholesale parts revenue increased 4% and body shop revenue grew 7%.

Service, body and parts gross profit rose 10.8% to $170.30 million. On a same-store basis, gross profit increased 12.6% to $167.70 million largely due to a mix shift towards customer-pay business, which has higher margins than other service work.

Medford, OR-based Lithia operated 182 stores representing 28 brands across 19 states as of June 30, 2019.

 

Thoma Bravo Acquiring J.D. Power

Thoma Bravo, a private equity firm focused on the software and technology-enabled services sectors, is acquiring J.D. Power. The transaction is expected to close by the end of the year, subject to customary closing conditions.

Thoma Bravo plans to partner with J.D. Power’s existing team in the ongoing expansion of the company, with a focus on the continued development of enhanced industry insights, advanced analytics and new offerings. As part of the transaction, J.D. Power’s existing management team and employee owners will be rolling over their ownership interest in the company, according to an announcement from the companies.

“We are thrilled to partner with Thoma Bravo, a firm that clearly understands our space and is well-positioned to help us develop new growth opportunities and continue on our current path of rapid expansion,” J.D. Power President and CEO Dave Habiger said.

This deal will mark Thoma Bravo’s second investment in an auto-related company. It also owns the Autodata Solutions Group, a provider of software, technology and marketing solutions to the automotive industry. The company acquired Autodata from KKR & Co.’s Internet Brands business in May.

Thoma Bravo bought J.D. Power from the London-based XIO Group, which acquired the Costa Mesa, CA-based company in 2016.

“We saw J.D. Power as an iconic brand with strong upside potential and have been greatly impressed with the management team’s accelerating the digitization of the platform, including the successful implementation of AI initiatives and introduction of innovative analytics products,” XIO spokesman Joseph Pacini said. “As we exit our investment, we wish them every success in the years ahead.”

Representatives from J.D. Power and Thoma Bravo declined to provide financial or other details on the transaction, including how it might affect Autodata.

 

People Watching 8/19/19

• The Midwest Auto Care Alliance (MWACA) has named Dustin Holland, a longtime automotive industry media professional, as its director of membership. Holland is in charge of membership growth and retention, shop involvement, cultivating new chapters and SOS groups, and more. Holland has worked for Parts & People magazine.

Brent Hesje, CEO of Fountain Tire Ltd. in Edmonton, Alberta, will received the 2019 “Hall of Fame” award from the Tire Industry Association (TIA) this Nov. 4 in Las Vegas. TIA’s 2019 “Ed Wagner Leadership Award” will go to Edward Burleson Sr., president and owner of Central Marketing Inc. in Colonial Heights, VA.

Technician.Academy and Randy Meyer Racing have announced John Lipscomb and Beau Fleming as the “Respect Is Learned in the Pits” contest winners for 2019. Lipscomb of Gloucester, VA attends Lincoln Technical Institute in Nashville for automotive and high performance. Fleming of Franklin, KY also attends Lincoln Technical in Nashville, where he’s pursuing a degree in automotive technology.

Jon Kisby is the Mitchell 1 “Educator of the Year.” Kisby has spent the past 14 years at Southeast Community College in Milford, NE as an instructor in the General Motors Automotive Service Educational Program (GM ASEP).

 

News Briefs 8/19/19

• The Car Care Council has issued tips for families sending their kids (and their kids’ cars) off to college, emphasizing advance planning and well-maintained vehicles. You can check it out here.

• The U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA) projects U.S. passenger tire replacement shipments to increase by 5.80 million units in 2019.

• The Automotive Oil Change Association (AOCA) has launched a redesigned website and an updated AOCA Talk member forum.

Tint World Automotive Styling Centers has opened its first Virginia location in North Chesterfield, which is in the Richmond area.

Jiffy Lube now offers Shell Rotella Gas Truck full synthetic motor oil.

4Tires.ca, a company that specializes in the retail sale of tires and wheels, has redesigned its website.

• The TechForce Foundation has again pledged its support of the TMCFutureTech national student technician competition as title sponsor. Hosted by the American Trucking Association’s Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC), the competition will take place next month in Raleigh, NC.

 

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