Pep Boys Adds 17 Tire Centers In Greater L.A.
Philadelphia-based Pep Boys has acquired 17 Discount Tire Centers in southern California from the AKH Co. The purchase price was $10 million. These shops, now operating as Pep Boys Service & Tire Centers, are located throughout the greater Los Angeles market, from Bakersfield to Orange County. They provide full-service vehicle maintenance and repair, including brand-name and private-label replacement tires.
“With this acquisition, 75 percent of Los Angeles-area residents live within three miles of a Pep Boys location,” said Joe Cirelli, senior vice president for business development. “Now we have nearly 150 locations in California, where we have served customers since 1933.”
Pep Boys has more than 750 locations nationwide.
Meineke Begins National Brand Overhaul
Meineke Car Care Centers and Pitch, Meineke’s advertising agency of record, have launched a new campaign for the chain — a brand repositioning featuring YouTube star Robby Novak, a.k.a. “Kid President,” as the Meineke, the “Kid Mechanic.” The “Drive A Little Smarter” campaign is supported by television, outdoor and digital ads intended to take the mystery out of car care by presenting it in a fun and understandable way. It also includes such elements as improved online and mobile scheduling.
“This is much more than a new advertising campaign for us. We’re out to create an elevated service model and a new generation of educated, self-confident, empowered customers,” said Jason Moskal, Meineke’s senior vice president and chief marketing officer. “We want to enable them to make smarter decisions by offering personalized long-term solutions that will help them keep their cars in an optimal state rather than focusing on maintenance problems.”
Moskal explained that, through consumer research, Meineke learned that its customers want to understand the fundamentals in automobile maintenance … what things cost and why. “This insight quickly became the driving force behind our decision to completely change the way we do business, beginning with a company-wide overhaul of how we communicate to our customers,” he said.
Click here to view elements of this new campaign.
Grease Monkey Acquires 30-Store LubePro’s Chain
Greenwood Village, CO -based Grease Monkey International (GMI) has acquired the assets and franchise contracts of LubePro’s, a 30-shop chain with locations in Illinois, Minnesota, Tennessee and Wisconsin.
Of the 30 stores, 16 are to be converted to the Grease Monkey brand and operated by an affiliate of the company. The owners of the remaining 14 LubePro’s franchises are being offered the opportunity to convert to the Grease Monkey brand.
Management expects to complete the rebranding of these centers by mid-November.
“The purchase of the successful LubePro’s chain is an exciting opportunity for Grease Monkey International to build the presence of the Grease Monkey brand in the midwestern part of the United States,” said John Adams, GMI president and CEO. “Our plan is to take what are already strong locations, remodel the facilities, add additional vehicle maintenance services, and enhance the customer experience … .”
GMI senior vice president of operations and business development Ralph Yarusso added: “This demonstrates our planned growth, both organically and through acquisition.”
The company has more than 270 centers in the United States, Latin America and China.
Southeast Jiffy Lubes Get New Owners
A shake-up of sorts has occurred in the Southeast quick-lube market. South Lubes, a large Jiffy Lube franchisee based in Orange Park, FL, has exited the automotive aftermarket, selling its 57 shops. The buyers are: Heartland Automotive Services, the largest U.S. Jiffy Lube franchisee, which has purchased 33 locations across northern Florida and South Carolina; and a new entity, CISA Lubes SC, which has acquired 24 Jiffy Lubes in the Charlotte, NC and Columbia, SC metro areas.
For Heartland, this means the opening of a new Southeast division, which is led by Regional Vice President Jim Orsi. This new business unit combines Heartland’s existing Jiffy Lubes in the Savannah, GA and Hilton Head Island, SC markets with the newly acquired shops primarily in Charleston, SC; Gainesville, FL; and Jacksonville markets.
The South Lubes deal marks the second largest acquisition in Heartland’s history. “This transaction is a significant step in Heartland’s history,” explained James Marcum, interim CEO of Heartland. “We are very proud that we have increased our footprint to more than 570 locations in 23 states. In addition, the newly acquired locations … provide a natural platform for growth in the Southeast market.”
New Research Shows Dealership Service Intervals Widening
Daytona Beach, FL-based DME Automotive (DMEA) says new analysis reveals that the average dealership’s auto service interval has increased from 140 days to 145 days in the past year. DMEA contends that this five-day expansion between service visits is costing the average dealership $91,000 in lost revenue a year. The firm puts the total cost to U.S. franchised new car dealers at more than $352 million a year.
DMEA points to a number of factors fueling this lengthening of time between service visits, including people keeping vehicles longer than ever, far better-built cars, people driving less, and people relying less on OEM service recommendations in favor of online and mobile research.
Rotary Launches Lift Rental Program
Rotary Lift has introduced a mobile column lift rental program. Customers can choose from three of the company’s Mach series of mobile column lifts: the standard version with 18,000 lbs. of capacity per column (MCH418), the wireless model with 18,000 lbs. of capacity per column (MCHW418) or the compact model with 13,000 lbs. of capacity per column (MCH413).
Any of these lifts can be rented for six to 30 months. At the end of the initial rental, customers have three options: return the lift, extend the rental or purchase the lift. Every rental includes a set of four columns, delivery, setup and training provided by a Rotary-authorized installer, as well as a full manufacturer’s warranty.
Bosch U.K. Recommending MAM Vehicle Check App
Bosch U.K. is recommending CarSide from the MAM Software Group to its network of Bosch Car Service Centers. The electronic vehicle health check mobile application syncs with BCS Online, the Bosch-recommended garage management system powered by MAM Software.
MAM’s CarSide app provides an electronic alternative to Bosch’s existing paper-based vehicle health check. It also provides sales opportunities by identifying vehicle damage, plus future sales opportunities by being able to schedule text and email reminders.
Data from the app transfers directly into BCS Online, eliminating the need to manually input information.
Speedemissions Adds Roadside Service Benefit
Atlanta-based Speedemissions Inc. has signed a strategic marketing agreement with New Orleans-based myEZCar Care LLC. This deal allows Speedemissions to offer its customers — through its 38 emission testing/safety inspection sites as well as the Speedemissions website — myEZ Car Care’s new VIP Plus Roadside Assistance Program. The program, which gives members discounts on vehicle roadside service, costs $59.95 for a one-year family membership.
Deal In Place To Sell Mitchell International
The Aurora Capital Group, a Los Angeles-based private investment firm, is selling its equity position in Mitchell International to the global investment firm KKR. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approval, and is expected to close in the fourth quarter.
San Diego-based Mitchell is a provider of technology, connectivity, and information technology to the collision repair and property and casualty claims industries.
Mitchell Launches Reputation Manager
San Diego-based Mitchell has announced the general availability of RepairCenter Reputation Manager, a package that combines real-time text and email updates with customer insights from satisfaction surveys and social media.
RepairCenter Reputation Manager features a text analytics engine and customer sentiment dashboard to provide actionable data from open-ended survey questions and social media chatter. In addition, the software includes the RepairCenter Web Status tool, which allows shops to communicate the status of a repair to customers via an online web portal, email or text message.
Applications Being Accepted At AutomotiveScholarships.com
Applications are being accepted at AutomotiveScholarships.com for the 2014 Global Automotive Aftermarket Symposium (GAAS) scholarships, University of the Aftermarket Foundation (UAF) scholarships and more. By completing a single online application at the scholarship website, students will be considered for GAAS and UAF scholarships, as well as scholarships from a number of industry partners. The deadline to apply is March 31, 2014.
Scholarships are available to students in two-year technical college programs and vocational schools and four-year college programs. To receive a GAAS or UAF scholarship, applicants must be enrolled full-time in a college-level program or an ASE/NATEF-certified automotive technical program. Graduate programs and part-time undergraduate programs do not qualify.
The GAAS scholarship is unique in that technician recipients can receive two financial grants: one while in school to assist with tuition and an equivalent grant awarded to scholarship recipients who graduate from their program and show proof of post-graduation employment as a technician in the automotive aftermarket for at least six months.
Last time around, 225 scholarships were awarded. Individual scholarships ranged from $250 to $2,500.
Showpower Event Becomes Auto Tech Expo
Auto Tech Expo, an aftermarket trade show formerly known as Showpower, will be held April 3-5 at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare in Rosemont, IL. Event organizers say the revamped expo will include a wider variety of training seminars for technicians, ranging from transmissions to brakes, steering and suspension, emission controls, and shop management.
With this expansion, Auto Tech Expo’s exhibit hall will include more parts, tools, equipment and service vendors, including online technical and management information.
ASA/AutoInc. ‘Top 10 Websites’ Entries Due 10/10
AutoInc., the official publication of ASA, has launched its annual “Top 10 Websites” contest. Any ASA member-shop that is currently a member in good standing and has a website for their shop is eligible for the contest. The deadline for the contest is Oct. 11. AutoInc. plans to feature the winning websites in its January 2014 issue. Click here for more information.
ASRW Business & Technology Pavilion Participants Announced
The following exhibitors will be featured in the Automotive Service & Repair Week (ASRW) Business & Technology Pavilion: the Automotive Training Institute, Autoshop Solutions, Demandforce, Educational Seminars Institute, Kukui, the Mudlick Mail Co., Omnique Shop Management Software and R.O. Writer. The pavilion will be located in the CARS area of the show floor.
ASRW runs Oct. 16-18 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas.
CCAR Partnering With Local Agency MINDDRIVE
The Coordinating Committee for Automotive Repair (CCAR) is partnering with MINDDRIVE, a Kansas City area organization that provides skills training to students in urban areas. CCAR helps to train MINDDRIVE mentors, who, in turn, train the students on such topics as shop safety and being good stewards of the environment with car projects.
ALI Expands Computer-Based Testing To Canada
The Automotive Lift Institute (ALI) now offers computer-based versions of the two required Lift Inspector Certification Program exams at testing centers in Canada. Previously, Canadian candidates had to take paper-and-pencil versions on specific dates in Canada or travel to a U.S. border state to visit a testing center.
Applied Measurement Professionals (AMP) administers the computer-based tests in Canada. To find an AMP-affiliated testing location and to register, participants must visit www.goamp.com and click the “Schedule/Apply For An Exam” box. In the first and second drop-down menus, select “Other” and “Automotive Lift Institute Inc.” Applicants choose which test they need to take — either the Pre-Course Examination or the Course Examination — in the third drop-down.
Automotive Instructor Program Planned For AAPEX
Automotive instructors are invited to attend Inside AAPEX for Automotive Instructors Nov. 6-7 at the Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo (AAPEX) in Las Vegas. The program features education sessions offered as part of the AAPEX Learning Forum that address new technology and repair issues, including “Direct Injection Update,” “New Exhaust Technologies, Including the New Clean Diesel” and “TPMS Smart Maintenance & Repair.”
All of the sessions have been approved by the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF) for continuing education credit hours. Each session is accredited for one hour.
Instructors also will have access to the AAPEX show floor to view the latest products and talk to manufacturer personnel.
This event is free with AAPEX registration. Attendees must register at http://tiny.cc/AutoInstructorReg.
HDA Truck Pride Partners With Bendix For Training
HDA Truck Pride has partnered with Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems on customized online technical training. The Brake School program, which is intended to train both technicians and parts personnel, focuses on product knowledge, technical expertise, diagnostics and systems solutions. Each training module concludes with a test to verify the participant’s comprehension and retention. This training is available to the entire HDA Truck Pride network, including Truck Service Experts and Fleet Service Experts.
AIA Canada Adds Collision Programs Director
AIA Canada has named Leanne Jefferies collision programs director, where she will play a key role in the organization and administration of the Canadian Collision Industry Forum (CCIF), which will be officially run by AIA Canada starting in January. Jefferies also will assist in integrating a range of new and existing collision industry initiatives, devising and implementing recruitment and retention programs, developing marketing and communications tools, and enhancing relations with Canadian colleges.
Jefferies also will continue in her current role as CCIF skills program director. The program will operate as it does today: as a partnership between CCIF and Skills Canada to promote careers in the collision industry across Canada.
The Network Adds To Its Service Dealer Council
The Automotive Distribution Network has announced the addition of the following members to its National Service Dealer Advisory Council: Kelly Anderson of APLUS Automotive (Grace, ID); Julee Baxley of Integrity Automotive (Tucson, AZ); Bill Baxter of Protech Autocare (Cincinnati); Ron Comfort Jr. of C&W Imports (Lancaster, PA); and Frank Drellishak of Drellishak’s Service (Rocky River, OH).
TIA Announces 2013-‘14 Board Of Directors
The Tire Industry Association (TIA) has announced its 2013-‘14 board of directors. Six seats were available this year, each with a three-year term. Newly elected to the board are: Anthony Blackman of Atlantic Tire & Service (Cary, NC); Brian Rigney of Dill Air Controls (Oxford, NC); and Joseph Henmueller of AMRA/MAP (Arlington Heights, IL). Returning board members are: Ernie Caramanico of Amityville Firestone (Amityville, NY); Lyssa Da Costa of Hercules Tire International (Kitchener, ON); and Tom Wright of Wright Tire Service (Anoka, MN).
Additionally, Jon Schadl of K&M Tire (Delphos, OH) was placed into the two-year vacancy created by the election of Glen Nicholson of TBC Retail Group to the position of secretary. Bob Bignell, executive director of the Ontario Tire Dealers Association, is the new state/provincial representative on the board.
The new board will be take office Nov. 4 at the TIA’s annual meeting in Las Vegas.
Ford Getting New U.S. Sales/Service/Marketing VP
Ken Czubay — the Ford Motor Co.’s vice president of U.S. marketing, sales and service — will retire Nov. 1 after more than four decades in the automotive industry. Czubay will be replaced by John Felice, currently general sales manager for Ford and Lincoln.
News Briefs 9/18/13
• By 2025, 60 percent of the cars on the road will be Internet-connected, according to the Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers (IEEE).
• ASA has launched a remodeled legislative and regulatory website, TakingTheHill.com. The redesign was donated by Autoshop Solutions, the website design and Internet marketing agency that redesigned ASA’s main website, ASAshop.org.
• ASA now offers a digital edition of its AutoInc. magazine in addition to the traditional print format.
• Maaco has named Miami-based Multiplica as its digital agency of record. As such, Multiplica will develop strategies for digital marketing, search engine marketing and social media, as well as implement a complete website re-design.
• Carstar’s same-store sales have been up double digits across North America this year, according to CEO David Byers.
• Carstar has named Ray’s Carstar Auto Body (Bristol, CT) as its Franchisee of the Year.
Event & Trade Show Briefs 9/18/13
• Automotive Service & Repair Week (ASRW) this year will feature concurrent opening general sessions: one for the collision industry and one for the mechanical industry. ASRW will take place Oct. 16-18 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas.
• Kevin McCartney, longtime owner of Automotive Support Services in Fresno, CA, will headline the ASRW Opening General Session – Mechanical Industry Forum at 8:00 am on Oct. 17. McCartney will address hidden liabilities and opportunities in fluids and lubricants.
• Hybrid car service/training veteran and technical writer Craig Van Batenburg will present two training seminars at the APRA Big R Show: One on the causes of diminishing MPG in hybrids and one on hybrid battery remanufacturing. The show runs Nov. 2-4 in Las Vegas.
• Registration is now open for the Equipment & Tool Institute’s Winter Tech Week, which will be held Dec. 3-5 at the Hyatt Newport Beach in California.
• Registration is now open for the MACS 2014 Training Event & Trade Show to be held Jan. 16-18 at the Sheraton New Orleans.