Midas Franchisee Adds CFO
The Leeds West Groups (LWG) has added Peter Derschang as its CFO and a member of its advisory board of directors. Derschang, who has over 30 years of senior financial management experience, was the CFO of Brakes Plus prior to joining LWG.
Greenwood Village, CO-based LWG is a management platform that acquires, owns and manages national automotive repair franchises, including Midas, Big O Tires and SpeeDee Oil Change shops. LWG has about 100 locations across 16 states.
In related news, LWG chairman Joshua Weinreich has joined the E-Trade Financial board of directors. A career financial services executive, Weinreich previously served in a number of senior roles with Deutsche Bank, including global head of hedge funds and CEO of Deutsche Asset Management Americas.
Monro Revamps Websites
Monro Inc. has launched new corporate (corporate.monro.com) and retail (monro.com) websites — part of the rollout of the “Monro.Forward” strategy, the development of its good/better/best product and service packages, and the goal of having a more robust omni-channel presence. E-commerce capabilities are expected to debut during the three months ending June 30, 2019.
ASA/AutoInc. Announce ‘Top 10’ Website Winners
The Automotive Service Association (ASA) and its official publication, AutoInc., have announced the results of the annual “Top 10 Websites Contest.” This year’s winners are …
• AA Quality Transmission (Stuart, FL);
• Autoworks of Lincoln (Lincoln, NE);
• Campus Automotive (Blacksburg, VA);
• Community Automotive (Grand Rapids, MI);
• Genesis Automotive & RV (Tacoma, WA);
• Honest Wrenches Automotive Repair (Des Moines, IA);
• Matt’s Automotive Service Center (Fargo, ND);
• McLean Auto (Elgin, IL);
• Same Day Auto Service (Clackamas, OR); and
• Ulmer’s Auto Care Center (Cincinnati, OH).
Jiffy Lube Expands In Texas
ABME Auto Services Inc., a Jiffy Lube franchisee, has broken ground on its second Jiffy Lube service center — a four-bay shop in the Bryan, TX market. The location is slated to open in the first quarter of 2019.
ABME Auto opened its first Jiffy Lube in January 2018. It’s in College Station, TX. The franchisee plans to open 10 additional Jiffy Lube shops over the next five years.
Since January 2018, Jiffy Lube has opened 15 new service centers across the country, with plans to open an additional 16 shops by year’s end.
Discount Tire Hits 1,000 Stores
Scottsdale, AZ-based Discount Tire — billed as the world’s largest independent tire and wheel retailer — has opened its 1,000th tire store: a facility located in Phoenix.
Founded in 1960, Discount Tire has grown from a one-man tire shop in Ann Arbor, MI into a franchise with more than 20,000 employees. Discount Tire reached 200 locations in 1990 and 500 stores in 2002. The business has locations in 34 states, with plans to expand into three more states in the near future.
Sullivan Tire Grows Via Acquisition
Sullivan Tire & Auto Service of Norwell, MA has acquired Montvale Tire Car Care Centers. The transaction includes locations in Melrose, MA and Woburn, MA, which are being remodeled to the Sullivan Tire & Auto Service banner. Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
Sullivan Tire has over 100 locations across Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Maine. The business consists of four divisions: retail, commercial truck, wholesale and Liftworks. Sullivan’s auto service centers provide a variety of repair services, ranging from oil changes to computer diagnostic work. Its commercial truck centers service truck fleets, and its wholesale business offers roughly 20 brands of tires and daily delivery services.
Bridgestone Buys U.K. Service Chain
Bridgestone has acquired ETB, an automotive service provider in the United Kingdom that does business under the names Exhaust Tyres & Batteries and Britannia Tyres. ETB has 32 locations. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Both Exhaust Tyres & Batteries and Britannia Tyres will continue operating under their current identities and with their current teams, according to Bridgestone. Additionally, ETB founder Charles Ivill will continue to direct operations from ETB’s headquarters in Worcester, England.
Robin Shaw, managing director for the Bridgestone north region, called the acquisition of ETB an extension of the sales operations that Bridgestone already runs in the United Kingdom. “The tire sector is constantly evolving,” Shaw said. “And, by partnering with ETB, we can ensure that we get as close as possible to our end-consumer, listen to their needs and offer them the best mobility solutions in the future.”
ATD Touts New Look, Enhancements For TireBuyer
TireBuyer, the online tire retailing subsidiary of American Tire Distributors (ATD), has unveiled a new brand identity to go with recent moves designed to enhance the shopping experience. This includes a new product recommendation engine, revamped search tools, personalized recommendations, proprietary fitments and enhanced mobile compatibility, to name a few. Additional enhancements are expected in 2019.
New Partner Reward Program For Alloy Wheel Repair Specialists
Alloy Wheel Repair Specialists (AWRS) has announced a partnership with Incentivefox, a customer relationship marketing programs outfit. The goal is to streamline the way AWRS rewards its partners for their referral efforts as well as track success in real-time, according to Michael Dunlap, AWRS marketing manager. The Incentivefox platform gives AWRS the ability to track, reward, fulfill and run reports in real time. And, its software removes the need for check writing.
AWRS is a full-service alloy wheel repair and replacement company, with franchised and company-owned locations operating in 47 U.S. states and 11 countries around the world. It provides a range of mobile wheel repair services, including cosmetic refinishing, wheel straightening and custom coloring, as well as off-site remanufacturing services for wheels that have severe damage, require CNC machining or have special finishes.
Tire Talent Launches New Program For Job Seekers
Tire Talent has announced a new program that partners users with their own talent agent who can help with job searches, advice and career goals. The free, invite-only service is called the Talent Agent Program (TAP). Candidates must already be in Tire Talent’s pipeline and invited by company managers.
“Even the smallest names in the entertainment industry have talent agents, whether they are authors, actors, or musicians, why shouldn’t you?” a recent company blog post states.
Tire Talent is in its third year as a dedicated tire industry recruiting firm. The new TAP program was designed for applicants who are tired of submitting resumes with no response or hiring headhunters who are distracted by a large pipeline of clients, company founder Mike Cioffi said.
“It’s really a vision of always striving to add massive value to the tire industry and being the premier ‘go to’ resource for talent services within the tire industry,” he said.
Tire Industry Association Elects New Directors
The Tire Industry Association (TIA) has announced the winners of the 2018 board of directors election. Each new member will serve on the board for a three-year term. Members will take office at the association’s board meeting Oct. 29 in Las Vegas. The new directors are …
• John Baldwin, chief product and technical strategist for the Discount Tire Co. in Scottsdale, AZ;
• Russell Devens, director of safety and risk management for McCarthy Tire Service in Wilkes-Barre, PA (re-elected);
• Stephen Lyons, director of training for Monro Inc. in Rochester, NY; and
• Don Vanderheyden, vice president of marketing for Hennessy Industries in La Vergne, TN.
Additionally, TIA filled one vacancy with Keith Jarman, president of AME International in Brooksville, FL. Jarman, who has served on the TIA board since 2009, will serve a one-year term.
Diagnostic Network Pleased With Founding Phase
Diagnostic Network (diag.net) — a startup venture aimed at helping automotive, collision, and heavy-duty professionals master the service and repair of modern vehicles — has attracted 340 people as founding members. The network debuted in May, officially launching an online forum that fosters collaboration and the sharing of information among service industry professionals.
“Diagnostic Network is beginning to pick up some very strong momentum through subscriber signups and excellent discussion and content submission,” Founder and President Scott Brown said.
The network has been building technical videos and publishing them through its YouTube channel. (The videos are public now, but will eventually be accessible only via the network, Brown said.)
Diagnostic Network offers valuable opportunities for discussion and networking, said Jennifer Holland, director of marketing for ASE, a sponsor. The format of the network allows service professionals, educators, and industry supporters to showcase their talents and share their creativity, she added.
“The quality and technical content of the discussions has been impressive,” Holland said. “The input from members is helping to enhance the knowledge base and skills of the entire membership of DN.”
Mitchell 1 Adds Text Messaging Features To Manager SE, SocialCRM
Mitchell 1 (Poway, CA) has added text messaging features to its Manager SE shop management system and SocialCRM shop marketing products. The new feature in SocialCRM gives shops the option of using automated text messages to remind customers about upcoming appointments, as well as to send thank you notes after the appointment, along with invitations and links to write reviews about the shop.
Version 7.5 of Manager SE includes a “Message Center” option with integrated two-way texting. Shops have the choice of building their own text templates for orders, appointments and revisions, or writing “on-the-fly” text messages to customers, when needed.
An additional enhancement in Version 7.5 of Manager SE is built-in oil change sticker printing, allowing users to customize and manage the process inside Manager SE — from printing the sticker through setting a customer’s next appointment.
Partnership Gives AB Magique Users Access To AutoServe1
VL Communications, a software developer based in Laval, Quebec, has announced a partnership with AutoServe1 of Toronto. The alliance gives users of VL Communications’ AB Magique shop management software access to AutoServe1, a cloud-based digital vehicle inspection tool. This allows AB Magique users to perform vehicle inspections using mobile devices, with video and photos accompanying notes that explain the necessary repairs.
AAPEX Organizers Tout Training Program For Auto Service Pros
AAPEX organizers have announced this year’s automotive service professionals program, which will include a variety of training sessions on shop equipment and technology, electric car and alternative fuel vehicles, advanced diagnostics, heating and cooling, business management, and more.
At the Mobility Garage, the Shop Equipment & Technology section will offer 20 sessions on such topics as start/stop technology, labscope diagnostics, variable displacement technology, and telematics. The Electric Car & Alternative Fuel/Energy section will have 24 sessions on such topics as electric vehicle charging circuitry, battery pack structure and safety, propane autogas vehicle technology and hydrogen fuel cells, to name a few.
The 2018 AAPEXedu program has a designated Service Professionals track covering servicing ADAS-enabled vehicles, diesel diagnostics, predictive part failure and more. AAPEXedu business management topics will include recruiting top talent, creating positive workplace cultures and building a solid brand.
Additionally, a Service Professionals General Session will address automotive career pathways. This panel discussion will focus on building rewarding careers and ensuring technicians have the skills to repair vehicles equipped with new technology, regardless of where they are employed in the automotive aftermarket.
AAPEX 2018 will take place Tuesday, Oct. 30 through Thursday, Nov. 1 at the Sands Expo in Las Vegas. All Mobility Garage and AAPEXedu sessions are included in the AAPEX online registration fee of $40 through Friday, Oct. 12. To register, visit aapexshow.com/attendee.
Auto Value, Bumper To Bumper Honor Top Technicians
Auto Value and Bumper to Bumper have announced their “Technicians of the Year” for 2018. They are …
• U.S. Auto Value “Technician of the Year” – Andrew Langello from Vero Beach, FL-based Treasure Coast Automotive, an Auto Value Certified Service Center and customer of Bennett Auto Supply;
• U.S. Bumper to Bumper “Technician of the Year” – Michael Creighton from Creighton’s Auto Repair in Newtown, PA and a customer of Eastern Automotive;
• Canadian Auto Value “Technician of the Year” – Richard Klobier from Tools Motion Auto Service in Airdrie, Alberta and a customer of Central Auto Parts; and
• Auto Value of Mexico “Technician of the Year” – Miguel Solis from Mayasa in Jalisco, Mexico.
AIA Canada Creating A Program For Repair Shops
The Automotive Industries Association of Canada (AIA Canada) plans to launch a program for Canadian service shops in early 2019. Through the Automotive Service Associate Program (ASAP), AIA Canada aims to form a closer relationship with shops as they face challenges like vehicle telemetry and Right to Repair issues.
“We’re at arms length from the shops now,” Andrew Shepherd, senior director of industry programs, said. “But, we feel it’s really necessary to build a direct connection.”
AIA Canada members represent the automotive aftermarket supply and service chain. While association bylaws don’t allow for shops to become members, the trade group felt an urgency to bring them onboard as associates, as the success of member businesses and shops is tied.
Details on ASAP’s price and services are still being worked out, but participating shops will likely pay a “cheap” yearly subscription. And, benefits likely will include …
• Technical expertise on vehicle reprogramming;
• A national shop-finder service;
• Specific shop-level research;
• Access to AutoConnex, a database of industry jobs, compensation information, career profiles, and educational resources; and
• E-communications and other news on suppliers, equipment and training.
The organization also wants to hear about political concerns at the shop level, so it can build those issues into AIA Canada’s lobbying strategy, Shepherd said.
ASAP is scheduled to roll out Jan. 2. Shepherd expects around 1,000 shops to sign up in the first year, with more joining as word of mouth spreads. In the meantime, the association has been alerting shops through members and the trade press.
ALI Reports That New Vehicle Lift Safety Standard Now In Effect
The Automotive Lift Institute (ALI) has put into place a stronger standard in order for vehicle lifts to receive gold certification. ANSI/ALI ALCTV is the safety standard covering vehicle lift design, construction, testing and validation. The new edition, ANSI/ALI ALCTV: 2017, took effect in July. It replaces ANSI/ALI ALCTV: 2011.
The major design and construction requirements of the standard remain intact, according to ALI. However, updates were made to strengthen the testing that must be performed by a nationally recognized testing laboratory in order to confirm that a lift meets these requirements. Changes include expanding the testing requirements for load-holding devices (also known as latches or locks) and increasing the number of test cycles.
In addition, ANSI/ALI ALCTV: 2017 addresses the difference between lift accessories and lift attachments and clarifies which aspects of the standard apply to each. The current edition also includes a new section on requirements for wireless controls.
According to ALI, all lifts that are certified to meet the current edition of the standard are listed at autolift.org/ali-directory-of-certified-lifts/.
Facilities with lifts that were certified to the prior edition of the standard do not need to take any action as a result of the update, according to ALI. However, when shopping for a new lift, the group advises buyers to not assume that a previously certified model is certified to the current edition of the standard. Any lift model that was certified to the 2011 edition of the standard has to be tested to verify that it meets all the new requirements in order to be recertified, according to ALI.
Meritor Adds 11 Independent Repair Facilities To Its Service Point Program
Meritor Inc. on Sept. 19 announced 11 additional independent repair facilities across eight states that are now approved Meritor Service Point service partners. This brings the total number of member shops in the program up to 30 nationwide. All of the newly announced locations are affiliated with Professional Transportation Partners (PTP), a network of independently owned repair facilities. They are …
• A&A Truck Stop in Jackson, OH;
• D-Tire & Lube Center in San Antonio;
• David’s Towing in Newport News, VA;
• 1st Choice Truck Service, with locations in Fernley, NV and Sparks, NV;
• Gulf Coast Drivetrain in Spanish Fort, AL;
• Jolly Truck & Trailer Service in Wichita Falls, TX;
• M&M Tire & Mechanical Services in Graysville, AL;
• Merritt’s Truck & Auto Repair in Kokomo, IN;
• TDI Truck Repair & Towing in Swanton, VT;
• Winchester Truck Repair in Winchester, VA; and
• CFS Quick Lube in Greensboro, NC.
PTP vice president Michael Gay called having PTP shops in the Meritor Service Points program “a foundation” for expanding membership to more of the 62 PTP-affiliated shops in 36 states.
Meritor says that it’s in discussions with potential Meritor Service Point candidates and will focus on the addition of more new members this year.
Fix Auto USA Hires Business Development VP
Fix Auto USA has added Dennis O’Mahoney as its vice president of business development, responsible for all revenue-generating activities, developing relationships with insurance carriers and nurturing existing MSO relationships.
He has over 25 years of executive management experience in the insurance technology and claims service industries. Most recently, O’Mahoney was the executive vice president of Independent Automotive Damage Appraisers (IADA). His background also includes time as the CEO and founder of ClaimForce and the vice president of sales – national accounts for CCC Information Services.
DC Battery Hub is looking for Rep Agencies across the U.S. and Canada. We have a complete line of Remanufactured and New Hybrid batteries. We offer 12, 36, and 60 (New) month warranty programs. … (more) … Click here to find out more.
The worldwide leader in circuit protection products and solutions, is seeking automotive aftermarket representation on the west coast (AZ, NV, CA). … (more) … Click here to find out more.
Sea Foam Sales Company is looking for a knowledgeable, enthusiastic person to assume responsibility for our Wisconsin territory. Candidates must be a self-motivated, sales driven person with a good working knowledge of gas and diesel engines in a variety of industries and applications. … (more) … Click here to find out more.
EMPI Inc., a leading Automotive Aftermarket Manufacturer/Distributor is seeking a Sales Representative in Latin America. This will be a Commission Based opportunity. Both individuals and Sales Representative Companies may apply. … (more) … Click here to find out more.
EMPI Inc., a leading Automotive Aftermarket Manufacturer/Distributor is seeking a Vice President of Customer and Category Management. This is a promising career opportunity for a result driven professional with at least 5+ years of automotive sales experience at the management level. … (more) … Click here to find out more.
AAA Study Finds Misunderstanding, Misuse Of Driver Assistance Tech
Many drivers are unaware of the safety limitations of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) like blind spot monitoring systems, forward collision warning and lane keeping assist, according to new research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
Its research indicates that nearly 80 percent of drivers with blind spot monitoring systems were unaware of limitations or incorrectly believed that the system can accurately detect vehicles passing at very high speeds or bicycles and pedestrians. However, the technology can only detect when a vehicle is traveling in a driver’s blind spot and many systems do not reliably detect pedestrians or cyclists.
“When properly utilized, ADAS technologies have the potential to prevent 40 percent of all vehicle crashes and nearly 30 percent of traffic deaths. However, driver understanding and proper use is crucial in reaping the full safety benefits of these systems,” said David Yang, executive director of the foundation. “Findings from this new research show that there is still a lot of work to be done in educating drivers about proper use of ADAS technologies and their limitations.”
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety commissioned researchers from the University of Iowa to survey drivers who purchased a 2016- or 2017 model-year vehicle with ADAS technology. Researchers evaluated drivers’ opinions, awareness and understanding of the technology and found that most do not know or understand the limitations of the systems.
For example, nearly 40 percent of drivers did not know the limitations of forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking systems, or confused the two, believing that forward collision warning could apply the brakes in the case of an emergency when the technology is only designed to deliver a warning signal. Additionally, roughly one in six vehicle owners did not know whether or not their vehicle was equipped with automatic emergency braking.
“With ADAS technologies offering proven safety benefits when properly used, it is important that automakers and others play a greater role in educating motorists about the technology available in the vehicles they purchase,” said Jake Nelson, AAA’s director of traffic safety advocacy and research.
According to AAA, false expectations for ADAS systems can lead to misuse of the technology or an increase in driver distraction. In the survey, about 25 percent of drivers using blind spot monitoring or rear cross traffic alert systems reported feeling comfortable relying solely on the systems and not performing visual checks or looking over their shoulder for oncoming traffic or pedestrians. And, about 25 percent of vehicle owners using forward collision warning or lane departure warning systems reported feeling comfortable engaging in other tasks while driving.
“New vehicle safety technology is designed to make driving safer, but it does not replace the important role each of us plays behind the wheel,” Yang said. “The prospect of self-driving cars is exciting, but we aren’t there yet. Automakers have an ethical and important responsibility to accurately market — and to carefully educate consumers about — the technologies we purchase in the vehicles we drive off the lot.”
Despite the confusion about some ADAS systems, at least 70 percent of vehicle owners reported that they would recommend the technology to other drivers. The greatest proportion of drivers reported trusting blind spot monitoring systems (84 percent), followed by rear-cross traffic alert (82 percent), lane departure warning (77 percent), lane keeping assist (73 percent), forward collision warning (69 percent) and automatic emergency braking (66 percent).
Only about half of the drivers who reported purchasing their vehicle from a car dealership recalled being offered training on the ADAS technology. However, for those who were, nearly 90 percent said they took advantage of the opportunity and completed the training.
“The training drivers need to properly use the safety technologies in their vehicles is not currently offered,” Nelson said. “If educating consumers about vehicle technology was as much a priority for the automakers and dealers as making the sale, we would all reap the benefits.”
Amazon Introduces Alexa For Cars
Amazon has announced the debut of Echo Auto, which allows users to add the Alexa virtual personal assistant technology to their cars or trucks. Using an eight-microphone array, Echo Auto lets Alexa hear users’ voice prompts despite in-vehicle music and fans, as well as road noise.
The device uses a vehicle’s 12-volt power outlet or USB port and connects to the stereo system through a 3.50-mm audio jack or Bluetooth connection. It connects to Alexa via a smartphone app, allowing it to access a variety of features, such as music, audio books, traffic updates, appointment reminders and “to do” lists.
News Briefs 10/2/18
• Meineke Car Care Centers plans to open as many as 15 new shops in Alabama over the next few years, according to a Sept. 24 article on AL.com. The company is targeting Birmingham, Huntsville, Auburn and Montgomery.
• Rotary Lift customers can now access its Building Information Modeling (BIM) library directly from Rotary’s website at rotarylift.com/Home/Support/assistPRO/. It includes all Rotary Lift BIM files, including cut sheets, spec documents, installation manuals and images of each lift. Customers can use the resource to determine the optimal number, placement and arrangement of vehicle lifts for a new or remodeled facility.
• Henley Enterprises, the largest Valvoline Instant Oil Change (VIOC) franchisee, is again raising funds for the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF). Throughout the month of October, a portion of the sales of pink wipers will be donated to NBCF. The wipers are available at over 175 participating VIOC shops in 10 states. Now in its seventh year, the campaign has raised more than $86,000 for NBCF.
• Hercules Tires, a wholly owned subsidiary of American Tire Distributors (ATD), has donated tires to the Millstream Career Center in Findlay, OH and Owens Community College in Toledo, OH, which will allow automotive technology students to practice installing tires safely.
• Rich Valenstein is now group vice president of revenue management and product profitability for Toyota Motor North America. In this newly created position, Valenstein is responsible for, among other things, leading financial support for Toyota’s North American parts and accessories operations. He previously was vice president of finance.
• Tint World Automotive Styling Centers has opened its first location in Arizona: a store in the Phoenix suburb of Chandler. The new location is the first of four planned stores in the Phoenix area.