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Service Executive Issue #15-19 (Full)

Quick Hits …
(A few short items to get us started this week)

Christian Brothers Automotive disclosed in an Oct. 18 announcement that it expects to have Tekmetric, its new point-of-sale software, deployed at all of its locations by the end of 2019.

• Castrol has announced a long-term strategic partnership with Driven Brands and Take 5 Oil Change, one of the largest quick-lube chains in North America with more than 500 shops across 18 states and Canada. The alliance involves training, service and marketing efforts.

Fountain Tire (Edmonton, Alberta) has announced the following appointments: Dave Deley to senior vice president of stores; Jason Herle to senior vice president of marketing, information systems and supply chain; and Nelson Tonn to vice president of sales and mine service. Fountain Tire has approximately 160 shops across Canada.

• Nominations close Thursday, Nov. 21, for the TechForce Foundation’s 2019 “Techs Rock Awards” competition, which honors accomplished transportation technicians. Click here for more information about the awards.


Inaugural J.D. Power Study Ranks U.S. Aftermarket Service Providers

Les Schwab Tire Centers and Christian Brothers Automotive tied for the top spot in the inaugural J.D. Power U.S. Aftermarket Service Index (ASI) Study, which gauges respondents’ satisfaction for general maintenance in the U.S. automotive aftermarket. The pair scored 823 on a 1,000-point scale. Grease Monkey (782) ranked third, followed by Goodyear Tire & Auto Service (780) and Valvoline Instant Oil Change (754).

Click here to see a more detailed ranking of the general maintenance providers.

The ASI Study measures customer satisfaction with aftermarket service facilities, providing a numerical index ranking of the highest-performing U.S. aftermarket service facilities, split into two segments: general maintenance and tire replacement. The rankings are based on the combined scores of six different measures (in order of importance).

For general maintenance, the measures are …
• Fairness of charges (19%)
• Service quality (18%)
• Service advisor (18%)
• Service facility (16%)
• Service initiation (15%)
• Vehicle pick-up (14%)

For tire replacement, the measures are …
• Service initiation (20%)
• Fairness of charges (18%)
• Service quality (18%)
• Service advisor (16%)
• Vehicle pick-up (15%)
• Service facility (13%)

Les Schwab Tire Centers ranked highest in satisfaction for tire replacement with a score of 824. Discount Tire ranked second (793), followed by Costco Wholesale (780), Goodyear Tire & Auto Service (771) and Sam’s Club (763). Click here to see a more detailed ranking of the tire replacement providers.

“Aftermarket service providers need to ensure a great experience, so customers will want to return for future service and might even recommend the facility to family members and friends,” explained Chris Sutton, vice president of the U.S. automotive retail practice at J.D. Power. “A lot of times, simple things like following up with a customer after a service experience can make the difference between a good and great experience.”

Vehicle walkarounds were the second-most influential key performance indicator (KPI) for general maintenance and tire replacement. However, this only occurred 72% of the time for general maintenance and 75% for tire replacement. When a vehicle walkaround was performed, satisfaction scores improved 49 points for general maintenance and 47 points for tire replacement.

Follow-up calls were only made 33% of the time for general maintenance and 38% for tire replacement, but such calls could account for satisfaction scores that were 28 points higher for general maintenance service and 21 points higher for tire replacement service, according to the firm’s research.

Completing the work the first time was the most important activity for increased customer satisfaction, according to J.D. Power, and it was completed a vast majority of the time in both segments (93% for general maintenance and 94% for tire replacement). In the general maintenance segment, satisfaction scores increased 247 points — roughly five times greater than performing a vehicle walkaround — when work was completed right the first time. Satisfaction scores in the tire maintenance segment were 231 points higher when work was completed right the first time.

Battery replacement (754) and tire maintenance (758) had the highest satisfaction for general maintenance, while tire alignment (772) had the highest satisfaction in the tire replacement segment.

Among all age groups, the most common reason customers selected their service provider was prior experience, according to J.D. Power. 56% of Boomers chose service providers based on prior experience with the facility, compared with 34% of Generation Z service customers. Generation Z customers were most likely to choose a service facility based on recommendations from others.

The study also found that, among customers who had aftermarket service, 33% of owners within the first year of ownership also had service at a new vehicle dealership in the past year. This percentage steadily declined as vehicles age, down to 21% for owners of five-year-old vehicles and 16% for nine-year old vehicles. Only 8% of aftermarket service customers who own vehicles 10 years or older have visited a dealer in the past year.

The study is based on responses from 12,554 vehicle owners and was fielded August to September 2019. For more information, click here.



Monro’s Quarterly Results Disappoint;
Leaders Confident In Path Forward

For the fiscal second quarter ended Sept. 28, 2019, Monro Inc. saw its net income decrease 6.6% to $20.31 million, mainly the result of a decrease in gross margin.

While the company’s gross profit increased 1.8% to $122.07 million, Monro’s gross margin declined 140 basis points to 37.7%. President and CEO Brett Ponton told analysts on the company’s Oct. 24 earnings conference call that the gross margin decline came from higher material costs on the tire side of the business, higher-than-expected labor costs and the impact of recent acquisitions.

For the second quarter of fiscal 2020, Monro’s sales increased by $17.01 million (or 5.5%) to $324.11 million, mainly because of $17.50 million in sales from new shops, including $14.20 million from recent acquisitions. This was partially offset by an $800,000 decrease in sales from closed shops.

Monro’s comparable-store sales were flat, as higher year-over-year ticket was offset by negative traffic. From a monthly perspective, comps were up 1% in July, flat in August and down 2% in September.

“We knew our comps were increasingly difficult as we moved through the quarter when compared to gains of 1%, 4% and 5% in last year’s July, August and September, respectively,” Ponton said on the call. “In October of fiscal 2019, we posted comparable-store sales growth of +7% and are currently tracking down approximately 1% against this tough comparison.”

Tire comps were flat year-over-year, as a 1% decline in tire volume was offset by higher ticket. “While we were able to pass price on to customers with our Tier-1 [branded] tires, we were impacted by increased costs related to our more price-sensitive tires,” Ponton explained.

“We remain focused on driving strength in our largest category and have made important strides to position ourselves as a leader in the industry,” he told analysts on the call. “This has been an ongoing journey, which began over a year ago when we unbundled the price of our tires and installation online.”

On the service and repair side, Monro reported a 1% increase in brake comps, which Ponton attributed to adjustments made to pricing after a lackluster launch for its good/better/best packages. Maintenance comps were up 1%; front end and shocks were flat; and alignments declined 1%.

Geographically, the company’s southern markets outperformed its northern markets.

MARGIN IMPROVEMENT … “We believe our second-quarter results represent a low-water mark for us this year, as we’ve moved quickly to drive margin improvement,” Ponton stressed. “As you know, our sales are dependent upon technicians to perform services for our customers. We have invested in technician labor at our understaffed stores; however, our current store-staffing process does not enable us to make quick changes to labor in response to fluctuating demand dynamics. This impacted our second-quarter margins, as we were unable to rapidly adjust labor at stores where we were seeing a compression in demand.”

To rectify this in the near term, Monro put in place controls on hiring, which management expects will normalize the company’s labor costs in the back half of the current fiscal year. “In the medium term, we’re working to implement a cloud-based store-staffing and -scheduling model that will significantly improve staffing efficiency,” Ponton told analysts on the call. “Our new system will allow us to quickly and accurately rebalance the number of technicians and the level of skill sets in each store, which will be critical in driving long-term margin expansion.”

Ponton expressed disappointment with Monro’s financial results, noting that gross margin pressure significantly impacted the company’s performance. “We have quickly taken actions to improve our margin performance,” he stated.

“Positively, we’re very pleased with the strong progress we’ve made on the execution of our ‘Monro Forward’ strategy. We have conviction in our path forward but know that a transformation of this scale is rarely linear, which was reflected in our results,” Ponton said. “Although this quarter was challenging, we’ve addressed the isolated issues we faced and are moving forward toward the strong opportunity ahead.

“We’re very encouraged with the execution of our strategic initiatives, in particular our store refresh program, which we believe will be critical in enabling us to generate long-term sustainable growth. In addition to this important initiative, we have ramped up investments in technology to support our strategy and are well-positioned to capitalize on the increasing demand and evolving trends in our industry.”

OUTLOOK … Management has updated its fiscal year 2020 comp-store sales guidance range to +1% to +2% to reflect Monro’s second-quarter performance. Prior guidance called for growth of 1% to 3%.

However, based on the updated comp-store sales guidance and the contributions from new acquisitions, management raised its full-year sales expectation to a range of $1.295 billion to $1.315 billion (an increase of 7.9% to 9.6% when compared to fiscal 2019 sales). Its previous guidance called for sales to come in between $1.285 billion and $1.315 billion.    — Marc Vincent



Monro Streamlining Store Refresh Program To Decrease Disruption

On the company’s Oct. 24 earnings conference call, Monro Inc. President and CEO Brett Ponton told analysts that the company has made significant progress on management’s store refresh program, which focuses on refreshing the company’s shops to create a more consistent appearance while also implementing standardized in-store operating procedures, which management calls the “Monro Playbook.”

At the same time, the company is rebranding certain shops to a tire-oriented banner. This is happening where demographics favor the format. “We believe this will optimize our brand awareness and increase our tire sales without sacrificing our service revenue,” Ponton explained.

It’s worth noting that Monro’s tire stores generate about twice the annualized sales of its service shops.

ROLLOUT … As you may recall, Monro completed a pilot refresh program at 44 shops in the Rochester, NY, area and in certain Mid-Atlantic markets last year. The company then began scaling this initiative to 43 shops in its southern markets during the first quarter of fiscal 2020.

During the second quarter ended Sept. 28, 2019, the company began — and substantially completed — the transformation of an additional 74 shops in four markets, while beginning work on 42 of its recently acquired California locations. This brought the total number of shops in various stages of change during the quarter to 259 locations.

It’s worth noting that Monro’s store refresh process takes roughly 17 weeks to implement.

“While we expected this to cause some impact, the process of implementing our ‘Operational Excellence’ initiatives while also dealing with the construction and necessary updates to the appearance of these stores caused more disruption to the day-to-day execution than we had anticipated, resulting in a 70-basis-point headwind to our comp sales in the quarter,” Ponton said on the call.

“The good news is we’ve finalized the transformation of the 43 stores we began in the first quarter and substantially completed the additional 74 stores during the second quarter,” he said. “Importantly, we have learned from our mistakes … . In particular, we’ve streamlined our processes to a more targeted approach that will better prepare and support our teammates during the store transformation, which we believe will ensure that the rollout is smoother moving forward.”

He noted that the first group of refreshed shops, as well as the second group (the 43 stores that were completed during the fiscal second quarter), are reporting double-digit comp-store sales growth year-over-year. “These results are in-line with the forecast of our analytics model, which gives us confidence in the long-term contribution of our recently completed stores, as well as the expected benefit of our larger refresh program moving forward,” Ponton said.

GOING FORWARD … During the second half of the current fiscal year, Monro expects to finalize the refresh of the 74 stores that were already substantially completed during the second quarter, as well as the 42 recently acquired locations in California, where Monro began implementing the company’s standardized operating procedures late in the second quarter.

As you may recall, the California shops will be re-branded to Monro’s Tire Choice Auto Service Centers banner in an attempt to drive higher awareness for tires while maintaining their service focus.

Over the next year and a half, management plans to take a measured approach to the rollout of its refresh initiative, according to Ponton’s comments. “While we will work to minimize the disruption as much as possible, we’re still moving full steam ahead, albeit setting a limit of 60 to 80 stores per quarter,” he told analysts on the call.

“The group of stores that we have prioritized over the next few quarters includes our newly acquired stores and targeted markets where our analytics model has indicated the strongest potential for increased visibility and traction for our tires banners in order to achieve what we expect will be the highest possible returns,” Ponton added.

OTHER INITIATIVES … Monro is in the process of implementing a new store network infrastructure upgrade, which has been rolled out to approximately 10% of its store base. “This new, updated network will be critical as we roll out our digital phone system toward the end of the year,” Ponton said, adding that the phone system will be rolled out to the company’s recently refreshed shops before expanding to its entire store base over the second half of the fiscal year.

The company also is working to introduce a tire category management and dynamic pricing system designed to better optimize its assortment and drive margin improvement. Monro also is piloting a cloud-based vehicle inspection tool. “We expect the rollout of these initiatives to be completed by the end of fiscal 2021,” Ponton stated.

Regarding the company’s partnership with Amazon, Ponton said management is pleased with the roll out of this collaboration at more than 800 shops across 21 states. “We’re continuing to see strong customer satisfaction metrics at these locations and look forward to expanding this collaboration across our portfolio,” he said.

Ponton said management has opted to push back the second phase of its omnichannel strategy to focus on executing its category management and store-staffing initiatives. “We now expect to implement the second phase of our omnichannel strategy — including offering our customers the option to view and purchase tires online and schedule an appointment for in-store installation — during fiscal 2021,” he said.

Additionally, the company has added curriculum to Monro University, its cloud-based training program, and is in the process of rolling it out across the company’s store base.


Monro Continues Growing Out West

Monro Inc. has signed definitive agreements to acquire three companies that will result in the addition of 14 shops in Las Vegas; four in Boise, ID; and nine in Northern California. The transactions are expected to close in the current quarter.

President and CEO Brett Ponton told analysts on Monro’s Oct. 24 financial results conference call that the purchase of these shops demonstrates management’s strategy to extend the company’s footprint in the West. “By solidifying our growing presence on the West Coast, we enhance our ability to service national accounts and also better position ourselves to capitalize on a high concentration of vehicles in this market and the potential long-term consumer shift to ride sharing,” Ponton said.

With the acquisitions in Nevada and Idaho, which are new states, Monro is expected to add approximately $20 million in annualized sales representing a sales mix of 75% service and 25% tires.

The additions in California complement the company’s relatively recent entrance into the state. These nine shops are expected to add roughly $25 million in annualized sales representing a sales mix of 55% service and 45% tires.

During the fiscal second quarter ended Sept. 28, 2019, Monro closed on its previously announced acquisition of eight shops in Louisiana. This gives the company 20 locations in the state, solidifying Monro’s position in a recently entered market and increasing its exposure in the South. These shops are expected to add approximately $12 million in annualized sales, representing a sales mix of 50% service and 50% tires.

“Overall, acquisitions announced and completed in fiscal 2020 collectively represent an expected $120 million in annualized sales,” Ponton said on the call. “We remain well-positioned to continue to execute on our robust pipeline of attractive M&A opportunities and currently we have over 10 [non-disclosure agreements] signed with opportunities ranging from five to 40 stores. We believe these opportunities will allow us to maintain our leadership position in the markets we serve, while continuing to expand our geographic footprint into attractive and under-developed regions.

“Importantly, we believe that the implementation of our ‘Monro Forward’ initiatives to standardize our in-store operating procedures and brand standards will position us to more effectively and efficiently integrate our acquisitions.”

Monro opened five greenfield locations during the fiscal second quarter ended Sept. 28, 2019, bringing its year-to-date greenfield store openings up to six locations. It’s worth remembering that Monro defines greenfields as new construction as well as the acquisition of one- to four-store operations.

During the quarter, Monro added 13 company-operated shops and closed two locations.

As of Sept. 28, 2019, Monro had 1,262 company-operated shops and 98 franchise locations — up from 1,178 company-operated shops and 97 franchise locations a year ago.


Take 5 Oil Change Opens 500th Shop;
Has Added 200-Plus Shops This Year

Take 5 Oil Change has opened its 500th location. Pete Frey, former president of Take 5, owns shop No. 500 in Covington, LA. Frey spent more than 20 years with the Take 5 organization, which originated in the New Orleans area, and helped guide its growth in the early years.

Take 5 has been growing rapidly since its acquisition by Driven Brands in 2016. At the time, Take 5 had 65 shops. Since the purchase, Driven Brands has added 435 locations through a combination of acquisitions, franchising and company-owned shops.

More than 200 new Take 5 locations have already opened this year.

“We are very pleased with the growth that we have seen so far in 2019 and see tremendous potential for continued expansion in new markets across the country,” said Jon Gaiman, chief development officer for Driven Brands. “We are also excited that Pete Frey, someone long associated with Take 5, chose to become the owner of our 500th store.”

In related news, TWO Capital Partners — which has invested more than $600 million in apartment, office, retail and shopping center development — is entering the automotive service industry. TWO Capital Partners plans to open 24 or more Take 5 shops across Georgia and South Carolina.

Additionally, South Carolina entrepreneur Scott Montgomery has signed on to open 10 Take 5 locations in North Carolina and Georgia.



Wrench Lands $20 Million In Funding To Expand, Broaden Offerings

The mobile vehicle maintenance and repair company Wrench has landed a $20 million “Series C” funding round led by Vulcan Capital. Financial terms of the funding were not disclosed. The funds will be used to accelerate Wrench’s growth, the company announced in a Nov. 7 press release, allowing Wrench to …
• Spread its service-area footprint to untapped markets.
• Hire new executive-level employees.
• Expand mechanic service offerings.
• Add additional mechanics in target markets.

Using Wrench, drivers can schedule vehicle maintenance and repair service with full-time, ASE-certified mechanics who travel directly to the customer’s destination of choice. Each repair or service includes a one-year, 12,000-mile warranty.

For the funding round, Vulcan Capital received additional participation from the Madrona Venture Group, Tenaya Capital and Marubeni Corp.
(U.S. parts distributors XL Parts and The Parts House also are affiliated with Marubeni Corp., as both distributors are owned by Marubeni Automotive Aftermarket Holdings).

The funding comes on the heels of Wrench’s acquisition of the Canada-based mobile automotive service startup Fiix.

“As Wrench continues to grow and expand both our service offerings and footprint, we look to bring our convenient solution to many more consumers and commercial fleets across the country,” CEO Ed Petersen said.


RepairSmith Expands Its At-Home Car Repair Service To Las Vegas

The at-home car repair service provider RepairSmith has expanded into Las Vegas — its first new market outside of California and fifth market since August, joining Los Angeles; San Diego; Orange County, CA; and the San Francisco Bay area.

RepairSmith uses trained technicians and custom repair vans to provide a range of vehicle repair and maintenance work to car owners in their driveways or at their places of work. If more sophisticated tools are required to get the job done, RepairSmith will take the customer’s car to a certified RepairSmith shop to complete the repair and return the vehicle when the job is done.

Additionally, if a vehicle owner prefers to drive their own car in for service, RepairSmith’s RS Drop Off service allows them to drop their vehicles off at certified RepairSmith shops.

The company also offers online scheduling, upfront pricing and a 12-month/12,000-mile warranty on all services.

Los Angeles-based RepairSmith is backed by Daimler AG. Its services are available for all vehicle types and not limited to vehicles manufactured by Daimler AG.


Pep Boys Again Takes Part In Refurbished Rides For Vets Program

For the second consecutive year, Pep Boys and the Icahn Automotive Group lent support to members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families as an affiliate of Progressive’s “Keys to Progress” program, which on Nov. 7 presented refurbished vehicles to more than 100 veterans at over 60 locations. The initiative provides reliable transportation to help military veterans and their families move forward in life.

Pep Boys’ participation included a $300 gift card, redeemable when recipients’ vehicles need maintenance, as well as a roadside emergency kit and other items. Pep Boys also offers a 10% discount on automotive service and parts to all active, reserve and retired military personnel.


Advance’s New Learning Management System Stresses Career Advancement

Advance Auto Parts has launched a new learning management system, Career Pathways, designed to provide training programs that grow an automotive professional’s knowledge and skills throughout their career.

Training from Advance now combines courses available online and in the classroom from the company’s Carquest Technical Institute (CTI) and WORLDPAC Training Institute (WTI) programs, forming an integrated training platform, or library of technical training and business management education.

Career Pathways — which features a structured set of online and classroom events to establish mastery of technical and business competencies — currently targets general service technicians and professional technicians. Offerings for senior technicians and master technicians, as well as a number of specialist programs, are expected by year’s end, according to a Nov. 1 announcement from Advance.

Shop owners can track the progress of their technicians and staff through Career Pathways specific to the type of work they perform. Training participants receive certifications within the CTI and WTI platform as they complete training programs and advance in their career.

“The advancement of automotive technology requires that our industry has access to leading-edge training to keep pace with modern vehicle systems,” Rob Morrell, senior director of customer training at WORLDPAC, said in the aforementioned announcement. “CTI+WTI’s new learning management system enables national accounts and independent shops alike to help attract, retain and grow talent.”

Each year, Advance serves more than 26,000 people across North America with training offered through the CTI and WTI programs.


DRiV Expands Garage Gurus Training

Garage Gurus, the national training platform of DRiV Inc., has expanded the number of training courses accessible to technicians online. More than 110 e-learning sessions are now available covering such topics as brakes, drivability and ignition, as well as ASE-certification preparation classes. Garage Gurus eLearning is designed for techs who cannot attend Garage Gurus classroom training sessions.

In related news, DRiV expects to open Garage Gurus technical education centers in Mexico City and Toronto in 2020. The company currently has 12 technical education centers in the United States.


New Funding, New CEO For AutoVitals

AutoVitals — the provider of SaaS products for automotive repair and maintenance shops founded by Uwe Kleinschmidt — has announced a “strategic growth investment” from the private equity firm Tritium Partners.

Specifics regarding the investment were not disclosed. According to AutoVitals, the investment will provide it with “significant” resources to expand and enhance the company’s The Digital Shop offerings.

Along with the new funding comes a new CEO, Jon Belmonte, a veteran software executive. He is the former CEO and COO of Active Network, a provider of activity and participant management software for races, nonprofits, outdoor activities, camps, sports, schools and universities.

Kleinschmidt is now AutoVitals’ chief innovation officer.

AutoVitals provides a number of products aimed at optimizing a shop’s performance, including workflow management, digital vehicle inspection, motorist engagement, POS integration, website and digital marketing tools.



Bolt On Technology Partners With SiriusXM,
Launches Workflow Product

Shops using Bolt On Technology’s Mobile Manager Pro or Pro Pack software can now opt into the SiriusXM Service Lane for Shops program, allowing shops to offer eligible customers a three-month SiriusXM All Access subscription. The initiative is designed to complement and build on shops’ existing customer service and loyalty programs.

Bolt On will provide co-branded point-of-sale material to help shops communicate and explain program benefits to vehicle owners. There also will be a social media campaign. For more information, visit

In related news, Bolt On has launched a new product, Workflow Manager, that allows shop owners and managers to communicate and adjust a shop’s workload in real-time. This includes changing the status of vehicles, moving jobs to different techs, sending text messages to customers, viewing inspection points and invoices, and printing lube stickers.


Innova Launches RepairSolutions2 App

Innova Electronics Corp. has announced the availability of its RepairSolutions2 app, which gives users access to vehicle-specific inspection reports and guided diagnostics and troubleshooting information. A new app feature, LifeTime Link, helps users accurately identify the parts needed and connects them with their preferred auto parts distributors to automate the parts purchasing process.

According to Innova, its latest generation of Wi-Fi- and Bluetooth-enabled OBD tools and dongles pair with the RepairSolutions2 app. After initial setup, Wi-Fi-enabled tools automatically pair with the app to push reports to tablets or mobile phones.

RepairSolutions2-compatible diagnostic tools are available directly from Innova and will be sold by select retailers, including AutoZone and Advance Auto Parts.


Epicor Introduces Mobile eStore For Service Providers

Epicor Software Corp. has introduced a browser-based mobile eStore tool that lets automotive service professionals use their mobile devices to look up, price and order parts from the more than 20,000 wholesalers connected to the Epicor Parts Network (EPN).

For some time, vehicle service businesses have been able to purchase parts and supplies through the EPN B2B eStore, which is integrated into a number of shop management systems. The new mobile eStore is a standalone offering that delivers the same parts and providers without tying users to their back-office computers or service desks.

Mobile eStore users can look up parts and related information in various ways, including vehicle make, model, year and engine; by VIN; or with an optional license plate-to-VIN feature. Users are then presented with a list of parts, suppliers, pricing and availability.

The mobile eStore also allows users to build lists of parts needed by job to determine pricing and availability prior to writing an estimate. Additionally, a searchable archive of previous transactions is available to help users keep track of orders completed.


Epicor Touts Updates To MechanicNet, Integrated Service Estimator

Since acquiring MechanicNet in June, Epicor Software Corp. has been making a number of enhancements to the cloud customer retention and outbound marketing platform for automotive service businesses. This includes a social media scoring and reputation management application, as well as the expansion of text messaging to include appointment reminders.

Epicor also has added two new features to its Integrated Service Estimator (ISE) cloud-based estimating and parts sourcing tool for automotive repair shops and tire dealers. The optional new features are license plate-to-VIN application decoding and integration of the Epicor PartExpert GFX graphical e-catalog.


ATI Hires Client Fulfillment VP

The Automotive Training Institute (ATI) has added Mike Skibbie as its vice president of client fulfillment, responsible for overseeing all department operations. Skibbie comes to ATI with nearly 20 years of automotive and leadership experience, mainly with Affinitive (formerly Dealer Product Services), a company that develops marketing initiatives for automotive manufacturers, dealers and dealer groups.

Bryan Stasch, who was ATI’s vice president of client fulfillment, now serves as its vice president of product and content development.


Seeking Rep Agencies, National Sales Manager

Windshield wiper blade company looking for rep agencies in certain territories as well as a National Sales Manager. Direct experience in the product category and/or knowledge of/relationships with key accounts that service stocking dealer programs for preventive maintenance categories (filters/oil & lubricants/chemicals/belts/hoses/bulbs etc.) a plus. …(more) … Click here to find out more.

Spectra Premium Industries: Category Manager

Spectra Premium Industries, a leading North American Auto Parts Manufacturer, is seeking a Category Manager (CM) for the North American market. The CM’s primary responsibility is to enable Spectra Premium and their customers to grow sales through objective category expertise in order to deliver the best possible distribution, pricing, merchandising and promotional results. … (more) … Click here to find out more.


IGONC Elects New Board Of Directors

The Independent Garage Owners of North Carolina (IGONC) installed new officers at its annual banquet in conjunction with the ASTE Show. The new board includes …
• President: John Hill of Autotrends in Greensboro
• Vice President: Stan Creech of Creech Import Repair in Raleigh
• Treasurer: Todd Compton of Compton’s Automotive in Charlotte
• Secretary: Kayo Jenkins of Kayo’s Auto Service in Hubert
• Past President: Dean Bailey of King’s Auto Service in Raleigh
• Director: Charlie Creech of Creech Car Care Centers in Charlotte
• Director: Robert Crawford of the R&N Motor Company in Sanford
• Director: Lucas Underwood of L&N Performance in Blowing Rock
• Director: Tracy Magill of Taylor Automotive in Sanford
• Director: Robert Klein of RK Trans in Raleigh
• Director: Mike Allen of Carfix in Garner
• Associate Director: Paul Morro of The Morro Group in Raleigh
• Associate Director: Dustin Reaves of Walker NAPA Auto Parts in Hillsborough
• Associate Director: Suzie Lea of Advance/Carquest in Raleigh

Leaving the board after completing their terms are David Henderson of Advance/Carquest, Tim Lasley of Wilson’s Garage and Joe Stanley of Joe & Moe’s Automotive.


MWACA Announces New Board For 2019-2021

The Midwest Auto Care Association (MWACA) has announced the following board officers for 2019-’21 …
• President: Tim Davison of Chumbley’s Auto Care in Indianola, IA.
• Vice President: Summer Guerrero of Affinity Automotive Services in Wichita, KS.
• Treasurer: Sherri Stock of inMotion Auto Care in Lincoln, NE.
• Secretary: Doug Rosencutter of Doug’s Service Center in Topeka, KS.
• Past President: Jerry Holcom of S&S Service Center in Kansas City, MO.


Director Hired To Oversee ASA Member Services

The Automotive Service Association (ASA) has added Blair Calvo as its director of membership, responsible for overseeing member services, including addressing the needs of current members and leading efforts to recruit new members. Calvo comes to ASA with previous association management experience, including work with the Dallas County Dental Society and the Dallas Builders Association.


People Watching 11/11/19

American Tire Distributors (ATD) has appointed Greg Bell as the president of Tire Pros. This follows the retirement of Ron Sinclair, ATD’s senior vice president of retail strategy and partnerships, after more than 15 years serving in various leadership roles. Bell, who joined ATD in 2007, has served as regional president – Southeast and, most recently, as vice president of inside sales and call center.

Jerome Grant is now the CEO and a member of the board of directors at Universal Technical Institute (UTI), replacing Kim McWaters, who retired as CEO Oct. 31. McWaters continues to serve on the board as a non-executive director. Grant was UTI’s executive vice president and COO.

• The ASA Texas board of directors has selected Jennifer Elfert Vredenburg as its new executive director.


News Briefs 11/11/19

Take 5 Oil Change is offering one year of “significant savings” on royalty fees through March 31, 2020.

• In honor of Veterans Day, Goodyear Auto Service and Just Tires locations nationwide are offering free car care checks and free tire installation to all active and retired members of the U.S. military with valid military IDs. Veterans can begin scheduling appointments Nov. 8-11 and redeem service through Nov. 16.

• The Hunter Engineering Company is partnering with the specialty vehicles division of Bush Trucks on a line of mobile tire and repair vans equipped with Hunter’s tire changing and wheel balancing equipment. Bush Specialty Vehicles provides custom upfitting services and mobile interior work.

• The Automotive Service Association (ASA) has announced a national partnership with the auto repair shop management system Tekmetric. ASA members qualify for a $600 discount on Tekmetric. And, for every ASA member that signs up for a new Tekmetric subscription, Tekmetric will donate $100 annually to Brakes for Breasts.

DRiV Inc., through its Garage Gurus training platform, has awarded a dozen $2,500 scholarships to students enrolled in accredited post-secondary automotive technology schools. Click here to see a list of the recipients.


Financial Briefs 11/11/19

AutoNation Inc. (Fort Lauderdale, FL) reported $902.60 million in Customer Care (parts and service) revenue for the third quarter of 2019 — an increase of 4.5% compared to a year ago. Customer Care gross profit rose 4.7% to $409 million. Same-store customer care gross profit increased 6%, with customer-pay gross profit up 10% and warranty gross profit up 6% year-over-year. AutoNation, the largest U.S. automotive retailer, operated over 325 locations coast-to-coast as of Sept. 30, 2019.

• Third-quarter 2019 service and parts revenue from the Penske Automotive Group’s retail automotive dealerships increased 3.8% to $543.50 million, with an increase of 4.1% domestically and 3.0% internationally. Same-store service and parts revenue rose 4.3%, with warranty up 2.6% and customer-pay up 4.7%. Gross profit from service and parts increased 2.7% to $321.70 million, with same-store service and parts gross profit up 3.0%. Bloomfield Hills, MI-based Penske is the second-largest automotive retailer headquartered in the United States, operating 333 franchises, of which 149 were located in the United States and 184 were located overseas, as of Sept. 30, 2019.

• For the third quarter of 2019, Group 1 Automotive’s parts and service revenue increased 8.2% to $383.50 million, with U.S. revenue up 8.8% (up 9.6% on a same-store basis). Same-store customer-pay revenue rose 11.1%, while collision revenue increased 8.3%, wholesale parts revenue grew 6.6% and warranty revenue rose 10.6%. Parts and service gross profit increased 8.7% to $208.20 million, with U.S. gross profit up 10.1% (up 9.9% on a same-store basis). Worldwide, Houston-based Group 1 owned and operated 238 franchises at 183 dealership locations — along with 49 collision centers — as of Sept. 30, 2019. In the United States, the company owned 151 franchises at 117 dealerships, as well as 30 collision centers.

• Sonic Automotive’s third-quarter 2019 Fixed Operations (parts, service and collision repair) revenue increased 2.6% to $352.05 million, with same-store Fixed Operations revenue up 5.1%. Fixed Operations gross profit increased 1.3% to $168.94 million. On a same-store basis, gross profit rose 5.3%, with customer-pay up 8.9%, warranty up 6.8% and wholesale parts up 1.9%. As of Sept. 30, 2019, Charlotte-based Sonic operated 91 franchised dealerships, consisting of 103 new vehicle franchises representing 23 different brands of cars and light trucks — as well as 15 collision repair centers — across 13 states.

Lithia Motors’ total service, body and parts revenue rose 9.4% to $340.50 million in the third quarter of 2019. Same-store revenue increased 9.5%, with customer-pay up 9.1%, parts wholesale and body shop up 8.0%, and warranty up 11.1%. Service, body and parts gross profit rose 11.0% to $171.50 million, with same-store gross profit up 11.1%. Medford, OR-based Lithia operated 184 locations representing 30 brands across 19 states as of Sept. 30, 2019.

• The Asbury Automotive Group (Duluth, GA) reported $227.60 million in parts and service revenue for the third quarter of 2019 — an increase of 10.4%, with same-store parts and service revenue up 8.3%. Parts and service gross profit rose 9.0% to $141.50 million. On a same-store basis, gross profit increased 6.8%, with customer-pay up 6.6%, wholesale parts up 5.5% and warranty up 13.1%. As of Sept. 30, 2019, Asbury owned and operated 107 new vehicle franchises (88 dealership locations) and 25 collision centers in 18 metropolitan markets across 10 states.


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