Monro Closes 2013 With Record Quarterly Sales, Earnings
Buoyed by more normalized winter weather and the performance of recent acquisitions, Monro Muffler Brake (Rochester, NY) reported record sales and net income for the fiscal third quarter ended Dec. 28, 3013. Net sales rose 13.8 percent to $216.70 million, while net income increased 36.2 percent to $15.33 million.
John Van Heel, president and CEO, pointed out on a Jan. 28 conference call that Monro was able to continue to deliver on key objectives like increasing traffic, benefiting from lower product costs, controlling operating expenses, generating strong sales and earnings contributions from recent acquisitions, and capitalizing on opportunities to complete additional acquisitions at prices attractive to the company.
“While we benefited from more-normalized weather trends in the third quarter, the macro and retail environment remained weak and negatively influenced consumer purchasing behavior, resulting in a comparable-store sales increase of 0.3 percent,” Van Heel told analysts on the call. “We have seen budget-conscious consumers defer repairs and focus on the most necessary items, which has resulted in choppy sales across key categories throughout this year.
“Customers have also continued to trade down — particularly in tires, where direct imports were just over 30 percent of our tires sold versus mid-20s last year and mid-teens three years ago.”
Sales mix by category for the quarter was brakes (13 percent), exhaust (3 percent), steering (9 percent), tires (49 percent) and maintenance (26 percent).
In the third quarter, comparable-store oil change traffic and tire units each increased 3 percent. Comparable-store sales were up 2 percent for brakes and 1 percent for tires. At the same time, comparable-store sales decreased in the exhaust (down 1 percent), shocks (down 1 percent) and alignment (down 4 percent) categories, which are more discretionary. Maintenance comps were down 1 percent.
“We remain cautiously optimistic for improved sales performance in the fourth quarter with continued normalized weather patterns, particularly as we are cycling against two consecutive warm winters and a two-year deferral cycle,” Van Heel said. “At the end of the day, people can only defer purchases of our products and services for so long, and we have demonstrated that customers continue to turn to us as their trusted service provider.
“We are hopeful that sales improvements we are seeing in certain categories, while choppy, are signs that the expanded deferral cycle may begin to reverse in the near future. Overall, we’re encouraged that the cold winter weather and its affects on parts failures and repairs in the spring season should help our sales in the first quarter of fiscal 2015.”
Based on current visibility, business and economic trends, and recent acquisitions, management now anticipates fiscal 2014 comparable-store sales will be flat — a slightly improvement over the prior range of down 1 percent to flat. The company now expects its total sales for the year come in between $830 million and $835 million.
Monro also has revised its estimated fiscal 2014 diluted earnings per share to a range of $1.63 to $1.66 — up from the prior range of $1.58 to $1.65. This compares to diluted earnings per share of $1.32 in fiscal 2013.
For the fourth quarter of fiscal 2014, management expects comparable-store sale to range between flat and up 1 percent. The company also expects diluted earnings per share for the fourth quarter to come in between $0.32 and $0.35. This compares to $0.25 diluted earnings per share for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013.
During the third quarter, Monro added 13 shops and closed two locations, ending the three-month period with 951 shops.
Management remains focused on increasing Monro’s market share through comparable-store sales growth, opening new stores in existing markets and acquiring competitors at attractive valuations. “As you know, we significantly accelerated acquisitions and achieved record acquisition growth in fiscal 2013. Through our successful acquisitions, we are operating with greater economies of scale that are benefiting us today as well as positioning the company to deliver strong earnings over the next several years,” Van Heel said. “In this uneven sales environment, we remain focused on increasing our market share, while strengthening our key competitive advantages and our operating leverage through accretive acquisitions.”
During the third quarter, the company closed on the previously announced acquisitions of 10 stores and $15 million in annualized sales in Delaware, Maryland and Kentucky. These deals increase Monro’s store density and leverage the existing brands Mr. Tire in Delaware and Maryland and Towery’s Tire in Kentucky.
On a combined basis, the acquisitions completed in fiscal 2014 represent nearly 5 percent of total sales.
Van Heel told analysts that management continues to still see meaningful opportunity for attractive deals in the marketplace given the current macro environment. “Owners of target independent tire dealers are individuals who are at or nearing retirement age without an internal succession option. We presently have seven [non-disclosure agreements (NDAs)] signed, compared to six at the end of the second quarter,” Van Heel said. “Five of these NDAs are within our footprint, and two are in a contiguous market, with store chains ranging in size from five to 40 locations.
“Based upon our recent transactions and our existing NDAs, we remain optimistic about opportunities for additional acquisitions in the near future. While we remain disciplined in the prices we will pay for acquisitions, as we reach acceptable turns, we are ready to act on any opportunities smaller or larger.” — Marc Vincent
Meineke Sells 12 Shops To Existing Franchisee
Meineke Car Care Centers has sold 12 company-owned shops in the Seattle/Tacoma/Olympia market to Randy DuBois, who has been a franchisee in the Meineke system since 2008. The acquisition makes DuBois among the largest Meineke franchise operators with 15 total locations throughout northwest Washington.
Valvoline Instant Oil Change Comps Up 4.7%
Ashland Consumer Markets, Ashland Inc.’s lubricants business (Valvoline), reported solid results for the fiscal first quarter ended Dec. 31, 2013. Operating income rose 13.6 percent to $75 million, as sales increased 1 percent to $486 million.
Volume increased sales by $13 million, or 3 percent, as lubricant gallons sold increased 4 percent to 38.60 million gallons, with particular strength in the international business, where volumes rose 10 percent. Lower product pricing decreased sales by $8 million, or 2 percent, while changes in product mix increased sales by $3 million and unfavorable currency exchange decreased sales by $3 million.
Company-owned same-store sales at Valvoline Instant Oil Change shops grew 4.7 percent year-over-year, driven by increased oil changes per day, average ticket price and total number of oil changes. The DIY business reported continued improvement in product mix, with premium lubricant sales increasing 5 percent versus the prior year.
Management expects overall Valvoline volumes to increase in the current quarter in line with normal seasonality.
Consumer Markets delivers premium-branded automotive, commercial and industrial lubricants, as well as automotive chemicals and car-care products. It operates and franchises roughly 900 Valvoline Instant Oil Change centers in the United States. It markets Valvoline lubricants and automotive chemicals; MaxLife lubricants for cars with higher-mileage engines; NextGen motor oil, created with 50-percent recycled oil; SynPower synthetic motor oil; Eagle One and Car Brite automotive appearance products; and Zerex antifreeze.
The Valvoline Instant Oil Change business accounted for roughly 17 percent of Consumer Markets’ sales in 2013. Sales to the DIFM installer market accounted for approximately 23 percent of unit sales in 2013. Sales to the DIY market and international business rounded out Consumer Markets’ sales in 2013 with 30-percent stakes each.
A closer look shows that antifreeze sales accounted for 5 percent of Consumer Markets’ sales in 2013. Filters came in 2 percent and chemicals at 8 percent. — Marc Vincent
Point Of View: How’s The Weather?
The overall auto industry is one of THE biggest segments of the U.S. economy, and the independent aftermarket is a significant portion of the auto industry. Our industry’s products and services create immense economic impact through employment, tax revenues, capital investment and countless other ways. This $275-billion business has a financial influence on all portions of our economic lives … a major financial impact.
Yet, I am always amazed how weather is one of the primary drivers of our business … a fundamental and key indicator of where are business is and where it is going. Spring weather, summer weather, fall weather, winter weather – the temperatures, the volume of precipitation, the severity of the storms — all dictate how sales go, how revenue goes, how profits come and go.
In a Feb. 4 analysis from our friends at BB&T Capital Markets, the recent wacky winter weather, particularly in the eastern U.S., was credited with the potential of a positive effect on parts ales. “Notably, we anticipate that current wintry conditions in the eastern half of the country will drive parts failure and benefit DIFM service providers in Q1, while DIY comps could be challenged as consumers opt to delay driveway/garage repairs. However, as winter weather should drive a sustained increase in failure rates as we approach spring, we believe both DIY and DIFM trends will improve in Q2,” the analysis reported.
According to BB&T’s viewpoint, the harsh winter weather we have seen in large portions of the country over the past two months is already driving categories such as batteries, starters, alternators, suspension and brakes, and eastern and Midwestern repair entities are the ones seeing the benefit of the weather. And, that impact will not just effect the repair base but the distribution channel as well.
In the West, drought conditions and generally mild weather could benefit DIY volumes, according to the BB&T perspective, while those same conditions “could be a headwind to maintenance-related agricultural/commercial volumes.”
Overall, the general outlook for the beginning of the year bodes well.
“With winter weather conditions improving demand in the majority of the country, we believe industry volumes are poised for growth in [the first half of 2014],” according to the BB&T report. “As weather extremes (colder winters and warmer summers) historically enhance longer-term aftermarket demand, we maintain our positive industry outlook for 2014.”
Among the many things we have little control over in our lives, weather is the most profound. Ask the folks who spent 20 hours in their cars in Atlanta during a recent winter storm. When weather speaks, like it or not, we better listen.
Whether we like it or not, weather can be a key factor in many product categories, and this winter’s weather across the country has had an impact already. Yes, weather is something we all talk about; in this industry, it is also something we do something about.
Gary A. Molinaro
ACDelco Doubles Parts & Labor Coverage
ACDelco Professional Service Center (PSC) program participants now offer 24 months/24,000 miles (whichever comes first) of parts and labor coverage to consumers on qualified maintenance and repairs. That’s double the previous coverage. This enhanced coverage applies to all levels of PSC participation.
Some parts are exempt from the program, such as batteries with established free-replacement periods and other products that may already offer longer warranties. Those warranties are still valid.
Advance Auto Parts Touts ROI Guarantee On MotoRev Shop Marketing Program
Advance Auto Parts’ Motoshop Technology Tools unit has introduced “The 5x Guarantee” for its MotoRev marketing program, a product designed to help commercial shops improve brand awareness, as well as attract, retain and connect with more customers. The guarantee promises a $5 return for every $1 spent on the MotoRev Shop Marketing Program or a repair shop’s next month with MotoRev is free.
MotoRev provides shop owners with tools to automate personalized, shop-branded communications to new and returning customers based on vehicle information and service history. MotoRev tracks on-program revenue from customer receipts directly influenced by the Shop Marketing Program to determine return on investment.
The product also includes such reputation management services as online customer reviews and professional website development and management.
Stanley Touts Strength Of Mac Tools Business In Q4
Stanley Black & Decker reports that organic sales for its Industrial & Automotive Repair (IAR) segment increased 5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013, primarily because of volume increases in North America and Europe.
Volume growth in North America was due, in part, to strength within Mac Tools mobile distribution. Management attributed the Mac Tools growth to a number of factors, including net distributor adds, distributor productivity gains, mentoring and training programs, improved financing, more proprietary products and the ability to now carry DeWalt tools on Mac trucks.
European growth was partly attributable to the impact of the Equip Auto trade fair.
Myers To Close Canadian Branches
Akron OH-based Myers Industries Inc. is closing its three Myers Tire Supply International branches in Canada, which are located in Quebec, Ontario and Alberta. Approximately 25 employees will be affected. The move was made, according to management, because of the need to “transition out of a business model that has not been profitable for us.”
Any future Canadian sales will be serviced from the U.S. distribution network.
Myers Tire Supply is a distributor of tools, equipment, and supplies for tire, wheel, and under-vehicle service professionals.
American Tire Distributors Is Buying Hercules Tire & Rubber
Huntersville, NC-based American Tire Distributors (ATD), one of the largest independent suppliers of tires to the North American replacement tire market, has executed an agreement to acquire all of the capital stock of The Hercules Tire & Rubber Co. for $310 million, subject to adjustment.
Based in Findlay, OH, Hercules is a marketer of replacement tires in the United States, Canada and globally. The company operates 15 distribution centers in the United States, six distribution centers in Canada and a 250,000-square-foot warehouse in northern China.
Hercules is engaged in the business of purchasing, marketing, distributing and selling aftermarket replacement tires for passenger cars, trucks and certain off-road vehicles to tire dealers, wholesale distributors, retail distributors and others. The company also markets Hercules brand tires.
ATD operates 130 distribution centers, including 22 in Canada, serving roughly 70,000 customers across the United States and Canada.
ATD/TriCan Announce Another Buy In Ontario
Burlington, ON-based TriCan Tire Distributors has acquired the wholesale distribution business of the Kipling Tire Co. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Kipling Tire has operated as a retail-wholesale business since 1982. On the wholesale side, Kipling Tire distributed product from its Etobicoke, ON facilities to close to 400 accounts in southern Ontario.
Kipling Tire’s retail operations were not acquired by TriCan and will continue to operate as a stand-alone business unit under its current ownership.
This acquisition will strengthen TriCan’s presence in southern Ontario.
TriCan, which is owned by American Tire Distributors (ATD), has been expanding in Ontario and Eastern Canada for some time — first, by acquiring Regional Tire Distributors in the Ontario and Atlantic regions in May 2013, and then by purchasing Wholesale Tire Distributors more recently.
Now, TriCan is one of the largest independent suppliers of tires to the Canadian replacement tire market. It operates 23 distribution centers in Canada, servicing tire retailers from coast to coast.
Scholarship Funding Sought For New Tire Dealer Education Program
The Center for Tire & Service Education (CTSE) is seeking corporate scholarship funding to offset a portion of the $5,995 per-student program fee for participants in Tire Leadership 21, the new business education program targeting North American independent tire dealers.
Tire Leadership 21, which officially launches in mid-April, is designed to develop the next generation of tire dealer managers and owners. It covers a range of business, management and leadership topics. The program was created through a collaboration between a group of tire dealers (CTSE) and Northwood University.
Funds will be held and distributed to Tire Leadership 21 participants by Northwood University. Scholarship funds may be donated to the general scholarship fund or earmarked for a specific participant, company or group. All donations are tax deductible.
By funding scholarships, tire manufacturers, tire marketers, industry suppliers and others can help ensure that the maximum number of high-potential tire dealer employees can participate in this program. The 2014 Tire Leadership 21 program will be limited to 30 participants.
CTSE has developed a structured multi-year gifting option, and straight donations also are being accepted. For donation information, contact program director Brian Cruickshank at (989) 430-7774.
Aaron’s Sells RIMCO Stores
Aaron’s Inc. has sold all of the assets of its RIMCO operations to Rent-A-Wheel/Rent-A-Tire. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. RIMCO and Rent-A-Wheel/Rent-A-Tire stores sell and lease automobile tires, wheels and rims.
Ronald Allen — chairman, president and CEO of Aaron’s, explains the decision to sell: “RIMCO was a small part of Aaron’s business, with annual revenues of approximately $20 million, and this divesture will enable us to further focus efforts on improving the financial performance of our Aaron’s and HomeSmart stores.”
RIMCO has 32 company-operated and franchised locations in 11 states. Rent-A-Wheel/Rent-A-Tire, based in Los Angeles, will now have 123 stores across 15 states. Rent-A-Wheel/Rent-A-Tire plan to continue to operate all of the acquired RIMCO stores and retain a majority of its employees.
Andreoli Adds Credit Card Integration To POS
Point-of-sale provider Andreoli & Associates has announced the integration of Merchant Partners payment processing in its cloud-based HITS BPOS. This allows Andreoli customers to electronically process payments for most credit cards, debit cards and checks within the point-of-sale. Several tire manufacturers’ cards are supported as well.
In addition to this integration with Merchant Partners, HITS BPOS has connections to such third-party providers as online DOT registration, Epicor ISE parts and labor, tire wholesalers, appointment scheduling, and Carfax.
Andreoli & Associates is a cloud-based provider of business management and point-of-sale software for tire retail and automotive service centers and wholesale tire distributors.
MAM To Release New Version Of VAST Enterprise
MAM Software is releasing a new version of its VAST Enterprise tire business management and retail POS system. The release provides a variety of new features:
• Goodyear price checking during purchase order creation – VAST uses Goodyear’s Price & Availability web service so users can view the company’s inventory and cost check from within the VAST Stock Purchase Order creation process. Dealers can see quantity available and cost for each tire on the purchase order.
• CIMS integration (tire DOT number registration) – VAST now includes an automatic routine that will send out tire registration information to CIMS.
• Carfax integration – The soft are includes a customer intake procedure that employs Carfax to populate the vehicle’s year, make and model by entering a license plate number. Shops also can use Carfax for parts look-up and ordering.
• American Tire Distributors (ATD) integration – Dealers have the ability to see inventory on hand and costs in real time. And, dealers can create hot-shot orders, which are then created automatically on the American Tire Distributors system.
• Full Slate Integration — Integration with Full Slate enables VAST users to accept customer appointments online.
TCS Releases New Facebook Apps
Cookeville, TN-based TCS — a software and Internet marketing provider in the tire and auto service industry — now offers four direct connections between tire dealer websites and Facebook with the release of two new Facebook Apps: the TCS Coupons App and the Store Finder App. Dealers can now automatically display manufacturer promotions, store offers, and marketing messages inside Facebook and on their websites with TCS Coupons. And, multi-location tire dealers who offer a store finder on their TCS website can mirror that experience inside Facebook via TCS Store Finder.
These new apps join TCS’ other Facebook apps, including a Like Us & Save app and a Tire Finder app, which is an extension of the dealer’s website, offering Facebook visitors the same tire shopping experience on Facebook as on their website.
Alldata Launches App For Android
Alldata has launched an Android version of its mobile application, previously available only for the iPad. It offers portable access to the company’s OEM diagnostic and repair information. The app is designed to increase productivity by eliminating the need for a technician to leave the vehicle to refer to a computer. And, when paired with a Bluetooth connection adapter, Alldata Mobile for Android offers vehicle connectivity through the OBD port.
Mitchell 1 Adds Training Center To Website
Mitchell 1 has added a new product training section to its website (www.mitchell1.com). The Get2Know Training Center is designed to be a centralized portal that provides access to support and training resources to help service professionals with Mitchell 1 technology, including ProDemand, Manager SE and its products covering Class 4-8 trucks. For example, the site features a calendar of events for live training sessions and a library of training videos.
ALI Online Lift Safety Training Course Now Live
The new online version of the Automotive Lift Institute (ALI) “Lifting It Right” vehicle lift safety training course is now live. ALI partnered with dealer services provider KPA, which has trained more than 1 million automotive industry professionals, to adapt material from the “Lifting It Right” DVD into an interactive, web-based format. The information presented applies to lift operators at dealerships, independent shops, government agencies, vocational schools and other facilities.
In “Lifting It Right: 2014 Online Edition,” a narrator guides trainees through curriculum covering lift types, the lifting and lowering process, and lift maintenance. Real-world scenarios with corresponding questions are presented to engage participants, who interact with the content and receive immediate feedback when answering the questions. At the conclusion of the program, a certificate of completion is generated and stored online. It can also be printed and displayed or filed if desired.
The training program costs $29 per trainee. Once registered, the user can take as many as 90 days to complete the course. If a participant fails the question-and-answer portion on the first try, he or she may study and review the course as needed before re-taking the online test a second time within the allotted 90 days.
Mohawk Launches Lift Blog
Mohawk Lifts of Amsterdam, NY has launched a blog (www.autoliftmag.com) to provide auto lift news, garage equipment reviews, lift safety information, answer common lift questions and more. Contributions to the site come from industry experts. Mohawk envisions the blog being a resource for people researching lifts for their home garages, owners of general repair shops and fleet managers.
Meritor Aftermarket Launching Educational Campaign
Meritor Inc. is launching an educational campaign — in the form of a free informational kit and industry advertising — designed to help truck operators understand how the company’s aftermarket brake products and automatic tire inflation parts enhance safety and improve their ability to comply with federal regulations.
NASTF Board Appoints 2014 Co-Chairs
The NASTF board of directors has appointed the 12 working committee co-chairs for the 2014 term — one co-chair representing the OEMs and one co-chair representing the independent automotive segment. The appointments are:
• Education Committee: Rob Barto (Nissan) and Rob Morrell (WORLDPAC)
• Vehicle Security Committee: Bob Stewart (General Motors) and Claude Hensley (Lockman)
• Service Information Committee: Steve Douglas (Auto Alliance) and Dave Zwalina (Automotive One)
• Equipment & Tool Committee: Dennis Blough (Suzuki) and Greg Potter (DG Technologies)
• Collision Repair Committee: Gary Ledoux (Honda) and Tim Morgan (Spanasi)
• Communications Committee: John Cabaniss (Global Automakers) and Bob Chabot (Manic Media)
Rad-Air’s Andy Fiffick Installed As MACS Chair
Andy Fiffick of Rad-Air Complete Car Care in Cleveland has been elected chairman of the MACS Worldwide board of directors. He is joined by the following officers:
• Vice Chairman: Steve Sunday of Sunair Products;
• Treasurer: David Jack of Denso Products & Services America;
• Secretary: R.C. Shirmer of Glen-Ray Rad Inc.; and
• Past Chairman: Arthur “Butch” Smith of ARA Automotive Systems.
The MACS board of directors has 13 members — four from the service and repair, distribution and manufacturing divisions, plus the past chairman. Six members are elected annually to two-year terms.
Elected for 2014 to a two-year term from the service membership were Andy Fiffick of Rad-Air and Jim Atkinson of the Car Repair Co. Elected to a two-year term from the distribution membership were Randy Rankin of Ranshu and James Hittman of Badger Truck Refrigeration. Elected for a two-year term from the manufacturer membership were David Jack of Denso and Mary Koban of DuPont Fluoroproducts.
In related news, MACS has recognized three new Industry Pioneers: Michael Dawson of T/CCI Mfg., Richard Pershell (retired) of Chrysler Motor Corp. and Robert Witt (retired) from the Ford Motor Co. The award recognizes people who have made outstanding career contributions to the mobile A/C and heat transfer industry.
MACS Names Product Showcase Winners
At its 2014 training event and trade show, MACS Worldwide recognized the following products as stand-outs in their categories:
• Most innovative new product: The Deslugger by Four Seasons. The Deslugger is a compressor clutch timer designed to help prevent slugging in low-mounted compressors after the vehicle has been sitting idle for 30 minutes or longer.
• Best use of technology in a new product: the Bullseye Leak Detector from Automotive Test Solutions Inc., which analyzes pressure stability to determine if a leak is present and its size.
• Most service friendly new product: segmented cabin air filters from Airsept.
ACDelco Providing More Free Online Training For Instructors, Students
ACDelco is providing a limited number of free, web-based training courses to instructors and students enrolled in programs accredited by the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF). As part of the ACDelco National Training Program, instructors can access more than 100 ACDelco web courses, while students can take advantage of 23 courses focusing on vehicle maintenance and light-repair issues.
ACDelco decided to expand the program following a successful pilot last fall. “We hope providing free, online training courses will entice high school students to consider pursuing the automotive technician field,” said Chris Brandt, ACDelco national marketing manager. “Today’s technicians are highly skilled; these are great jobs that are in demand.”
Hyundai Begins Paid Tech Site Subscriptions
Hyundai has begun paid tech site subscriptions, according to NASTF. None of the free subscription account logins will carry over to the new paid-subscription service. As a result, NASTF warns that every user must create a new account on the new tech site. Also, access to Hyundai J-2534 programming files will be sold separately from its service information.
TradeMotion, PartProtection Now Integrated With Dealertrack
TradeMotion and PartProtection’s Parts eStore and Parts & Service point-of-sale service contract portal is now integrated with Dealertrack Technologies‘ dealer management system (DMS). This allows a dealership using Dealertrack’s DMS to create, price, and sell both “part only” and “parts and labor” extended coverage plans on retail and wholesale parts sales, as well as on repairs being performed in the dealership’s own service department.
“This integration gives service writers and parts countermen the ability to easily create and sell PartProtection’s extended service contracts on both individual parts sales and service jobs at the point of sale,” explained Chris Rand, president of PartProtection. “This unique approach allows dealers to increase customer retention and margin on existing sales, and increase parts sales to wholesale accounts by outcompeting the aftermarket, all while simply using the information that already resides within their DMS. Parts and service associates are busy, and this integration makes it easy for them to add a quick step to their normal processes that benefits everyone.”
Reynolds Buys Vehicle Accessories Platform
Dayton, OH-based Reynolds and Reynolds, a provider of automotive dealership software and services, has acquired Add.On.Auto (AOA), a digital platform for marketing and selling vehicle accessories. AOA is a web-enabled technology platform that streamlines accessory marketing and sales, providing a way for consumers to learn about vehicle accessories and personalization at the time they purchase a vehicle.
BMW Opens Regional PDC In Texas
The BMW Group has opened a new regional parts distribution center (PDC) in Lancaster, TX. The 282,000-square-foot facility stores and distributes BMW parts to dealerships in Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas. The PDC also provides same-day parts delivery to dealers in Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio and Austin. It can be expanded to 370,000 square feet.
This is BMW’s sixth regional PDC serving the U.S. market.
UTI Debuts GM Tech Career Training Program
Universal Technical Institute (UTI) is launching the first General Motors Technician Career Training program at its campus in Avondale, AZ. The program was developed in partnership with GM and Raytheon Professional Services, GM’s training services provider for the past 15 years. Graduates will receive credits which prepare them for certification through GM’s Service Technical College.
GM’s Technician Career Training is expected to provide well-trained, ready-to-work technicians to GM dealers and affiliates. Students enrolled in the GM Technician Career Training will receive hands-on and online training to diagnose, repair, and maintain Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles.
Opus Begins Full Operation Of New York Vehicle Inspection Program
In January, Opus Inspection assumed full operation of the New York vehicle inspection program (NYVIP2) under an exclusive contract with the state of New York. Opus has designed, built and delivered more than 9,800 new vehicle inspection analyzers to participating inspection stations throughout the state and is now processing 100 percent of the inspection-related transactions with its new data management system. Opus began NYVIP2 operations in October in parallel with the legacy system, which has now been fully replaced by the new Opus system.
Service King Moving Into Nevada
Service King Collision Repair Centers (Richardson, TX) has acquired Collision Authority, which operates six collision repair shops in the Las Vegas and Henderson area of Nevada. This expands Service King’s network to more than 110 locations in Texas, Tennessee, Arizona, Arkansas, Mississippi, Oklahoma and now Nevada.
Ziebart International Names Marketing Director
Troy, MI-based Ziebart International Corp. — a provider of automotive detailing, film and protection services — has promoted Larisa Walega from director of field marketing to director of marketing for the worldwide corporation. As such, Walega is responsible for all Ziebart marketing, advertising and public relations programs, as well as field marketing, digital marketing, and the creative, graphic and video teams. She has been with Ziebart since 2009.
News Briefs 2/5/14
• The NASTF/ASA OEM Scan Tool Resource Center is now open.
• Magneti Marelli Aftermarket North America (Auburn Hills, MI) has selected CAS of New England as its first distributor of Magneti Marelli diagnostic scan tools for North America.
• Cincinnati-based Tire Discounters is expanding into Nashville with 12 locations planned, beginning with the first store openings this spring. The company already has 87 stores throughout the Midwest.
• Tire Discounters is now a service provider member of the Automotive Maintenance & Repair Association (AMRA).
• Eight Royal Tire locations across northern Ontario are being converted over to the Fountain Tire banner. The two companies have had a 50/50 partnership since 2012.
• Lang Marketing offers a new study, “80 Products Installed … 2013 and 2014,” that provides volume, share and trend analysis for these items through seven major U.S. groups of car and light-truck service outlets. Click here for more information.
• TBC Corp. has signed a three-year contract with Revionics Inc. for price and promotion optimization.
• Mopar/Chrysler is testing stand-alone Express Lane no-appointment basic maintenance shops, according to a recent article from Automotive News. It’s worth checking out.
• Stanley Vidmar, which includes the Lista storage and workbench company acquired in 2012, is now called Stanley Storage & Workplace Solutions. The business is now a part of Stanley Black & Decker’s industrial and automotive unit.
• The 2014 schedule for the in-person Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems Brake Training School kicks off March 25 in Owosso, MI. The schedule offers classes into November, with a total of 23 sessions in 13 U.S. states and Ontario. Click here for more information.
• The CCC One Total Repair Platform is now the technology platform of choice for Fix Auto’s network of collision repair shops.
• Lincoln Electric has launched a mobile application, called the Lincoln Library, that provides welding and cutting information.
• eBay is now an associate member of the Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA).
Event & Trade Show Briefs 2/5/14
• The Alliance of Automotive Service Providers, Minnesota (AASP-MN) says it raised more than $8,000 for its Automotive Education Fund at the 12th annual Race for Automotive Education held in January. The money will fund scholarships for automotive students enrolled in NATEF-certified mechanical and collision repair programs in Minnesota.
• J-2534 issues will be topic No. 1 at the NASTF Spring 2014 general meeting, which will be held March 20 at the Doubletree Hotel Seattle Airport.
• The 2014 International Fast Lube Expo (iFLEX) will be held March 10-12 at the New Orleans Convention Center and Hilton New Orleans Riverside. Click here for more information.
• Auto Tech Expo participants will have an opportunity to tour Snap-on’s Corporate Innovation Center in Kenosha, WI and attend a special seminar during the trade show being held April 3-5 at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare in Rosemont, IL. For more info, visit www.autotechexpo.net.
• Registration is now open for the 2014 Automotive Training Managers Council (ATMC) annual conference to be held April 7-9 at the Emory Hotel & Conference Center in Atlanta. Click here for more information or to register.