Quick Hits …
(A few short items to get us started this week)
• Snap-on Inc. has launched a Training Solutions YouTube channel for professional service technicians. The company has added all of its Training Solutions videos to this dedicated channel. Topics include basic setup and navigation, the vehicle identification process, scanner codes, OBD-II, functional tests, and more.
• SpeeDee Oil Change & Auto Service is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.
• A new on-site oil change company has debuted in Northern Utah called Oil Dash. It’s targeting both fleet vehicles as well as individual consumers. For more information, visit GetOilDash.com.
Victory Declared In Longstanding TSB Dispute
The Center for Auto Safety — a consumer advocacy group founded in 1970 by Ralph Nader and Consumers Union — has declared victory in its longstanding legal dispute with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).
On Jan. 13, the center’s almost-four-year-long impasse with the DOT came to an end after federal officials posted tens of thousands of technical service bulletins (TSBs) online. The Center for Auto Safety had filed legal action against the DOT over the department’s alleged failure to fulfill statutory obligations to make such communications available on a publicly accessible website.
The TSBs at the heart of the dispute involved the communications that automakers send to service departments regarding vehicle issues, including warranty and policy communications, product improvement notices, and repair instructions. The center argued that the DOT was not consistently posting TSBs online.
“For years, car companies kept consumers in the dark about the existence of vital repairs for defects that often were available for free,” Jason Levine, the center’s executive director, said in a Jan. 21 announcement. “The center fought for decades against secret warranties and other dirty tricks of the auto manufacturers in order to bring technical service bulletins to light. Despite the law being updated in 2012 to require communications from manufacturers to their dealers to be posted online, the government failed to do so, which is why we took DOT to court.
“We dismissed this action because its original purpose — ensuring the communications were made public — appears to have been served,” Levine added. “Rest assured, however, that we will not hesitate to return to court if DOT stops making these important communications available to the public.”
Take 5 Comes To Canada
Take 5 Oil Change is expanding to Canada with the conversion of 39 Pro Oil Change shops across British Columbia, New Brunswick, Ontario and Prince Edward Island. Pro Oil Change is a retail franchise organization. It started operations in 1996.
“We are thrilled to announce our entrance into the Canadian market through the conversion of Pro Oil Change shops and welcome our new franchisees to our growing Take 5 Oil Change family,” Danny Rivera, president of Take 5 Oil Change, said in a Jan. 21 announcement. “We are committed to providing the best oil change experience in the market and look forward to ensuring our customers in Canada get just that.”
Take 5 has more than 500 company-owned and franchised shops throughout the United States and Canada. It’s a portfolio company of Driven Brands, a large North American automotive franchisor with more than 3,300 locations operating under such brands as Meineke, Maaco, ABRA, Carstar and 1-800-Radiator.
Oil Changers Acquires Oil Change Business In Hawaii
Pleasanton, CA-based Oil Changers has acquired Hawaii’s largest independent oil change business, Flagship FastLube. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The move adds six shops in the Aloha State, giving Oil Changers a total of 50 locations nationwide.
“The strong local brand and expertly trained staff are what made the business a great fit for Oil Changers,” said Eric Frankenberger, president of Oil Changers. “We are excited to grow Flagship FastLube into the future throughout the state of Hawaii.”
Rick Price — together with his wife, Teresa, and sons, Christopher and Brandon — built the Flagship businesses over a period of 30 years. The Price family continues to own and run Flagship Express Car Wash and CarWash808 Express.
Discount Tire Names New CEO
Discount Tire has promoted Dean Muglia from chief corporate officer to CEO, succeeding Michael Zuieback, who will retain the role of executive chairman. Muglia becomes the fifth chief executive in Discount Tire’s 60-year history.
Muglia’s career includes 31 years in leadership positions with Discount Tire. He was recruited by founder Bruce T. Halle to head the accounting department before working in store operations. In 2018, Muglia became chief corporate officer, appointed by Zuieback.
Discount Tire reports that, as CEO, Muglia will focus on overall company performance; the recruitment, retention and mentorship of Discount Tire leadership; and customer service.
In a Jan. 20 announcement, Zuieback said: “[Muglia] is a critical thinker and clear communicator with an innate ability to develop real solutions that deliver results. Above all else, Dean is passionate about Discount Tire and our people. He truly embodies Mr. Halle’s five life lessons: be honest, work hard, have fun, be grateful and pay it forward.”
Scottsdale, AZ-based Discount Tire is billed as the world’s largest independent retailer of tires and wheels. The company has over 1,000 stores across 35 states doing business under the trade names Discount Tire, America’s Tire and Discount Tire Direct.
Tire Pros Grows By 22 Locations
Tire Pros, a subsidiary of American Tire Distributors (ATD), has announced the addition of 22 new franchise locations in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Washington.
Tire Pros is a large, national network of independent and locally owned tire dealers. It offers participants a nationally known brand, specialized tools, support from dedicated retail account managers, as well as marketing initiatives. There are more than 600 Tire Pros franchise locations across 45 states.
The Alliance Partners With Autotext.me
The Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance has announced Autotext.me as an approved provider for the program group’s Certified Service Center (CSC) program. Autotext.me automates text-message updates on a vehicle’s repair status, such as repair details and recommendations with photos and more. The company also helps shops track work orders and offer rewards to loyal customers. Additionally, Autotext.me includes an internal chat tool for communicating within the shop.
Meineke Touts New Profitability Portal
Meineke Car Care Centers has launched new technology designed to help its franchisees track key financial and operational metrics in real time, as well as link that information to action plans to address areas that need improvement.
The new Meineke Profitability Portal provides franchisees with monthly financial performance metrics, comparing them to such benchmarks as peers average and overall network averages. The portal allows users to drill down to specific areas for improvement and get coaching support to execute changes.
Meineke, a division of Driven Brands, has over 800 repair centers.
CarCareCONNECT Offers E-Commerce Capabilities For Shops
CarCareCONNECT now offers e-commerce selling capabilities that allow repair shops to build an online store for their products and services. The e-commerce offering includes pre-built subscription plans that shops can sell directly on their websites and in person, such as a six-pack of oil changes that can be bought at a discount to help ensure that customers will come back for a year or more.
According to CarCareCONNECT, participating shops can connect their merchant account to the platform and receive 100% of the sale profits instead of paying a percentage to a third-party platform like Groupon.
The company also offers shops access to a library of assets to distribute and promote their businesses, including pre-built email and text-message campaigns, Facebook and Google ads, cart abandonment retargeting ads, and landing pages. The library is part of an “all in one” growth marketing platform that also includes a customizable website, customer relationship management (CRM) and more.
AAPEX Adding Repair Shop HQ To 2020 Show
Repair Shop HQ — a new venue featuring products and training on alternative fuel vehicle technology as well as underhood and undercar topics — is coming to AAPEX 2020.
Repair Shop HQ will be located on Level 1 of the Sands Expo. It will include a four-bay shop for training and a new Tire & Tire Accessory section. This new venue will be located near other service professional-focused sections, such as Tool & Equipment, Mobile Heat Transfer/Heating/Air Conditioning, and Mobility Garage.
AAPEX 2020 will take place Nov. 3-5. Event organizers expect roughly 162,000 automotive aftermarket professionals from 143 countries to be in Las Vegas during AAPEX and the SEMA Show.
NASTF Announces 2020 Election Results
NASTF has announced the results of its 2020 director and officer elections. Officers with terms expiring Dec. 31 are …
• Chair: Mark Saxonberg of SCS Consulting
• Vice Chair: John Lypen of Motor Information Services
• Treasurer/Secretary: Greg Potter of the Equipment & Tool Institute
Directors with terms expiring Dec. 31, 2022 are …
• Locksmith: Claude Hensley of Tampa Keys
• Parts: Chris Gardner of AASA
• At-Large Category: Mark Saxonberg
• At-Large Category: Bob Augustine of Drewtech
• At-Large Category: Aaron Lowe of the Auto Care Association.
ASE Offers Spanish/English Option On Four Automobile Tests
Technicians taking four ASE automobile certification tests — Suspension & Steering (A4), Brakes (A5), Electrical/Electronic Systems (A6) or Auto Maintenance & Light Repair (G1) — now have the option to see each question in a split-screen, Spanish/English format.
No special registration procedure is needed to access the Spanish translation, which is built into the test delivery screen. Test-takers click on a “Leer en Español” (“Read in Spanish”) button to call up a screen showing the question and answer options in both Spanish and English.
All ASE tests will continue to have a searchable English-to-Spanish glossary of technical terms. And, anyone for whom English is a second language may bring a standard, published English-to-foreign language dictionary to use at the test center.
In 2020, only the aforementioned certification and recertification tests will have the new bilingual feature. However, ASE anticipates Spanish translation of the other automobile series tests required for Master status to be available in the future.
In related news, ASE winter registration is now open through March 31. More than 54 ASE certification tests are available, covering nearly every aspect of the motor vehicle service and repair industry.
Wells Vehicle Electronics Launches GoTech Technical Training Unit
Wells Vehicle Electronics has launched a new division, GoTech, which the company bills as “the go-to technical training resource for all things vehicle-related.”
GoTech is composed of ASE-certified technicians who can answer questions and help customers of all levels complete repairs on virtually every type of vehicle, according to Wells Vehicle Electronics. The GoTech team is available by phone from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Central Time), Monday through Friday, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The GoTech technical team also conducts in-person training events for customers.
This comes as Wells Vehicle Electronics is working to enhance its online resources, including training and product videos on YouTube.
AIA Canada Announces Benefits Alliance With TeamXtremeTech
AIA Canada now offers Automotive Service Associate Program (ASAP) participants access to an exclusive repair assistance program though TeamXtremeTech. The alliance allows ASAP participants to take advantage of TeamXtremeTech’s on-call technicians to help troubleshoot problems, recommend repair processes or find out what tool is required to accomplish the task at hand. For more information, click here.
AIA Canada Analyzes How Consumers Select Their Repair Shops
AIA Canada has issued a new “Consumer Behavior Series” report analyzing how Canadians select repair shops. The study explores such topics as why drivers select dealership service bays versus chain and independent shops; how vehicle owners find a new chain or independent shop; and what builds customer loyalty and trust. Click here for additional information on AIA Canada’s latest report, At Your Service: How Do Canadians Select Their Automotive Repair Shop?
Goodyear Launches New Fleet Service Platform
The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company has unveiled a new fleet service platform called AndGo that combines predictive software with a national service network for convenient scheduling to reduce downtime. According to the tiremaker, fleets using AndGo will benefit from continuous care through routine inspections and tire monitoring that leverages Goodyear’s intelligent tires.
AndGo is already available in select U.S. markets, with additional markets expected to come online mid-year.
Pending Dealer Tire Transaction Would Grow Its Dealership Fixed Operations Reach
Cleveland-based Dealer Tire, a provider of replacement tires to automotive dealerships, has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Dent Wizard, a move that would create a large North American aftersales dealer services platform.
Headquartered in St. Louis, Dent Wizard is billed as North America’s largest provider of automotive reconditioning services and vehicle protection products. The company has more than 7,000 customers — of which over 5,000 are car dealerships. Its services include paintless dent repair, minor wheel and paint refinishing, interior repair, key replacement, in-transit repair, and hail and catastrophe services.
Dent Wizard would continue to operate independently under the leadership of its existing management team headed by CEO Mike Black.
“The combination of Dent Wizard’s reconditioning capabilities and Dealer Tire’s service lane presence offers greater opportunities to help car dealers increase their fixed operations sales and profits and to increase customer retention,” Scott Mueller, partner and CEO of Dealer Tire, said in a Jan. 6 announcement. “This acquisition aligns with our strategy of making it easy and profitable for dealers to sell more tires, parts, services and accessories.”
Dealer Tire, which is backed by majority shareholder Bain Capital, is acquiring Dent Wizard from Gridiron Capital. The transaction, which is expected to close in the first quarter of 2020, is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approval.
J.P. Morgan Securities was financial adviser to Dealer Tire. Jefferies LLC and Robert W. Baird & Company were financial advisers to Dent Wizard.
ExxonMobil In Vehicle Service Joint Venture Targeting Chinese Market
ExxonMobil has entered into a joint venture with Tencent, which operates the communications and social platforms Weixin and QQ; Tuhu, an aftermarket parts and service provider in China; and an undisclosed distribution holding company. The companies are working to establish an integrated car care network in China.
The joint venture plans to grow the Mobil 1 Car Care Outlets network in China and leverage the strength of all partners to provide a branded, digitally enabled comprehensive vehicle maintenance program. The joint venture is expected to launch this spring.
Senior Leadership Changes AT UTI
The Universal Technical Institute (UTI) has announced a series of senior leadership changes. Todd Hitchcock has joined the company as a senior vice president and chief strategy and transformation officer, and Lori Smith has been promoted to chief information officer.
Hitchcock, who has been consulting for UTI for two years, was appointed to this newly created position effective Jan. 6. He is tasked with overseeing implementation of the company’s current strategy and leading UTI’s efforts to identify and leverage new opportunities for growth. Hitchcock has more than 20 years of leadership experience in the education sector.
Smith is now responsible for evolving UTI’s technology, as well as business intelligence strategies and infrastructure. She has been with the company for 25 years and has held a number of leadership positions. Since 2009, Smith has been UTI’s vice president of business intelligence and compliance.
Meanwhile, the company has begun a national search for a senior vice president and chief commercial officer. This new position is related to UTI’s efforts to evolve its marketing and admissions. This new executive will lead a new, integrated approach to student engagement, according to the company.
As a result of this shift in responsibilities, Piper Jameson has left UTI “to pursue other interests,” according to the company. Jameson was UTI’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer.
UTI Launching Early Employment Program At Pennsylvania Campus
The Universal Technical Institute (UTI) has launched a program in Exton, PA — in cooperation with local transportation industry employers — that’s designed to develop skilled employee pipelines and give students an inside track on long-term careers. This “Early Employment Initiative” blends post-secondary skills education with on-the-job, apprenticeship-type training.
Students can apply for jobs with participating employers as soon as they enroll at UTI’s Exton campus. Employers registered with the program can screen and hire incoming students before they start school, and provide on-the-job experience while students complete their education. Graduates who meet their employers’ criteria will receive reimbursement of school-related expenses and potentially other incentives, along with full-time employment.
The initiative launches in February. Participating employers include Bayshore Truck Centers, CarSense, Ciocca Dealerships, the Fred Beans Family of Dealerships, Herc Equipment, Republic Services and Rothrock Motor Sales.
UTI reports that there will be more than 30 early employment positions available to incoming students this winter.
The Exton campus is the second campus to offer such a program, following Avondale, AZ. UTI intends to roll this initiative out to all of its campuses across the country in time.
This position will direct, develop and support both operational and sales managers to ensure sales growth and strategic company-wide operational objectives are executed; sales growth … (more) … Click here to find out more.
TechForce Foundation Debuts ‘Pathfinder’ Program
The TechForce Foundation is launching a campaign called “Be a Pathfinder” to highlight education and career opportunities for students who have a talent for working with their hands. Program resources will let students and their parents identify their learnings styles through a quiz and receive a report with tips for career and education success.
The campaign encourages students to be “pathfinders” by understanding their strengths and using that knowledge to find the best education and career path. The TechForce Foundation also is encouraging parents, teachers and other influential figures in teens’ lives to embrace and support technical and hands-on career paths that may be a good fit for those students.
Honda Signs On With Skilled Work Force Initiatives
Honda North America has signed the Trump Administration’s “Pledge to America’s Workers,” which commits the automaker to offering expanded job training opportunities to 50,000 workers over the next five years. Honda plans to expand training programs for associates who design, produce, sell and service Honda products. Additionally, the company will support and advocate for programs that advocate manufacturing as a career.
Along those lines, Honda will be a title mobility sponsor of “Creators Wanted,” an initiative being developed by the National Association of Manufacturers to spur manufacturing employment, expose prospective employees and youth to various aspects of the manufacturing industry, and address misperceptions about careers in manufacturing.
News Briefs 1/27/20
• The first Valvoline Instant Oil Change location in Alabama has opened. The franchised quick lube is located in Brewton, which is just north of the Florida Panhandle. Metrolube Companies is the franchisee.
• VIP Tires & Service’s 59 stores across New England have raised and donated more than $97,300 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The funds were raised during the company’s annual holiday “Season of Wishes” campaign. Since 2007, VIP has raised over $582,100 for Make-A-Wish through its annual fundraising efforts.
• Discount Tire’s “Let’s Get You Taken Care Of” campaign, which debuted in 2019, recently launched a second ad series featuring a new jingle performed by the pop band Walk Off the Earth. And, Discount Tire is sponsoring the band’s 24-date U.S. tour, which kicks off Feb. 12.
• UAP’s NAPA AUTOPRO scholarships program is returning for a fourth consecutive year. NAPA AUTOPRO plans to offer 20 scholarships, valued at CDN$1,000 each, to inspire and financially support aspiring technicians. Last year, 11 automotive technician students were awarded scholarships.
• The Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of Minnesota raised more than $14,000 to support its Automotive Education Fund at the 18th annual Race for Automotive Education held Jan. 14-16 in Burnsville, MN. The money will fund scholarships for automotive students enrolled in ASE-accredited auto service and collision repair programs at Minnesota’s technical colleges.
• ZF Aftermarket has announced its technical training webinar schedule for the first half of 2020. All webinars are ASE-certified and hosted by ZF’s technical training team. For more information, visit aftermarket.zf.com/us/trainings.
• Tech Tire Repairs has debuted “Izzy,” its new digital trainer. Tech’s new training videos featuring Izzy are posted on its YouTube channel. Izzy provides viewers with the processes and tools needed to repair various types of tires using Tech products.
• The VAST system from MAM Software now integrates with CrowdTwist, which operates a customer loyalty platform that allows businesses to unlock unique insights and incremental value through omnichannel engagement.
• TireHub, the national tire distribution platform cofounded by Bridgestone and Goodyear, is using Omnitracs to standardize routing across its logistics centers. This comes as TireHub plans this year to expand beyond its current base of 71 U.S. logistics centers.