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Service Executive Issue #3-20 (Full)

Grease Monkey, SpeeDee Parent Company Acquires American LubeFast

FullSpeed Automotive, a portfolio company of the Dallas-based private equity firm CenterOak Partners, has acquired American LubeFast (ALF), a quick-lube chain with 50 shops in Georgia, Florida, Mississippi and Alabama. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

FullSpeed Automotive is one of the nation’s largest franchisors and operators of automotive service centers, primarily under the Grease Monkey and SpeeDee brands.

The transaction marks FullSpeed’s 14th acquisition since CenterOak completed a majority investment in November 2017, and expands FullSpeed’s footprint to more than 560 locations domestic and international.

FullSpeed CEO Kevin Kormondy called the acquisition an important milestone that expands the company’s footprint in the Southeast.

“We are very impressed with the ALF operations and their relentless focus on delivering an exceptional customer experience,” Kormondy stated. “We fully intend to maintain this commitment to the customer experience going forward as we convert ALF to the Grease Monkey brand.”

 

NTB To Sell 112 Locations To Mavis Discount Tire

NTB Tire & Service Centers, a TBC Corp. brand, has entered into an agreement to sell 112 NTB retail stores in the Philadelphia, Boston, Atlanta and Chicago areas to Mavis Discount Tire. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Millwood, NY-based Mavis has tire and service centers in 14 states, including New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Georgia and Florida.

Upon closing of the transaction — which is expected to occur within the next month — TBC’s company-owned retail footprint will have 615 NTB and Tire Kingdom locations.

Erik Olsen, the president and CEO of TBC, called this consolidation of NTB’s footprint a move that’s consistent with management’s strategy to focus on core markets. “The cash from this sale will serve to accelerate strategic initiatives that we are confident will support our underlying mission to exceed the expectations of all of our customers and partners spanning retail, franchise, wholesale, distribution and e-commerce,” Olsen said in an announcement dated Feb. 11.

All NTB employees at the 112 locations being sold — and those in supporting field leadership roles — will have the opportunity to join Mavis or remain with TBC, according to Palm Beach Gardens, FL-based TBC.

Additionally, National Tire Wholesale and Mavis have entered into a distribution relationship.

 

Pep Boys Expands In Puerto Rico

Icahn Automotive — an Icahn Enterprises LP company that owns and operates Pep Boys, among other brands — has acquired Tecnicentros Mundial, a six-location automotive service chain in Puerto Rico.

The move increases the number of Pep Boys location on the island to 33, of which 30 provide automotive service. Icahn Automotive also has acquired an existing warehouse facility.

The shops in Caguas, San Juan Centro, Rio Piedras, Campo Rico, Dorado and Ponce will be converted to Pep Boys-branded service centers, and employees at those locations will join Pep Boys.

Pep Boys has had a presence in Puerto Rico for over 25 years and employs more than a thousand people, including hundreds of automotive technicians. The acquisition of Tecnicentros Mundial is part of a multi-year strategic plan designed to grow Icahn Automotive’s portfolio as well as expand Pep Boy’s footprint.

“The acquisition of Tecnicentros Mundial provides us with a strong platform for additional growth in Puerto Rico,” said CEO – Service Brian Kaner, “and will enable us to meet the increased demand for automotive service from both individual and fleet customers.”

 

Tire Discounters Grows Indianapolis Presence

Cincinnati-based Tire Discounters, one of the nation’s largest independent tire and automotive service retailers, has expanded its presence in the Indianapolis market to eight locations following recent openings in Westfield and Avon. The company entered the market in June 2019.

Tire Discounters now has more than 130 locations in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama.

 

 

Monro Reports 0.9% Decline In Comp-Store Sales

For the fiscal third quarter ended Dec. 28, 2019, Monro Inc. reported $329.28 million in sales — an increase of 6.2% compared to the previous year. Management attributed the $19.17-million total sales increase to $22.70 million in sales from new stores, including $20.70 million in sales from recent acquisitions, which was partially offset by a 0.9% decrease in comparable-store sales as higher year-over-year ticket was offset by negative traffic.

“In October and the beginning of November, we performed well against difficult comparisons in the prior year,” President and CEO Brett Ponton told analysts on the company’s Jan. 30 earnings conference call. “Mild weather conditions toward the end of November and in December caused a slowdown across our core northern markets. These conditions have continued into January, with our comparable-store sales down 4% during the month.”

By month, comps were down 1.2% in October, down 1.7% in November and up 0.4% in December.

Comp-store sales declined roughly 3% for brakes and alignments, decreased approximately 1% for tires and front end/shocks. Maintenance services comps were flat.

The company’s gross profit increased 5.4% to $124.35 million; however, Monro’s gross margin decreased 20 basis points to 37.8%, primarily because of lower comp-store sales which resulted in higher fixed distribution and occupancy costs as a percentage of sales. This was partially offset by lower material costs as a percentage of sales.

Monro’s net income declined 8.0% to $18.88 million.

During the third quarter ended Dec. 28, 2019, Monro added 27 company-operated shops, ending the period with 1,289 company-operated shops and 99 franchised locations.

OUTLOOK … Based on current sales, business and economic trends, as well as recently completed acquisitions, management now anticipates that Monro’s fiscal 2020 sales will come in between $1.275 billion and $1.290 billion — an increase of 6.2% to 7.5% when compared to fiscal 2019 sales. This is down from previous guidance calling for $1.295 billion to $1.315 billion in sales.

Additionally, management’s comp-store sales guidance for fiscal 2020 has been revised to -1% to flat — down from the prior guidance of +1% to +2%.    — Marc Vincent

 

Monro Continues Rebranding, Reimaging Initiative; Acquisitions Remain A Priority

During the company’s Jan. 30 earnings conference call, Monro Inc. President and CEO Brett Ponton walked analysts through progress made on management’s “Monro Forward” strategy, beginning with the ongoing shop rebrand and reimage initiative.

The program focuses on creating a more consistent shop appearance while also implementing standardized in-store operating procedures, which the company refers to as the “Monro Playbook.”

Additionally, the company is rebranding select shops to a tire-oriented banner where demographics favor this type of format. Here, the goal is to increase tire sales without sacrificing service revenue.

During the first half of its fiscal 2020 (the six months ended Sept. 28, 2019), Monro finalized the transformation of 44 locations in Rochester, NY and the Mid-Atlantic, as well as 43 shops in its southern markets.

During the fiscal third quarter (the three months ended Dec. 28, 2019), the company moved forward with the transformation of 74 shops in four markets and 42 of its recently acquired California locations. Monro has now completed the transformation of the 74 shops and has substantially completed the California stores, which are being rebranded under the company’s Tire Choice Auto Service Centers banner in an attempt to drive higher awareness for tires.

“We operate in two store formats: our service brand stores, which generate approximately $600,000 per store in annualized sales, and our tire brand stores, which generate approximately $1.20 million per store in annualized sales,” Ponton said on the call. “Prior to any rebrand activity, we operated 555 service brand stores and 734 tire brand stores. As we work to create a nationwide chain of consistently operated stores, we are prioritizing the higher-volume tire brands. Throughout this process, we will be consolidating our regional brands.”

It’s worth noting that Monro defines reimaging as modernizing the appearance of its shops with no associated brand change.

“As we’re making decisions regarding rebranding versus reimaging stores, we are leveraging our analytical model as well as taking into account our brand equity in that market,” Ponton pointed out.

Through the end of the 2020 fiscal year (the three months ending in March 2020), Monro is focused on finalizing the transformation of its recently acquired California shops while starting the transformation of approximately 80 more locations that should be completed in the first quarter of fiscal 2021 (the three months ending in June 2020).

In other “Monro Forward” news, the company began modernizing the IT infrastructure at all of its shops during the fiscal third quarter.

“This new infrastructure enables state-of-the-art technology, including our new digital phone and texting system, which is a major step toward improving the overall customer experience,” Ponton stated. “This system will allow us to better track customer execution, driving a more consistent phone strategy and improved conversion.”

Management expects the shop infrastructure modernization to be completed by the end of the first quarter of fiscal 2021.

Ponton also told analysts that Monro is on track to roll out a tire category management and pricing system beginning in the first quarter of fiscal 2021, which he said will enable a more dynamic and sophisticated approach to real-time pricing.

“We believe this will be critical to driving long-term margin expansion by providing improved visibility into demand dynamics, allowing us to better refine our assortment and execute our strategy,” he explained.

Additionally, management expects Monro to roll out a cloud-based shop scheduling model pilot by year-end. “Gaining real-time visibility into our labor model via the cloud will help us be more effective and strategic,” Ponton said, “ensuring we are not understaffed and losing sales or overstaffed when there’s a lack of demand.”

Despite all that’s going on, acquisitions remain a cornerstone of Monro’s growth strategy. During the fiscal third quarter, the company closed on the previously announced acquisitions of three companies: one with 14 locations in Las Vegas and 4 in Boise, ID; as well as two companies, which included nine stores in Northern California, bolstering Monro’s burgeoning position in the western United States.

“Our presence in this region allows us to better service national accounts as well as benefit from the high concentration of vehicles in this market and the potential long-term consumer shift to ride sharing,” Ponton told analysts on the call.

He added: “We operate in a very fragmented industry with significant opportunities for further consolidation, and we believe we are well-positioned to continue to execute on our robust pipeline of attractive M&A targets. We currently have over 10 NDAs signed with opportunities ranging from five to 40 stores, which we believe will allow us to maintain our leadership position in the markets we serve while continuing to expand our geographic footprint into attractive and underserved regions.”            — Marc Vincent

 

 

RelaDyne Announces Deal With Meineke Group

RelaDyne LLC, a national lubricants provider headquartered in Cincinnati, is now a preferred supplier — under its premier automotive brand, DuraMAX — to the Meineke Dealers Association and Meineke Dealers Purchasing Co-op, which represents more than 800 franchised Meineke shops in the United States and Canada. The agreement includes marketing tools and services, as well as vehicle service products.

The DuraMAX line includes full synthetic, high-mileage and synthetic blend motor oils, as well as antifreeze, filters, wiper blades, brake cleaners, power steering fluid and more.

 

Valvoline Quick Lubes Reports 8.3% Same-Shop Sales Growth

For the fiscal first quarter ended Dec. 31, 2019, the Quick Lubes segment of Valvoline Inc. generated $218 million in sales — an increase of 15.3% over the same period a year ago. According to the company, volume growth resulted from an increase in transactions, primarily attributable to the segment’s marketing investments in customer acquisition and retention programs, as well as the addition of 106 net new shops.

Premium mix improvements and increases in non-oil-change services combined to improve average ticket and increase sales, according to management; however, pricing actions implemented in the prior-year period — which did not recur in the current year — moderated sales growth.

Combined same-shop sales grew 8.3% on top of 9.8% growth a year ago for a two-year stack of +18.1%.

Company-owned same-shop sales increased 6.2% on top of 9.9% growth a year ago (two-year stack of +16.1%), while franchised same-shop sales rose 9.8% on top of 9.8% growth a year ago (two-year stack of 19.6%).

Quick Lubes gross profit (as a percent of sales) declined from 38.4% to 37.3% on a year-over-year basis.

The costs associated with ramping up new stores, a temporary increase in labor costs and an increased allocation of shared corporate costs resulted in flat operating income of $38 million. Segment EBITDA increased 4% to $48 million.

 

Get Spiffy Introduces Green Mobile Tire Services

Get Spiffy Inc. — an on-demand car care, technology and services company — has launched a green tire services initiative for people in the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina, as well as fleets across Spiffy’s 20 markets.

The new Spiffy Tires service offers mobile and fixed-site tire installation, featuring a variety of brands, such as Michelin, Continental and BFGoodrich. Tire installations are completed by full-time technicians. Spiffy then sends the used tires to PRTI processing plants, which can “de-manufacture” and break the tires down into carbon char, steel and oil.

Franklinton, NC-based PRTI was founded in 2013 and has processed more than 50 million pounds of waste rubber material.

“Spiffy started by improving the car wash and detailing customer experience before branching out into maintenance services with the introduction of oil changes in 2017,” said Spiffy CEO Scot Wingo. “After talking to both individual and fleet customers, the top request was for mobile tire services, including purchasing and installation. Today, we’re servicing over 1,000 vehicles per day. And, by our estimates, 5% to 10% of those vehicles have tires with low treads. That’s a significant safety issue that we can help solve.

“Beyond offering Spiffy Tires to fleets, we’re excited by the opportunity to provide additional car care services to our customers in office parks and residences. We look forward to introducing individual tire sales and installation, starting with a pilot program in Raleigh-Durham.”

 

Kukui Staffs Up

Kukui Corp. (Roseville, CA) has announced Luke Kusher as its vice president of strategic partnerships. Kusher comes to Kukui from MechcanicNet, where he led its business development efforts for over 15 years.

The company also has expanded its marketing team in support of new product initiatives with the addition of Rick Sage as director of marketing and creative services. Sage brings over a decade of marketing and branding expertise, most recently as vice president of marketing and brand strategy with Honest1 Auto Care.

Kukui also has announced the additions of Karl Coleman — a 20-year sales veteran with both MechanicNet and Mitchell1 — as a regional sales manager and Connor Tracy — who spent over 15 years as a store manager with Firestone Complete Auto Care, Sears, O’Reilly Auto Parts and others — as a regional sales manager.

In related news, Kukui has launched a number of new components of its All-in-One Success Platform, including …
• Kukui Connect for two-way business messaging.
• Kukui Shop Videos, which are designed to increase a shop’s search engine optimization and customer engagement.
• Advanced Customer Reports.
• Follow-Up Version 2.
• A new email marketing tool.

 

ATI’s Facility Expansion Is Complete

The Automotive Training Institute (ATI), a coaching and consulting company for repair shop owners, has expanded its training facility in Linthicum, MD by 4,500 square feet. The renovations include new and updated training rooms, as well as two virtual training and recording studios. The improvements are designed to enhance the member experience for both on-site and remote training, and to accommodate ATI’s growing staff.

 

 

ASE Announces New Officers For 2020

ASE has announced the following officers for its 2020 board of directors …
• Chair: Bobby Bassett, North American national training manager at Gates Corp.
• Vice Chair: Mark Polke, manager of sales and consulting for Bosch Workshop Concepts North America.
• Treasurer: Brad Pellman, president of Pellman’s Automotive in Boulder, CO.
• Secretary: Glen Nicholson, senior director of learning and development at TBC Corp.
• Past Chair: Tom Trisdale, vice president of quality at Toyota.

Additionally, Tom Palermo of Preferred Automotive Specialists has begun a term on the board of directors, while Jason Rainey, vice president of the NAPA AutoCare, now serves on the board of governors.

Stepping down as their terms have expired are …
Annette Sykora of Smith South Plains.
Jamie Bullis of Bloomington Firestone.
Mike Phillips of NAPA Auto Parts.
Rafael Garcia of Hill Country European Autoworks.

 

ASE Education Foundation Names Officers, Board

The ASE Education Foundation has announced the following officers for its 2020 board of directors …
• Chair: Chris Wallace, technical training integration manager at General Motors.
• Vice Chair: Ted Hood, division sales manager at the Genuine Parts Company.
• Treasurer: Donna Schaar, AVP – talent acquisition and compensation at CarMax Inc.
• Secretary: Michael Godson, professor at Clark College.
• Past Chair: Lenora Jackson, manager of training operations for the American Honda Motor Company.

New members of the board are Todd Berman of the Berman Auto Group and Rafael Garcia of Hill Country European Autoworks, as well as two people who joined the board in mid-2019: Mike Hoffman of FedEx Freight and Trey Michael of the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.

Leaving the board after years of service are …
Mark Miller of General Motors.
Jim Norton of Jim Norton Toyota.
Donny Seyfer of Seyfer Automotive.

The ASE Education Foundation works with over 2,300 automotive technology training programs and more than 50,000 students nationally. Its mission is to provide the transportation industry with a viable work force through standards and credentials for institutions, organizations and individuals. The foundation also offers career development and workplace exposure by creating relationships and partnerships with employers.

 

ASE’s Partnership With Kasey Kahne Racing Turns 20

This year marks the 20th anniversary of ASE’s partnership with Kasey Kahne Racing (KKR), promoting service and repair professionalism, as well as the assessment, certification, and credentialing of current and future industry professionals.

In 2020, KKR will feature the ASE logo on the nose wing of its two World of Outlaws series cars. Additionally, Kahne will make appearances on behalf of ASE, including attending the 2020 ASE Instructor Training Conference taking place July 14-17 in Frisco, TX.

 

New IMR Report Explores Top Repair Shop, Technician Concerns For 2020

Finding time for hands-on training, staying up-to-date with diagnostic advancements and vehicle technology, and finding qualified and motivated technicians are the top challenges for today’s independent repair shops, according to new research from Naperville, IL-based IMR Inc.

The larger the shop, the bigger the concern … Of shop owners in the survey who cited staying up-to-date with vehicle diagnostic technology as a major concern, only 18% of shops with one to three bays agreed, compared to 37.1% of shops with four to seven bays and 38.3% of shops with eight or more bays.

According to IMR’s research, 29.2% of shop owners surveyed noted that finding high-quality techs who are reliable and knowledgeable as a key challenge that they’re likely to face in 2020. Additionally, 17.5% of shop owners stated that they face challenges in finding techs with the in-demand skills needed to service all types of vehicles, from older models to the newest hybrid and electric vehicles.

Overall, 31.1% of shops surveyed expect keeping up with advancements in vehicle technology to be a major challenge in 2020, with 16.6% of those respondents indicating that higher part prices are an additional challenge for their shops.

IMR reports that 27.5% of techs said that — in addition to finding time for training and staying on top of trends in diagnostic and vehicle technology — it’s a challenge to afford the new diagnostic tools and software that the industry demands.

For techs who are entering the work force or considering a career in vehicle maintenance and repair, 35.5% of respondents said the most important thing is to get the best education and training possible, while 19.6% recommended taking advantage of all the training that’s available through an employer.

Shop owners also said that getting hands-on training (10.7%) and becoming proficient in repairing electric vehicles and new technology (9.3%) are important for those considering a job in the automotive repair field.

 

 

SSF Partnering With derFix

SSF Imported Auto Parts (South San Francisco, CA) is teaming up with derFix from AutomotiveTechinfo.com. SSF’s AutoFocus publication will now include new technical repair articles from derFix on Volkswagens, Audis and Porsches in addition to its existing coverage of BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo. The articles will be in print and online at ssfautoparts.com/autofocus-magazine/.

 

Goodyear Touts New Tire Management Program

The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company has introduced Complete Tire Management, an initiative designed to help reduce downtime and improve operations for commercial fleets. The program monitors customers’ tires and provides actionable information to activate tire service where needed. Goodyear Tire Management focuses on four primary products …
Tire Optix: A digital inspection tool that helps fleets detect tire pressure, tread depth and tire wear conditions using real-time alerts and detailed inspection results.
CheckPoint: An in-ground, drive-over reader positioned at a fleet yard entrance that provides automated inspections of tire pressure and tread depth and triggers alerts if there are any issues that require attention.
TPMS Plus: An on-vehicle, active monitoring system that evaluates tire conditions in real-time, helping fleets identify such issues as tire air leaks and high temperatures, while also providing predictive tire maintenance analytics designed to reduce tire-related roadside breakdowns.
TireReady: A tire subscription program custom-designed to meet the needs of individual fleets. Here, Goodyear and its dealer network manage and optimize the entire lifecycle of a tire — from new tire choices to retreads, monitoring, service, analytics and more.

 

Teletrac Navman Integrates With Fleetio To Enhance Fleet Maintenance Capabilities

Teletrac Navman has announced a new integration with the fleet management software company Fleetio. The partnership combines Teletrac Navman telematics data with Fleetio’s capabilities to automatically sync odometer readings at regular intervals, keeping preventative maintenance workflow up to date. With data flowing from Teletrac Navman to Fleetio, users can see both a vehicle’s current location and driving status.

Other features of the Teletrac Navman and Fleetio partnership include …
• Fleet managers can customize how they receive and view data, such as measuring in engine hours versus mileage.
• Fleetio’s maintenance provider network connects customers to shops around the United States, helping drivers find shops and get back on the road quickly.
• A comprehensive view of maintenance costs that assists fleet managers in making decisions and in tracking the total cost of ownership by vehicle.
• Updates on repairs at regular intervals so managers can estimate time out of service.

“This partnership enhances the already robust maintenance capabilities we have, providing managers more data points on crucial vehicle health in a streamlined dashboard that displays data they wouldn’t otherwise be able to access in one place,” said Marco Encinas, a senior product manager at Teletrac Navman. “This helps managers spot potentially problematic trends over time before they result in a major breakdown, reducing downtime and costly repairs.”

 

Hyundai Now Offers Three Years Of Complimentary Maintenance On New Models

Hyundai Motor America is now providing three years of complimentary maintenance with the purchase or lease of a new 2020-model-year Hyundai vehicle. The program includes oil and filter changes, as well as tire rotation, at normal factory-scheduled intervals for three years or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first.

This is on top of the automaker’s existing initiatives, such as five years of roadside assistance, three years of Blue Link connectivity, a 10-year and 100,000-mile powertrain limited warranty, and a five-year and 60,000-mile new vehicle limited warranty.

Additional details on the Hyundai Complimentary Maintenance program can be found here.

 

Volvo Providing Advanced, Electrified Vehicles To UTI

Volvo Cars USA is contributing 36 new vehicles to include twin-engine plug-in hybrid vehicles in Universal Technical Institute’s core automotive training program. This is in line with a Volvo initiative to work directly with educational institutions to put state-of-the-industry technology into the hands of students training for transportation careers.

The new cars — which will be delivered to 11 UTI campuses nationwide — will support the school’s hands-on training with such advanced technology as collision avoidance and advanced electrical diagnosis.

“This new program will give more students the opportunity to work on the latest technology in the market, ensuring they graduate from UTI ready to hit the ground running in a fast-evolving industry with high demand and earning potential,” said UTI Executive Vice President of Campus Operations Sherrell Smith.

Upon completion of UTI’s core training programs, UTI students who wish to specialize in Volvo vehicles have the option to continue their studies through a 14-week Volvo Service Automotive Factory Education program that’s exclusively offered at UTI’s campus in Avondale, AZ.

 

Ford Touts New Virtual Reality Training

The Ford Motor Company has announced that its technicians soon will be trained how to service and maintain the all-electric Mustang Mach-E without need to access a physical model because of a new virtual reality (VR) training tool from Ford and Bosch.

A technician, wearing a virtual reality headset, can learn how to diagnose and perform service related to the vehicle’s high-voltage system, including removing and installing the main battery, as well as servicing and maintaining the battery pack itself.

“Technicians will be immersed in a simulated and gamified world, meaning they won’t need to rely on actual Mustang Mach-E vehicles to learn about its components, including the electric SUV’s new high-voltage system,” explained Dave Johnson, director of Ford service engineering operations. “This new virtual reality training tool allows technicians to understand the components and steps required to service these high-voltage systems, then confidently perform diagnostics and maintenance.”

The virtual reality training technology uses an Oculus Quest virtual reality headset from Facebook.

 

Seeking Canadian Rep Agencies

Growing OE and aftermarket brake company manufacturer is seeking professional and reputable representation in Canada. Experience in hard parts with established relationships … (more) … Click here to find out more.

Factory Motor Parts: Regional Senior Director of Chicago

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.

 

New Auto Brand Coming To North America In Partnership With Chery

HAAH Automotive Holdings, a new automotive operation in North America, will distribute, sell and service vehicles under the brand name VANTAS.

HAAH has a technical cooperation agreement with Chery Automobile, one of the top automakers in China. Chery manufactures and sells a full line of SUVs, passenger cars, and electric vehicles under several brands, including Exeed.

As the first step in their cooperation VANTAS vehicles will be on the Exeed platform. The first of the vehicles to be sold in North America will be a premium SUV.

All vehicles sold in the United States and Canada will be assembled in American plants.

 

People Watching 2/17/20

Auto Value and Bumper to Bumper have announced finalists for the 2020 “Technician of the Year” program. They will meet next month in San Antonio to determine who will win $2,500 and will represent Auto Value and Bumper to Bumper this November at the ASE Technician of the Year Award Ceremony.

Full Throttle Performance Products has announced Robert Potetz of Rain Forest Car Wash & Lube in Cypress, TX as the grand-prize winner of the 2019 Full Throttle Tech U Training & Rewards competition. For his service efforts, Potetz collected the grand prize of $10,000. During the year-long contest, now in its fourth year, he completed training and became a certified Tech U service adviser.

• Fleet services provider ARI (Mt. Laurel, NJ) has promoted Craig Pierce to vice president of U.S. sales. Pierce, who joined the company in 2016, was responsible for ARI’s sales efforts throughout the western region.

Dealer-FX, a customer experience management provider for automotive retailers and OEMs, has announced that CEO and Founder Gary Kalk has moved to a new role as executive chairman of the board of directors, with Bill Lucchini taking over as CEO after having served as COO for the past six months.

 

News Briefs 2/17/20

Discount Tire of Scottsdale, AZ has opened its first location in Pennsylvania, the company’s 36th state. The store in Pittsburgh will service customers across Allegheny County.

• Federated Auto Parts has added a series of videos to its YouTube channel. The videos, titled “Car Care That Works,” focus on the importance of routine vehicle maintenance, service and repair, providing motorists with tips on how to “Be Car Care Aware.” Among the vehicle system topics covered are brakes, air filters, alignments, oil changes and batteries.

The Timken Company has launched new “Tricks of the Trade” videos focusing on commercial and light vehicles. Each video has a corresponding TechTip that can be printed. You can view the entire video series here.

• Mitchell 1 has announced a new release with more features for its ProDemand auto repair information, including interactivity that connects wiring diagrams directly to component information. This allows technicians to access component repair information from inside the diagram without having to initiate a secondary search.

• Mitchell 1’s first Shop Management Workshop of 2020 will take place April 30 to May 2 at the Rosen Center Hotel in Orlando. The event is designed for shop management software users who want to learn more advanced capabilities, shortcuts and new features. Sessions will cover strategies to compete against dealerships, maximize maintenance and repair opportunities, and enhance customer relationships. For more information, click here.

Michelin North America has notified its dealers of an upcoming price increase of as much as 7% in the United States and as much as 5% in Canada for select Michelin, BFGoodrich, and Uniroyal brand products in the passenger and light-truck tire categories. The increase will be effective March 16. Price changes may vary across specific products within each brand portfolio.

• Yokohama Tire Corp. has revamped its longstanding consumer associate dealer program, Advantage. Revisions include increased payouts, as well as the return of “Tier+” with a new lower minimum unit requirement. For more information, click here.

• The Hunter Engineering Company now offers a data-driven productivity tool, HunterNet Trend Reports, that shows shop equipment use and productivity trends over a seven-day period as well as daily. This allows shops to identify presented and missed opportunities for alignment and tires.

• Hunter Engineering has announced an integration with GoMoto, a provider of virtual service adviser kiosks that streamline the check-in process for vehicle dealerships. When a customer drives through Hunter’s unmanned alignment inspection system, Quick Check Drive, total toe and camber results are automatically sent to the GoMoto kiosk, ensuring that alignment check results are presented to customers. If misalignment is identified, vehicle owners can choose to add alignment service to their repair order via the kiosk.

• Irving, TX-based Tire Profiles Inc. (TPI) has released new software, TraXtion, that allows auto dealers to manage and act upon the data that TPI’s drive-over TreadSpec technology provides. TreadSpec is wheel alignment diagnostic equipment. The TraXtion software provides information on tire wear and tread depth that consumers can review themselves or with a service writer.

• Toronto-based Dealer-FX is now an approved partner for Kia Motors America’s Service Lane Technology program. With Dealer-FX’s ONE Platform, Kia dealerships across the United States get a digital technology that integrates with Kia data, third-party technology providers and various DMS providers. The goal is to improve parts sales, CSI scores and customer retention.

 

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