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Feature   January 1, 2000   by CARS Magazine

News Briefs (January 01, 2000)

MACs Convention HighlightsThe Mobile Air Conditioning Society held its annual convention and trade show Jan. 18 to Jan.20 in Las Vegas. Highlights of the MACS event, directed specifically at shop owne...


MACs Convention Highlights

The Mobile Air Conditioning Society held its annual convention and trade show Jan. 18 to Jan.20 in Las Vegas. Highlights of the MACS event, directed specifically at shop owners and technicians, will be included in the upcoming A/C supplement in SSGM.

But in the meantime, here are the highlights of ‘Connections: 2000 and Beyond’ the theme of this years’ event.

One of the most popular and well attended functions was the OEM service clinics. Technical representatives of vehicle manufacturers focused on new A/C developments for 2000, recommended service fixes for three-year-old to five-year-old vehicles, dual zone automatic temperature control systems, service equipment for the future and general A/C system diagnostics.

Participants included Daimler Chrysler, Ford/Visteon, General Motors, Mitsubishi, Nissan/ Calsonic and Toyota. MACS introduced its new web site — www.macsw.org — at the convention with a tour, including a look at its new interactive training programs.

Technical experts also reported on refrigerant system contamination, diagnosing tough A/C problems, clutch service do’s and don’ts, strategy business planning, the future of the aftermarket and much more.

Technicians Pitch Tool Tax Deduction

Two Canadian technicians made an impassioned presentation about tool tax deductibility to the House of Commons standing committee on finance. One committee member described it as the best presentation he’d heard from the dozens of groups who’ve appeared before the influential group of MPs in Ottawa involved with pre-budget consultations on behalf of Paul Martin, the Finance Minister.

The two technicians, Jennifer Tomas from Ottawa, and Martin Smith from Winnipeg, presented first-hand evidence about the need for tax relief for the purchase of tools. This is the first time technicians themselves have made a presentation to this committee, according to the Canadian Automobile Dealers Association (CADA).

The reason behind this strategy was to highlight the grassroots needs of individual technicians. It was strongly felt that there was a need to place individual technicians front and centre on this issue.

“We cannot win on this issue if politicians view the tool tax as a break for car dealers. We need to make sure politicians see this issue as helping hard working families,” said Richard Gauthier, the president of the CADA.

Alberta Association Launches Jobs on Web

The Automotive Service and Repair Association of Alberta has launched a new employment service for its members. Called JobMatch, it can be used either by fax or internet, employers or job seekers.

The association hopes to become the leading resource for its members’ employment requirements with the new JobMatch program.

JobMatch was designed to draw the interest of job seekers to ASRA’s website, where they can respond easily to employment opportunities.

Visit the site at www.asra-Alberta.ab.ca

Toronto Area Technician Scores In Worldwide Contest

A Toronto-area auto technician has captured two awards in the global finals of a professional skills contest open to Nissan dealership technicians throughout the world.

David Lewis of Alta Nissan finished second overall in the Maintenance category of the global contest. He also received a Customer Care award — particularly appropriate in view of the emphasis that Nissan and its Canadian dealers have placed on excellence in customer service.

Mr. Lewis works at Alta’s satellite facility in Richmond Hill, Ont.

At an earlier competition in Los Angeles, he was named top North American technician for 1999, and the winner of Nissan’s Nantucket Cup.

At that same contest, another Canadian — James Clark, of Victoria Nissan, on Vancouver Island — won the North American championship in the “OBD II” (Onboard Diagnostics II) exercise involving computerized trouble-shooting of vehicles that have been rigged with simulated defects.

At each step of the regional, national, North American and worldwide contests, precise adherence to test and repair procedures was the key factor in scoring.

From Scrap Tires To Rubber Bricks

Scrap tires recycled into interlocking rubber bricks have been installed at Spruce Meadows, one of the finest equestrian facilities in the world.

The innovative use of the scrap material was accomplished with help of the Tire Recycling Management Association of Alberta, according to a report in Parts and Pieces, the official publication of the Automotive Service and Repair Association.

Scrap tires are shredded, then turned into rubber crumb, and molded into three styles of interlocking bricks. Colours include red, green or black.

The development was described by the recycling association as a further step toward “a true market-driven and self-sustaining scrap tire industry in Alberta.”

Business Takes Over Industry Regulations

The level of integrity and professionalism in the automotive industry is a major objective of the Alberta Motor Vehicle Industry council (AMVIC).

The industry-led development involves the turnover of automotive regulatory responsibility from government to the private sector.

Business owners and managers have had questions about the transition, many of which have centred on licensing changes.

Businesses that currently have a government license do not need to collect fees until their license expires or by June 30, 2000, whichever comes first.

Much of AMVIC’s mandate is set out in the Fair Trading Act, which contains details about education and penalties that will be used to stop illegal or questionable business practices.

If businesses are unaware they are breaking the law, they will be notified and given an opportunity to correct their actions. But the new legislation calls for aggressive pursuit and prosecution of operators who choose to continue to operate illegally or unethically.

Service Builds Repeat Business

A roadside assistance program called AutoGard, launched by CARQUEST Canada Ltd., helps direct new business and return regulars to auto service shops associated with the organization.

Aimed at driving business back into the shop, the AutoGard program differs from some other offerings in that it provides coverage of the vehicle, rather than the driver. Therefore, year round emergency services can be provided no matter who is driving the vehicle.

Services include boosting weak batteries to start a vehicle, tire changes, towing, lock and key service, delivery of emergency gas supply and recovery work if the vehicle happens to go off the road in a snow storm.

Offered as part of a premium oil change package, the AutoGard program is a tangible and additional service benefit that customers can rely on once they leave the shop.

It is available to registered members of a CARQUEST marketing partnership program.

Coverage is maintained for 90 days. Ten days before it expires, motorists receive a reminder to go back for service to maintain the coverage.


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