Attendees of the Automotive Service Provider Summit may have achieved more than they had hoped for.
While the numbers attending the event in Toronto in January were relatively small, consisting of about two-dozen from a selection of service chains and service provider associations, they did comprise a cross-section of groups from across Canada, representing some 8,000 service outlets. The Automotive Industries Association of Canada organized the event.
Topics of discussion included best environmental practices, business management, and the influx of import vehicles into the aftermarket, but the liveliest discussions surrounded the freedom of information issue.
On hand from the U.S.-based Automotive Services Association was Bill Haas. That association has worked with automakers over the past few years to create the National Automotive Service Task Force, which operates a website providing central portal to manufacturers’ repair information websites. It is the product of a voluntary agreement.
No such portal exists in Canada, and some manufacturers north of the border have not been as forthcoming with access to repair information, so attendees may have come to hear about progress on this front. What they got was a promise to help change that situation.
During lunchtime workshops, Haas pledged to write letters to his high level contacts asking for their views on releasing information to Canadians, since some were in fact members of the ASA.
“The important thing is that you would hope that Canadians would be able to have access to the information.”
It was also suggested that there should be a Canadian point of contact for technicians having difficulty accessing information. It was also agreed that that there should probably be a coalition of associations to advance the push for access.
Canadian Aftermarket Comes Up Big for Tsunami Relief
Companies involved in the Canadian automotive aftermarket have contributed more than $4 million to the tsunami relief efforts in southern Asia.
On behalf of the aftermarket industry, the Automotive Industries Association of Canada presented a cheque to the Canadian Red Cross in the amount of $22,227, which was raised in a three-day fundraising drive.
As a result of urging from members of the Canadian automotive aftermarket, the Automotive Industries Association of Canada and Jobber News, SSGM, and Autoservice-world.com coordinated efforts to help raise funds for the tsunami stricken region in Asia.
“The more than $22,000 donated to the Red Cross was primarily raised as a result of jobber contributions,” says Jobber News editor and publisher Andrew Ross. “Jobbers are an important member and contributor to their local economy. I think they understood more than most people how this natural disaster would affect the small and rural communities.”
A number of multinationals also stepped forward with million-dollar donations in the early days following the disaster.
“I know everyone in the Canadian automotive aftermarket industry joins me in saying that our thoughts and prayers are with the millions of people who are suffering as a result of the catastrophe,” says Datt. “In the coming weeks and months, if the disaster relief teams require any kind of automotive aftermarket expertise in the rebuilding effort, we would be happy to coordinate a volunteer effort.”
IAPA and Parts Plus Merge To Form Automotive Distribution Network
Parts Plus and Independent Auto Parts of America (IAPA), with a combined total of more than $2 billion U.S. in revenues, have merged to form the Automotive Distribution Network (ADN).
The network consists of 51 members, 242 warehouse distributor locations and $2+ billion in annual sales. Both groups have members in Canada and the U.S.
Both groups retain their individual marketing programs and private label brands. The new Automotive Distribution Network is headquartered in Memphis, Tenn.
IAPA’s 16 independently owned distribution companies operate 107 warehouse outlets serving 1,173 affiliated jobbers and 512 ASP tech centres in North America. Parts Plus’ 36 independently owned distribution companies operate 135 warehouse outlets serving 926 affiliated jobbers and 708 Car Care Centers in North America.
Association Partners with Consumer Research Firm
The Automotive Industries Association of Canada has announced that it has partnered with The NPD Group Inc. to provide consumer market research in the automotive aftermarket sector to its members.
The partnership is designed to provide association members with information that will complement its Outlook Study.
“NPD is honoured to partner with AIA,” says Bob McPherson, vice president, NPD Group Inc. “We are confident the association and its members will find the AutoTrac information useful in better understanding consumer attitudes towards automotive aftermarket service repairs.”
The AutoTrac online survey follows consumer trends in a number of categories including replacement parts, motor oil, appearance products, performance additives, installed service, customer paid loyalty service, and motor fuels.
AutoTrac will monitor total service occasions and break the occasions down by total national and regional categories. The research will also track the awareness and habits of consumers in response to the Be Car Care Aware consumer education program in Canada.
The initial findings of the NPD research will be shared at the AIA Aftermarket Conference for Executives, to be held May 24 to 26 in Ottawa, Ont.
Word reached Jobber News that aftermarket veteran Jim Patterson had passed away November 27, 2004 following a long illness. He was 68.
Patterson started in the automotive industry with Cities Service and in 1964 he began a long career with Champion Spark Plugs, first as a sales representative out of Toronto, and then in 1976 as the district sales manager, Southwestern Ontario. Poor health forced him into early retirement in 1990.
Jim is survived by his wife Bernice, five children and eight grandchildren. If anyone wishes to make a contribution to the Heart & Stroke Foundation or the Alzheimer’s Society the family would be grateful.
Lew Mandel, who started Eglinton Automotive in 1948 at the young age of 24, passed away in January. Though Mandel retired in 1985, his involvement in the aftermarket continued through Base Automotive Warehousing, operated by sons Mark and Rick Mandel.
Through successive expansions, Eglinton Automotive eventually occupied 22,000 square feet and employed a staff of 35. He was one of the first parts store operators to realize the beginning of the do-it-yourself market. When he retired in Sept. 1985, he sold his business to Bob Attersley.