Auto Service World
Feature   April 1, 2002   by Auto Service World

Over the Counter: April 2002


Progress is Being Made, but Barriers to Repowering Remain

Making consumers aware that installing a rebuilt engine in their car is a viable option can build engine sales, but some barriers to success from within the industry remain, says the executive director of the Automotive Repower Council (ARC), Don Midgely.

Midgely, who was in Toronto to give a progress report to the Production Engine Rebuilders Association, told Jobber News that ARC’s efforts have already had a discernable effect. “Of people who visited our website [repower.org] or wrote in for the ‘Sticker Shock’ brochure, we took 680 names at random and mailed them a survey. Of that, 157 responded, which is an unbelievably high rate of return on a survey, and of these people, 24 replaced their engines and 42 said they were considering it.”

These are incredibly high success numbers for a survey, says Midgely, and shows great promise for the benefits of just getting the message out–ARC got the repowering message out to an estimated 20 million households in 2001–, but awareness is not the only issue standing in the way of market expansion.

One of the key initiatives of the industry group, dedicated to raising the profile of rebuilt engines with consumers across North America, is a test in the Houston, Tex., market.

“It’s hard to get shops to agree to participate,” says Midgely. “They’re enthusiastic about it, but when you say to them that we need to get some records of how they did last year in business [there is reluctance].” Nevertheless, he says, the minimum number of shops needed for a good sampling in the market is close to being formed.

“The other problem is that a lot of garages don’t want to put engines in. They’re telling us that they go to seminars that tell them it’s not a good idea, that it ties up their shop and ties up their bays. I think this industry needs to address that point and build a program that will show shop operators that this is a good idea. The message that we have to get out is that it isn’t a question of whether it ties your bay up, it’s a question of maintaining the customer.

“The stumbling block comes after we convince the consumer that repowering is a good idea if he goes to his garage and is told not to do it. That’s an important step in this process and we can’t ignore it. We can’t just say that if we convince consumers to do it that they will.”

PartSource Adding Three Stores

PartSource has announced that it will be adding three new stores in Ontario this summer.

Scheduled to open this summer, PartSource will introduce two 7,200 square foot stores in Windsor. One will be located on Tecumseh Road, west of Jefferson Boulevard, the other at Howard Avenue, south of Tecumseh Road. PartSource also plans to open one store in Barrie at Dunlop and Anne Streets.

The addition of the stores will bring the total number of PartSource outlets to 33.

NEWS

Tenneco Automotive has announced the launch of a consumer rebate program on its line of Quiet Flow mufflers. The Walker Quiet-Flow “Cash-In” program is in effect until May 15, 2002. Consumers who purchase a Quiet-Flow muffler from a participating service provider will qualify for a $20 rebate cheque from Tenneco Automotive.

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Canadian Tire officially opened a new 106,000-square-foot distribution facility in Kirkland, Que., to serve 133 stores in Quebec and the Maritimes with auto parts shipments.

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Clorox Company of Canada has announced a program to help volunteer groups launch charity car washes. The Armor All National Car Wash Day, first held in 2000, is scheduled for May 25. The fundraising package from the company includes a car wash kit, flyers, signage, and a guide to getting media coverage.

Aftermarket Events

May 3-5–Canadian International Auto Show and AIA Convention, International Centre, Toronto, Ont.

May 7, 9, 14–ASE Spring Test Dates, held at locations across Canada.

May 7-8–Heavy Duty Distribution Symposium, Hyatt Regency O’Hare, Chicago, Ill.

May 16, 17–Global Automotive Aftermar-ket Symposium, Hyatt Regency O’Hare, Chicago, Ill.


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