Auto Service World
Feature   April 1, 2004   by Auto Service World

Over The Counter: April 2004

Ontario Emissions Testing Program Under Review

The Ontario Drive Clean program may be phased out over the next few years, according to reports.

Although Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty insists the Liberal government has not made any final decision to phase out the Drive Clean testing program for cars and SUVs, Environment Minister Leona Dombrowsky is quoted as saying the vehicle emissions test program will be phased out over the next four years.

In an interview, she said Drive Clean has been “very effective” in reducing air pollution but its role has been superseded by new standards for emissions.

“It’s the kind of program that was implemented for the short term,” she said, and it “has achieved its purpose.”

But McGuinty told reporters Drive Clean is still being reviewed, and he wouldn’t say if there would be compensation for garages that bought testing equipment.

He called the reports speculation, and says there has been no final decision on whether to keep the program alive beyond 2008.

Since its introduction in 1999, Drive Clean has required owners of private vehicles that are three to 18 years old to undergo a $35 emissions test every two years.

Changes to emission testing will not come as a surprise to the industry. The advent of OBD II systems in vehicles reduces the need to have chassis dyno-type testing.

Ray Datt, president of the Automotive Industries Association of Canada, told Jobber News earlier this year that a number of jurisdictions were considering changes as a result. “For example, Ontario Drive Clean and B.C. AirCare are looking very carefully at this,” said Datt.

What he called a “Plan B” for emissions testing removes the need to install rolling road dynamometers in bays to provide drive cycle testing. A relatively simple hook-up to the governing ministry or monitoring agency would be all that is required to determine whether a vehicle has identified failing components on itself.

“I know for example that B.C. AirCare spoke to this issue. They have already done some surveys to get a sense of what these vehicles represent. Ontario has been doing the same thing. At some point there will be a differentiation on these vehicles, where the OBD II-equipped ones would be exempt from a dyno test.”

Opposition party members jumped all over the possible elimination of the program. Conservatives believe that garages, which invested $80,000 to $100,000 for the testing equipment, should be compensated by the government.

“I think my biggest concern is the amount of money a lot of our small business operators have invested into this program,” said Conservative M.P.P. Garfield Dunlop. “I believe they need some type of compensation.”

The NDP agrees phasing out Drive Clean would leave garage operators who signed onto the program in the lurch.

“It’s an abandonment of the small-business people who invested huge, huge chunks of money,” said NDP house leader Peter Kormos.

McGuinty says he expects carmakers will have improved technology enough in a few years to make vehicle emissions much safer.

However, the province did announce tougher emission standards at the beginning of April for buses and trucks that burn diesel fuel.

Bestbuy Contributes $20,000 to Children’s Hospital

Bestbuy Distributors Limited, a leading Canadian automotive replacement parts buying group, has contributed $20,000 to the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children.

The buying group has been the longest standing contributor to the division of cardiology at the hospital, according to Dr. Robert Hamilton, who heads the department.

“In the last two years, a number of surgical programs have suffered. Many times Sick Kids steps in to fill the gap,” says Hamilton. He says that contributions like that from Bestbuy help the hospital to advance research, as well as assist other centres suffering shortfalls in surgical resources.

At the Bestbuy dinner event, Robert Bosch was also honoured with the Horace J. Pratt Award as the supplier of the year.

“It has been a long time since [Bestbuy chairman] Russ Johnson was the vendor and I was the customer,” said Lou Bauldic, vice-president, automotive for Robert Bosch in Canada. “I feel truly honoured and a little humbled by the award.” Bauldic recognized the company’s sales and marketing staff and gave special mention to the customer services and shipping personnel who, he said, probably have more contact with customers on a daily basis than most of the sales staff.

“I owe a debt of gratitude to all the staff. Customer satisfaction is something we talk about all the time. Perhaps we’re on the right track.”

The organization also said farewell to Paul Richmond, who manages the purchasing operations at Bestbuy. He is retiring in May.

“It’s been quite an experience,” he told members and suppliers. “I have enjoyed working with every one of you. It is a unique organization that you should treasure and preserve.”

Carquest Signs Ontario Jobber

Carquest has announced that Dave Johnson of Johnson Automotive, Tillsonburg, Ont., has joined the distribution group.

Johnson Automotive has been selling auto parts since 1962. It also operates a store in St. Thomas which will be a merger with Carquest and will operate it as a Joint Venture store, giving the Carquest organization two locations in St. Thomas.

Johnson Automotive is now part of the almost 4,000 Carquest Auto Parts stores in North America.

Dave Johnson of Johnson Automotive is located at 12 Vienna Road, Tillsonburg, Ont., N4G 3C4. Business phone number (519) 842-4248 Fax (519) 842-6242.

Uni-Select Inks Deal with Undercar Service Group

Uni-Select has reached an agreement to supply parts to members of the AutoGroup Inc. buying group.

AutoGroup, formerly known as the Canadian Automotive Buying Group (CABG), has 60 independent shop owner members across Canada, specializing in exhaust, brakes, and maintenance.

The supply agreement covers exhaust products under the IPC brand name. Uni-Select will also provide a large product offering through its Dedicated Distribution Centres in Moncton, Toronto, Edmonton, and Burnaby.

AutoGroup members will be served through these distribution facilities; a local program via Uni-Select members will be rolled out in each region to serve group members’ local needs.

Caterpillar Opens Reman Services to Other Firms

Caterpillar Inc. is expanding its remanufacturing business to provide services for manufacturers and customers in industries beyond those Caterpillar currently serves.

Caterpillar Remanufacturing Services will leverage Caterpillar’s remanufacturing technology and processes to serve the automotive and industrial products industries as well as the defense industry. In addition to offering remanufacturing services to OEMs, Caterpillar Remanufacturing Services will continue to be the exclusive provider of Caterpillar remanufactured products distributed through the worldwide Caterpillar dealer network.

AARO Elects Leading Technician Vice-President

John Sawatsky of Windsor, Ont., has been elected vice-president of Automotive Aftermarket Retailers of Ontario (AARO).

Sawatsky is the owner/operator of MSJ Automotive Services, winner of the Carquest (Canada) Excellence Award for the past two years. An independent shop owner for 15 years, Sawatsky designed and built his current state-of-the-art facility at 355 Holden St., Windsor in 1998.

“John is a consummate professional, and I feel privileged to have him working alongside me,” commented AARO president Dave Peck.

Hella Receives Award for Light Bending

Lighting supplier Hella KG Hueck and Company has received a “Trophy of Excellence” for its technical innovations in the field of electronically-controlled bend lighting by an Italy-based industry group.

The award was given by GIPA (the Group of Interprofessionals for Products and services for Automobiles), an automotive research company based in Italy.

“Hella is the first supplier to put a bend-lighting system into mass production,” said Joe Borruso, president of Hella North America. “The system nearly doubles
the range of traditional lighting systems in tight turns, by electronically adjusting the beam pattern to correspond to a vehicle’s steering angle. It really enhances vehicle safety.”

Auto Parts Executive Banking On Future

Jean Douville, chairman of UAP Inc., will be taking over as chairman of National Bank of Canada in a non-executive role.

He is replacing Andre Berard, who is stepping down as chairman after a 46-year career with the country’s sixth-largest bank.

The announcement was made at the bank’s annual shareholder meeting, where it was also revealed that the bank has no plans to follow other Canadian banks and expand into the United States, the chief executive said Wednesday.

“The United States is not in our growth plan,” Real Raymond said following the bank’s annual meeting. “We have enough room to grow in Canada.” Montreal-based National Bank made a decision about two years ago to consider itself a “super-regional bank,” concentrating its activities in Quebec, as opposed to trying to spread across the country, Raymond said.

Counterfeit Auto Parts Issue Getting Attention

An article in the Wall Street Journal has brought increased attention to the issue of counterfeit auto parts.

“We’ve seen a significant uptick in the last two years,” says Brian Duggan, director of international programs at the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association, based in North Carolina, told the newspaper.

Brian Monks, director of anti-counterfeiting operations for Underwriters Laboratories–a product-safety certification organization in the U.S.–told a MEMA conference on counterfeiting last October that global trademark counterfeiting totalled 5 percent to 7 percent of world trade, or $500 billion a year, with pirated vehicle parts accounting for about $12 billion.

Last November, Tenneco launched raids on exhibitors at the AAPEX trade show in Las Vegas, Nev., citing trademark and patent infringement.

European vehicle makers are anxious not only about revenue losses, but also about potential damage to their corporate brands, declining customer satisfaction, and the rising costs of providing warranty protection for parts they didn’t produce.

Another concern is legal liability for defective fake components. “If someone buys a copy and an accident happens causing injury, we could get dragged into a lawsuit,” says Ed Zimmer, chief executive of Ecco of Boise, Idaho, which makes warning lights for commercial vehicles. “We’d have to prove it isn’t our product.”

U.S. officials have protested to Beijing about vehicle-parts piracy, but say they haven’t made much headway. They also complain they don’t get all the support they need from U.S. companies to take action. Duggan says the companies are reluctant to go public because they fear negative fallout for their operations in China.

A/C Parts Provider Opens Warehouses

Montreal-based Auto-Kool, master distributors of radiator and air conditioning components, has announced the opening of warehouses in Montreal and Vancouver.

The 10,000-square-foot facilities will inventory 16 product lines. The warehouses are located at 9 Burbridge, Unit 127 in Coquitlam, B.C. and 357 Baig Blvd., in Moncton, N.B. Orders for both can be made via the central toll free number, 1-800-661-5665.

Delphi Expands Aftermarket Catalogue Offerings

Delphi Corp. is introducing three new 2004 product catalogues for engine management and HVAC systems, including Delphi Freedom batteries, EGR valves and thermal components. The new catalogues cover 950 part numbers, 300 all-new for 2004, providing expanded coverage in North America. Delphi product catalogues offer a quick application reference for customers. These and all other Delphi catalogues are also available online at

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