Auto Service World
Feature   April 1, 2005   by Auto Service World

Over the Counter April 2005

Castrol Canada Inc. and Wakefield Canada Inc. to Form Alliance

Castrol Canada Inc. and Wakefield Canada Inc. have announced that they intend to form a strategic alliance in order to build a stronger platform for the growth of the Castrol brand in Canada.

Wakefield is an entity created to undertake the venture. It is headed up by Bob MacDonald, who serves as its president. MacDonald is no stranger to Castrol Canada, having headed up the operation for several years before taking senior executive positions with Castrol in the U.S.

Under the terms of the alliance, Wakefield will manage the sales, distribution and marketing of Castrol products in Canada, while Castrol Canada Inc. will continue to manufacture and supply Wakefield with Castrol branded products from its Toronto manufacturing plant.

Castrol Canada Inc. is a part of the BP Group, one of the world’s leading energy companies. BP says that this alliance will provide an opportunity to combine the global technology and marketing leadership of BP with the local entrepreneurial capabilities of Wakefield.

According to Kent Rennie, GM of Castrol Canada Inc., “There is no doubt that the game is changing in Canada and we need to make sure that we can continue our track record of success. We intend to deliver on our aspiration to be the clear leaders in the Canadian marketplace. This alliance will allow us to drive for further scale efficiencies, while increasing our focus on the needs of the Canadian marketplace and of Canadian customers.”

“We are excited by the opportunities that this alliance with Castrol brings to both companies,” says MacDonald. “Together, we can deliver more of a Canadian focus to Castrol’s operations, while greatly enhancing our ability to provide our customers with the very best for their lubricant needs and exceptional customer service.”

Wakefield is currently expected to begin operations by July 1st, 2005 and intends to retain the majority of Castrol’s existing staff.

According to Rennie, “We value the customer relationships we have built over the years. These relationships are at the very heart of our business, and of our past and future success. We also recognize that these relationships are built on the quality of our people, especially our front line sales, delivery and support staff. We are confident that this decision will help us secure a bold new direction for the Castrol brand in Canada, and greatly enhance our ability to provide our customers with the very best for their lubricant needs.”

Jobber News Launches 2005 Training Tour

Jobber News Magazine has launched a 2005 Partners In Training Tour.

Building on the successful 2004 P.I.T. Tour, the one-day jobber training session will hit six Canadian cities this September.

“Conversations with some of our sponsors, and the fact that there were already so many events this spring, caused us to move the training tour to the fall,” says Jobber News publisher and editor Andrew Ross.

The tour is hosted by Canadian aftermarket business consultant and Jobber News columnist Bob Greenwood. Greenwood created the training program specifically for the P.I.T. Tour.

The 2005 P.I.T. Tour is sponsored by Affinia Brake & Chassis, Blue Streak-Hygrade Motor Products, Federal-Mogul, Gates Canada, Dayco Canada, NGK Spark Plugs of Canada, Tenneco Automotive, and, new this year, Castrol Canada.

Sponsorships make it possible to offer the course for the same $249 as in 2004. The P.I.T. Tour will be offered in Moncton, N.B., Toronto and Kingston, Ont., Edmonton, Alta., Kelowna and Vancouver, B.C.

This year’s course adds important jobber operations modules in response to feedback from attendees of the 2004 course.

“While the reviews were overwhelmingly positive, when pressed, some of the attendees wanted additional material to help them manage their own businesses, in addition to understanding their customers’ business.

“Accordingly, we have added sections on ROI, employee communications and evaluation, and more,” says Ross.

With the additions, the course offers attendees of the 2004 edition reason to come back for a refresher, as well as providing even more for new attendees.

Jobbers interested in registering can refer to the Registration Form in this issue, or contact your representative from a sponsoring company.

NAPA Atlantic Canada’s Contest Hits Big on the Small Screen

Walton, Nova Scotia’s John Fortune received a pleasant surprise earlier this year when his name was announced as the winner of a trip to the Daytona 500 on the local Breakfast Television show.

The self-professed “huge Nascar fan” had his name drawn by NAPA marketing representative Marty Kingston for an all expenses paid trip for two to the 2005 Daytona 500 in the group’s “Roar into Daytona” consumer contest.

In all, more than 8,000 ballots from the 85 NAPA stores in Atlantic Canada were sent to the television program. The trip was provided by CAA Travel and included flights from Halifax, Daytona weekend passes, accommodations, car rental and spending money.

Fortune chuckled afterward, saying, “I’m a big Michael Waltrip fan to begin with, so winning a NAPA-sponsored Daytona trip only makes sense!” (Waltrip drives the #15 NAPA car.)

Fortune works for Canadian Linen Supply in Dartmouth and entered the contest at NAPA Dartmouth on Prince Albert Road. A nice secondary prize was a Michael Waltrip NAPA leather jacket, won by RCMP Officer Francois Labelle of Montague, P.E.I.

Affinia to Close Montreal Brake Pad Plant

The Affinia Under Vehicle Group announced its intention to close its Montreal, Que., manufacturing facility.

“As we continue to review our overall service parts business in light of today’s market conditions, it is clearly necessary to further reduce our operational costs,” said John R. Washbish, VP and general manager of the Affinia Under Vehicle Group. “In the case of our brake pad business, we find ourselves with more manufacturing locations than we can support.”

The Montreal manufacturing facility produces stamped brake pad backing plates as well as mixes and moulded disc pad sets. The company will examine available alternatives in respect of the stamping of backing plates, while disc brake pad moulding will be consolidated into existing remaining manufacturing locations over the next several months, stated Washbish.

Affinia will offer the more than 300 employees outplacement support and placement services during the transition, according to Joe Lavarra, VP of manufacturing, Affinia Under Vehicle Group.

Anti-Counterfeiting Publication Released

Copies of the latest information on counterfeiting, “Stop Counterfeiting of Automotive and Truck Parts,” are now available free to members of MEMA’s market segment associations.

Member of MEMA’s Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA), the Heavy Duty Manufacturers Association (HDMA) and the Original Equipment Suppliers Association (OESA) can obtain the brochure.

The brochure can be used at trade shows, industry gatherings, direct mailing, customer billings or any other opportunity where information can be spread concerning the serious issue of counterfeiting. “Stop Counterfeiting” can assist your customers in identifying counterfeit parts, and it gives them an action plan for reporting suspected fake parts.

To receive individual copies or to order quantities, e-mail your name, company name and shipping address to

Bestbuy Donates Big to Sick Kids

At its recent Opportunities event in Montreal, buying group Bestbuy Distributors added to its ongoing total donations to Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children with a $20,000 donation.

The latest contribution brings the total amount donated by the group to more than $500,000.

Dr. Robert Hamilton, representing the hospital, commended the group, telling the group’s shareholders in attendance that the donations help get research started, and keep moving on.

“Research can start with these donations, and then it gets multiplied a hundredfold,” he said.

Also at the dinner event, chairman Russ Anderson presented the Howard J. Pratt Award of Excellence, which recognizes outstanding performance by a supplier. This year the award went to Robert Bosch. It was the third year in a row the company has received the award.

“I am thoroughly proud of the team. It is truly a team effort,” said Lou Bauldic, vice-president, Automotive for Robert Bosch in Canada. “It is unbelievable [to win again].”

Close to 80% of the buying group’s shareholders were in attendance for the event, which also included a jobbers-only trade show. Exhibitors reported generally good buying activity, even ahead of expectations in some cases.

Association Board Checks Out Manufacturing Facility

At the conclusion of a recent Automotive Industries Association of Canada (AIA) board meeting held in Toronto, Ont., the board of directors got a sneak peak at UltraFit Exhaust’s new, larger facilities.

“Typically the board meetings cover setting policy on a wide range of industry issues, so they are long and thought-provoking,” said Malcolm Sissmore, the association’s incoming chairman and vice-president, sales and marketing for UltraFit. “So at the end of the meeting, I invited the group to take a break and see our new 100,000 sq.-ft manufacturing facility.”

The new UltraFit plant is about 40,000 sq.-ft. larger than the old facility, and it houses both the exhaust side of UltraFit’s business and its more recent venture into the tube bending and fabricating industry.

AIA president Ray Datt commented, “Our industry needs investment in technology, innovative thinking and collaborative effort to service its customers and to remain competitive. The new UltraFit facility shows those commitments. And it shows that Canadian ingenuity is still at the heart of what makes Canada and the AIA members strong competitors in today’s global marketplace.”

SKF Recognized by NAPA <

SKF recently received recognition from NAPA’s Under Car Sales Group for the support it provides.

At its recent national sales meeting held in Nashville, Tenn., NAPA honoured SKF for the support it provides the Under Car Sales Group through marketing materials, customer service and product sales support.

“SKF is honoured to receive recognition from the NAPA Under Car Sales Group,” says Ed Vance, director of sales, NAPA Bearings & Oil Seals. “SKF values its relationship with NAPA, and we look forward to continuing product and customer service support to NAPA’s Under Car Sales Group throughout 2005 and beyond.”

Affinia Canada Named Mr. Lube

Supplier of the Year

Affinia Canada Corp. has been named the Supplier of the Year by the Mr. Lube chain of fast oil change outlets.

“This is a tremendous honour for Affinia,” says Gary O’Connor, vice president of sales for Affinia Canada Corp.

“There is no better feeling than when you are recognized by one of your customers. We have had a long and successful partnership with Mr. Lube. This award is an example of Affinia’s commitment to its customers’ success.”

Uni-Select Posts Increased Fourth Quarter Profits

Uni-Select Inc. increased its fourth-quarter profit by 25% from a year ago, helped by sharply higher sales from the company’s U.S. acquisition of Middle Atlantic Warehouse Distributor Inc.

The Boucherville, Quebec-based auto parts distributor said it earned $12.4 million or 64 cents a diluted share for the three months ended December 31, 2004. That compared with a profit of $9.9 million or 54 cents per share for the last three months of 2003. The analyst consensus according to Thomson One Analytics had been for a profit of 60 cents a share.

Quarterly sales increased to $229.7 million from $169.1 million in the same period a year earlier.

In the fourth quarter, Uni-Select’s Automotive Group USA division increased its sales from $36 million in the fourth quarter of 2003 to $92.3 million in 2004.

Sales for the company’s Automotive Group Canada unit rose to $116.2 million from $115.4 million a year earlier.

For all of 2004, Uni-Select earned $30.9 million or $1.65 per diluted share on revenue of $788.2 million. That compared with a profit of $31.4 million or $1.70 per share on revenue of $720.6 million in 2003.

Uni-Select is Canada’s second-largest distributor of auto and heavy duty replacement parts, tools and accessories. It operates more than 800 stores in Canada and almost 2,000 in the United States.

Keystone’s Big Show Goes Large

Keystone Automotive Operations’ “Big Show” in New Jersey attracted more than 6,000 performance-minded jobbers and retailers, including an estimated 300 or more individuals from Canada.

The Keystone show included some 400 exhibitors in about 100,000 square feet of space at the Meadowlands Expo Center, with a great deal of on-floor activity.

“This show draws from the eastern U.S. and Canada,” says Keystone marketing manager Rob Ford. While some preseason discounts are available to customers, “you only get the best deals if you’re at the show,” he says.

Other attractions included a giveaway of a 2005 Ford Mustang and some $10,000 worth of other cash and prizes.

“The basic point is that you have to do things to get your customers to come out and see you.”

Ford says that the organization recently increased its focus on the Canadian market, served largely out of its Toronto-area Canadian operation, by adding to its bilingual sales staff and developing bilingual marketing programs.

NOCO Launches Full Service Waste Recovery Business

Fuel and lubricants distributor NOCO Lubricants has launched a full service recovery division targeting the automotive service provider.

NOCO Recovery Services was created to address the increasing demand for efficient and environmentally responsible recycling of waste petroleum and automotive-related materials.

“After 10 years of being a leading collector of used oil in Ontario, we have established a stand-alone division to focus exclusively on providing customers with value in the collection and recycling of all related waste products,” says Alan Crossley, vice-president and general manager of NOCO. “NOCO Recovery Services’ mission is to provide low cost, quality customer solutions, while meeting all regulatory and safety requirements.”

NOCO will serve Ontario in partnership with Cansol Services Inc., a leader in supplying industrial and automotive environmental services. NOCO Recovery Services will offer collection and recycling of used oils, used oil, filters, spent glycol, spent solvents, and interceptors.

“NOCO has built its business by providing industry-leading service at competitive prices. We are excited about the prospects for Recovery Services and being able to set a new service standard in the petroleum recycling market,” Crossley explained.

Shad’s R&R Tool Time Draw Winners

The Shad’s R&R Tool Time Draw winners have been selected, moving the automotive aftermarket fundraiser a bit closer to its $3 million goal for muscular dystrophy research.

Winners of the wintertime draw are:

Grand Prize–A large assortment of tools valued at over $5,000, went to Andy Connor of R&B Canada.

1st Consolation Prize— a NAPA Ultra Pro Tool Assortment, went to Jay Burkhart of Federal-Mogul, Detroit.

2nd Consolation Prize— a Coleman Camping Package, went to Gates Canada.

3rd Consolation Prize– a Karcher Pressure Washer, went to Todd Sharman of Canadian Tire, Toronto.

The next initiative for Shad’s is the “Pick Your Prize” draw, where someone will have their choice of a $3,000 Best Buy Gift Certificate, a $3,000 Travel Voucher or a 2005 Cub Cadet Lawn Tractor valued at more than $5,700.

The Pick Your Prize Draw will take place at the annual Shad’s R&R Golf Tournament on June 9, 2005.

Replacement Parts Depot’s Show Overcomes Snow Squall

A freakish spring snowstorm delayed many of Toronto-based Replacement Parts Depot Limited’s customers, but its biennial trade show still came out on top.

An afternoon snowfall caught many by surprise, and made travelling slow. With some customers coming from distant points in Ontario, the usually early evening crowd did not show up until later.

However, a quick scan of the 7:30 dinner crowd–RPDL puts on a hearty buffet–showed a full house was in attendance.

RPDL board member Rob Addie says that the warehouse continues to be successful. “One of the things about being a regional warehouse is that you can react more quickly than some of the larger organizations. That has served us very well over the years.” Addie says that the warehouse continues to grow ahead of overall market growth.

NAPA Acquires Three Ontario Auto Parts Outlets

NAPA Canada has announced that it has acquired three Ontario wholesale auto parts outlets.

The acquisitions include Upper Canada Auto Supply in Ottawa, Ont., and the two locations of Upper Valley Auto Supply, in Renfrew and Smiths Falls, Ont. This acquisition marks the re-entry of NAPA into the Renfrew market.

The Ottawa and Smiths Falls stores will be merged into existing NAPA Auto Parts stores in their respective areas and the Renfrew store will be converted to a new NAPA associate store under the ownership of Mike Siroski, Nancy Lepine, John Smith, and Vern Barr, who were former employees of Upper Valley.

Delphi Looks to Unload Battery Business

Delphi Corporation has signed a non-binding letter of intent with Johnson Controls Inc. to sell its global lead-acid battery business for approximately $212.5 million U.S.

In statements by J.T. Battenberg III, chairman and CEO of Delphi Corporation, the company reports that the intent of the action is to help the company focus its resources.

“We are continuing to refine our product portfolio, and the sale of this business frees up resources, helping us focus on our growing product lines for both original equipment and independent aftermarket customers,” says Battenberg.

The transaction is subject to negotiation of definitive agreements, due diligence, completion of information and consultation procedures with the Works Councils in Europe, final negotiations with the UAW and IUE, and necessary corporate and regulatory approvals, as well as certain other closing conditions.

Delphi has already consolidated the production of its Anaheim and Olathe battery operations into its two remaining battery operations in New Brunswick, New Jersey and Fitzgerald, Georgia. The ultimate disposition of these two remaining U.S. facilities will be determined based upon final negotiations with the UAW and IUE, and conclusion of the definitive acquisition agreement with JCI.


Northwestern Ontario Jobber Passes Away

Sam Visser, co-owner of Visser Auto in the town of Emo in northwestern Ontario, passed away February 28 after a very optimistic and courageous battle with cancer. Visser was born in 1949 in Drachten, Friesland, The Netherlands. In 1957, the Visser family immigrated to Canada, settling in Rainy River District. An active member of the Emo community, he was involved with the Emo Chamber of Commerce and the Emo Walleye Tournament. As a business partner, he co-owned and operated Morphet’s Welding and Visser Auto along with his brother, Richard. He also had a passion for music, and was a true follower of Bob Dylan. He is survived by his wife of 32 years, Marlene Visser (nee Larson), two daughters and three grandchildren, four brothers and numerous nieces and nephews.

In memoriam donations may be made to Emo Hospital, 260 Front St., Emo, ON P0W 1E0.

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