Auto Service World
Feature   August 1, 2000   by Auto Service World

OVER THE COUNTER: August 2000


Uni-Select to Offer Internet Tech to Network

Uni-Select has entered into an agreement to offer CybrrpartsPro to its network of jobbers and their installer customers at a discounted rate.

In an announcement made at Uni-Select’s Toronto distribution center, Pierre Theriault, marketing manager, said that he was pleased that Uni-Select was “the first national distributor to offer Cybrrparts to our jobbers and installers.”

The non-exclusive agreement allows members of the Uni-Select network to subscribe to the Internet information source for about one-third the normal monthly fee charged to a non-aligned garage or jobber. Jobbers and installers outside the Uni-Select network still have full access to the product.

In addition, those garages that subscribe through an Uni-Select jobber will have access to promotions and other information via a special link on the screen header.

CybrrpartsPro allows businesses with Internet access the ability to search for Chilton repair information, tech bulletins, schematics, and labor estimates by using the VIN or model year methods. One of the key features of the product is that it can be updated continually, as opposed to printed manuals. The product can be accessed via normal dial-up lines (high-speed lines are not required). The information can be accessed via a conventional computer and mouse, although it is structured for use with a touchscreen.

John Vanstone, Specialty Sales & Marketing, which is providing sales and marketing representation for the product in Canada, says that he and his reps have received good response from the aftermarket in presentations they have made so far.

“This news is very indicative of the market’s awareness and embracing of Internet-driven technologies. I think that is very clear,” says Ian Grant, Grant Brothers Sales, which represents the Autovia Internet-based parts ordering system in Canada. “We expect that trend to increase as the market adapts to the new technologies.” Grant says an important point not to be lost is that these products are being taken to market through conventional channels. “I don’t think it threatens anybody’s position. It in fact enhances the connectivity in the supply chain and increases its efficiency.”

Quebec Installer the Big Winner

Andre Ruest has a shiny new Dodge Dakota in his driveway, courtesy of the Automotive Industries Association of Canada and Gregoire Dodge-Chrysler Inc.

Andre Ruest, owner of Garage Andre Ruest Inc., in Iberville, Que., had his name drawn from all attendees of the Canadian International Automotive Show held in Montreal in April. He was presented with the grand prize truck by AIA president Ray Datt and dealership owner France Gregoire. The Performance Plus shop owner says that he’ll be putting the truck to personal use, as he’s already well equipped as far as business vehicles are concerned.

Mr. Gasket Goes on the Block

Dana Corporation has announced that it intends to sell the Mr. Gasket Performance Group segment in order to focus on its core business.

Mr. Gasket, which manufactures and markets high-performance products under names such as Hurst, Mallory, ACCEL, Hays, Lakewood, Erson, DFI, and, of course, Mr. Gasket, had sales of $72 million U.S. in 1999. The operations employ approximately 360 people at two facilities in Carson City, Nev., and Cleveland, Ohio.

Larry McCurdy, president of Dana’s Automotive Aftermarket Group, said, “This move is best for both parties in the long run, as it will allow these operations and their people to grow with a new parent and enable Dana to focus on growing its core businesses.”

The move is part of Dana’s implementation of its “Five-Point Plan,” which has seen the divestiture of operations netting $850 million in sales since it was initiated in April 1999.

Automotive Parts Market Roller Coaster Continues

Retail sales of automotive parts and accessories continued their erratic nature as weather and other factors have caused consumers to shift their spending patterns.

In addition to the non-news that April’s performance was soft, Statistics Canada reported that first quarter sales figures showed that the Canadian consumer spends more retail dollars on automotive products, including cars, than they do on any other retail goods, including food, clothing and furnishings. For every $100 the Canadian consumer spent at retail, $15 went to new vehicles, $7 to used vehicles, $8 for fuel, $4.50 for tires and other parts and accessories and $3.50 for labor.

Seasonally adjusted May figures showed an overall rise of 1.5% in the automotive sector, partially offsetting April’s 3.4% decline. Within this sector, sales increased in automotive parts accessories and service stores by 5.7%, motor and recreational vehicle dealers by 0.9%, and gasoline service stations by 0.4%. After advancing strongly through most of 1999, sales in the automotive sector have been posting smaller gains so far in 2000.

Following a strong March, which was up 4.6%, in April the automotive sector dropped 3.4%, with the automotive parts and services stores seeing the largest decline, down 5.3%.

Consumers returned to automotive parts, accessories and services stores the next month; sales in those outlets in May bounced back with the stated 5.7% increase month over month, 6% year over year.

Automotive Parts, Accessories and Services

(in $ millions, seasonally adjusted)
May Feb. March April May April to May 1999 to
1999 2000 2000 2000 2000 May 2000 May 2000
$1,237 $1,276 $1,322 $1,240 $1,311 5.7% 6.0%

Source: Statistics Canada

Permatex Begins Integration of No Touch North America

Permatex, Inc. announced it is initiating its plan to integrate its recently acquired No Touch North America, Lake Forest, Calif., line of products and services into the company’s infrastructure.

No Touch North America is a market leader in tire and wheelcare. The acquisition will add approximately $10 million to Permatex revenues.

In Canada, this means the integration of representation into the company’s network of direct sales people and agents. The company is evaluating which sales representation will be carrying both the Permatex and No Touch lines on the basis of regional and customer strengths. The result will be that Permatex and No Touch lines will both be sold by the same representative in virtually all cases. “There are probably only a handful of customers where we will have separate Permatex and No Touch representation,” says Rob Whittaker, national sales manager, Permatex Canada. “We want to minimize the confusion for the customer and the number of sales appointments we take up.”


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