Auto Service World
Feature   August 1, 2006   by Auto Service World

Over the Counter August 2006

Gas Consumption Down in 2005

For the only the second time in a decade, gasoline consumption slipped in 2005, possibly as a result of a spike in prices at the pump.

According to Statistics Canada preliminary data on fuel sales, Canadian drivers consumed an estimated 39.8 billion litres of gasoline, down 1.4% from 40.3 billion litres in 2004.

It was the first decline since 1994, except for a marginal 0.1% decline in 2001 when the transportation industry was disrupted by the September 11 terrorist attacks in the U.S.

Gasoline prices across Canada peaked in September 2005. In Montreal, they reached an average of 118.5 cents a litre for regular unleaded gas at self-service stations. In Toronto, they averaged 107.2 cents, and in Edmonton, 102.2 cents.

Consumption in 2005 declined in all provinces except for Prince Edward Island, where it rose 4.1%, and in Alberta, where the increase was 0.6%.

In Prince Edward Island, the price of gasoline is controlled by the provincial government, unlike other provinces, and this might have had an impact on consumption. Motorists in Alberta do not pay any provincial sales tax, and this might have had an impact as well.

Motorists in the two most populous provinces, Ontario and Quebec, accounted for 60.0% of Canada’s fuel consumption last year.

As in 2004, Ontario drivers consumed the highest amount, 15.6 billion litres or 39.2% of the total, while those in Quebec purchased 8.4 billion litres or 20.8%. Drivers in Alberta accounted for 12.9% of total sales.

Between 1995 and 2005, gasoline consumption increased 14.4% nationally.

In Ontario and Alberta, the increases were 21.9% and 26.0% respectively, well above the national average. Ontario’s consumption, as mentioned, was 15.6 billion litres in 2005, 10.4 billion litres greater than Alberta which consumed 5.1 billion litres last year.

Nationally, gross sales of gasoline fuel peaked in July and August, each with 3.6 billion litres, mostly because of the summer holiday season.

Affinia Announces Poker Contest Winners

Afffinia Canada has announced the winners in its “Royal Flush Trip to Vegas” contest.

Affinia district manager Charles Hutton was on hand to confirm that Ramish Vadera, owner of Ramco Motors, Scarborough, Ont., was the lucky recipient of the “Royal Flush Trip to Vegas” scratch card.

The win qualifies Ramish and qualifying counterperson Paul Sudoma from Warden Automotive, Scarborough, Ont., to participate in the Spicer Showdown poker tournament playoffs.

The prize includes round trip airfare and hotel accommodations to Las Vegas to play off against 14 other registered winners, for the opportunity to win a seat at the 2007 World Series of Poker $10,000 grand prize tournament.

The contest, which runs until August 31, 2006, also includes myriad instant win prizes and every ballot entered qualifies for a second trip for two to the Spicer Showdown playoffs. The final draw takes place September 10, 2006.

Shad’s R&R Marks 33rd Year

Shad’s R&R, the Canadian automotive aftermarket’s single largest fundraising event, marked its 33rd year of raising money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association of Canada by surpassing the $3 million threshold.

The annual event centres around a golf tournament attracting almost 300 aftermarket members, but also includes raffle ticket sales and other fundraising efforts leading up to the gathering.

The event featured a tribute to Fred Shaddick, founder of the event, who died not long after last year’s event.

This year, Jeff Sparks, who suffers from a particularly heinous form of muscular dystrophy, was on hand to talk about the benefits of the fundraising.

“I was diagnosed as an infant and doctors told my parents that I wouldn’t live till two. I’m 31 years of age and still here and that’s great news.” Sparks has been involved with the cause for years, and most recently has joined the national association.

“I’ve really seen the value of the research. We are making moves every day. We have also played a leading role in the legislation that made stem cell research legal in Canada.”

This year, Shad’s R&R raised $150,000 for a cumulative total of more than $3.1 million.

Engine Business Sets Up New Shop

The SEM Powertrain Division of Scarborough Engine & Machine Ltd., owned by John Solecki, has opened an efficient new facility in Pickering, Ont.

The new facility boasts more than 16,000 square feet of space that will eventually include a dedicated production facility, clean room for engine assembly, a research and development area, and three dynamometers. The new facility, at 880 Dillingham Road in south Pickering, replaces the company’s original 8,000 sq. ft. operation in Scarborough, where it had been since 1980.

The expansion permits the company to respond to growing customer demand in its three primary areas of business: remanufacturing support for OEM carmakers, machine and related services for the automotive trade, and specialized high performance and racing services.

In addition to transmission and engine dynamometers, the new facility has space allocated to a chassis dyno for four-wheel-drive vehicles that will be capable of acceleration and loaded steady-state testing.

SKF Takes Pole Position Online

SKF now offers a technical e-newsletter as an element of its Pole Position program.

The Pole Position e-newsletter provides automotive technicians with the industry’s latest technical tips, failure analysis data, and product information.

Automotive technicians must sign up for the Pole Position technical e-newsletter by visiting and clicking on the Pole Position icon.

Forty-Year Old Sex Wagon Back On the Prowl

After 39 years of hibernation, the 1966 Mercury Station Wagon that served as a love nest for Dean Martin and Stella Stevens in the 1966 movie “The Silencers” is now on permanent display at the Volo Auto Museum in Volo, Illinois.

A stylish, sexy adventure in the tradition of James Bond, “The Silencers” was a big hit for screen legend Martin and Playboy model Stevens.

As secret agent Matt Helm, Martin saves the planet from a megalomaniac and his dastardly covert organization.

George Barris, builder of the original Batmobile and other famous Hollywood cars, created the perfect mode of transportation for a spy living the swinging lifestyle made popular by Martin and his Rat Pack friends.

On July 1, 2006, during a special event at the museum, Barris was reunited with his Sex Wagon for the first time in nearly forty years.

Believing the vehicle had been destroyed, Barris was shocked and thrilled to see the wagon once again.

“For me, this car is a great reminder of a very special time in Hollywood history,” he says. “It brings back a lot of good memories.”

The Sex Wagon, as it’s referred to in the movie, features two separate bedrooms clad in leather upholstery, a fully-stocked martini bar, a tailgate modified to lower as a step, and a working TV, which was a big deal in 1966.

Remington Tire Acquires President Tire

Remington Tire Distributors Inc. of Sherwood Park, Alta., has acquired Quebec-based President Tire Canada.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

As part of the acquisition, Remington obtains President Tire Canada’s 10 wholesale distribution centres, giving Remington 30 distribution centres strategically located across Canada.

In addition, Remington has acquired President Tire’s dealer network of more than 200 retail franchises.

The wholesale distribution centres and retail network will continue to operate under the President Tire brand, which Remington has also acquired.

The transaction did not include the 16 President Auto Centre locations, although Remington acquired certain assets from these locations.

“This acquisition strengthens Remington’s position as the leading wholesale tire distributor in Canada and increases our presence in Quebec and the Maritimes,” says Ross Kelly, president of Remington Tire.

NAPA Network Adds Montreal Associate

The UAP Inc. automotive aftermarket distribution network has announced that Pieces d’autos Paul Lavigne Inc. has joined the NAPA network.

With three existing stores, Lavigne has been a player in the East Montreal market and will now conduct business under the NAPA Auto Parts identity.

The business had been operating as part of the Uni-Select distribution network.

As part of the deal, Lavigne has also purchased the former NAPA corporate store on Haig Street next door to UAP’s Canadian headquarters.

“This transaction represents a major advance for NAPA in East Montreal and is completely in line with our business development strategy for Quebec,” states Terry LeBlanc, executive vice-president, Auto Parts Division.

Lavigne’s four locations will employ more than 75 employees and generate sales in excess of 11 million dollars.

According to Paul Lavigne, “We built our business on exceptional customer service and expertise. Together with the quality parts and advantages that our NAPA association will make available we expect to be the undisputed first choice for aftermarket supply and customer solutions in East Montreal.”

NAPA Lands in Timmins

NAPA has announced that South End Auto Parts Ltd., in Timmins, Ont., owned and operated by Mike Lacroix, has joined the group. This new location brings NAPA Auto Parts back into the Timmins market.

Aftermarket Facts eBook

The 2006/2007 edition of the Aftermarket eFactbook is now available from the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA).

With identical content to the best-selling Aftermarket Factbook, the eFactbook is a CD-ROM with charts and tables that can be printed or copied and pasted into Excel, PowerPoint, and other software packages.

The 2006/2007 Aftermarket eFactbook provides a comprehensive overview of the entire aftermarket industry and is available to AAIA members for $199 U.S. and to non-members for $449 U.S. To order a copy of the eFactbook or the printed Factbook, call 301-654-6664. For more information, visit

Letter . . .

Dear Editor,

Subsequent to your article on the problem with GM manifolds (A Fate Sealed, July 2006), it may interest you to know that there is a permanent fix out there. We have been manufacturing these parts and selling to jobbers and dealerships for about four years now. This repair has, without question, corrected the problem on the 3.8 K-series engines.

At this point in time the repair has been placed in front of the “powers that be” at General Motors who are considering the pros and cons of utilizing such a repair. The pros are that they know the repair will provide a permanent solution to the problem. The cons really haven’t been brought to my attention.


Ken Spragg

Sales Manager

KEN-CO Industries Ltd.

Burlington, Ont.


Deepfreeze Refrigerants Inc. has announced that Ben Lucy has joined the company as sales and marketing associate. Lucy brings with him many years of experience in the automotive aftermarket sector, along with experience in the trucking industry.

United Components Inc. has announced the appointment of Phil Kasper as Canadian sales manager. Prior to joining UCI, Phil was national accounts manager for Affinia Canada for 12 years. Additionally, Kasper managed a district with Canox, as well as supporting customers while with Cummins. In this new position, Kasper will be representing the individual business units under the UCI banner including Airtex, LLC; ASC Industries; Champion Labratories Inc.; and Wells Manufacturing.

Robert Rukavina has been appointed to the position of district manager, Value Added Programs for Western Canada for PPG Canada. The announcement was made by Norm Angrove, national manager CertifiedFirst. In this new position, Rukavina will be responsible for continuing to build the CertifiedFirst Network of collision repair centres, implementing collision centre performance solutions programs, and building insurance relations in Western Canada.

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