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

Over the Counter December 2005

Ontario Makes Changes to Emissions Testing

In a moved expected to reduce unnecessary testing on newer vehicles and save consumers money, the Ontario government is making changes to its Drive Clean emissions testing program.

The changes focus on testing fewer new vehicles and more older vehicles.

As of January 2006, emissions tests to renew licence plates will begin when vehicles are five years old, instead of three, and 20-year-old light-duty vehicles, which have a high risk of being serious polluters, will now require testing, with 1988 and newer model year vehicles staying in the program.

“Newer vehicles were passing Drive Clean more than 99 per cent of the time,” said Environment Minister Laurel Broten. “By focusing testing on vehicles most likely to pollute, we are protecting the air we breathe and improving the program’s efficiency and effectiveness.”

Currently, the program requires light-duty vehicles that are at least three years old to be tested every two years to renew their licence plates. Light-duty vehicles that are 20 years old or more are exempt from testing. A recent review recommended that the program be improved by exempting newer vehicles and focusing more strongly on older vehicles that are most likely to pollute.

Effective January 1, 2006, the program is being revised to focus on vehicles most likely to pollute by starting emissions tests to renew licence plates when vehicles are five years old, instead of three. Heavy-duty trucks and buses will also require tests beginning when they are five years old, instead of three.

Consumer protection and fraud prevention will also be strengthened, by making it an offence under the Environmental Protection Act to create, distribute or use false Drive Clean passes and making it easier to decertify emissions inspectors who create, distribute or use false Drive Clean passes. The program had come under fire for widespread use of false certificates.

As well, 20-year-old light-duty vehicles will now require testing, with 1988 and newer model year vehicles staying in the program.

Further changes to the Drive Clean program are also proposed:

–requiring annual testing for vehicles 12 years old and older;

–increasing the amount vehicles owners must spend on repairs should their vehicle fail its Drive Clean test from $450 to $600;

–no longer requiring a Drive Clean test for an ownership transfer between family members, or when a vehicle lease is bought out by the lessee;

–using the vehicle’s own on-board computers for testing 1998 and newer vehicles.

“We are looking forward to what the public has to say about Drive Clean and how it can be improved because we believe that a licence to own a vehicle is not a licence to pollute,” said Broten.

AIA Announces Marion Roberts Scholarship Winners

More than 60 young adults have been named to receive Marion Roberts Scholarship Awards to help them pursue a career of their choice.

The scholarships are an Automotive Industries Association of Canada member benefit for students pursuing a post-secondary education in any field of endeavour. The $500 scholarships are awarded based on academic achievement, leadership skills and community involvement to the children of AIA member company employees.

Association president Ray Datt says that a number of students are pursuing business studies. “It is probably based on the entrepreneurial example their parents set. Many of the parents are jobbers or the owners of family-owned enterprises.”

Marion Roberts Scholarship applicants do not have to be pursuing a career in the aftermarket; they can be pursuing any field of study, at any post-secondary level, at any Canadian college or university.

CarFixWorld Holds Official Launch

CarFixWorld, an event focused on automotive service providers, officially kicked off its activities in Toronto in November.

The event, held at the Steamwhistle Brewery, featured presentations by the publishers of Jobber News, SSGM, and Bodyshop magazines on how the event will serve service providers and help attract youth into the industry. Also on hand was a sample display revealing the new concept of the “Presentation Booth,” that allows exhibiting companies to provide mini-clinics for technicians and business owners attending CarFixWorld to be held September 30, and October 1, 2006 at the National Trade Centre in Toronto.

The more than 60 attendees at November’s event included manufacturers of parts and equipment, buying group and distributor executives, collision repair suppliers, association executives and service providers from both the mechanical and collision repair sectors.

Presentations were met with good support from attendees of the event, with many committing to participate in CarFixWorld.

Dealer Marketing Upgrade

Lund International has unveiled a comprehensive dealer support program.

The Dealers-Edge Program provides turnkey marketing solutions for dealers who want to take their business to the next level.

It encompasses an array of marketing tools including customizable print and radio advertisements, point of sale materials, retail advertising techniques, installation/informative videos, featured dealer stories, etc.

A/C Event Holding Career Day

The Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide will hold a career day at its 26th annual convention and trade show, Express Train! at the Caribe Royale Hotel and Convention Center, Orlando, Fla., January 26-28, 2006.

“MACS Mobile A/C Career Day,” will take place on Friday, January 27, 2006. MACS will invite central Florida area automotive students and their instructors to attend convention programming and tour the trade show, to discover the many career choices available in the mobile A/C industry.

Keystone Automotive Continues Expansion

Keystone Automotive has announced that it has reached a definitive agreement to acquire Reliable Automotive, a specialty distributor and retailer based in Overland, Kansas.

Currently, Reliable Automotive distributes over 300 product lines nationally to over 15,000 customers via 10 warehouse facilities and seven sales offices.

Keystone Automotive is owned by Bain Capital, a leading global private investment firm, and has more than tripled its revenues over the past 10 years through a combination of business acquisitions and organic growth.

In addition to acquisitions, over the last two years Keystone Automotive has added to its existing service capabilities in the U.S. and Canada.

PartSource Chain Growing

PartSource announced the acquisition of Thunder Bay Best Buy, a two-store auto parts business, as well as the grand opening of two more Ontario stores.

The Thunder Bay stores will continue to operate in their current locations until the plans for a new PartSource store are finalized. PartSource’s acquisition of these two stores supports the chain’s growth strategy and is the retailer’s first entry into Northwestern Ontario.

PartSource also celebrated the opening of a new store in Kingston, Ont., and a second grand opening in Pickering, Ont.

With the additions, the chain now operates more than 50 stores.

Letters . . .

Dear Editor,

[CarFixWorld] is very exciting news for our industry.

I am also pleased to read that you have a venue for apprentices. Here at K.C. Auto we support the seven local high schools that have transportation courses. We donate a scholarship fund of $200 per school and sponsor the skills competition held here as well. My reason for the letter is that I would like to request a high school day be made available for students to attend [CarFixWorld] and, of course, at no charge. I am working with the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) in our area and was hoping you might be able to get in touch with them about my request if you feel it deems a look.

Do any or only some professional service providers know that by hiring a qualifying apprentice, they could get back up to $15,000 over three years, plus a $2,000 signing bonus? This is an area that they might help. You may even want them to have a booth. It is very important to get our students involved in this trade.

Paul Dossman

KC Automotive

Owen Sound, ON

ARI Subsidiary Shuttered

Reports from a variety of sources say that Car Component Technologies located in Bedford, N.H., a subsidiary of remanufacturer American Remanufacturers, Inc., shut its doors November 16 and filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

American Remanufacturers Inc. (ARI), headquartered in Anaheim, Calif., has been struggling of late and had already filed for Chapter 11 protection on November 7.

Some media outlets have reported that they were unable reach anyone at ARI and some of its other subsidiaries. Attempts to visit ARI’s website were also unsuccessful.

The closure of the Bedford, N.H., facility was apparently done without notice as required by state law, and the state is investigating. About 200 jobs are affected.

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