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

Over the Counter December 2006

National Association Moves “Right to Repair” Forward in Ottawa

The Automotive Industries Association of Canada reports that its two-day “Right to Repair” lobby event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa generated solid support for the right to repair issue.

The event opened with a reception attended by more than 40 Members of Parliament, 40 political staff, and over 80 representatives from the automotive aftermarket industry. The following day, association staff and members conducted 37 meetings with Members of Cabinet, Parliamentary Secretaries, Members of Parliament, political staff, and senior public servants to advance the issue of a balanced playing field in consumers’ right to choose where they have their vehicle repaired.

“We came right to the point and asked the Government of Canada to adopt the appropriate policy framework that will guarantee access to the information, tools, and training necessary to repair today’s vehicles,” explains Ray Datt, president of AIA Canada. “We had overwhelming support from all sides of the House on this issue.”

There was consensus on the Hill that rural constituents need to be protected, that consumers need to be protected, and that small- and medium-sized enterprises must continue to be able to form the foundation of the Canadian economy.

A few MPs supported an environmental approach; however the majority believe the issue resides with Industry Canada. The association also mentioned that it has received support to present a briefing to the Auto Caucus and the Industry Committee. Leon Benoit, MP for Vegreville-Wainwright, Alberta and the sponsor of the lobby event, has submitted a motion to be read in the House.

While these apparent theoretical successes are far from what may be called positive action, AIA media representative Katherine Power was optimistic. “Nothing is absolutely resolved,” she says. “We’re not there yet, but the meetings we had on the Hill were very encouraging. We’re confident we’ll be able to resolve this issue; it’s just a matter of how long it will take.”

Tenneco Boosts Ride Control Assemblies

Tenneco Inc. has announced the third expansion of production capacity and another increase in application coverage for its Monroe Quick-Strut assemblies.

The assemblies are fully assembled replacement struts and springs for late-model passenger vehicles.

Tenneco has added a third Quick-Strut assembly production cell to its Paragould, Ark., ride control manufacturing operation to accommodate increased demand.

The company has also announced that in addition to increasing production capacity, it will again expand Quick-Strut assembly coverage with 23 new part numbers scheduled for introduction in 2007.

Melling Purchases Dura-Bond

Melling Engine Parts/Melling Tool Co. has purchased the outstanding 50% of Dura-Bond Bearing Company, giving Melling 100% ownership.

“It is a great addition to the Melling family of companies, and we will be able to do great things together,” CEO Mark Melling comments.

Dura-Bond will continue to be located in Carson City, NV and to be managed by its current staff, led by president Charles Barnett.

AARO Dedicates Gym at Kids Hospital

The Automotive Aftermarket Retailers of Ontario association proudly attended the recent dedication of the AARO Therapeutic Gym at the world-renowned Bloorview Kids Rehab Centre in Toronto, Ont.

The newly rebuilt hospital–a state-of-the-art facility for the rehabilitation of children who have suffered traumatic accidents, illnesses and surgery–is the benefactor of fundraising at the annual AARO Charity Golf Tournament.

“We’ve raised about $175,000 for Bloorview, and to recognize our philanthropy they placed our name above the entrance to a gymnasium,” explains AARO president Wally Clayson. “Some of us serving on the AARO board of directors were privileged to be on hand for the ceremony. I only wish all the golfers and suppliers, and everyone else who supports our annual tournament, could have been there to enjoy the proud moment with us,” he adds.

Bloorview was born over a century ago as a rehabilitation home for 15 children. Today, more than 6,500 children and their families from Ontario and beyond use the hospital, outpatient, and community services each year.

NAPA Recognizes 80 Years in Business

NAPA Canada executives and associates marked the distribution organization’s 80th Anniversary with a gala dinner held during its National Business Conference at the Sheraton Hotel in Downtown Toronto.

The swanky four-course dinner affair featured awards presentations, congratulatory speeches, and a stunning video retrospective of NAPA’s 80 years of involvement in the Canadian auto parts market. Set to a theme of the Academy Awards, the evening was capped off by impersonator performances from Celine Dion, Diana Ross, Elton John, Tom Jones, Johnny Cash, and Dean Martin.

Alberta Jobber Takes Racing Title

Dave McKean, owner and general manager of Midway Distributors, a NAPA store in Lloydminster, Alta., won two Legends car racing championships this year.

McKean won both Semi-Pro division championships, the NAPA Northern Series Championship and the NAPA Touring Series Championship, which are part of the Alberta Legends Cars Series.

In dominant form, McKean qualified on the pole eight out of 12 races, won 15 of 20 heat races and seven of the 12 feature races.

Canadians Fare Well at Technician Competition, But Lose Out to U.S. Techs

Three Canadians made it to the final eight in the ACDelco Technician of the Millennium IV competition, but lost out to Scot Manna, owner of MB Automotive, Inc. in Des Plaines, Ill.

Manna, the U.S. North Central Region champion, prevailed over seven other U.S. and Canadian automotive technicians, who qualified for the finals by winning their regional competitions.

All were drawn from Independent Service Centres (ISCs) that participated in ACDelco’s Total Service Support (TSS) program. They competed in a timed, hands-on skills contest and were judged on their professionalism, speed, and accuracy in the diagnosis and repair of a “bugged” 2007 Chevy Impala.

“As vehicles’ complexity and sophistication increases, so does the need for qualified technicians who possess the required skills to diagnose and repair them,” says Todd Dawn, ACDelco aftermarket training manager. “The Technician of the Millennium IV competition showcased these technicians’ skills and gave them an opportunity to leverage everything they know, including what they’ve learned through ACDelco’s extensive training offerings.”

In addition to earning the title of Technician of the Millennium IV, Manna won the Grand Prize worth more than $41,000 U.S. The prize package includes a 2007 GM vehicle of his choice, an interior/exterior image enhancement for his shop, two trips for two to the Bahamas, and a commemorative trophy.

Eric Armstrong, a technician at Motoring Services in Kennewick, Wash., was runner-up. Bill James, owner of Bill’s Quality Automotive in Tulsa, Ok. finished third in the competition. Canadians competing for the big prize were Tom Bischoff, Williams Automotive Service, Kelowna, B.C.; David Jaggard, Eccles Auto Service Inc., Dundas, Ont.; and Phil Taekema, Woodriver Valley Automotive Service, Moncton, N.B.

Companies Team Up for Waste Oil Disposal in Atlantic Canada

Wakefield Canada and Atlantic Industrial Services have announced a cooperative agreement to collect waste oil from Castrol customers in Atlantic Canada.

Wakefield, Castrol’s marketing and distribution partner in Canada, says that the relationship ensures that all Atlantic Region Castrol customers receive “fair rates and great service for all their waste collections needed while minimizing the environmental impact.”

As the company’s authorized agent, Atlantic Industrial will guarantee a price for waste oil to all Wakefield customers.

This partnership was created to deal with the volatile markets and collection issues that many customers have encountered in the past year, as waste oil has evolved from a disposal cost item to a new standard in which waste oil has value to the shop.

Truck Cap Veteran Honoured

Joel Ayres, national marketing director, Leer, Division Truck Accessories Group (TAG), Inc. has been named the 2006 Person of the Year Award by the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA).

Created in 1969, the Person of the Year Award honours individuals recognized for their distinguished service to the trade association and the specialty equipment industry. Ayres, who serves on the SEMA board of directors and is the board’s liaison to the Light Truck Accessory Alliance (LTAA) Select Committee, has been in the truck accessory business since 1972.


Wakefield Canada Inc. has announced the appointment of Marsha McLaughlin as product manager. McLaughlin has spent six years in key positions within the company, giving her an understanding of both the manufacturing and marketing sides of the lubricants aftermarket business. Her current responsibilities include developing and coordinating all Castrol automotive product requirements relating to formulations, packaging, pricing, and product sales support materials. Working within Wakefield’s marketing department to develop overall brand strategy, McLaughlin will be responsible for the development of consumer and trade product literature, and work with field staff and Castrol dealers on a daily basis.

M. Lee Smith, director, Refinish, PPG Canada, has announced the promotions of Norm Angrove and Don Swick to regional manager positions. As regional manager, Central Canada, Angrove will be responsible for sales activities in Ontario, while continuing to oversee PPG’s CertifiedFirst Network and Insurance and Services programs until a successor is named to his former position. As regional manager, Western Canada, Don Swick will be responsible for the region’s automotive and commercial coatings sales activities, training, and key account activities in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, as well as Canadian territories. Swick began his career with PPG Canada in 1999 as a territory manager in Saskatchewan.

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