Auto Service World
Feature   February 1, 2004   by Auto Service World

Over The Counter: February 2004


Wal-Mart Parts Counter Expands

The Auto Parts Counter format at Wal-Mart stores is being expanded.

At the launch of the Brampton, Ont. Wal-Mart parts counter, Murray Mackey, owner of Uni-Select member Albion Auto Parts in Mississauga, Ont., said the new concept has finally gelled and is ready for a wider market. Mackey also owns that operation and is chairman of Auto Parts Counter, a concept created in partnership with Joseph and Michael Meehan of Creative Merchandising Concepts.

The first example of the parts counter concept–which debuted at the Mississauga Square One plaza–has been refined at the subsequent examples. Now, a parts counter operation can be integrated into any existing Wal-Mart in as little as a week. The Brampton operation is the third using the new concept. Mackey says five more will be in operation by the end of March.

The parts counter targets the DIY customer with an inventory of fast movers and timely delivery of non-stocked items. “We have 100% of the A-movers in stock,” says John Mackey, son of Murray, who will manage the operation, “but the big thing is 90-minute delivery.”

Despite the counter’s proximity to the Wal-Mart service area, it is not intended as a parts supply for the installed business.

“It helps in the service department, but the big thing is that we want to take business from the red triangle across the road.”

“We’ve been working with Wal-Mart since 1990,” says Joe Meehan. “We heard about Murray and [John] doing a couple of stores. I said that this is a great concept to take across the country.”

The parts counters are being staffed by experienced counterpeople, which Murray Mackey says is critical to the concept’s success.

“Without experienced staff, it isn’t going to work. It’s the difference between selling a few hundred dollars a day and growing a business out of it.”

Aftermarket Association Retains Firm for Service Provider Research

The Automotive Industries Association of Canada (AIA) has struck an agreement with Matthew Scott Data Marketing Solutions Inc. for the association’s Automotive Service Provider Market Research Project.

The association is investigating what types of services automotive service providers (installers) need to survive and thrive in the industry.

“The industry has been talking about the survival of the automotive service provider for several years,” says association chair Ken Coulter. “Now it’s time to put some solid market research behind what our gut feelings are telling us.”

“We understand that the life blood of the aftermarket industry is at the installer level. We believe there is an opportunity to develop and enhance consumer perception and elevate aftermarket service volumes. There are billions of dollars in unperformed automobile maintenance, and this project is a solid first step in gaining a better understanding of how to tap the opportunity for installers by gaining a better understanding of installer needs,” said Ray Datt, president of the AIA.

Matthew Scott Data Marketing Solutions has accumulated proprietary databases that are among North America’s most comprehensive and up-to-date sources of aftermarket service providers and industry information.

“These types of projects will support the industry as a whole and consolidate the message and importance of maintaining your vehicle for safety, environmental, and economical reasons. It will also remind the businesses in the industry to look for the opportunity because we know it does certainly does exist,” said Datt.

Hockey Charity Laces Up for Fundraising

The Slaphots for a Cause charity fundraiser is planning a rematch for this May.

The hockey game raised some $11,000 last year for the Canadian Cancer Society. The game has become a regular institution with the aftermarket, with sponsors helping to raise funds, and Lube Koval of Matthew Scott Marketing getting special thanks for donating the ice time.

The charity hockey game allows shinny players to put the puck in the net for a good cause, and sponsors to both put their name on the back of the shirts and on the scorecard, if they so wish.

Carquest Announces New Member

Carquest has announced that D&T Auto Parts Limited of Leamington, Ontario, has joined the distribution group.

D & T Auto Parts, operated by Greg & Chris Henderson and Barry Davidson, has been selling auto parts since 1920 and is one of the oldest members of AIA. They are also affiliated with Auto Barn Parts Supply and Pete’s Paint & Auto.

“We are very pleased that they chose to join our program as an independent jobber,” says Brian Taylor, Ontario DC sales manager, Carquest.

Bendix Deal Falls Flat, Honeywell Decides to Retain Brake Business

Honeywell has terminated discussions with Federal-Mogul regarding the possible sale of its Bendix friction materials business.

The Federal-Mogul deal fell apart after several months of negotiations, as the parties were unable to agree on terms of a deal. Now Honeywell has reported that the Bendix friction materials division will remain part of Honeywell, and will become closely aligned with the company’s business initiatives and operating plan. The business has annual sales of nearly $800 million U.S., according to Honeywell.

Tenneco Launches Risk-Free Warranty Program

Tenneco has launched an expanded product warranty program for its exhaust and ride-control products.

Featuring limited lifetime warranties and a 90-day risk-free trial offer on premium Walker exhaust, Monroe shock and strut, DynoMax performance exhaust, and Rancho off-road technologies, the new program is designed to help service dealers to increase sales.

In addition to the free limited lifetime warranty, the program includes a 90-day risk-free money-back offer covering each specified premium product, plus up to $50 in labour charges per axle or exhaust system.

“Some aftermarket technicians hesitate to upsell their customers to premium-level technologies because they’re afraid they can’t back up claims of improved performance and durability. Now we’re doing it for them – we’re offering guarantees that the consumer will see, hear, feel, and appreciate the differences represented in each of our premium products,” says Tenneco Automotive vice-president of marketing Richard Alameddine.

Universal Automotive Acquires TRW Brands

Universal Automotive has purchased several business assets of TRW Automotive’s Kelsey-Hayes subsidiary.

Universal, known for its Universal Brake Parts line, has acquired the Autospecialty, ValuMaxx and Power Stop brands from Kelsey-Hayes for $11 million U.S. in cash plus additional contingent payments.

It also has entered into a licensing agreement for the use of the TRW trademark for premium quality brake rotors and drums and a supply agreement for TRW suspension products.

With the acquisition, annual sales of Universal Automotive are expected to roughly double, to more than $100 million U.S.

Tenneco and DuPont Polish Up Offering

Tenneco Automotive has entered into an exclusive licensing agreement with DuPont to develop, manufacture and market car care products under the DuPont brand in North America.

Initially, the two companies will launch a line of DuPont branded car appearance products — including waxes, protectants, car wash, and tire and wheel care products — which will be available at retailers throughout the United States and Canada. The products will be available at more than 10,000 automotive retail outlets throughout the United States and Canada, beginning in January 2004.

Obituary

Carl Greenwald, retired owner of Hi-Line Manufacturing Company, passed away after a short illness in Toronto.

Greenwald, who founded the company in the 1950s, retired in the early 1990s but kept in close touch with his customers and friends in the business, as well as keeping in close contact with sons Jason and Howard, who run the warehouse now.

He also made a regular habit of attending industry trade shows in Canada, the U.S., and England. Greenwald is survived by his sons and wife, Lena.

Larry Samuelso
n, chief executive officer of UAP Inc. and its NAPA Canada business, has been named president of the Genuine Parts Co. U.S. Automotive Parts Group. Samuelson will continue with his Canadian responsibilities. The announcement was made by Larry Prince, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Genuine Parts Co., which is the parent company of UAP Inc.

In turn, Samuelson announced four senior executive appointments. Robert Hattem has accepted the position of president and chief operating officer of UAP Inc.; Terrence LeBlanc has accepted the position of executive vice-president of the Auto Parts Division; Pierre Vocelle has accepted the position of regional vice-president of Auto Parts for Quebec; and Scott LeProhon has been appointed senior vice-president-Special Marketing Projects.

Until his appointment as president and COO of UAP Inc., Robert Hattem had been executive vice-president HVPD (Heavy Vehicle Parts Division) since June 2002. Prior to his first appointment with UAP Inc., Hattem was president and general manager of BUROPLUS/Novexco Inc. for more than four years. He is a seasoned executive with a proven track record in the wholesale, retail and distribution business.

Terrence LeBlanc was previously regional vice-president of Auto Parts for the Quebec Region. Prior to joining UAP in 2003, Terrence worked for 12 years with Valvoline International, in senior management positions in Canada, Europe, and Latin America.

Pierre Vocelle was network sales vice-president for the Quebec Region prior to his appointment as regional vice-president of Auto Parts for Quebec. Before joining UAP, Vocelle had been president of Auto Collection of Quebec. He has worked in the automotive industry for 20 years, including 12 years in several positions with UAP.

Scott LeProhon comes to his new responsibilities as senior vice-president-Special Marketing Projects, after three years as vice-president–Special Marketing Projects, during which the company says he made a significant contribution to the company’s brand-building strategy.


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