Auto Service World
Feature   November 1, 2003   by Auto Service World

Over the Counter: November 2003


Quebec Reviews Emissions Testing Plans

Quebec may be reviewing its decision to shelve the light vehicle emissions testing program in favour of heavy-duty truck testing.

“The light duty program had been on the backburner for a while,” says Ray Datt, president of the Automotive Industries Association of Canada, “but the position of the [Quebec Environment Ministry] was initially to move ahead on the heavy duty testing, because the infrastructure already exists.” Datt says that existing heavy-truck safety inspection facilities will perform emissions inspections under the proposed program.

In late October, however, talks with Quebec Environment Minister Thomas Mulcair may have opened the door for the possibility of light vehicle testing.

Up until then, the minister had committed to announcing the heavy-duty testing program prior to the end of the current legislative session–sources have indicated that an announcement might be made as early as prior to Christmas–but the light vehicle testing program had been shelved indefinitely.

The light vehicle testing program has been stalled for more than a year and a half, since the pilot program concluded. The Parti Quebecois government did not want to launch a program on the eve of an election, and the current Liberal government of Jean Charest has not moved forward either, despite a letter of commitment signed by the premier.

“On the light vehicle front, they were concerned about the political ramifications, and they weren’t sure that the infrastructure existed or that people were willing to invest to create it,” says Datt.

In a meeting between the minister and the AQLPA, a multi-disciplinary industry group created to promote emissions testing in the province, discussions on the healthcare cost connected to high smog levels apparently piqued the minister’s interest. Sources tell Jobber News that it appeared he was not aware of the medical sector connection that shows increased mortality and visits to hospitals by the elderly and those suffering from respiratory illness during high-smog days. At the meeting he asked for the supporting scientific research data on this topic.

While the official position of the Quebec government is that it remains non-committal on light vehicle testing, there may be an opening for further progress that did not exist before.

Association Exploring Role with Service Providers

The Automotive Industries Association of Canada has made a commitment to pursue what role it might play with automotive service providers.

At its board of directors meeting in September, the Automotive Industries Association of Canada (AIA) agreed that it should pursue investigating what types of services automotive service providers and technicians need to survive and thrive in the industry.

“This initiative seeks to bridge the gap between the association’s existing members and automotive service providers,” says AIA chair Ken Coulter. “One of the goals is to strengthen the voice of the automotive service installer on regional, provincial, and national basis,” he continues. The association says it believes that automotive service providers may have a need for more information resources in the areas of government relations, business and technical training, market research, environmental best practices, etc.

Armatures DNS 2000 Inc. has announced the acquisition of Deltron Automotive. This new plant will add another 50,000 square feet to the remanufacturing enterprise. The building is located at 9365 Pascal Gagnon, St-Leonard, Que. The company says the new building will improve customer service and enable the company to continue to produce a product of the highest quality.

Delphi Corp. has announced that it is the first to market with an exhaust catalyst technology designed to help meet the new, more stringent California OBDII (On Board Diagnostics) automotive aftermarket emissions regulations. The new catalyst was specifically designed to be both cost-efficient and to more effectively support the real-time electronic diagnostics of OBD systems now found on passenger cars and light-duty trucks.

Tenneco Hits Road With Safety Message

Tenneco Automotive attracted more than 200 attendees to its Ride Safe event in Toronto as part of a tour throughout North America.

The program, which combined ride and drive experience to convey a ride-control safety message to consumers with training on communication for service providers, made the rounds through 35 cities in North America this fall.

The attendance was solid for the two-day Toronto stop, despite torrential rains on the first of the scheduled days and unseasonably cold weather on the second. Service providers were taken through role-playing exercises to help them become accustomed to communicating the function and maintenance requirements of ride control.

LETTERS . . .

Dear Editor,

I always enjoy your Editorial Comment each month, and your article entitled God’s Own Pickup (August 2003) was particularly good. I work for Ideal Supply in Listowel, Ont., and also am the lay Pastor of a small rural church, so I think I have the answer to your closing question.

You wondered where Jesus might go for service for whatever vehicle He would drive if He were here now. May I point out that the Bible tells us that Jesus came to serve, not be served, and based on that truth I would suggest that He and his father would be garage owners, not carpenters, and would fix their own cars.

I would also point out that when He returns to judge this planet, He will be on a white horse and will not need any service at that time.

For what it’s worth.

Yours truly,

Brian Cleland

Ideal Supply, Listowel, Ont.

Dear Editor

I have just read the September issue’s AIA update. The retail council priorities are industry image and human resources. I see in the article that all of the national chains are represented as members of the AIA. Who speaks for the Independent Service Provider on this council? I have been asking the AIA to include service providers in the member base and I have been told that due to the number of them, AIA couldn’t handle the volume. Since when have you had too many participants in any organization? The largest part of the industry is made up of the independent service provider who is not represented in any part of the AIA. Manufacturers, warehouses, jobbers, and the AIA keep making noises about the plight of the independent service provider, but will not include them in our little club called the AIA.

Furthermore, I doubt the executives of these corporations have been at an independent’s location since they received their first company car. Our retail council is made up of companies that would be just as happy to see the independent disappear. How does this benefit the jobbers? Our warehouses chase the volume offered by the national chains, but leave the jobber working on a margin that won’t allow them to pay their employees a decent wage. See the letter to the editor from Stewart Hayes in July’s Jobber News on not being able to pay our employees properly. If it sounds like I’m frustrated it’s because I am. I simply feel that the direction the industry is headed seems to be different from where we say we want to go. Don’t you think that if we say we are going to Montreal but are looking at the Rocky Mountains, we should think about turning around?

John Zuk

Automotive Trade Supply Ltd., Kitchener, Ontario

It appears, according to the news item in this issue, “Association Exploring Role with Service Providers,” that someone at the AIA is listening.–ed.

E.R.I. Group Scholarships

The E.R.I. Group has announced the winners of the 2003 Richard Miller Award. This years recipients are: Carmen Joy Wonchulanko of Yorkton, Sask.; Katie Stefko of Richmond Hill, Ont.; Marie-Claude Drolet of Qubec City, Que.; Tim Fedak of Halifax, N.S.; Sara Stevens of Grimsby, Ont.; and Krista Socholotiuk of Southwold, Ont. Each was presented a cheque for $1,000 to help them furthe
r their education.

APPOINTMENTS

Lou Bauldic, vice president/ general manager – Automotive Division of Robert Bosch Inc., has announced that Edward DiCesare has joined its Automotive Team as national marketing manager. DiCesare comes to Robert Bosch from a marketing position with Kubota Canada Ltd. in the agricultural construction equipment division.

John D. Grant, president, Grant Brothers Sales Limited has announced two Montreal territory appointments. Benoit Ouimet has been appointed district sales manager for the Montral North shore. Ouimet has a bachelor degree in French History from Bishop University. Ouimet worked as a salesperson for Televator, and most recently was working for a trucking company. Hugues Bouchard has been appointed district sales manager for the Montral South shore. Bouchard has a degree in International Commerce, and recently completed his educational degree in England and Vancouver. He also has years of experience in parts and car sales. Both report to GBS regional vice-president, Alan Morris.


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