Auto Service World
Feature   October 1, 2000   by Auto Service World

Over the Counter: October 2000

Heavy-Duty Concerns Surround Parts Person Apprenticeship Program

A new voluntary parts person apprenticeship training program has been announced in Ontario, but concerns remain about its applicability to the automotive aftermarket.

The new apprenticeship program is being offered at eight community colleges in Ontario and has been developed in partnership with various sectors of the motive parts industry. However, the participating groups were heavily weighted toward the heavy-duty and original equipment service channels, which has fuelled concerns that the training and testing may not be appropriate for the traditional automotive aftermarket. There was only one individual from the traditional aftermarket who participated in the sessions held by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities to develop the occupational analysis on which the program is based.

“A lot of it I didn’t think related to us,” says Dave Durham, general manager, Chapman Auto Electric, Oshawa, Ont., of the three-day session held nearly a year ago. As the lone member of the traditional aftermarket at the table, he felt distinctly like an outsider. “A lot of (what they discussed) didn’t relate to our business. If they’re talking about putting a parts person program together, they sure picked the wrong people.” He says that not only were participants largely from the heavy-duty sector, they were typically young.

“You’d think that they would want to have people with some experience,” says the 36-year veteran.

Concerns had been expressed earlier about the program’s applicability to the automotive aftermarket. David Watson, manager of standards and assessment for the ministry, says that while he understands the origin of the concerns, he doesn’t give them much credence. “It was proposed by the heavy-duty guys, but that’s certainly not what they were leaning toward. Apprenticeship is 90% on the job. When you do an occupational analysis, you look at those things which are common wherever you’re working; the generic skills of a person who would be working either at Honda or at Chapman Auto Electric.

“The exams are developed from the occupational analysis and to reflect the school background, but it’s not going to teach you what the job really is. The exams reflect what happens on the job, not at the school.”

Watson says that the program is being offered in three different formats. Two ten-week in-class sessions are being offered at Centennial College, Fanshawe and Sir Sanford Fleming, with day programs at Conestoga and Durham, while part-time studies are available at Mohawk, Niagara and St. Clair. Interested parties should contact either the college or check the blue pages of the telephone directory for the local apprenticeship office.

Federal-Mogul pursues new strategy in U.S., Canada to stick with direct sales force

Despite Federal-Mogul’s decision to transfer sales responsibility for its Anco, Wagner Lighting and Champion brands, Canadian sales will continue under the current structure.

The company announced in late August that it has elected to start handing over U.S. sales to a network of rep agencies. Accord-ing to Mike Holland, national sales manager for Canada, however, the direct sales force will continue to handle the lines here.

“We are not, at this stage of the game, following that (U.S.) program. We have decided that we are going to watch what they are doing in the States. We feel that our marketplace is somewhat different in handling those particular lines. So, we are going to sit back and evaluate their success in shifting the sales activity to these agencies.

“At some point down the road we will reevaluate and determine the direction we want to go, but at this stage we are going to continue to represent the lines with our factory direct sales force to our customer base,” says Holland.

The U.S. parent is embarking on the move to trim its sales force and associated expenses. One estimate put the savings as high as US $20 million per year, though more conservative numbers have pegged savings at half this. The handing-over process is expected to take several months.

Exide Rethinks Canadian Manufacturing, Sales and Distribution Unaffected

Exide Canada has announced that it is ceasing automotive battery manufacturing at its Maple, Ont. plant and considering converting to industrial battery production.

The change is not expected to affect the distribution, sales or marketing functions currently operating out of the Maple facility. According to Exide Canada officials, the change is due to a corporate overcapacity for automotive battery production and does not signal any change in the company’s commitment to the Canadian automotive aftermarket.

Vice-president of sales and marketing Loran Faraday says, “The sales and distribution divisions of Exide Canada will remain unchanged and we are taking all the necessary steps to ensure the transition is as seamless as possible to all our value customers.”

The move is part of a North American initiative by Exide Corporation to streamline production, rationalize distribution and gear up for industrial battery production following its purchase of GNB in September.

Uni-Select Sales Up

Uni-Select has reported that sales for its Automotive Group Canada increased 1.2 % in the first half of the year, despite a drop of 3.4 % posted in the second quarter.

The company attributed a flatness in the North American parts market to seasonal factors and a slowdown in new car sales six or seven years ago. This has also reduced demand for superior quality product in favor of “standard quality” products. The company says this phase is expected to last 15 to 18 months.

The distribution group posted overall net earnings of $5.2 million in the first half of 2000. Sales for the second quarter were up 7.4% over last year, earnings up 3.0%. The quarter ended June 30 was affected by certain non-recurring events, notably a reduction in inventory in the distribution network where inventory had increased at the end of 1999 in anticipation of Y2K and a decline in sales of seasonal products such as air conditioning parts, which had been exceptional in 1999.

Machine Shop Association Calls it Quits

After serving the machine shop industry for more than six decades, the Automotive Machine & Parts Association has folded.

After a few years of difficulty in mounting a consistent program of events, the AMPA held its last official meeting late last year. Efforts to revive the association from its period of inactivity failed due to changes in the marketplace that left volunteers with little time to mount events.

The legacy of the association may yet live on however, as plans are underway to set up a trust or scholarship fund using the funds remaining in the association’s account. While plans are far from finalized, one suggestion is that the funds be reserved to provide training assistance for machinists.

ERI Announces Scholarship Fund

Engine Rebuilders Group Inc. has announced that it is forming a scholarship fund and naming it after founding president Richard Miller.

Six $1,000 Richard Miller Awards will be presented annually to “provide financial assistance and encouragement to individuals who wish to further their education or training.”

The award was initiated to mark the “successful negotiation of the many detours, potholes and speed bumps that have been encountered during E.R.I.’s formation and growth over the past nineteen years and to publicly acknowledge, celebrate and recognize the diligent guidance and exemplary leadership of Richard Miller, E.R.I.’s founder, president and chairman of the board.”

Successful applicants, who must be either E.R.I. members, employees or their dependent children, will be recognized at this year’s E.R.I. Annual Meeting, Convention and Trade Show, to be held at the International Plaza in Toronto, Ont., October 20-22, 2000.

Goodall Purchases Matson

Goodall Mfg., LLC of Eden Prairie, Minn., has purchased the assets of Matson-USA of Walled Lake, Mich.

Goodall is a leader in emergency
starting equipment as well as a manufacturer of dump box vibrators, transmission flushing equipment and other products. Matson-USA manufactures vehicular surge protection as well as a large range of brass battery terminals. It also supplies battery chargers and battery accessories.

Tenneco to Give Lucky Consumer a Free “Smooth” Ride

In celebration of the millionth Monroe Reflex unit rolling off the assembly line, Tenneco Automotive will give one lucky consumer a free set of Reflex units and more.

The specially marked unit is currently making its way through the distribution chain. It is expected to arrive at an installer by the middle of the fourth quarter this year.

Somewhere in North America, a lucky consumer will win free Monroe Reflex units, including installation. Plus, Tenneco Automotive will award the winning consumer and installer an all-expenses-paid trip to Phoenix, for four days of instruction at the Bob Bondurant Racing School of High Performance Driving. The prizes will be awarded at a special ceremony at the installer’s place of business.

Bendix Business To Be Sold

Questor Partners Fund II, L.P. and Honeywell announced today that they have reached an agreement in principle for Questor to acquire Honeywell’s Friction Materials business, which supplies brake products to a wide range of transportation industries.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The business, which has annual sales of approximately US $1 billion, manufactures and markets disc brake pads, drum brake linings and other brake products for both original equipment manufacturers and the automotive aftermarket under the Bendix, Jurid and RoadTuff brand names.

The business also distributes brake fluids and parts as well as other braking components. The Friction Materials business is a separate business unit from the Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems business, which will remain a part of Honeywell.

Honeywell has also announced its intention to sell its Consumer Products Group and has retained Salomon Smith Barney for the purpose. The group includes Prestone, FRAM, Autolite, and Holts brands.

Prototype of Integrated Repair Shop to be Tested in Toronto

Canadian Tire has contributed three fully equipped service bays for the testing of i SHOP standards at its Retail City test facility in Toronto, Ontario.

The i SHOP standard is the result of the Shop Integration Task Force, coordinated by the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Associa-tion’s (AAIA) Electronic Commerce Commit-tee. It is an open shop integration standard designed to permit computer-based products and services in an automotive service facility to work together as one integrated system. The i SHOP technology was developed by Snap-on, the Enterprise Alliance, ASA-Net in Europe and others around the world.

The service bays, which will host the testing of i SHOP standards, will be housed at Retail City, Canadian Tire’s 150,000 square-foot retail test laboratory, located in Toronto. Retail City is used for customer-focused research, training and merchandise testing.

The state-of-the-art service bays will be the first fully functional integrated shop environment featuring the latest service and repair tools and diagnostic equipment from iSHOP participants: Snap-on, SPX, Vetronix and ALLDATA, Hunter and Autologic.

McCoy Bros. Exits Parts Distribution Business

McCoy Bros. Inc. of Edmonton, Alta., has announced that it is exiting the wholesale and retail distribution of heavy-duty and light truck parts to concentrate on truck sales and specialized manufacturing.

The company has entered into an agreement with UAP Inc. that will see that company’s TW/Traction divisions acquiring the heavy-duty inventory of McCoy Bros.

ATC Divests Aftermarket Business

Aftermarket Technology Corp. has announced that it has signed an agreement to sell its Distribution Group to an affiliate of The Riverside Company, an investment firm that also owns another transmission repair parts business, Aceomatic-Recon.

The purchase price of $77 million is comprised of $65 million in cash and $12 million of Series B preferred stock. ATC’s sole Canadian affiliate is King-O-Matic of Mississauga, Ont. The transaction, which is subject to regulatory approval, the buyer obtaining necessary financing and the completion of environmental diligence, is expected to close in October 2000.

“We believe that the combination of the Distribution Group with Aceomatic-Recon should result in a stronger, more focused transmission parts distribution business that will benefit Distribution Group customers and employees in the long term,” says Mike DuBose, ATC Chairman, president and CEO. Headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Aceomatic-Recon distributes a full line of transmission repair parts including overhaul kits, clutch plates, seals and gaskets, filters, torque converters and other hard parts.

McLaren Engines to Buy Dart Machine

McLaren Engines, a subsidiary of McLaren Performance Technologies, has signed a letter of intent to acquire Dart Machine Ltd., headquartered in Oldcastle, Ont.

McLaren is currently performing due diligence and plans to complete the acquisition in the fourth quarter of this calendar year. McLaren Engines, a powertrain design, fabricating and testing operation for automotive OEMs, and Dart, a privately owned manufacturer of powertrain components such as cylinder heads and performance parts, have a long-standing relationship based upon complementary industry involvement over the past 19 years.

Johnson Controls Buys Optima Batteries

Johnson Controls, Inc. has agreed to purchase Gylling Optima Batteries AB.

Johnson Controls says that it is purchasing the Spiral Cell battery manufacturer to broaden its battery offerings for the 42-volt automotive electrical systems under development in addition to providing a rugged battery for current 12-volt aftermarket and OE applications.

AIA Aftermarket Forum

The 5th Annual AIA Aftermarket Forum takes place November 22nd. Reserve your place at the Canadian Automotive Aftermarket’s premier business conference. Held at the International Plaza Hotel, in Toronto, Ont., it promises to be a key part of your future planning exercise. Contact Mireille Schippers at AIA at (613) 728-5821 ext. 231 or via e-mail at

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Brake Out the Duct Tape!

Dana Canada has enlisted Red Green, duct tape’s best friend, to spearhead an integrated Canadian consumer and trade program for its Raybestos Brakes. Red Green (a.k.a. Steve Smith) will drive home the message that Canadian motorists should demand only the best for the all-important braking system of their vehicles. Advertising, special events and point of sale materials will all capitalize on the Red Green association. The Red Green show has almost three million regular viewers across North America.

Action Fiberglass of Moncton, N.B. has acquired J&D Supplies and Van & Truck World of Oshawa, Ont.

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Bumper-to-Bumper has opened a new corporate store in Regina, Sask. Brian Langtot is the key contact there. The store is located at 680 McLeod St.

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Permatex Canada has moved to new administrative offices as of Sept. 1. Here is the new contact info:

Administration Office: 6711 Mississauga Rd., Suite 302, Mississauga, ON, L5N 2W3. Tel: (905) 814-1977, toll free, (800) 924-6994, Fax: (905) 814-1256, toll free (800) 489-7259. Tech Line: (877) 376-2839. Distribution Center: 2225 Meadowpine Blvd., Mississauga, Ont. L5N 7P2. Tel: (905) 814-6511 ext. 7622. The company also announced that it will be transitioning to new ERP business software as of October 1.

Ted Herntier’s West End Machine Shop in Swan River, Man., has joined the Automotive Engine Rebuilders Association.

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Auto Value Associates, Inc. has awarded 16 $500 (U.S.) scholarships, and Derek Dedman, son of Terry Dedman of Auto Value member Auto Electric Service’s Mainline Fleet business in Regina, Sask., was the lone Canadian recipient this year. Scholarship applicants were required to write
an essay on “What I hope to accomplish through my post-high school education.” The annual contest is open to Auto Value Parts Stores employees and their families.

Congratulations, Derek!

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The AIA Atlantic Division held its annual chairman’s visit, charity golf tournament, and awards dinner in September. Above, (from left): AIA chairman Randy Moore, Bruce Trethewey, Atlatntic Division past chairman, and AIA vice-president Marc Brazeau (far right) present the Bob Young Award to John Coyle who accepts the award on behalf of his father Ray Coyle. The award recognizes outstanding contribution to the division. The division also presented the “AIA Atlantic Member of the Year” for the first time. It was awarded to Rick Slaunwhite, owner of Ferguson’s Automotive in Dartmouth, N.S. Below (from left) are Randy Moore, Charlie Taylor, division co-chairman, Rick Slaunwhite, Ferguson’s Automotive, and Marc Brazeau.

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Lordco Parts has opened up a satellite branch to its Richmond, B.C. locations in the Steveston area. Lordco has taken over the Double T Auto Parts Store in Kamloops from Ron Taylor. Eion Wotherspoon, the Richmond manager, will take over that branch and will reside in the Kamloops area.

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UAP/NAPA is buying out the owner of one of the of the largest UAP/NAPA stores in B.C. The Quesnel, B.C. store, operated by Ron Jhaj, will become a UAP/NAPA corporate store. Ron is expected to stay on for approximately one year to help with the transition. Jhaj’s brothers, who were partners in the store, will go on to other ventures.

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