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

OVER THE COUNTER: September 2000


Major Players Form Internet Parts Ordering Venture

Major aftermarket distribution players have teamed up with CCI/Triad and its investment partner to form an Internet ordering and communications platform with the potential to become a de facto industry standard.

Internet Autoparts, Inc. (IAP) has been formed by Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst (HMTF) Incorporated, General Parts, Inc. (GPI), O’Reilly Automotive, Inc., and Cooperative Computing, Inc. (CCI/Triad). The founding auto parts companies operate more than 125 distribution centers and supply more than 8,500 auto parts stores in the United States and Canada. In addition, IAP will publish open standards and invite use by other aftermarket companies. The company says that its broad base of industry support and the open standards philosophy will enable IAP to provide the highest-quality service to its customers and partners, by facilitating the procurement of auto parts from the broadest range of aftermarket suppliers.

IAP is owned by GPI, O’Reilly, and other automotive parts companies, including all of the Carquest group, and certain members of the Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance (Bumper to Bumper/All Pro/Auto Value) and Parts Plus programmed distribution groups, who have directly invested in IAP and have committed to use IAP for their web-based parts ordering and communications throughout North America.

IAP intends to focus on three major initiatives in the automotive aftermarket parts industry: business-to-business (B2B) from the professional service dealer to local auto parts stores and warehouses; business-to-consumer (B2C) from the DIYer to local auto parts stores and other suppliers; and B2C from the do-it-for-me consumer to service dealers. IAP’s primary objective is the creation and launch of a quality B2B service.

IAP will be powered by CCI/Triad’s web-based parts catalog, ePartExpert, and will have access to CCI/Triad’s recently announced communications gateway, Aftermarket ConneX, which will provide communications among the various CCI/Triad business platforms, already in use by much of the parts distributor industry, and third-party management systems.

UAP To Offer Vehicle Warranty Through AutoPro Outlets

AutoPro Mechanical and AutoPro Collision service and repair facilities will now be offering Canadian motorists an extended warranty protection program.

The program, which is being rolled out this month to AutoPro dealers, parallels one offered by NAPA AutoCare Centers in the U.S. for the past year. Genuine Parts Company has controlling interest in both UAP and NAPA.

The AutoPro Extended Care warranties can be purchased for new vehicles that are still under a manufacturer’s original warranty, and for qualified used cars that can be up to nine years old or up to 160,000 km at the time of warranty purchase. Both programs are administered by the AutoPro Warranty Centre and are backed by a leading Canadian underwriter.

“There are 3.5 million used cars that change hands a year in Canada. It’s more than new car sales,” says Denis Bellemore, national director of banners and major accounts. “It’s another marketing tool that the AutoPros have exclusively.” He says that it is a tool that will enable AutoPro dealers to compete with new car dealers. “The average ticket price for an extended warranty from a dealer is about $1,600. AutoPro can offer the same program for $400 to $500 cheaper. The difference is profit that the dealer is making, but the installer is still making a comfortable profit.”

He says that the vehicle warranty program moves the independent service provider into the world of finance and insurance (F&I) that car dealers previously had a lock on. “The installers don’t understand this business. This is the F&I world. The dealerships make their money here. Now we’re going to be able to offer it to the AutoPro outlets.”

The entry point for consumers is a 50-point inspection program costing the car owner $149. Once a vehicle passes inspection, it receives a 90-day drivetrain warranty. Additional warranty periods and components may also be added at that time. Following the 90-day period, the insurance provider will contact the car owner to offer further coverage.

New car warranties will be available in different levels of coverage, from a basic major powertrain components package to a comprehensive component package that features roadside assistance. Coverage of these new vehicles will be available for up to seven years/160,000 km from the original delivery date.

Extended care used car programs will be offered in either a powertrain only or enhanced component coverage with terms from three months/5,000 km to four years/80,000 km. Warranties will be offered after vehicles are subjected to an extensive inspection by a licensed technician.

The coverage will be reciprocal between AutoPro centers in Canada and NAPA AutoCare centers in the U.S.

The warranty program is not the only foray by the independent aftermarket into vehicle warranties. Some time ago, Daewoo announced that Penske Auto Centers would be providing warranty work for its vehicles and very recently Pep Boys has unveiled an all-brands used Vehicle Evaluation Services program designed to support the buying and selling of used cars, trucks, vans and SUVs.

Toronto Tech Hogging The Glory

Toronto garage owner Kostas Loutrianakis thought it was just a joke when the first call came from Mission, Kansas, telling him he had won a new Harley.

“At first I was just anxious to get back to the car I was working on,” says Loutrianakis, “then when I realized they weren’t kidding, I just sat down and left the job for the other guys.”

Loutrianakis was one of three winners across North America and the only one in Canada in the “Ride with the Best” sweepstakes conducted by Automotive Parts Associate (APA) of which Bestbuy is an affiliate. He won as a result of purchases of Professional Choice product from Bestbuy member Spark Auto Electric.

A motorcycle license holder already, the owner of Class ‘A’ Auto Service never pictured himself as a Harley-Davidson owner, eschewing the traditional approach for Japanese road racers, but he’s confident he’ll get used to the idea of riding the $15,000-plus 2000 Sportster: “Am I going to keep it? You bet!”

American Remanufacturers, Inc. buys Canadian Friction Supplier

American Remanufacturers, Inc. (ARI), Anaheim, Calif., has announced the acquisition of ABS Friction, Inc., a Canadian manufacturer of integrally molded disc brake pads for import and domestic vehicles.

“We are confident that ABS Friction will be a valuable addition to the ARI family of companies,” stated Tim Campbell, president and CEO of ARI. “ABS’s management team has standards very similar to ours, with a strong emphasis on quality, consistent performance, high order fill, current model year applications, proactive customer service, and competitive pricing.”

ABS Friction is a four-year-old company located in Guelph, Ont. The company will continue to be led by president Rick Jamieson, director of sales and marketing Ralph Neil and director of production Joe Schmidt.

AFTERMARKET EVENTS

OCTOBER 3-4

October 3-4–Carquest Quebec Div. Expo Vente, Quebec City

October 21-22–UAP/NAPA Impact 2000 Trade Show, International Center, Toronto, Ont.

October 20-22–ERI Engine Rebuilders Inc. Annual Convention and Trade Show, International Plaza Hotel, Toronto, Ont.


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