Ford Plans to Revamp Parts Distribution Network
Ford Motor Co. is working to restructure and expand its United States parts distribution network to deliver service and repair parts to its dealers faster and more efficiently.
Over the next three years, Ford plans to increase the number of parts distribution centers from 10 to 21, creating a nationwide network of specialized parts hubs designed to allow dealers to order and receive parts every day, instead of once a week. The distribution network comprising both newly constructed buildings and existing facilities that Ford will lease is scheduled to launch with a new center in Memphis, TN.
This facility is expected to begin operations by January 2002. Other centers will be opened or relocated through 2004.
AERA to Combine with APRA Big R Show in 2002
A trifecta of associations headed by the Automotive Parts Rebuilders Association (APRA), Engine Rebuilders Association (AERA) and the Automatic Transmission Service Group (ATSG) will represent all aspects of the $36 billion automotive rebuilding market at a combined show preceding the AAPEX Show in Las Vegas Nov. 1-4, 2002. The entire industry will have a chance to assemble and examine new technologies, new products and remanufacturing and marketing strategies.
"The combination of the APRA show with the AERA Engine Expo was a natural," explained Barry Soltz, president of AERA. "AERA has hosted the world’s largest engine expo for many years and both of our organizations have been active participants in the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week (AAIW). With the expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center, it’s possible for both associations to fully participate in the premier automotive aftermarket event."
Enginetech Launches "Open and Win" Contest
In August, Enginetech kicked off its "Open and Win" promotion that rewards random customers with prizes just for ordering and opening a box of gaskets.
Every gasket box shipped during the 2001 promotion will contain a chance to win a trip to a NASCAR Winston Cup race, large cash credits, generous discounts, free shipping and even special "Bonus Pack" product offers. Prizes are awarded monthly. For more information, write to 1205 W. Crosby Road, Carrollton, TX, 75006, visit www.engine-tech.com, call 800-869-8711 or e-mail [email protected].
Federal-Mogul Buys Polish Piston Manufacturer
Federal-Mogul Corp. has completed its acquisition of 85 percent of WSK Gorzyce S.A., a leading Polish producer of pistons and other automotive components. WSK employs 2,500 employees at its manufacturing location in Gorzyce and has annual sales of approximately $50 million. The plant currently supplies pistons to Federal-Mogul. WSK primarily manufactures pistons for gasoline and diesel engines, piston pins and alloy wheels. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
Number of Auto Do-It-Yourselfers Unchanged
Contrary to common belief, the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) segment of the automotive aftermarket is not shrinking; in fact, the percentage of DIYer households in the United States has remained constant for the past six years, according to a new market research study released by the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA).
"The Aftermarket Consumer: Do-It-Yourself or Do-It-For-Me" study reveals that since the last study in 1994, the percentage of U.S. households performing light, medium or heavy-duty DIY maintenance has not changed. Nearly half of all U.S. households contain at least one automotive DIYer despite a sharp decline in the 25- to 44-year-old "prime" DIY age group.
Clevite Refocuses Its Heavy-Duty Service Efforts
Clevite Engine Parts has refocused its efforts in the heavy-duty arena in an attempt to increase the level of service the company will provide its customers. These changes involve a new nationwide heavy-duty sales initiative whereby Clevite will focus on key customers in four recently established territories.
The territories will be managed by regional heavy-duty sales managers, who will report directly to Clevite’s special market accounts director. These sales managers will continue to be supported by Clevite’s customer service and technical support departments, as well as the company’s customer care centers located across the nation.
Clevite Engine Parts also is developing new manufacturer-specific, heavy-duty catalogs.
All of these efforts are designed to lay the ground floor for new products the company plans to release in the near future, including: Tritech C3 piston rings and sleeve assemblies for Cummins 855 engines; High Flange Failure Threshold FFT Liners for Caterpillar 3400 series engines; and Cool Wave Liners.
Clevite Engine Parts First to Commit to SourcePERA
The Production Engine Remanufacturers Association (PERA) has announced that Dana’s Clevite Engine Parts group is the first PERA supplier member to commit to the electronic bill of materials feature of PERA’s revolutionary electronic information system SourcePERA.
"As Phase I of this project draws to a close, we’re already hard at work on Phase II, the electronic bill of materials program," said Executive Vice President Joe Polich. "We’re excited that Clevite recognizes the value of this program for the entire engine remanufacturing industry and is willing to be the first to step up to the plate to share their data." The electronic bill of materials feature will allow PERA’s members and other users to not only access the PERA identification information, but also to see all the parts needed to build that engine.
Ford, Mazda, Volvo to Use Common Platform For 2003
Ford Motor Co., Mazda Motor Corp. and Volvo Car Corp. plan to introduce a common platform for new model subcompacts in 2003, according to an article in the Japanese newspaper Nihon Keizai. The plan calls for the automakers to pool staff, development costs and other resources into the project to standardize platforms used on the Ford Focus made in Europe, the Mazda Familia and Volvo’s S40. The new models also will share a wide range of components, including engines, and be produced at each of the firm’s assembly lines.
Valve Timing Control Systems to Ford from Unisia
Unisia Jecs Corp., an auto parts maker affiliated with Nissan Motor Co., is expected to begin supplying key engine parts to Ford Motor Co. in April 2003 at the earliest. Annual orders are estimated at around $80.6 million.
The agreement calls for Unisia to deliver valve timing control systems to Ford. The automaker is using the systems on its new passenger cars and sport-utility vehicles in an attempt to comply with clean-air regulations.
Unisia will make the Ford-bound systems at a U.S. subsidiary. The parts maker anticipates that the deal will accelerate its efforts to expand business ties with non-Nissan group companies. Unisia already delivers its VTC systems to Honda Motor Co.
Cal Grinding Earns ISO 9002 Registration
Cal Grinding, Inc., Escanaba, MI, recently announced that it has received ISO 9002 registration from Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. (UL) of Northbrook, IL. ISO 9002 is an internationally accepted standard published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
Cal Grinding Inc. was established in 1987 as a remanufacturer of diesel, automotive, locomotive, marine, agricultural and industrial engine valves, fuel injectors, throttle shafts, and other components. The Cal Valves brand of engine valves are remanufactured to industry standards and specifications as well as proprietary customer specifications.
Nissan to Abandon In-Line Six Engine Production
According to a Japanese industrial journal, Nissan Motor plans to abandon production of its in-line six-cylinder engines, which are commonly deployed in high-performance vehicles. The automaker plans to replace them with more compact V6 engines.
Movers and Shakers in the Automotive Aftermarket
Tom Saxton, senior vice president and general manager of Dana Canada’s Service Parts Division, has announced his retirement. His Dana career has spanned 42 years, beginning as a warehouse manager in 1959. Paul Teeple, vice president of human resources will oversee the Dana Canada Inc. responsibilities. Denis LePage will be responsible for the activities of the service parts division.
In other news, Ed Pavelick has been named vice president, sales, marketing and operations for King Engine Bearings. The appointment will be effective Feb. 5, 2002.
Pavelick will direct sales activities and will develop and implement market strategies. He will also oversee personnel matters for sales professionals and headquarters support staff for the bearing manufacturer’s U.S. headquarters.
Ford, Navistar Create Blue Diamond Truck Company
Ford Motor Co. and Navistar International plan to form a joint venture that will build medium commercial trucks, furnish truck and diesel engine service parts to Ford and International, and explore other advanced diesel engine opportunities. No financial details have been released.
The joint venture, named Blue Diamond Truck Company, initially will produce at Navistar’s plant in Escobedo, Mexico, Class 6 and 7 medium commercial trucks that will be marketed independently under the Ford brand and Navistar’s International brand. In subsequent years, plans call for expanding output to include lighter weight Class 3 to 5 commercial trucks. The first such vehicle will be a new specialized commercial truck due out in 2003.
Advance Auto Parts Moves to Acquire Discount Auto Parts
Advance Auto Parts, a privately held company, has signed a definitive agreement to acquire publicly traded rival Discount Auto Parts in a merger transaction. According to a Reuters news report, the deal is worth approximately $267 million in cash and stock.
The deal to acquire Discount provides Advance with a solid position in the Southeast and a strong presence in the state of Florida, in particular. Combined, the two companies today operate 2,420 stores in 38 states.
Discount is one of the Southeast’s leading specialty retailers and suppliers of automotive replacement parts, maintenance items and accessories to DIY consumers, as well as professional mechanics and service technicians. The company operates stores located throughout Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and South Carolina.
The transaction is subject to approval by the shareholders of Discount, clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, and other customary closing conditions. It is expected to close in the fourth calendar quarter.
DaimlerChrysler, Mitsubishi Develop New Diesel Engines
DaimlerChrysler and Mitsubishi Motors Corp. have agreed to cooperate in developing eco-friendly diesel engines for mid-size and large trucks. The automakers also plan to consider including Hyundai Motor Co. in the project to take advantage of its technology and production capabilities. Mitsubishi and DaimlerChrysler expect the alliance will enable them to reduce the time and cost required to develop clean engines that meet tightening emissions standards around the world.
Development is expected to begin by 2005 in order to conform with rules for controlling emissions of particulate matter that will be tightened substantially in Japan and Europe.
California Abandons Plan to Destroy Pre-1970 Cars
Legislation that threatened to allow carmakers to crush pre-1970 vehicles in exchange for credits toward their obligations under California’s Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) program has been discarded by state legislators. The bill has been re-written in a manner designed to help ensure the purchase of reduced emission school buses and allow for diesel mitigation programs in low-income communities.
Under the abandoned bill, owners who surrendered their vehicles for destruction would have received a voucher of at least $2,500 toward the purchase of a newer vehicle. The program was intended for implementation in low-income communities located in areas of the state designated as having severe air pollution.
One in Four Ford Engines Built in Britain by 2004
Ford Motor Co. announced plans to manufacture one out of every four engines in Great Britain by 2004. Almost half of the British-made engines will be made at a factory in Dagenham, east of London, into which Ford is setting aside $1 billion over a nine-year period in order to develop a state-of-the-art diesel business center.
Ford estimates that it spent $500 million between 1995 and 2000 on diesel facilities at the plant, and, last year, pledged another $500 million for Dagenham. The facility is expected to raise diesel engine production capacity at Dagenham from 650,000 units a year to as many as 900,000 engines by 2004.
Approximately 2 million engines are manufactured in Britain.
New Breakthrough Promises Alternative To Fuel Cells
Proe Power Systems, an advanced engine research and development company, has recently applied for a patent on a device for recovering over 90 percent of engine exhaust heat and returning it to the engine to greatly reduce fuel consumption and lower exhaust emissions. It can also enable engine heat to be used to heat air or water for applications needing production of both power and heat.
BorgWarner to Supply Asian Timing Chains
BorgWarner announced that it expects to supply more than 1 million of its small-pitch silent timing chains to an undisclosed Japanese automaker. And, the company said it is well-positioned to meet the demand for timing chains in Japan as more Asian automakers are switching from timing belts to timing chains for a significant percentage of their engine programs.
According to information provided by the company, the use of chain drives by Japanese automakers worldwide is expected to grow by more than 50 percent from 3.6 million engines currently to about 8.5 million by 2005.
SPX To Cut Costs With Layoffs, Plant Closings
SPX Corp. plans to lay off approximately 2,000 workers and close 49 manufacturing, sales and administrative facilities during the next year in an effort to slash costs by more than $100 million annually. The cuts come as SPX, an auto parts and industrial products maker with 28,000 employees worldwide, absorbs United Dominion Industries into its operations.
SPX bought United Dominion, a Charlotte, NC-based maker of fluid pumps, valves and other industrial products, in May to increase non-U.S. sales and diversify its holdings. Only former United Dominion workers and locations will be affected by the layoffs and closings.
SPX plans to move its corporate headquarters from Muskegon, MI, to Fairfax, VA, or Charlotte, NC, affecting about 50 workers.
Excerpted from an article by Susan Carney, The Detroit News
Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance Pushes Education
The Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance is expanding its consumer automotive education efforts by purchasing Car Care Council memberships for each of its 2,000 service providers. Program members will be utilizing council materials to educate their customer base, enhancing the facility’s bottom line, according to Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance President Dick (Richard) Morgan.
"We’re pushing the educational process into overdrive" said Morgan. "To increase your customer’s awareness of automotive maintenance is to increase your bottom line. At the Alliance we’re making sure our shops have complete access to the Council’s treasure trove of consumer educational materials as well as the understanding to use this information wisely."
The Alliance plans to heavily promote the Council’s programs to their members so that shops can begin taking immediate advantage of these benefits.
Covisint Forms Holding Company for Online Buyers
Covisint has formed a holding company, Covisint, Inc., designed to serve as the focal point for all corporate actions involving the online marketplace. President and CEO Kevin English said the move is part of an effort to establish a structure that will support long-term growth.
"Covisint’s core competencies have direct relevance to the heavy equipment, farm equipment, marine, trucking, motorcycle and similar industries worldwide," English explained. "We see ourselves capable of providing support to those industries in the coming years … after we have established ourselves as the recognized partnering leader for the global automotive industry."
80-MPG Deadline Won’t Be Met by Automakers
Detroit’s automakers won’t meet a 2004 deadline to develop an affordable, 80 mile per gallon of gas family sedan, the National Research Council is reporting.
The mandate was set in 1993 with the formation of a government and industry partnership pushing to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil and cut carbon dioxide emissions.
GM, Ford and Chrysler have created concept cars powered by diesel-electric hybrid powertrains but they remain priced out of reach for most families and require diesel fuel that falls short of federal and state emissions standards.
The finding was part of an annual report released on the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles known as PNGV a cooperative research and development effort between the federal government and Ford Motor Co., General Motors Corp. and Chrysler Group.
The report suggested Asian and European automakers should play a larger role in the development of more fuel-efficient vehicles. EB
Excerpted from an article by Susan Carney, The Detroit News.
Rebuilt Engine Installation Is Tip Of The Iceberg
"When a customer decides to have a rebuilt engine installed in his car, that signifies a commitment to longer term ownership in the vehicle. Further, it’s likely to mean replacing more than a long block and a few hoses. This frequently is just the tip of the iceberg, not because the installer intends to sell his customer ‘up’, but because he wants to do the work that’s needed to ensure the useful extended life of the vehicle. When we say ‘new life for your old car,’ we want every chance to validate the promise."
That statement from Dave Deegan, President of Engine Lab of Tampa, says a lot about the philosophy of the Automotive Repower Council (ARC) of which he is past chairman. His experience with dozens of repair facilities throughout the Southeast, plus feedback from installers nationwide, confirms that performing services to restore the entire vehicle to a "healthy condition" benefits both the customer and the installer.
A customer should realize these facts of vehicle life: The rebuilt engine should add years to the useful life of the vehicle; it carries a warranty equal to or better than the one protecting the engine in a new car; and each component of the engine’s "life support system," cooling, lubrication, fuel and emissions controls, should be up to its expected life span, not in marginal condition.
Beyond the engine itself, other vehicle components should have similar integrity: exhaust, transmission, steering, suspension, tires and braking system. Added to the list of components are battery, alternator, power steering and air conditioning components.
Even with all of the above in satisfactory condition, certain components should be renewed as part of a first class installation. But what about the additional parts that should be considered. What’s the condition of the radiator, for example? Is this the time to have it reconditioned? Assuming it’s the original, it may be in marginal condition, it should be cleaned, and flow checked. That’s when new hoses, clamps, thermostat and radiator cap should be installed.
A rebuilt engine’s restored power means added stress for drive line components. If a universal joint is going to fail, it’s more likely to do so when it’s transmitting more torque. Check the condition of these components, along with the transmission itself. Your customer has a right to know potential problems that could surface in a pre-installation examination.
"It makes sense to go over this check list with your customer," concludes Deegan. "It serves as a menu of recommendations for the most satisfactory installation."
ARC offers a pamphlet with information to help make a decision about investing in a rebuilt engine. Its title, "STICKER SHOCK," refers to the high cost of replacing the vehicle vs. just the engine. For information on this literature and other aspects of the ARC consumer information program, log onto the ARC Web site, www.repower.org or call 866 4REPOWER (473-7693).
Study: U.S. Falls Behind Europe in Clean Diesel Cars
The United States and Europe are taking very different approaches to the use of clean diesel technology to improve fuel economy in passenger cars and light-duty trucks, according to a report released by the Diesel Technology Forum. The report highlights the differences in clean diesel technology use and consumer acceptance of light-duty automotive applications between the two continents.
The contrast in diesel usage between the U.S. and Europe is stark. In Europe, one of every three new cars sold is powered by clean diesel technology and, in the premium and luxury categories, more than 70 percent are clean diesels.
In the United States, light-duty diesels account for only 0.26 percent of all new cars sold, with only slightly higher figures in the light-duty truck markets.
300° Below Moves Cryo Headquarters To Decatur
Due to increased demand for its cryogenic metal treatment process, 300° Below Inc. has moved to a new facility twice the size of its former building. The new address for the company is 2999 E. Parkway Dr., Decatur, IL 62526, 217-423-3070, Fax 217-423-3075, www.300-below.com. EB