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Coretalk: IMCA Engine Claims Top 400 Through Late Season

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A total of 402 claims were made through late September, including 149 in the Modified division, 113 in the Stock Car class and 136 in the Hobby Stocks. There were also two claims in the Sprint Car division and one each in the Northern SportMod and Jeff’s Performance Southern SportMod classes. Claims so far in 2005 have been made in one of approximately 46 Modified possibilities, one in every 29 Stock Car possibilities and one in every 20 Hobby Stock possibilities.

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Fifty-six drivers were claimed more than once this year and only 28 were claimed more than twice. Sixty-two drivers made more than one claim, eight made more than two and just two filled their card. The number of claim refusals also dropped, from 40 last year to 26 this season. Twelve of the 2005 refusals were in the Modified division, eight in the Hobby Stocks, four in the Stock Cars and one each in the Sprint Cars and Southern SportMods. There were 10 promoter claims, 10 carburetor claims (six in the Hobbies and four in the Stocks) and three shock claims (two Modified and one Stock Car).

As has been the case in recent seasons, August remained the peak month with 108 claims made.

Federal-Mogul Starts To Emerge From Chapter 11

Federal-Mogul Corp. recently announced the start of its emergence from Chapter 11. The company has filed form 8-K’s on the agreements summarized in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, which include a settlement agreement among the company, plan proponents and the U.K. administrators, to settle all outstanding matters in dispute among them.

In addition, the Asbestos Committee also agreed that the Asbestos Trust would satisfy indemnification obligations to the company by delivering a portion of the Trust’s equity back to the company.

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Concurrent with the settlement agreement, The Asbestos Committee requested that one of the company’s biggest investors, Carl Icahn, provide the Asbestos Trust, upon the effectiveness of the Plan of Reorganization, with immediate liquidity. In order to facilitate Federal-Mogul’s emergence from Chapter 11, Icahn agreed that one of his entities would provide the Asbestos Trust its desired liquidity by either exercising an option, after the effective date of the plan, to acquire the Asbestos Trust’s position in Federal-Mogul or, if it did not exercise the option, by providing certain financing to the Trust.

“We are pleased with the support and collaboration in the recent months from Mr. Icahn, our plan proponents and stakeholders,” said Federal-Mogul Chairman, President and CEO Jose Maria Alapont “We will welcome Mr. Icahn’s potential increased stake in the emerging and reorganized company.”

For more information about Federal-Mogul, visit: www.federal-mogul.com.

Joint Venture Formed By Bearings Manufacturers

Kolbenschmidt Pierburg’s KS Bearings division and Miba Bearings US LLC have created a 50-50 joint-venture company in Indiana to produce materials that are needed to manufacture plain bearings for the automobile and commercial vehicle industries.

Headquartered in Greensburg, IN, Advanced Bearing Materials (ABM) LLC will make cast-lead and lead-free bronze and brass hybrid materials that will be supplied to Miba and KS plants in the USA, Germany and Austria. KS and Miba will own equal shares of the new business and co-manage its operations.

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KS Bearings will provide an 85,000-square-foot factory in Greensburg to house the ABM joint venture that initially will have 36 employees. ABM production activities are scheduled to begin in November.

KS Bearings focuses on passenger car and light commercial vehicle applications. Miba supplies bearings for diesel engines used in a variety of applications including heavy-duty trucks, ships and locomotives.

KS Bearings, a manufacturer of engine bearings, journal bearings, bushings, flanged bushings, and thrust washers for the global auto industry, is a division of Kolbenschmidt Pierburg.

Miba Bearings US LLC of McConnelsville, OH is a part of the Miba Bearing Group producing plain bearings for commercial vehicles and other large engines. Its annual sales amount to $138.3 million and it has a global workforce of 740.

Additional information is available at www.usa.kolbenschmidt-pierburg.com, or at www.miba.com.

Hastings Files Chapter 11, Announces Sale of Assets

After 90 years in the automotive business, Hastings Manufacturing Co. has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and accepted an offer to sell the assets of the company to The Anderson Group, Inc.

The Hastings, MI-based automotive supplier said it filed the Chapter 11 petition in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Michigan. Hastings Manufacturing has received an offer from The Anderson Group, Inc., a Bloomfield Hills, MI-based holding company that owns and operates various manufacturing companies, to purchase the company’s assets.

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The sale will be conducted by an auction process and Anderson’s offer will serve as the opening bid for that auction. Subject to the final bidding process and with the approval of the bankruptcy court, the sale should be completed before the end of 2005.

Anderson has indicated it plans to continue production of Hastings Manufacturing’s piston ring product line in Hastings. The company anticipates there will be no interruption of supply, service or delivery during the bankruptcy proceedings. Anderson foresees no immediate changes in operations at the facility.

“The management team of Hastings Manufacturing, led by Mark and Andrew Johnson, has tried repeatedly but unsuccessfully for the past year to restructure operations,” said William J. Beck, who has served as interim chief operating officer and chief restructuring officer since May of this year. “Several factors have led to years of declining sales and profitability, including the shrinking automotive aftermarket for the company’s products in the United States, problems with a Canadian acquisition, contractual constraints on implementing cost reductions and the burden of certain legacy costs.

“While we are disappointed that circumstances necessitate a sale of the company, we are very pleased The Anderson Group has agreed to purchase the assets of Hastings Manufacturing and continue operating the business as a going concern. Until the sale is finalized, we plan to maintain business as usual by continuing to provide our customers with high quality products and support.”

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Visteon Strengthens Position in Aftermarket

Visteon Corporation executives recently shared details about the company’s growing portfolio of OE-quality replacement parts solutions at a recent product/testing briefing attended by trade press editors at Visteon Village in Van Buren Twp., MI. Their discussion also detailed a variety of engineering and marketing achievements in the underhood, climate control and mobile electronics categories.

Greg Gyllstrom, Visteon vice president and general manager of North American aftermarket operations, explained that the company is strengthening its position in the North American aftermarket by leveraging its extensive OE portfolio and expertise, and establishing its brands as trusted repair solutions.

“There’s a tremendous opportunity for aftermarket shops to position themselves as the convenient, trusted source of OE-quality replacement technologies and skilled diagnostic and repair services for today’s vehicles,” said Gyllstrom. “Visteon is committed to helping them capture this competitive position through best-in-class products for all makes and models.”

Gold Eagle Takes ‘Engine Answerman’ on the Road

Gold Eagle Co. has tapped eight-time STA-BIL National Lawn Mower Racing Series champion Bobby Cleveland to tour the country as ‘the Engine Answerman.’ The unique promotion is designed to reach out to consumers across the U.S. with expert advice on virtually all engine-powered vehicles and equipment.

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Cleveland’s 25,000-mile trek will reach an estimated 4.2 million targeted consumers through some 30 large events. Tour stops include retailer appearances and major NASCAR and NHRA races, boat and RV shows, lawn mower races, classic car shows, motorcycle rallies, fishing tournaments and Diesel Hot Rod Association (DHRA) events.

He’ll travel in a custom 72-foot ‘Engine Answerman’ 18-wheeler that will serve as a rolling exhibit containing several exciting display vehicles, product samples and brochures. Among the motorized marvels inside the trailer will be his two racing lawn mowers and the world’s first Monster Mower: a four-wheel drive, four-wheel steer creation that is part monster truck and part lawn tractor.

Heavy Duty Aftermarket Groups Merge to Form New Association

The Council of Fleet Specialist (CFS) and The National Wheel and Rim Association (NWRA) have announced plans to merge their two associations into the Commercial Vehicle Support Network (CVSN). CVSN will represent the strongest, purely-independent distributors in the heavy-duty aftermarket business. The members of both groups voted to approve the merger.

CFS is an association of independent distributors of aftermarket parts for heavy-duty commercial vehicles and NWRA is an association of independent distributors of aftermarket wheels, rims and associated parts for heavy-duty commercial vehicles.

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The new association will promote the use and distribution of heavy-duty aftermarket commercial vehicle parts and equipment and educate its members regarding the production, use, service, distribution and safety of those parts and equipment. CVSN will be an industry-wide forum for professional development, legislative awareness and business opportunities. CVSN will also offer its members the opportunity to network with their distributor peers across North America.

All current members of both CFS and NWRA will be members of CVSN. All manufacturers that currently participate in CFS and NWRA will be affiliates of the new association. Details of the final merger agreement will be released when finalized.

MAHLE AFTERMARKET Promotes Ladeia to Director of Aftermarket

MAHLE has announced that Mr. Enrison Ladeia has been promoted to the position of Director of Aftermarket for USA and Canada.

Enrison has an impressive background and proven leadership experience in the aftermarket industry. He began his career with MAHLE Group in Brazil eight years ago as an Engineering Trainee and over the course of his career, has proven his technical and leadership ability within various MAHLE entities.

He will coordinate all customer-related commercial (sales, and purchasing) and engineering activity across the USA/Canada region for Engine Components, and Filters. Under MAHLE Aftermarket’s global structure he also represents the USA/Canada customer base.

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For more information on MAHLE visit www.mahle-aftermarket.com.

Mac Tools Offers Piece Of US Nationals History To Aid In Katrina Relief: Driver Autographed Toolbox To Be Auctioned For American Red Cross

Mac Tools announces its plans to auction the driver-autographed toolbox from the starting line of the 51st annual Mac Tools US Nationals, the most prestigious NHRA event on the drag racing circuit. On September 29, the Mac Tools toolbox will be up for bid on the online auction site Ebay® for ten days with 100% of the proceeds going to the American Red Cross to assist in the hurricane relief efforts.

The Mac Tools tool box is autographed by all 64 drivers of the four professional classes (Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock, Pro Stock Bike) that qualified for the race which took place August 31-September 5, 2005. Drivers who autographed the box include John Force, Brandon Bernstein, Larry Dixon, and Doug Kalitta.

“Auctioning the Mac Tools US Nationals box for Hurricane Katrina relief efforts is one of the many things Mac Tools is doing to help those who lost everything in this terrible natural disaster,” said Roger Spee, Director of Marketing. “We know that any NHRA race fan will jump at the chance to own this piece of US Nationals memorabilia, so why not give them the opportunity to collect this item and make a solid contribution to rebuilding lives.”

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The link for the auction site will be posted on mactools.com.

New Car Incentives Boost Used Car Trade-Ins, Aftermarket Service Opportunities

New car incentives currently offered by the major automakers are triggering a boom in used car trade-ins and opportunities for automotive aftermarket services, according to the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA).

Spurred by the “employee discounts” offered by many carmakers, new light vehicle sales are reaching heights well above trend, and more sales mean more trade-ins. An article in its quarterly newsletter, Market Analysis, MEMA estimates that more than a million cars were traded in on new vehicles in July – 178,000 more than the association’s estimate for July 2004.

Used light vehicles trade-ins are one of the strongest driving forces behind automotive aftermarket activity, according to Frank Hampshire, MEMA director of market research. “The sale of a new vehicle usually triggers a chain of events that results in opportunities for aftermarket service,” he said.

The first opportunity for aftermarket service occurs as the consumer prepares for a new vehicle purchase. The car owner will perform enough maintenance on the trade-in vehicle to get a good allowance on the new car, Hampshire noted.

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“The trade-in vehicle will change hands again, perhaps several times, before it finds a new home, and each time is an opportunity for the aftermarket,” he said. Each new owner will personalize it and perhaps find a few things that still need attention, Hampshire explained. “It is possible that from trade-in to its new home, a used car or truck could have as many as five opportunities for aftermarket work to be done on it,” he said.

MEMA’s Market Analysis examines the economy’s effect on the industry and valuable market data such as miles driven and the producer price indexes for motor vehicle parts and accessories. Subscriptions are available free to member companies of MEMA and its market segment associations. Nonmember companies can subscribe for $150 per year. For more information, e-mail [email protected]

Online Registration Opens for First-Ever Heavy Duty Aftermarket Week

Online registration for the first-ever Heavy Duty Aftermarket Week (HDAW), Jan. 23 – 27, 2006, at The Mirage in Las Vegas, is now open at: www.hdaw.org.
The inaugural HDAW executive conference has a trade show – with 165 supplier exhibitors already on board, education sessions and panel discussions to provide the latest in industry developments to distributor executives, and One-on-One Business Meetings between distributor and supplier senior executives. HDAW will also provide new networking opportunities for the distributor and supplier executives in attendance.

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The “early-bird” registration fee is $400 for members of the following organizations: Heavy Duty Distribution Association, Heavy Duty Manufacturers Association, Council of Fleet Specialists, Heavy Duty America, Heavy Duty Remanufacturers Group, Heavy Duty Representatives Association, National Wheel & Rim Association, Overseas Automotive Council, Power Heavy Duty, Service Specialists Association and TruckPride. After Nov. 1, the registration fees increase, so register early.

Companies interested in exhibiting or sponsorship opportunities should contact W.T. Glasgow Inc., HDAW Show Management, at 708-226-1300 or [email protected]

HDMA Heavy Duty Dialogue ’06: “2007 and Beyond, Managing the Business Cycle”

The heavy duty industry’s leaders will discuss current trends and challenges at the HDMA Heavy Duty Dialogue ’06 on Monday, Jan. 23, 2006 , at The Mirage, Las Vegas , Nev. The program, which includes breakfast, lunch and a reception, runs from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.

Featured speakers include:

Mike Burns, president and CEO of Dana Corp., keynote presentation on doing business in today’s environment from a global product manufacturer’s perspective
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta

Chris Patterson, President and CEO, Freightliner Corporation
Dr. Clinton Longenecker , Professor of Management and Business Administration, University of Toledo

The program also includes three panel discussions: “2007-10, How Bad/Good Could it Be?” predictions from M. Labbe Associates, MacKay and Co., CMVC, and ACT; moderated by Peter Nesvold, Transportation Analyst, Bear Stearns; also “Protecting Your Intellectual Property in a Global Market,” led by Anthony Lupo of Arent Fox; and “Purchasing Trends and Strategies for the 21st Century,” moderated by Tom Stundza, executive editor, Purchasing Magazine.

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For registration forms and more details, click here, or contact Ro Olson at HDMA, [email protected]

AMI Announces 2005 Tom B. Babcox Memorial Scholarship Recipient

The Automotive Management Institute (AMI), in conjunction with Babcox Publications, recently announced Sandra Utterback, manager and service advisor, Grammer’s Auto Repair and Welding, Inc., Tullahoma, TN, as the recipient of the “Tom B. Babcox Memorial Scholarship.” The scholarship recognizes a management-oriented member of the Automotive Service Association (ASA) Mechanical Division. The recipient receives $1,000 to be applied toward expenses to attend AMI seminars offered during the Congress of Automotive Repair and Service (CARS) in Las Vegas, Nov. 3-5.

Utterback has worked in the automotive service industry for the past six years. She recently completed the necessary requirements to earn the Institute’s Accredited Automotive Manager (AAM) designation.

AMI was established to answer the demand for continuing education tailored specifically for the business needs of the automotive service industry. The Institute offers the Accredited Automotive Manager (AAM) designation, the first business management accreditation exclusively for the automotive service professional. To date, AMI programs have attracted more than 132,000 enrollments throughout North America. AMI is a not-for-profit educational foundation to which tax-deductible contributions can be made. For more information about the Institute, its curriculum, or EXCEL, please contact AMI at (800) 272-7467, ext. 241, or visit the AMI Web site at http://www.amionline.org.

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Dana Corporation Revises 2005 Earnings Outlook

Dana Corporation announced that it has revised its 2005 full-year earnings outlook to a range of $90 million to $105 million, or approximately 60 to 70 cents per share, from its previously announced range of $196 million to $219 million, or $1.30 to $1.45 per share. In both cases, the outlook excludes gains and losses on divestitures and asset sales and other unusual items.

The company is assessing whether, as the result of the change in earnings outlook, it will be required to write down its U.S. deferred tax assets. A write-down of U.S. deferred tax assets and the consequent inability to record similar tax benefits in the future would not have a cash impact, but would have a direct negative impact on the revised 2005 full-year earnings outlook set forth above. On June 30, the company’s U.S. deferred tax assets totaled approximately $740 million. The revised outlook includes approximately $60 million of tax benefits on domestic losses in the second half.

Dana Chairman and CEO Michael J. Burns said that this reduction reflects a reassessment of the company’s full-year outlook after reviewing its preliminary results through the end of August. These results indicate that the company is being negatively impacted by continued higher-than-expected costs for steel and other materials, as well as increased energy costs.

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In addition, the company’s commercial vehicle business has been unable to achieve projected cost reductions and is experiencing significant manufacturing inefficiencies. For these reasons, the company now expects that the commercial vehicle unit’s performance in the balance of the year will be substantially below previous projections. Although less significant, results in the company’s automotive systems business have been impacted by lower-than-anticipated light-vehicle production volumes on vehicles with significant Dana content.

“We are considering a number of significant measures, both operational and strategic, to improve our financial performance,” Burns said. “We are acting swiftly and will make further announcements regarding our plans as soon as appropriate.”
The company is also assessing the impact of the reduced earnings outlook on its ability to comply with certain covenants contained in its five-year bank facility and is initiating conversations with its banks in this regard.

Dana also announced that it will likely restate its second-quarter 2005 financial statements, primarily to correct inappropriate recognition of price increases in its commercial vehicle business during the second quarter.

Based on a preliminary internal review, the company believes that the potential restatement could result in an after-tax reduction of approximately $10 million to $15 million in second-quarter income. The actual amount is subject to the completion of the review process. The company’s independent registered public accounting firm has been advised of the company’s preliminary findings to date and is also reviewing the situation.

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AAPEX Draws a Record 2,010 Exhibitors

A record 2,010 exhibitors are scheduled to participate in the Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo (AAPEX), Nov. 1-4, at the Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas. This record-setting number of exhibitors will make the 2005 AAPEX the largest ever in the show’s 20-year history.

“The tremendous support from exhibitors demonstrates that AAPEX is a great place to get business done. It also shows that more and more companies are using AAPEX as ‘the place’ to increase sales and grow their brand,” said Bill Glasgow, Sr., AAPEX show manager.

The list of exhibitors at AAPEX 2005 is posted online at www.aapexshow.com.

Exhibitors can be searched alphabetically, by exhibitor/product category or by product. Buyers are also encouraged to use the site’s “My Planner” feature to create an efficient, personalized hour-by-hour itinerary for visiting exhibits and attending AAPEX networking events and seminars. There is also a virtual floor plan of the Sands Expo Center with a zoom in feature to show booth locations for exhibitors, company contact and product information, and links to exhibitors’ Web sites.

AAPEX 2005 will be held Tuesday, Nov. 1, through Friday, Nov. 4, at the Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas. Due to the record-setting number of exhibitors, AAPEX has been expanded to include exhibits in the Venetian Ballroom. AAPEX is jointly sponsored by the Motor Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA) and the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA). For more information, visit www.aapexshow.com.

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Dana Corporation to Supply Advanced Drivetrain, Sealing Systems for Redesigned Ford Explorer

Dana Corporation announced recently that it will supply the front axle assembly, as well as driveshafts and advanced sealing technologies, for the 2006 Ford Explorer.

“With more than 300,000 units produced last year, the Explorer was the top selling SUV in the United States,” said Michael J. Burns, Dana chairman and CEO. “We are excited to play an important role in the redesign of this vehicle by providing new, innovative engine and drivetrain products.”

The new Explorer’s front axle has been redesigned for increased fuel efficiency, and the axle assembly incorporates a new best-in-class sealing system for improved durability.

In addition, the 4.0L version of the Explorer engine features a Dana thermoset cylinder-head-cover module. The thermoset injection compression molding technique and other design enhancements for this cam cover module help meet noise, vibration, and harshness demands; deliver lower emissions; produce less engine distortion; and provide higher temperature resistance. The 4.6L version of the engine includes a Dana oil pan gasket, front cover gaskets, exhaust gaskets, cylinder-head gaskets, and valve stem seals.

Additionally, Dana provides all of the vehicle’s front driveshafts, as well as the rear driveshafts for the V-8 and 4×2 Explorer models.

Airtex Named Preferred Vendor for National Pronto Association

Airtex has received preferred status for both new fuel pumps and new water pumps from the National Pronto Association. Recognition of Airtex as the vendor of choice by the group – recommended by Pronto’s board of directors and endorsed by the general membership – proves the Airtex commitment to providing quality products and programs designed to increase sales for the National Pronto Association’s members.

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Mike Mohler, National Pronto Association vice president, states “We look forward to the continuance of what has proven to be a long and prosperous partnership with Airtex Products.”

John Beale, Airtex National Sales Manager, says “Pronto’s strong position and growing market share make this choice a great step forward in our continuing partnership. Airtex is pleased to be recognized by the National Pronto Association as a preferred vendor.”

For more information about the National Pronto Association, please visit http://www.pronto-net.com.

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