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Ward’s Auto World Names 12th Annual ‘Top 10 Best Engines’

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Ward’s Auto World Names Twelfth Annual ‘Top 10 Best Engines’

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The winners of “Ward’s 10 Best Engines” awards for 2006 demonstrate U.S. auto consumers still can have it all: many of the winning engines highlight sophisticated new technology that generates exhilarating performance – but also improves fuel economy. The 2006 list marks the 12th year for the Ward’s 10 Best Engines program, the auto industry’s highly anticipated annual barometer of powertrain prowess.

This year’s winners, as well as the vehicles tested, include:

Audi AG: 2.0L FSI turbocharged DOHC I4 (Audi A3);

Audi AG: 4.2L DOHC V8 (Audi S4);

BMW AG: 3.0L DOHC I-6 (330i);

DaimlerChrysler AG: 5.7L Hemi Magnum OHV V8 (Dodge Charger R/T);

Ford Motor Co.: 4.6L SOHC V8 (Mustang GT);

General Motors Corp.: 2.0L supercharged DOHC I4 (Chevrolet Cobalt SS);

General Motors Corp.: 2.8L turbocharged DOHC V6 (Saab 9-3 Aero);

Mazda Motor Corp.: 2.3L DISI turbocharged DOHC I-4 (Mazdaspeed 6);

Nissan Motor Co. Ltd.: 3.5L DOHC V6 (Infiniti G35 6MT); and

Toyota Motor Corp.: 3.5L DOHC V6 (Lexus IS 350).

Two important engineering developments are front and center for several engines on this year’s list: direct-injection gasoline (DIG) technology and forced induction. These systems allow engineers to develop engines that generate startling power yet return acceptable fuel economy.

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During a 2-month test period, six Ward’s editors evaluated engines from 31 different cars, trucks and SUVs. Scoring encompassed the crucial engine characteristics of power; torque; noise, vibration and harshness (NVH); technical relevance and basic comparative numbers. All engines nominated and tested were in vehicles with a base suggested retail price under $52,500. Details of the 10 Best Engines are featured in Ward’s AutoWorld magazine and on www.WardsAuto.com.

APRA to Hold April, 2006 European Symposium in Warsaw, Poland

The Automotive Parts Rebuilders Association (APRA) will hold this year’s European Symposium at the Warsaw Marriott Hotel in Warsaw, Poland on April 23 and 24th. An optional tour of various regions of Poland will follow the symposium on April 25th and 26th. Several automotive aftermarket plants have offered to open up their facilities for the special tour.

The Symposium will begin on Sunday, April 23rd with a welcome reception at the Warsaw Marriott. On Monday, April 24th, the Symposium will continue at the Warsaw Marriott with all-day presentations from prominent speakers who will discuss various remanufacturing processes and several company presentations.

Following Monday’s presentation, attendees will tour Inter Cars, the first Polish distributor, in nearby Czosnow. Following the tour of Inter Cars, dinner will be at a nearby restaurant in Old Town Warsaw.

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On Tuesday, April 25th, attendees who signed up for the optional tour package will travel onto Zdunska and visit the Elstock Plant. Elstock is an electrical component remanufacturer.

Following the Elstock tour, the group will depart for Zapolice and visit Stemot, also an electrical component remanufacturer. Following the Stemot tour and lunch (sponsored by Stemot), the group will depart for Kielce for an overnight stay at the Hotel Kongresowy.

Wednesday morning, April 26th the group will depart from Kielce and tour MRT, an engine remanufacturer in Starachowice. Later Wednesday, following lunch (sponsored by MRT), the motorcoach will travel to the Warsaw Airport for early evening departures.

A small block of hotel rooms has been reserved at the Warsaw Marriott Hotel for those who wish to stay overnight and travel the next morning.

Further details, registration and hotel information are available online by visiting www.apra.org.

Robert Bosch Corp. Wins 2005 Lincoln Silver Award For Performance Excellence

The Robert Bosch Corporation, Aftermarket Division has won the 2005 Lincoln Silver Award for Progress Towards Excellence. Given by the Lincoln Foundation for Performance Excellence, these awards recognize any Illinois-based industry, service, health care, education and governmental entity for its organizational strength and performance as measured against the seven criteria of the Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award – leadership, strategic planning, customer and market focus, information and analysis, human resources focus, process management and organization results.

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“We are extremely proud and honored to accept the 2005 Lincoln Silver Award for Progress Towards Excellence,” said David Coolidge, president of Bosch’s North American Aftermarket Division, who cited that in 2006 Bosch will celebrate 100 years of operations in the United States.

Coolidge noted, “The Bosch tradition was founded on a commitment to the values of quality and innovation and this award proves and recognizes our dedication to that tradition of continuous improvement.”

“The Bosch legacy of leading the automotive industry to new levels of technical innovation and driver satisfaction continues today with products that enhance vehicle performance, safety and driver comfort and convenience. At the same time, Bosch is committed to supporting the automotive aftermarket with offerings that develop new market segments and provide best-in-class value-added service and support systems,” Coolidge said.

Illinois Governor Rod R. Blagojevich, in his letter congratulating Lincoln Award winners, wrote, “I offer my appreciation to each of you for your hard work and terrific leadership. Your efforts are truly making a positive difference in Illinois. With a commitment to continuous improvement you have shown that you can compete and thrive in today’s economy, and you serve as a model for companies across the country to follow.”

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Bosch supplies high-performance auto parts, including spark plugs, spark plug wire sets, oxygen sensors, ignition parts, oil and fuel filters, cabin filters, wiper blades, brake pads and rotors as well as starting and charging products, and gasoline and diesel engine management components.

For more information on the Bosch Group in North America visit www.boschus.com. For information on Bosch automotive aftermarket products visit www.boschusa.com.

Clevite Lightens the Work Load for Ordering Heavy Duty Kits

Clevite Engine Parts has recently developed a working link between Cleviteorder.com and Heavydutyengine-kits.com, allowing customers to place orders online for heavy duty engine kits.
The Heavy Duty CEEK program offers customers access to more than 1,400 different engine kit numbers for the fleet, agricultural and industrial markets.

In addition, Clevite has released its new ePartsfinder system, which condenses the company’s entire master engine parts catalog into a computer program that allows jobbers and technicians to find part numbers for all Clevite 77 Engine Bearings, Victor Reinz Gaskets and Perfect Circle Piston Rings. The ePartsfinder program also provides users with the option to read additional important information on selected parts and view the actual part. Users can also download important tech bulletins directly from ePartsfinder.

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“Our customers have been asking for a quicker way to locate their part numbers, and we responded to them with our new ePartsfinder program,” said Ted Hughes, light vehicle brand manager for Clevite Engine Parts. “We know jobbers and technicians’ time is extremely valuable. I think we’ve simplified their day with our new ePartsfinder. It’s very easy to use and literally takes seconds to get the right information.”

Court Approves Sale Of Hastings Mfg Asset To The Anderson Group

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Michigan has approved the sale of assets of the Hastings Manufacturing Co.

The Anderson Group, Inc., a Bloomfield Hills, MI-based holding company, has agreed to pay slightly more than $9.1 million for the assets of Hastings Manufacturing, which sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September. Anderson plans to continue production of Hastings Manufacturing’s piston ring product line in Hastings, MI.

The sale, which was recently approved by the bankruptcy court, closed December 13, with ownership transferring to Anderson on December 14.

Hastings Manufacturing Co. serves OEMs and the automotive aftermarket with a complete line of piston rings sold under the Hastings® brand name. Customers include engine parts specialists, production and custom engine rebuilders, retail outlets and warehouse distributors throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico, as well as overseas.

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The Anderson Group, Inc., is a private investment company engaged in the acquisition and management of operation businesses. Based in Bloomfield Hills, MI, Anderson specializes in middle-market manufacturing, distribution, service and marketing businesses. Anderson has concluded 25 acquisitions, several of which are suppliers to the automotive industry.

Federal-Mogul Corporation Announces Restructuring Plan as Part of its Global Profitable Growth Strategy

As part of Federal-Mogul Corporation’s global profitable growth strategy designed to satisfy customer and market expectations while improving corporate performance and expanding in key growth markets, the Company announced a three-year restructuring plan. The restructuring could affect about 25 facilities and reduce the Company’s workforce by approximately 10 percent by December 2008. Details of the plan have not been finalized. The Company anticipates recording charges for costs and expenses related to this restructuring plan in the current quarter and future periods.

“Our focus for the future will be on improving our performance in mature markets and expanding in key growth markets to be better positioned to serve our customers with our leading technology and world-class portfolio of quality products and services,” said Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Jose Maria Alapont. “While these decisions are difficult, our drive for global profitable growth is dependent on implementing strategies that continue to strengthen our competitiveness and profitability in this market environment.”

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During the fourth quarter of 2005, Federal-Mogul continued to make significant advancement toward emergence from Chapter 11 in the U.S. and Administration in the UK.

APRA Creates New Electronics & Mechtronics Division

The Automotive Parts Remanufacturers Association (APRA) has created a new Electronics & Mechatronics Division, which held its’ first meeting during the 2005 International Big R Show in Las Vegas. Electronics and mechatronics are the cutting-edge technologies that will provide new opportunities for future remanufacturing. In fact, APRA Chairman, Mike Hill, said, “If our industry doesn’t start gearing up for the shift in technology now, companies may find themselves left behind this emerging field, without a way to make the leap in the future.”

Fernand J. Weiland, chairman of the newly formed division, explained its’ objective as bringing forward looking remanufacturers together to share common problems and solutions. “The APRA Electronics & Mechatronics Division is an ideal place to network and benefit from each others knowledge and visions,” Weiland explained. “The new technologies emerging today will practically change all components into being electronically controlled in the future,” he continued. “Unfortunately, this tends to be overlooked by traditional remanufacturers who need to meet this challenge if they wish to stay in the business long term.”

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The Division has already identified several topics for their next meeting scheduled for May, 2006. On the agenda will be ways to form partnerships between traditional and electronic remanufacturers, workshop training down the distribution chain, core and component procurement, the exchange of technical data, and the education & training of current employees.

For more information, or to join the APRA Electronics & Mechatronics Division, please contact APRA President, Bill Gager at (703) 968-2772, x103 or email [email protected]

Mack Develops Heavy Hybrids Truckinginfo.com

Volvo’s Mack Trucks division stands to receive $3.5 million from the federal government to build four prototype diesel-electric hybrid vehicles for the Air Force, company officials and U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) said. The project would expand on $6.8 million of federally funded work Mack has done during the past three years at its engine and transmission plant in Hagerstown, Md. The earlier efforts produced a hybrid aircraft-refueling truck that is now being tested, said Guy Rini, Mack’s director of advanced propulsion systems. The Mack plant employs about 1,700 workers.

Electro-Magnetic Actuators To Replace Camshaft

Valeo SA, maker of components, systems, and modules for cars and trucks, is developing a camless engine as a fuel-saving alternative to hybrid-electric and diesel powertrains. Although its production debut is more than three years away, prototypes have already been tested. The camless engine was presented at the 2005 Frankfurt Motor Show.

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The camless technology uses electro-magnetic actuators instead of a camshaft to operate engine valves. Each engine valve is operated individually by these actuators, which are placed on the upper surface of the cylinder head. The system also allows for infinitely variable valve timing and independent cylinder and engine valve deactivation capabilities.

This technology could provide a 20% reduction in fuel consumption and emissions. The engine has been tested in a 2002 Peugeot 406 sedan and gave it a 20% boost in low-end torque. The camless motor tested in the ’02 Peugeot is actually “half-camless,” for a camshaft is still operating on the exhaust side of the motor. The actuators could be placed on the exhaust side of the motor as well, but this would result in a significant cost increase.

Valeo has worked to quiet the electromagnets and soften the landing of the valves on their seats, which has produced only a slight increase in engine noise and vibration. The company is currently working to reduce noise and vibration levels, reduce weight compared with the conventional components the camless system replaces, and increase the high-revving capability beyond the 6,300-rpm limit of the first generation system. Michel Forisier, development director for powertrain efficiency, says that although the system was not designed for performance applications, it will be possible to “tune” the electronics in order to increase horsepower. The camless system is compatible with other energy-saving technologies, including micro-hybrid starter/alternator systems, full hybrid systems, and low-consumption engine accessories.

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Martin Haub, group vice president for research, development, and product marketing, says that consumers can expect the costs of this technology to be “less than the additional price associated with most diesel or hybrid-electric powertrains.”

Standard Motor Products Buys Back Shares from Dana Corp.

Standard Motor Products has repurchased 1,378,760 shares of its common stock from Dana Corp. in a privately negotiated transaction and also prepaid at a discount an unsecured promissory note in the principal amount of $15.125 million plus accrued interest also held by Dana. The aggregate purchase price for these transactions was $26.4 million. The shares, which represent approximately 7 percent of its outstanding shares, and the promissory note were initially issued to Dana in connection with the company’s acquisition of Dana’s engine management business in 2003. The company expects the transaction to be slightly accretive to its 2006 earnings per share.

For more information about Standard Motor Products, go to: www.smpcorp.com.

Find Engine Management Parts Faster with Clevite Engine Parts’ New On-Line ePartsfinder™ Program

The days of hunting through thick catalogs looking for internal engine parts may soon be a thing of the past. Clevite Engine Parts’ new ePartsfinder™ system condenses its entire Master Engine Parts Catalog into a handy computer program that will significantly save jobbers and technicians time by quickly finding part numbers for all Clevite 77® Engine Bearings, Victor Reinz® Gaskets and Perfect Circle® Piston Rings.

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Locating the right engine part numbers is a breeze with the ePartsfinder program. First the program asks the user to select whether the vehicle is an import or domestic, vehicle or truck. Then the user selects the appropriate choices of year, make, model, engine and VIN number-and that’s it. In a matter of seconds, the ePartsfinder program supplies the user with the correct part numbers for Clevite 77 Engine Bearings, Victor Reinz Gaskets and Perfect Circle Piston Rings for the selected vehicle.

The ePartsfinder program also provides users with the option to read additional important information on selected parts and view the actual part. Users can also download important tech bulletins directly from ePartsfinder.

What is better, the ePartsfinder program doesn’t need an Internet hookup to operate, it simply runs off a laptop or desktop computer. The ePartsfinder program is updated with new part numbers periodically, so users will always be up-to-date with the latest part numbers and news from Clevite (Internet access is required for each new update).

“Our customers have been asking for a quicker way to locate their part numbers, and we responded to them with our new ePartsfinder program,” said Ted Hughes, light vehicle brand manager for Clevite Engine Parts. “We know jobbers and technicians’ time is extremely valuable. I think we’ve simplified their day with our new ePartsfinder. It’s very easy to use and literally takes seconds to get the right information.”

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To receive Clevite’s new ePartsfinder program, visit www.engineparts.com or talk to your Clevite Sales Manager.

People In The Aftermarket
  • MAHLE Aftermarket has promoted Ray Falkenrath to the position of manager, aftermarket sales. In his new capacity, Falkenrath will be responsible for MAHLE’s aftermarket sales and customer service teams for engine component customers in both the U.S. and Canada.

  • Ray Fink, president of AER Manufacturing, Inc. in Carrollton, TX, has been named interim president of the Production Engine Remanufacturers Association (PERA) Board of Directors to complete the term of Mark Spaulding, who resigned. Fink will serve as PERA President until the 61st PERA Annual Convention in Monterey, CA, on September 28-30, 2006. Fink previously served as PERA President in 1992.

  • Sam Gentry has joined the American Welding Society as executive director of the AWS Foundation. The AWS Foundation awards more than $300,000 annually in undergraduate scholarships and graduate research fellowships. In addition, the foundation hosts other programs, such as the “Engineering Your Future” instructors’ guide; career promotional videos such as the award-winning “Welding: So Hot, It’s Cool” (downloadable from www.aws.org); and the “History of Welding” CD, stressing the importance of welding and the shortage of skilled workers.

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  • Dave Bellaver has accepted the position of post-sales support services manager for ATK North America. In this position, Bellaver will be responsible for the warranty departments in both Santa Ana, CA and Dallas, including customer care, support service, inspection, reception and future development plans in the department.

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