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Coretalk: Ultimate Golden Mechanic To Win $25,000, Year’s Worth Of Fuel From BP

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BP is looking for an ideal candidate who has premium auto repair skills, a charismatic personality, is active in his or her community and is environmentally conscious. Independent auto technicians over the age of 21 are eligible to enter the contest.

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BP will select the three best mechanics who will receive an all-expenses paid three-day/two-night trip to Las Vegas, NV, where they will compete in a head-to-head competition at the 2006 SEMA show to battle it out for the coveted “Golden Wrench”

For official rules, regulations and information on how to enter, please visit www.bpgoldenmechanic.com. Entries will be taken until August 11.

Audi Proves Power Of V12 Diesel Engine With Wins At Sebring, LeMans

Audi AG made racing and engineering history by winning the famed 12 Hours of Sebring, becoming the first automaker to win any major race with a diesel-powered racecar. Proving it was no fluke, the German automaker then reinforced its technological prowess by winning the 24 Hours at Le Mans with the Audi R10 TDI, featuring an all-aluminum 5.5L 650 hp dual overhead cam V12.

In front of a record crowd of 235,000 spectators, Frank Biela (Germany), Emanuele Pirro (Italy) and Marco Werner (Germany) clinched the sixth Le Mans win for Audi. Dindo Capello (Italy), Tom Kristensen (Denmark) and Allan McNish (Scotland) also achieved a podium in finishing third overall.

The fans on the race track and a worldwide audience of millions of TV viewers saw an impressive demonstration of Audi TDI Power and the performance of modern diesel engines. The brace of Audi R10 TDI cars were by far the fastest and most economical cars. During the entire race, one of the two Audis was at the head of the field. Le Mans record winner Tom Kristensen drove the fastest lap of the race, setting a 3m 31.211s time, and he was the first driver at the wheel of an Le Mans P1 sportscar to cover 16 laps with one fuel load. Completing 380 laps, Audi also set a new distance record.

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In the race, the advantage in fuel consumption of the Audi TDI Power was visible for the spectators to see. On average, the Audi drivers only pitted every 14 laps to refuel 23.7 gallons (90 liters) of Shell V-Power Diesel.

Although the roll-out of the new Audi R10 TDI took place only 200 days before the race, the victorious diesel sportscar ran as reliably for 24 hours as its predecessor, the R8 that scored five Le Mans victories. The only unscheduled pit stop was carried out at 3:47 am when Audi Sport Team Joest decided to replace the gear cluster after trouble with fifth gear. In spite of the fact that the change of the entire rear end – as it had been done with the R8 – is no longer allowed by the rules, the team needed less than ten minutes for this exercise thanks to an innovative gearbox design. One more minute was lost for Biela, Pirro and Werner on Sunday morning when one headlight of their R10 TDI was broken and the front bodywork had to be replaced. Apart from that, their Audi ran like clockwork, said an Audi spokesman.

Audi’s triumph was completed by the third place finish of Capello, Kristensen and McNish. The No. 7 R10 TDI was in the lead in the early phase of the race when the injectors of the right-hand cylinder bank of the V12 TDI engine had to be replaced in the fourth hour. Having dropped back to 16th position, Capello, Kristensen and McNish fought back with the fastest lap times in the field in spite of further setbacks at night and in the early morning hours. Following a collision with a GT1 car, the undertray was loosened, and also the left-hand turbocharger had to be changed. Number 7 lost almost a full hour in the pits. Thanks to the mechanics who carried out all the repairs they still made it to the podium.

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MEMA’S 2006-2007 World Automotive Market Report Includes Latest Data On The Global Automotive Industry

There is a world of opportunity in the global automotive industry, and the 2006-2007 World Automotive Market Report is a one-stop resource for much of the information you may need. Produced annually by the Overseas Automotive Council (OAC), MEMA’s international aftermarket division, the World Automotive Market Report is one of the industry’s oldest and most respected global statistical analyses.

Now in its 75th edition, the 2006-2007 Report features: Vehicle production and assembly; Vehicle census summary; U.S. automotive parts trade worldwide; World trade in new vehicles; and World motor vehicle markets.

To order extra copies of the World Automotive Market Report email [email protected] OAC and MEMA market segment associations: $75; Non-members: $200. OAC members receive one copy free as a membership benefit.

Some Diesel Fuel Additives Should Not Be Used In 2007 Diesel Engines, Warns Automotive Specialty Products Alliance

Diesel fuel additives that are not clearly labeled as approved for use in model year 2007, or newer engines, should not be used in new diesel motor vehicles according to the Automotive Specialty Products Alliance (ASPA).

ASPA made the announcement to coincide with the implementation of new ultra low sulfur diesel fuel requirements that went into effect June 1, 2006 that will enable 2007 model year, or newer, diesel (on-road) engines to reduce emissions by more than 90 percent.

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Under the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations after June 1, 2006, diesel fuel additives are required to include label information related to acceptability of use in 2007 model-year diesel engines.

ASPA members are working with their point-of-sales partners and others to alert diesel equipment operators and others as to the proper use of additives in model-year 2007 diesel engines.

For additional information, visit www.aspalliance.org/dieselfuel.

Ford F150 May Soon Have New 4.4L V8 Diesel Engine, says SEMA

Truck enthusiasts may be able to drive a Ford F-150 with a diesel engine in a few years, according to a recent Automotive News article. Ford is developing a 4.4L V8 diesel engine that, if approved for production, could find its way into the F-150 pickup in two or three years.

Ford is well along the planning process for producing this diesel engine, which is a scaled-up version of a 3.6L V8 that Ford began producing for Range Rovers at a plant in England.

According to the report, Ford has wanted to put a diesel engine in a half ton pickup for years and was looking at outside suppliers to build the engine. The company now says it wishes to produce the engine itself. The engine would be manufactured in the same plant in England that produces the 3.6L diesel and be shipped to the United States, and Ford says that it could produce up to 100,000 diesel-powered F-150s per year.

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Industry experts have been indicating that the diesel market is poised for growth in the coming years. For example, Pierre Corriveau, Director of Marketing for Honeywell Turbo Technologies, the manufacturer of Garrett Turbos, says that “the demand for heavy duty pickups over 8,500 GVW continues to grow despite an overall flat industry.” He expects the demand for diesel-powered heavy-duty pickup trucks to increase further over the next several years.

How much will diesel vehicle volume increase? Corriveau forecasts an increase from 600,000 sold in 2005 to 1 million diesel passenger vehicles around 2010.

According to the SEMA Research and Information Center, SEMA members can download a copy of the 2004/2005 Diesel Market Study at www.sema.org/research, which details consumer perceptions of diesels, technologies that affect diesel-powered vehicles and industry forecasts.

New Energy Policy Act Gives Tax Credit For Qualifying Hybrid Cars

Last year’s Energy Policy Act replaced the $2,000 clean-fuel burning deduction with a tax credit that is potentially worth much more. The tax credit for hybrid vehicles applies to vehicles purchased or placed in service on or after January 1, 2006.

The credit is only available to the original purchaser of a new, qualifying vehicle. (If a qualifying vehicle is leased to a consumer, the leasing company may claim the credit.) The amount of the credit varies based on the fuel efficiency of the vehicle.

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The list of models certified by the IRS for the credit includes 20 vehicles with credits of between $650 and $3,150.

2007 Ford Escape FWD Hybrid – $2,600

2007 Ford Escape 4WD Hybrid – $1,950

2007 Mercury Mariner 4WD Hybrid – $1,950

2007 Toyota Camry Hybrid – $2,600

2005 Toyota Prius – $3,150

2006 Toyota Prius – $3,150

2006 Toyota Highlander 4WD Hybrid – $2,600

2006 Toyota Highlander 2WD Hybrid – $2,600

2007 Lexus GS 450h – $1,550

2006 Lexus RX400h 2WD – $2,200

2006 Lexus RX400h 4WD – $2,200

2006 Ford Escape Hybrid Front WD – $2,600

2006 Ford Escape Hybrid 4 WD – $1,950

2006 Mercury Mariner Hybrid 4 WD – $1,950

2005 Honda Insight CVT – $1,450

2006 Honda Insight CVT – $1,450

2005 Honda Civic Hybrid MT and CVT – $1,700

2006 Honda Civic Hybrid CVT – $2,100

2005 Honda Accord Hybrid AT and Navi AT – $650
2006 Honda Accord Hybrid AT w/updated calibration and Navi AT w/updated calibration – $1,300

Last year’s Energy Policy Act replaced the $2,000 clean-fuel burning deduction with a tax credit that is potentially worth much more. The tax credit for hybrid vehicles applies to vehicles purchased or placed in service on or after January 1, 2006.

For more information about the tax credit for hybrid vehicles, contact your tax adviser.

Replacement rates for numerous aftermarket service jobs increased in 2005 as consumers performed maintenance on their vehicles that they had put off from the previous year, according to the 2006 Replacement Rates of U.S. Automotive Parts. The new rate card is an exclusive service for members of the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA).

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Replacement Rates offers a pocket-sized guide to the U.S. light vehicle aftermarket for more than 90 service jobs and provides six years of trended data to help members estimate product life and market size. AASA analyzes data from IndustrialMR (IMR) and is the only publisher of the replacement rates of aftermarket components. Non-members should contact IMR directly to obtain replacement rates.

The increase in the replacement rates falls in line with AASA’s estimated unperformed maintenance in the United States, which decreased in 2005 to approximately $52 billion. Service procedures and products such as wheel balancing, tires and climate control-related products saw increases in 2005, as did many other preventative maintenance products like batteries and drive belts.

“We believe that consumers are looking to prolong the life of their vehicles due to higher gas prices and have started to perform service jobs that they for one reason or another hadn’t done in 2004 or earlier,” explained Steve Handschuh, AASA executive director.

Frank Hampshire, director of research for AASA, added “Our data shows that Americans are not changing their driving habits and have not reduced the number of miles they are driving, while the age of the vehicles continues to increase. This should result in better replacement rate periods and be positive for the aftermarket industry.”

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Numerous product categories showed across the board increases in replacement rates including heating and cooling products. For example, the rate of A/C compressors, condensers and blowers increased to their highest level in the history of the report.

There were some products whose replacement rate did decrease, such as air filters. According to Hampshire, these products decreased to normal levels after experiencing higher than normal replacement rates in 2004 – primarily due to consumers performing service work that they thought could increase fuel economy.

In addition to learning the replacement rates of various parts, AASA members can use Replacement Rates to estimate product durability and market size.

Replacement Rates is available only to AASA members. Orders can be placed by e-mailing [email protected]

U.S. Motor Vehicle Aftermarket Grows to $267 Billion, AAIA 2006/2007 Aftermarket Factbook Now Available

U.S. motor vehicle aftermarket sales grew by 5 percent in 2005 to $267.6 billion, the largest increase since 2000, according to the 2006/2007 Aftermarket Factbook, recently published by the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA).

“We’re extremely pleased to see steady growth in aftermarket sales while the new car dealerships’ share continues to slide for the fifth consecutive year,” said Kathleen Schmatz, AAIA president and CEO. “And contrary to the frequent prediction that DIY is dying, our data shows that the DIY side of the industry grew by a healthy 5.6 percent.”

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Industry growth was led by the medium and heavy duty segment, which expanded 6.2 percent to $70.6 billion. The automotive light vehicle segment increased 4.6 percent to $197 billion.

The 2006/2007 Aftermarket Factbook includes statistical tables, charts, analysis and trends in the U.S. and key international markets covering: Overall size of the automotive (i.e., light duty) aftermarket; Overall size of the heavy duty aftermarket; Key aftermarket segments (paint and body equipment, tool & equipment, etc.); DIY consumer demographics; Vehicle registrations; Vehicle sales; Vehicle usage statistics and operating costs; Miles driven; Sales of aftermarket accessories; Sales of automotive chemicals and fluids; State summary statistics; U.S. trade data of motor vehicle parts and accessories; Information on the Chinese and Canadian aftermarkets; Key economic and financial indicators; and Guide to aftermarket data resources.

The full-color Factbook is available for $149 for AAIA members and $449 for non-members. To order by phone, call 301-654-6664, or order online at www.aftermarket.org. Discounts are available for multiple copies.

APRA Issues Second Generation of www.AutoElectricPro.Com

The Automotive Parts Remanufacturers Association (APRA) officially launched the 2nd generation of their revolutionary electrical wiring diagram website AutoElectricPro.com. “Auto Electric Pro was originally developed with remanufacturers, rebuilders, auto electric shops and transmission rebuilding shops in mind,” stated APRA President, Bill Gager.

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Mark Kothe, APRA’s Technical Director added, “This second generation site now contains 98,547 wiring diagrams (up from 86,225 in 1st version) for over 5,901 vehicle applications (up from 4,918) from 1985-2006 on 46 vehicles. The site, www.AutoElectricPro.com, is powered by information from Mitchell 1.”

Gager commented, “With all the different types of electronics on today’s vehicles, there are many times when proper diagnostics is difficult. www.AutoElectricPro.com helps APRA members save time and money by cutting down on the necessary research time to solve the problem(s) and satisfy the customer.”

Special subscriber rates to www.AutoElectricPro.com are $275 per year or $25 per month to APRA members. Visit the website for a free 30-day trial of the service. Use “pr6126” for your user ID, and “guest” for the password. Both user id and password must be all lowercase.

$420 Million Expected For Diesel Engine Parts, Says Freedonia

The U.S. market for light-duty truck engine products is projected to rise to $420 million in 2009, a jump of 42.4% from 2004, according to a study by The Freedonia Group. The Freedonia Group is an international business research company, founded in 1985, that publishes more than 100 industry research studies annually.

As more consumers look to diesels to help alleviate the burden of high gas prices, the demand for diesel engine parts will grow. Freedonia’s study points out that drawbacks typically associated with diesel engines, such as noise and high emissions, have been reduced or eliminated, and consumers will increasingly become aware of this fact. They also point out, however, that the higher cost of diesel engines compared to gasoline engines will restrain the diesel engine products market from growing at an even faster pace. Also, diesel fuel is currently available in only 40% of U.S. gas stations. Despite these hindrances to growth, Freedonia expects the light-duty truck diesel engine parts market to grow to $420 million in 2009 from sales of $295 million in 2004.

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Auto-Parts Makers in Trouble

From AFX News Limited

CHICAGO — A leading turnaround adviser on Thursday painted a bleak picture for the automotive parts supplier industry, saying that high debt levels and falling volumes at U.S. auto makers could lead to more defaults and filings for bankruptcy protection.

An industry that saw the recent Chapter 11 filings of Delphi Corp., Dana Corp., Collins & Aikman Corp. and Tower Automotive Inc. still has the deck stacked against it, said Al Koch, vice chairman and managing director at Southfield, MI-based AlixPartners LLC, a turnaround firm, and at Questor Management Co. LLC, a private equity firm.

Koch, who spoke at a corporate reorganization conference here, is a veteran turnaround manager and was interim chief financial officer of Kmart Corp. during its Chapter 11 restructuring.

“I do think that this is one very, very troubled sector,” Koch told a group of bankruptcy attorneys, turnaround managers and private equity managers. “It is one that is likely to remain troubled for some amount of time.”

The problem for suppliers is that production volume and market share continue to drop at General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. GM’s intention to stick to value pricing — which relies less on incentives — helps it increase vehicle profits but likely will lead to lower production, the lifeblood of suppliers.

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High gasoline prices also are driving buyers away from profitable sport-utility vehicles to lower-margin cars.

Suppliers have lower earnings margins and higher capital spending requirements than other industries and debt levels are high.

Market conditions will make it tough for suppliers to earn enough cash flow to pay off debts, Koch said.

“As volumes fall and cash flow drops, there just isn’t going to be adequate cash coming in to service the debt,” he said.

Loan defaults increased tenfold in the industry from 2004 to 2005 and loan defaults usually precede Chapter 11 filings, Koch said.

While there’s been plenty of credit available for the auto sector, that could change “overnight,” Koch said. Visteon Corp. and Lear Corp. were both able to obtain bank loans to re-finance debt this year.

Automakers also aren’t backing off their aggressive price cuts for parts made by suppliers.

“I see nothing on the horizon that’s going to make it any easier,” Koch said. “One thing that could make it easier for suppliers and automakers is a reduction in gasoline prices. That would help SUV sales, which would help automaker profits and production volume for suppliers.”

The performance of the new line of SUVs and pickup trucks being rolled out by GM this year also will play a big role in what kind of year many suppliers will have, Koch said.

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Suppliers also would be helped if GM and Ford stabilize their market share, he said. A resolution of the Delphi labor situation also could help continue the flow of capital available to auto suppliers, he said. Delphi is seeking concessions from its unions, which have threatened to strike if the company gains court approval on its motion to throw out labor contracts. GM, the unions and Delphi are trying to reach an out-of-court agreement.

A prolonged strike at Delphi would cripple production at GM and other suppliers. “A successful resolution of the Delphi issue would create a lot of relief in the industry,” Koch said during an interview on the sidelines of the conference. “People would say, ‘We don’t have an immediate crisis on our hands.'”

Detroit Diesel Launches ‘The Real Deal’ Campaign

Detroit Diesel recently launched a new campaign called “The Real Deal,” which focuses on training service network personnel about the better value and higher reliability that their customers will get when they select only genuine Detroit Diesel parts, components and engines.

The company wants to help customers understand the significant difference between genuine and non-genuine parts.

“There is a tremendous difference between rebuilt and remanufactured,” said Jim Morrow, president of Detroit Diesel Remanufacturing Corp. “Remanufacturing begins with only the best quality cores. After the core is completely disassembled, the subsystems and components are cleaned, tested, repaired or replaced. Afterwards, each component is remanufactured to current blueprint specifications and tested again to make certain they can carry the Detroit Diesel reliabilt Genuine Parts Warranty.”

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For more than 40 years, Detroit Diesel has been providing remanufactured engines and components to the North American market. According to Morrow, the most significant reason to turn to remanufacturing products is the high-level of quality.

“While some companies are satisfied with simply rebuilding engines and parts, we take it to the next level with an extensive reliabilt remanufacturing process,” emphasized Morrow.

Whether you purchase an entire remanufactured engine or a set of six injectors, Detroit Diesel backs them with one of the most comprehensive warranties in the business. For instance, all reliabilt parts are covered by a one-year, unlimited mile warranty. reliabilt Series 60 engines are covered by a standard one-year/100,000 mile coast-to-coast warranty, with many extended service coverage options available.

“The other benefit that comes with reliabilt products is an unmatched service network,” said Morrow. “With more than 800 authorized Detroit Diesel service locations in North America, expert service is virtually right around any corner, so before you buy anything other than non-genuine, think about Detroit Diesel reliabilt products.”

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