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Coretalk: Clements Racing Engines Receives First PBM Engine Builder Award

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PBM’s Kevin Harrison made the presentation at the Speedway Club at Lowe’s Motor Speedway during the series’ 2006 Awards Banquet.

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Clements Racing Engines led the series with 10 victories on the season. Among the drivers visiting victory lane with Clements power under the hood were Ricky Weeks, Jack Pennington, Noel Tucker, Royce Bray, Ed Basey and Petey Ivey.

“We are very proud to have PBM Performance Parts sponsor our Engine Builder of the Year Award,” said series founder Larry Lee. “PBM is obviously very involved in the engine building process, so it is a natural fit to have them sponsor such a valued award. We look forward to a long relationship with them.”

PBM Performance Parts is based in Louisville, KY. Suppliers of hardcore performance products to the professional machine shop and engine builders, they offer components to street, drag and oval track professionals.

Automechanika Show Coming to Canada In September 2007

In a late addition to its global program, Messe Frankfurt has added Automechanika Canada to the 2007 schedule of key automotive trade shows. Automechanika Canada will be held Sept. 26-28 in Toronto and will run concurrent with Canada’s CarFixWorld event.

As with other Automechanika events around the globe, Automechanika Canada will focus on all elements of automotive aftermarket, including parts, repair, accessories and service.
For more information, contact Messe Frankfurt’s U.S. offices at 770-984-8016 ext. 421, or by e-mail at [email protected], or visit www.usa.messefrankfurt.com
/shows/northamerica/amc_07/index.htm.

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Drag Racer Hillary Will To Greet PERA Guests At Nashville Spring Tech Meeting

The annual Production Engine Remanufacturers Association (PERA) Spring Technical Meeting will be held March 22-23 in Nashville, TN, at the Nashville Sheraton Hotel.
The meeting, a combination of technical sessions and hands-on demonstrations, presentations and a facility tour, will begin on Thursday, March 22 at a special reception in the hotel’s Pinnacle Room. NHRA Top Fuel drag racer Hillary Will is scheduled as the reception’s special guest.

Cocktails and hors d’oervres will be sponsored by QualCast LLC. Hillary Will’s appearance will be sponsored by Clevite Engine Parts.

On Friday, March 23, Groom’s Engines will host a tour of its remanufacturing facility. The Friday night closing party and dinner will be held at the infamous Wild Horse Saloon, sponsored by S.B. International.

For information about the meetings or to register, contact [email protected]

Remy International to Sell Diesel Reman Business to Caterpillar

Remy International has signed an agreement to sell its light and medium truck diesel engine and component remanufacturing business conducted by Franklin Power Products, Inc. and International Fuel Systems to Caterpillar Inc. The purchase price of $150 million is subject to adjustment for net investment in the business, including working capital, at closing. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, but is expected to close before the end of the first quarter of 2007.

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“The sale to Caterpillar represents a strategic opportunity to realize value for our stakeholders,” said John Weber, president and chief executive officer of Remy International.

“This acquisition represents an excellent strategic fit between Cat Reman and these two companies. It increases our overall product and service offering, and will provide a platform for future growth opportunities for Cat Reman,” said Steve Fisher, Caterpillar vice president with responsibility for remanufacturing.

For more information about Remy International, go to: www.remyinc.com.

Tentative AERA Tech And Skills Conference Schedule Announced

As was noted last month, the Board of Directors of AERA, the Engine Builders Association, has voted to replace the annual AERA trade show with more intimate regional conferences. These will include technical presentations and unique shop skills instruction. Details are still being finalized, but the most current conference schedule for 2007 includes:

  • June 16, 2007 Conference held in Santa Fe Springs, CA. Hosted by LA Sleeve.
  • September 15, 2007 Conference held in Winona, MN. Hosted by Goodson Shop Supplies.
  • November 10, 2007 Conference held in Lima, OH. Hosted by Clevite Engine Parts.

Another change to AERA’s 2007 schedule of events will be the second annual E85 Power Shootout. AERA has announced that the event will be held during the PRI Trade Show in Orlando, FL, Dec. 6-8.

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The focus of this year’s Shootout will be real world street performance engines running on E85. Frequent Engine Builder contributor Norm Brandes will be in charge of the rules and administration of competition. Brandes runs a highly successful performance engine machine/installation and tuning shop in Silver Lake, WI, and shares a vision that the Shootout should represent street performance engines that shops can actually sell to customers; engines that are legal and drivable.

AERA says those who competed in 2006 should not fret, rules changes will not obsolete their efforts and equipment but rather create opportunity to refine them. Additionally, AERA plans to open the competition to both members and non-members. Brandes plans to hold interviews with top industry professionals about how to best approach building a winning engine. These interviews will be regularly posted on AERA’s Vanguard Web page, so check in frequently for updates. This year’s rules and all other things relating to the competition will also be archived on the AERA Web site under the Vanguard page.

For more information, visit www.aera.org.

Babcox Publications and IMR Announce New Research Partnership

Babcox Publications and Industrial Marketing Research (IMR), a provider of market intelligence and data for the automotive industry, have announced a new exclusive partnership, through which Babcox will present IMR Automotive Research data through its various publications.
This new partnership coincides with the launch of IMR’s new website, AutomotiveResearch.com, which provides professionals interested in the automotive marketplace with current, concise industry data. The site features part replacement rate and market share trends and will be expanded this year to include market intelligence on accessory trends, technicians, repair shops, parts brand, brand usage and more from IMR’s existing syndicated studies.
“As the leading publisher of automotive aftermarket news, Babcox is an exciting partner for IMR to have,” said Bill Thompson, president of IMR. “The combination of our industry research and the excellent editorial and analytical staff at Babcox will undoubtedly bring in-depth insight into the changing aftermarket.”

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MAHLE to Expand Valve Train Operation in China

MAHLE recently celebrated the grand opening of its new valve company, MAHLE Tri-Ring Valve Train (Hubei) Co., Ltd. in Macheng, China.

The business is a joint venture in which MAHLE holds 60 percent of the shares and Hubei Tri-Ring Co. Limited holds 40 percent.

The joint venture will provide the capability to produce all sorts of engine valve designs used in car and truck engines. The company is going to launch mainstream and high-end products in the markets in China and other countries with the support of the MAHLE worldwide sales network.
MAHLE Tri-Ring Valve Train currently has about 1,600 employees and produces 15 million engine valves annually. The joint venture plans to introduce new production technologies already in 2007.

“With the new plant in China, we are going to close a strategic gap in supplies in our engine valve product portfolio, because our global customers expect not only deliveries in Europe, but also in all other important worldwide regions,” said Dr. Heinz Junker, chairman of the Management Board of the MAHLE Group.

MAHLE Tri-Ring Valve Train is the company’s eighth production plant in China. In April last year, MAHLE also opened a common development center in Shanghai for all its activities in China. Within the MAHLE’s engine valves product group, the new Chinese plant is the fourth production plant besides the existing locations in Germany, Poland and Italy.

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HDMA’s ‘Heavy Duty Truck Maintenance 2007’ Provides Valuable Industry Information

The 2007 “Heavy Duty Truck Maintenance in the USA,” the Heavy Duty Manufacturers Association’s annual research study, is now available. The study is designed to be a reliable tool for trend analysis regarding heavy duty truck user repair factors, heavy duty truck use, changes in buying patterns and service work performance.

This year’s report has been expanded to include even more information and new sections include in-depth reports of international trade in motor vehicle parts and exports of used trucks. In addition, a survey of heavy duty distributors reveals characteristics of the supply chain relationships in the heavy duty aftermarket.

Members of HDMA and other market segment associations of the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA) can order additional copies for $99.95 and non-members can order for $395 each. Discounts are available for orders of five or more copies. More details are available at www.hdma.org.

Direct Injected V6, A Ford First

The Lincoln MKR concept was introduced at the 2007 North American International Auto Show on January 7. The vehicle is coupled with a new engine technology that the automaker says delivers V8 power and performance with V6 fuel economy. The TwinForce is expected to appear on future Lincoln and Ford vehicles.

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The TwinForce will be one of the first gasoline engines to use direct injection technology and turbocharging, a combination common for diesel engines. Derrick Kuzak, group vice persistent, Global Product Development, said in recent SEMA eNews report that the technology is key for the way in which Ford will pursue “fuel economy gains without asking anyone to give up performance.”

The TwinForce’s direct-injection fuel system is different than conventional port fuel-injected gas engines. The engine directly injects gas into the engine’s cylinders at high pressures, rather than squirting gas into the cylinder head, according to Ford. Direct-injection fuel systems are able to more precisely control when and how much fuel is injected into the engine cylinders, allowing for more efficient burn and improved combustion. This enables the engine to deliver optimal performance and fuel economy.

The foundation for the TwinForce technology is Ford’s new Duratec 35 V6, which was named a 10 Best Engine by Ward’s. The TwinForce is flex-fuel capable, providing the driver with the flexibility to switch between gasoline and E-85 ethanol. Ford claims the engine will deliver 415 horsepower and 400 ft lbs of torque, with 118 horsepower per liter. This type of performance from a V8 engine would require a displacement of 6.0 liters or larger.

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Early Bird Discounts Available for GAAS Conference

By registering now, attendees at the 2007 Global Automotive Aftermarket Symposium (GAAS) program can hear an exciting lineup of speakers and industry leaders as they discuss “Survival in a Changing Aftermarket” at a $200 savings. The event will take place Tuesday, May 8, and Thursday, May 9, at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare, Chicago, IL.

Participants who register by Friday, March 23, receive the early bird discount of $200. Registration fees are $695 for the sponsoring associations’ members’ first registrant and $595 for each additional representative. After Friday, March 23, fees increase to $895 for an association member company’s first registrant and $795 for each additional representative.
Early registration for individuals whose firms or organizations are not a member of any of the sponsoring associations is $895 for the first registrant and $795 for each additional representative. After Monday, Feb. 27, fees are $1,095 for the company’s first registrant and $995 for each additional representative.

GAAS program registration information is available from the sponsoring associations or online at www.globalsymposium.org.

Speakers for the event include:

Nancy Fein, vice president parts, service, customer satisfaction and Training, Lexus;
Bob Lutz, vice chairman, global product development, General Motors;
Cynthia Cohen, senior vice president, BB&T Capital Markets;
Kelly McDonald, president, McDonald Marketing; and
Tony Cristello, founder and president, Strategic Mindshare.

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Panel discussions on important industry issues include:

“It’s a Global Market After All” – How the U.S. aftermarket compares to and contrasts with Asian and European aftermarkets moderated by Dave Caracci, University of the Aftermarket Foundation;

“Do You Know Where You Are Going To?” – Moderated by Steve Handschuh, president and chief operating officer for the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA);

Service Dealers: Education and Training – Moderated by Ron Pyle, Automotive Service Association (ASA); and

Face of the Aftermarket Debate – Moderated by Kathleen Schmatz, Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA).

Engine Production Trends Shows Shift To Small

A shift away from the largest, thirstiest vehicles toward more fuel-efficient transportation in the face of rising fuel prices helped small engines, particularly four- and five-cylinder powerplants, stage a comeback in the light-truck market in the ’06 model year and increased the small-engine share of the total market, reports WardsAuto.com.

A Ward’s survey of ’06 model-year North American production of cars and light trucks for the U.S. market shows 13,641,012 cars and light trucks were built, down from 14,192,162 in ’05, and the lowest annual tally since 13,316,295 units assembled in the ’01 run.

The decline was paced by a five-year low in light-truck output that fell to 7,774,175 in ’06 from a second-best 8,377,820 the prior year.

The shift helped nudge the percentage of light vehicles with engines under 3L displacement to 27.7% of the ’06 model-year build. While a five-year high, handily topping ’05’s 26% rate, it still was below the 28.9% average for the ’97-’06 period.

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Engines in the 2.0-2.9L range showed the largest market-share gain in ’06, rising to 20.9% from 19.8% in ’05 and a 10-year low of 18.0% in ’04. Those with displacements less than 2L followed with a 0.6% share increase to 6.8%, the same penetration posted in ’03 and ’04 before falling to 6.2% in ’05.

Although it remained the highest-volume segment with a 33.8% share of ’06 output, the 3.0L-3.9L range slipped from its ’97-’06 peak of 35.8% in ’05. Indeed, production of vehicles with engines in that range fell by 474,298 units in ’06 from the record 5,081,401 built the prior year-accounting for almost all of the model-year light-vehicle production decline.

Production of vehicles with engines 4.0L and larger accounted for 38.5% of ’06 output, slightly ahead of the 38.2% garnered in ’05, and unit volume fell to 5,250,905 from 5,420,494 – a 3.1% decline.

Largely by default, eight-cylinder engine penetration increased in ’06 to 28.1% from 27.9% in ’05, paced by a nine-year high in cars, where penetration reached 10.2% in ’06 versus 7.4% in ’05.

The V8 surge in cars was not so much due to increased popularity of V8-powered models as to the absence or phasing out of older cars with four- and six-cylinder engines.

Increased output of small trucks and CUVs helped boost the penetration of four- and five cylinder engines to an eight-year high of 27.7% from 25.9% in ’05. Included in the count was the all-new 2.5L, I-5 in the Volkswagen Beetle and Jetta, the first I-5 engine in a North American-built car. It accounted for 2.5% of car output.

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Quality Rated Top Factor for Equipment Purchases AAIA Market Research Report Released

Quality continues to be the most important factor for repair shop owners, service managers and technicians when it comes to current and future equipment purchasing decisions, according to the 2006/2007 Equipment Purchasing Trends report published by the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA).

Other high-ranking factors that influence equipment purchasing decisions are service, availability, price and warranty, while convenience and payment options were considered only somewhat important to decision makers. The mobile tool distributor was rated the most frequently used supplier for equipment purchases.

The 2006/2007 Equipment Purchasing Trends report is a nationwide survey that reviews historical data from 2004 and 2006, and analyzes individual purchases, as well as purchases made by the repair shop as a whole.

The report covers the following: Brand name importance; “Made in USA” importance; Past and future equipment purchases; Spending for past and future equipment purchases; Trends in spending on shop equipment.

The 2006/2007 Equipment Purchasing Trends report is now available to AAIA members for $99 and to non-members for $199. To purchase the report, contact AAIA at 301-654-6664 or visit www.aftermarket.org.

MAHLE to Acquire Siemens VDO Automotive’s Air Intake Module, Air Filtration Business Division

The MAHLE Group, headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany, has announced plans to acquire the air intake module and air filtration business segment for combustion engines from Siemens VDO Automotive.

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With this acquisition, the company will expand its market presence particularly in North America and Asia. MAHLE will acquire about 1,000 employees working for Siemens VDO in this business segment.

MAHLE is also currently bidding to acquire the Engine Parts Division of Dana Corp.
Siemens VDO develops and produces air management systems at locations, including Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom as well as China and achieves an annual sales volume of approximately $390 million in this business segment.

The Air Management Systems product line is one of five product lines of the MAHLE Group, which contributes approximately 15 percent of the company’s sales in the current business year.
Prof. Dr. Heinz Junker, chairman of the Management Board of the MAHLE Group explained: “The development of innovative air management systems for combustion engines is one of our core competencies. The acquisition of the activities of Siemens VDO in this business segment is a strategically important step for us. We will benefit from technological additions and above all gain new customers in the American and Asian markets. At the same time, we are able to optimize our worldwide production and development network. Together with the Siemens VDO activities we will be able to achieve sales in this business area in excess of $1 billion. Accordingly, Air management and air filtration will account for approximately 20 percent of our future group revenues.”

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The acquisition is still subject to the approval of the anti-trust authorities. A decision is expected in the coming weeks.

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