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  News Briefs

Posted 2/2/2009

By Levy Joffrion

Dealers Closing Means $ for Independent Shops

It is estimated that at least 3,100 auto dealers could close by the end of 2009. Under certain circumstances (a Chrysler merger, Detroit Big Three bankruptcy, deepening recession, etc.), experts predict the body count could go much higher.

That's the forecast of Lang Marketing Resources, which says the closings will provide opportunities for the independent aftermarket. Lang says the closing of that many dealerships would release more than $3 billion in non-warranty service market product volume to the marketplace.

Independent (non-OE) service outlets will have an opportunity to expand volume, serving the customers abandoned by closing dealers, on a scale never before possible.

This forecast is from Aftermarket Insight, by Jim Lang, president of Lang Marketing Resources Inc., www.langmarketing.com.

ASA Joins NHTSA in Safer Car Campaign

The Automotive Service Association has joined the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in promoting the agency's Safer Car Campaign.

ASA is asking its members to help communicate the importance of safe driving to customers and encourage them to visit www.Safercar.gov. There they can find a wealth of safety resources, including information on how to report a safety defect, search for a recall and review facts regarding child passenger safety, tire maintenance and rollover prevention.

The Web site also offers safety-related resources for new and used car buyers, as well as current vehicle owners. (Click here for the article)

I-CAR Councils Working Toward Better Training

I-CARI-CAR formed Industry Segment Advisory Councils this past year to provide the organization with feedback and involvement from all segments of the industry, beginning with the collision repair and insurance segments. The councils' feedback led to the launch, at the International Autobody Congress & Exposition (NACE), of the "Hybrid Electric and Alternative Fuel Vehicles" training program. Through December, more than 2,500 students had taken this training program providing the latest information on the collision repair techniques necessary to repair hybrid electric, propane, compressed natural gas, plug-in electric and hydrogen vehicles.

The councils also have helped develop I-CAR cycle time reduction and waterborne training programs, and are assisting with development of online training management tools.

Joyce Kasmer, director of marketing for I-CAR, said the councils' work ultimately benefits all who take I-CAR training. She said the councils have provided the organization with important feedback about the inter-industry's training needs that improves both the value of I-CAR training to participants and the time needed to develop the programs.

Six ASA Members on ASE 2009 Board

Six ASA members are serving on the ASE board of directors for 2009, including Al Duebber, AAM, of Duebber's Automotive Service in Cincinnati; Philip Fournier, AAM, Phil's Auto Clinic, Hemet, Calif.; Gregory Gaulin, AAM, Gaulin's of Williamsville Inc., Williamsville, N.Y.; and Steve Louden, AAM, Louden Motorcar Services Inc., Dallas. Also, Joe Torchiana and Stan Elmore, AAM, were named in last month's issue as being officers of ASE's board of directors. Torchiana is continuing as chairman, and Elmore is continuing as past chairman.

MACS Schedules Clinics

Automotive technicians who want to enhance their mobile air conditioning and engine cooling system service knowledge should plan to attend one of this year's update clinics presented by the Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide.

For more information, contact MACS Worldwide at www.macsw.org.

New Online Service Available

During its 12-year existence, the Global Automotive Aftermarket Symposium (GAAS) has awarded more than 1,400 scholarships to meet its goal of helping students take their first steps in the automotive aftermarket industry. Now, through its scholarship Web site, GAAS offers its scholarship alumni a new service that can assist them in networking and beginning their aftermarket careers.

The GAAS scholarship Web site, www.automotivescholarships.com, now offers past scholarship recipients the opportunity to post a personal profile in the new "Scholarship Alumni" section. This profile can include contact information, an "about me" area, a photo and a resume. On their profile page, GAAS scholarship alumni also can check the "seeking employment" box. Employers seeking young professionals for their organizations can search the "Scholarship Alumni" section to recruit new employees.

To respect personal privacy, each scholarship alumnus must "opt-in" to this new service. They can log-in at the "Alumni Sign Up" link on the home page, update their profile and, if they opt in, check the box to make their profile visible. The listings have been populated from 2004 to 2008. Scholarship recipients from 2003 and earlier who want to be listed, or anyone whose listing is inaccurate or missing should e-mail Pete Kornafel (pete@carquest.com).

To be eligible for a GAAS scholarship, applicants must be enrolled full-time in a college-level program or an ASE/NATEF (National Automotive Technician Education Foundation)-certified automotive technical program. Graduate programs and part-time undergraduate programs do not qualify.

The GAAS scholarship also is unique in that recipients who graduate from their program and show proof of employment as technicians in the automotive aftermarket for at least six months after graduation can receive a second matching grant. GAAS scholarship applications for 2009 are available online at www.automotivescholarships.com. The deadline for submitting 2009 scholarship applications is March 31, 2009.

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