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News Update: AMI Announces 2006 Tom B. Babcox Memorial Scholarship Recipient

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The Automotive Management Institute (AMI), in conjunction with Babcox Publications, recently announced Steve Sallinger, owner and president, Ole Metairie Car Care, Inc., Metairie, LA, 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. 2-4.

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Sallinger has worked in the automotive service industry for 30 years and has been a shop owner for the last 20. He is an ASE-certified Master Technician and recently completed the necessary requirements to earn the Institute’s Accredited Automotive Manager (AAM) designation.

“We consider AMI education to be another diagnostic tool that is necessary to run our automotive repair shop. Like the electronic tools, our management tools must be updated regularly to support the changes in our industry and in our business. I appreciate the opportunity to get those updates at CARS and learn with and from other ASA members,” Sallinger commented.

Bosch Celebrates 100 Years in the U.S.
The Bosch Group celebrated its 100th anniversary in the U.S. on Aug. 31, 2006. What began with a sales office for magneto ignition devices in New York City in September 1906 is today the Bosch Group’s largest market outside Germany. Bosch sales in the U.S. have quadrupled in the past 10 years.

“The U.S. will also be a key market for us in the future, and one where we are looking to achieve significant continued growth,” said Franz Fehrenbach, Chairman of the Bosch Board of Management, at a gala event in Detroit in late August. “By 2015, we wish to increase the America region’s share of total sales by another 6 percentage points to 25%,” said Fehrenbach. Sales in North America in the first half of 2006 alone rose 10%. More than 23,000 associates generated sales of $8.4 billion at more than 80 sites in 2005.

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Visionary entrepreneur Robert Bosch founded the “Workshop for Precision Mechanics and Electrical Engineering” in 1886 in Stuttgart, Germany, where he repaired whatever he could find. Twenty years later, he established an office in New York City to handle the sale of the magneto, an ignition device based on his patented design that would revolutionize the auto industry.

On September 6, 1906, the company was formed in the U.S. as Robert Bosch New York, Incorporated. With capital stock of $25,000, three incorporators signed a certificate forming a corporation to buy and sell machinery and apparatus for constructing engines, motors, motor vehicles and machines powered by gasoline or other forms of power.

AIA Holds 18th Annual Industry Awards Program
The Auto International Association (AIA) Segment of the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association will hold its 18th AIA Industry Awards program at AAPEX 2006. The Sands Expo Center Upper Level Lobby will again be the site for this year’s display.

New this year is the category for Best Overall Import Aftermarket Product. The AIA Product Awards Committee added this award to recognize a product or product line that would be considered a “must have” by virtue of its time-tested success, quality, market demand, coverage and product potential.

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Registrants for the seven categories at press time are: Best Overall Import Aftermarket Product: Bosal USA, DENSO Sales California, Inc., ZF Sales & Service North America, LLC; Best New Product for Import Cars or Trucks: ANSA Automotive Parts Distributors, Inc., AIM, Inc., Forecast/Original Engine Management (OEM), Robert Bosch Corp., TERRA-S Automotive Systems GmbH & Co., KG, ZF Sales & Service North America, LLC; Best New Performance Product or Accessory for Import Cars or Trucks: AIM, Inc., Bosal USA, TERRA-S Automotive Systems GmbH & Co., KG; Best Merchandising/ Advertising of a Product for Import Cars or Trucks: ANSA Automotive Parts Distributors, Inc., DENSO Sales California, Inc.; Best New Packaging of a Product for Import Cars or Trucks: DENSO Sales California, Inc., Forecast/Original Engine Management (OEM), Robert Bosch Corp.; Best New Catalog of a Product Line for Import Cars or Trucks: AIM, Inc., Davico Catalytic, DENSO Sales California, Inc., Forecast/Original Engine Management (OEM), Walker Products; Best Website Presentation of a Product Line for Import Cars or Trucks: ANSA Automotive Parts Distributors, Inc., Davico Catalytic, DENSO Sales California, Inc.

Montana Autocare Center Owner Named 2007 NAPA/ASE Technician
Of The Year

NAPA Auto Parts and the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) have named Kit Johnson of East Helena, MT, the 2007 NAPA/ASE Technician of the Year.

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Johnson, owner of J4 Automotive, Inc. in East Helena is an ASE Master-certified technician and holds numerous ASE certifications. He was selected for the prestigious honor as a result of his 30 years of automotive experience, endless commitment and service to customers, continual dedication to his employees and leadership in the industry.

“After opening the store more than 10 years ago, my co-workers and I have prided ourselves on providing excellent customer service, a long-lasting dedication to continual learning and the value of being an important part of our community,” said Johnson. “It’s an honor to receive such a highly regarded award in a demanding and changing industry.”

Multi Parts Supply Expands
Multi Parts Supply Inc. (MPS), a multinational product development, engineering and supply chain management organization, recently announced the expansion of its technical center, assembly and distribution facility in Pingyang, China.

The facility is being built as a Zhejiang government-private partnership in a high-tech industrial park with more than 1 million square feet of building area of which MPS will initially occupy 100,000 square feet. The new facility will house MPS’ test laboratory, quality control department, light assembly and packaging operation. Completion of the MPS facility is slated for December 2006.

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Tenneco Demonstrates Commitment to Exhaust Category; Walker’s Value-Added Package Creates Solutions For Aftermarket Service Providers
Amid challenges in the exhaust segment, including stainless steel’s impact on the business and increased coverage costs due to SKU proliferation, Tenneco has committed to increase its investment in the company’s Walker exhaust brand and product line as it acknowledges opportunities for growth along the way. The company is also capitalizing on market trends including the shift toward direct-fit exhaust components, performance upgrades, growth in the catalytic converter market prompted by stricter emissions control, the need for diesel particulate filters due to heavy-duty emissions standards and coverage for the growing import vehicle car parc.

Trade press editors got a first-hand account of this initiative and a close-up look at Tenneco’s exhaust/emissions control manufacturing processes and products during a press conference held September 20, at Tenneco’s Aftermarket Emission Control facility in Harrisonburg, VA.

Underscoring the company’s continued investment in this challenging, yet promising, segment of the market, the conference included a tour of the Harrisonburg manufacturing facility, which currently is undergoing a significant expansion. The 80,000-square-foot addition will, for the first time, combine Walker manufacturing and distribution operations under one roof for faster response to changing market demands.

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“We’ve been reinforcing our market leadership over a period of several years, but this expanded infrastructure is the most obvious sign to aftermarket distributors and installers that Tenneco is investing in the exhaust category,” said Richard Alameddine, vice president of marketing, North American Aftermarket, Tenneco.

As Michael Peters, Harrisonburg plant manager, provided a tour of the 588,000-square-foot facility that produced 7.3 million exhaust units in 2005, he reiterated the benefits of Walker’s value package – quality products with exact fit every time (100% of its products are “fit-checked”), competitive prices, and best service and best SKU portfolio in the marketplace, in addition to providing customers with optimal exhaust sound and performance (including horsepower gains and fuel economy).

Beyond enhancing Walker’s primary facility, Tenneco has significantly expanded its coverage of the North American vehicle population, with more than 1,150 new product SKUs – including direct-fit mufflers, cat-back exhaust systems and catalytic converters – introduced since 2004, Alameddine added.

Tenneco also added 575 new exhaust SKUs to its Walker product line in 2006, including 137 premium Quiet-Flow direct-fit mufflers and welded assemblies and 123 direct-fit catalytic converters – providing 98% coverage of North American vehicles that are within the prime replacement age of 8 to 18 years, according to Frank Murkowski, marketing manager, North American Aftermarket emission control, Tenneco. Plans for 2007 include an additional 665 new SKUs.

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The Walker product line also includes extensive direct-fit coverage of the growing fleet of import vehicles, with more than 40% of new Walker Quiet-Flow premium mufflers and 39% of Walker SoundFX mufflers for these applications.

Bosch Showcases Future Automotive Technology; Launches New And Expanded Product Lines
Much has happened in the automotive world since Bosch entered the U.S. market a century ago. Innovations such as the first high-voltage spark plug (1906), the first electric windshield wiper system (1926), the first series-produced ABS system (1978) and the first platinum spark plug (1985) are just a few of the products and systems introduced by Bosch to its OEM customers and the aftermarket over the past 100 years.

But as Bosch looks to the future, it continues to search for new technologies for its OEM customers, and by extension, the aftermarket. Systems such as Adaptive Cruise Control, Electronic Stability Control and diesel engine management systems are already – or will soon be – common on the vehicles of today and tomorrow.

At a press event held at the Bosch Automotive Proving Grounds in Flat Rock, MI, in September, automotive journalists were able to get a first-hand look at some of these systems and products in real-world use. The Flat Rock facility is located near Detroit and allows Bosch engineers to work closely with their OEM counterparts in testing parts and systems for future makes and models.

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During the press event, Bosch also unveiled some new and expanded products for the aftermarket, which included a new line of advanced gasoline fuel injectors, a new premium spark plug, an expanded fuel pump program and a new “Bosch Diagnostics” program.

The new line of advanced gasoline fuel injectors for domestic and import vehicles covers millions of current vehicles operating in the U.S. These “EV6” injectors can be installed in domestic and import vehicles currently equipped with them, and interchanged with older-technology OE injectors in selected older vehicles.

Bosch also introduced the newest member of the Bosch premium spark plug family – Platinum Ir Fusion, which combines an iridium and platinum center electrode with Bosch’s exclusive surface air gap technology and yttrium-enhanced ground electrodes.

The plug features four yttrium-enhanced ground electrodes, providing exceptional performance life. The use of yttrium, when combined with nickel chromium, produces a more stable alloy with significantly improved resistance to spark wear from erosion and oxidation. On-road testing conducted by Bosch indicates ground electrode durability improvement of up to 87% versus ground electrode designs of nickel chromium alone.

The company also announced the expansion of its premium replacement OE modules and OE fuel pumps. The program includes OE electric turbine pumps for both current and older vehicles equipped with either turbine or positive-displacement-type fuel pumps.

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This new fuel pump program includes full coverage of in-tank electric modules, fuel pumps and fuel pump filter screens and covers more than 95% of vehicles currently equipped with electrical or mechanical pumps, along with the industry’s highest module and turbine coverage.

And finally, Bosch unveiled its newest diagnostic program, Bosch Diagnostics. As computers and electronics continue to capture greater control of today’s vehicle systems, the nature of automotive service is changing from what Bosch calls a “Market for Parts” to a “Market for Parts and Information.” As a result, Bosch and its Vetronix subsidiary developed the program, which includes OE quality parts, test equipment, diagnostic software, service training and technical support.

KYB To Launch ‘Feeling Is Believing’ Promo
This fall KYB is helping more people to experience the KYB difference by introducing its “Feeling is Believing” promotion. Service providers will earn certificates valid for $10 off future KYB purchases for every set of 2 KYB shocks or struts purchased and installed until Nov. 15. Additionally, KYB is rewarding the outside sales people working with participating service dealers with a gift card.

“By offering a second incentive to the outside sales people, we believe that we can help to increase communication between the manufacturer, distributor and service dealer,” stated KYB Director of Marketing and Training William “Mac” McGovern.

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For more information, log onto www.kyb.com.

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