News Update: NAPA Chassis Trains, Certifies Technicians – UnderhoodService
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News Update: NAPA Chassis Trains, Certifies Technicians

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Participants in a four-day NAPA Chassis training class were provided with tips and techniques from NATEF-certified instructors to identify and solve problems while diagnosing and repairing late-model chassis and suspension systems.

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Held recently at NAPA’s training center, the clinic taught timesaving repair procedures, giving these techs the ability to be more proficient on newer vehicles. Many of the technicians commented on how effective the course was in refreshing previous ideas and how well the classroom portion was presented, allowing them to be more successful at their jobs.

Other course topics covered the reasons why four-wheel alignment is necessary on FWD cars. Tire wear and alignment problems on light-duty trucks and SUVs was also discussed, as well as electronic steering and suspension system diagnostic and repairing techniques.

All of the participants were awarded a plaque to display in their shop. Students who attended the training center completed an exam and demonstrated their ability in the training laboratory.

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AMI Announces 2007 Zurich ‘High Octane’ Scholarship Recipient
The Automotive Management Institute (AMI), in conjunction with Zurich, formerly Universal Underwriters Group, recently announced that Holly Carnes, owner of Steve’s Auto Repair, Tea, SD, is the recipient of the Zurich “High Octane” Scholarship. The scholarship recognizes a management-oriented member of the Automotive Service Association (ASA) Mechanical Division. The recipient received $1,000 to be applied toward expenses to attend AMI seminars offered during this year’s Congress of Automotive Repair and Service (CARS) in Las Vegas.

Carnes has worked in the automotive service industry for 15 years and has been a shop owner for the last five. She is currently working on completing the necessary requirements to earn the Institute’s Accredited Automotive Manager (AAM) designation. She is a member of ASA and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and is also active in her local church and schools.

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MAHLE Clevite Names New General Manager
MAHLE Clevite Inc. announces the appointment of Michael Tate to the position of general manager. Tate brings 26 years of aftermarket experience to MAHLE Clevite, most recently with SPX Service Solutions. In his new role, Tate will assume the management responsibilities for all North American Aftermarket activities for the MAHLE Group, which includes MAHLE Clevite Inc., MAHLE Clevite Canada, ULC and the Aftermarket division of MAHLE Componentes de Motores S.A. de C.V. He will report directly to Arnd Franz, director and general manager for MAHLE Aftermarket.

Bob Arlotta Named 2008 NAPA/ASE Tech of the Year
NAPA AUTO PARTS and the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) have named Bob Arlotta of Millington, NJ, the 2008 NAPA/ASE Technician of the Year.

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Arlotta was selected for the honor as a result of his 25 years of automotive experience, endless commitment and service to customers, continual dedication to his employees and leadership in the industry. Owner of Long Hill Auto Service in Millington, Arlotta is ASE certified in 26 different categories and is recognized as a Master Technician in the automotive, medium and heavy-duty areas. In 1997, Arlotta’s auto shop was recognized as an ASE Blue Seal of Excellence facility, as well as an approved auto repair business.

“From the time I was 17, I knew I wanted to own and operate my own auto repair facility,” said Arlotta. “My goal was to be the best in my field. I’ve strived for that goal daily and have never let go of my dream.”

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Beck/Arnley Introduces New Identity Campaign
Beck/Arnley has re-launched the Beck/Arnley brand to reflect the company’s mission of providing professional technicians with the crucial parts needed to repair foreign nameplate vehicles. The “You Just Know When Something is Genuine” identity campaign consists of a re-designed website, www.beckarnley.com, a new company tagline, GENUINE Foreign Nameplate Parts, an updated logo and an advertising campaign emphasizing the “You Just Know When Something is Genuine” theme.

BWD Announces ‘Ready to Ride’ Sweepstakes
The BWD Automotive “Ready to Ride” sweepstakes promotion for automotive technicians runs through Nov. 30. Visit www.bwdbrand.com/challenge to answer five questions about BWD by looking through the company’s updated website, and qualify to be an instant winner of a BWD NASCAR Performance hat. Participants can be an instant winner only once, but they can enter as many times as they’d like to increase their chances of winning the grand prize of a Honda ATV or one of 10 Garmin portable GPS navigators.

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Auto Value/Bumper to Bumper Advisory Councils Brainstorm in San Antonio
Auto Value and Bumper to Bumper recently hosted its seventh-annual National Advisory Councils in San Antonio for its parts stores and certified service centers.

The purpose of the Advisory Councils is for council members to examine the industry within their own markets, review national programs and help plan for the future. Council members also serve on their local advisory councils representing other Auto Value/Bumper to Bumper members. Warehouse distributors nominate members that must meet specific criteria to be eligible to serve on these elite assemblies of aftermarket professionals.

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According to Steve Marks, senior vice president of marketing/advertising for Auto Value/Bumper to Bumper, one of the main issues both councils want to focus on in the future is bringing their communications into the “electronic age.”

“We looked at three- to five-year plans, and where we want to be in the future,” said Marks. “We’re going to increase our Internet marketing presence at both levels — the stores and service centers — and we plan to shore up our communications downstream, moving a lot of our communications to electronic rather than paper.”

ZF Appoints Benz, Kleiner To Key EXECUTIVE Appointments
ZF named Matthias Benz head of the global ZF Sales and Service Organization (SSO). He had been CFO of ZF Group North American Operations and will be replaced in that position by Franz Kleiner.

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Benz joined ZF in 1991 and has held several positions within the company in Germany and North America. In his new position, he will be located at the ZF headquarters in Friedrichshafen, Germany, and will be responsible for all sales and service activities for ZF worldwide, including the aftermarket.

Kleiner joined ZF in 2006 and is currently the CFO for the ZF Car Chassis Technology Division within North America. He will continue these responsibilities in his new position. Prior to joining ZF, he was the CFO Central Region for Nortel.

Identifix Celebrates 20th Anniversary
Identifix is celebrating 20 years of servicing independent repair shops. Incorporated in August 1987, the company went live with its repair hotline Jan. 2, 1988, with four employees. It has since evolved into a source for knowledge of what breaks on vehicles, which vehicles it breaks on and how to correctly fix those vehicles. Its staff has grown to 41 master technicians with more than 1,000 years of combined diagnostic experience.

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Founder Bill Sauer was a service station dealer for eight years, then designed and built a diagnostic center that he sold after four years. He started an equipment sales company that sold oscilloscopes, dynos, infra-reds and other test equipment. As part of those equipment sales, he wanted shops to use the equipment well and properly, which inspired him to provide technician onsite shop training. This was in the mid-1970s, when electronic ignition was a new technology; he discovered that the technicians had little knowledge of electronic ignition and lacked understanding of ignition theory.

“I coined a saying back then, ‘You can’t tell what is wrong, if you don’t know what is right.’ This, of course, holds so very true today. I strongly felt that techs should understand the theory of operation,” Sauer said.

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Federated Announces New Training Initiative Aimed at Technicians
Federated announced a new training initiative to provide professional service providers with business management techniques to improve profits and enhance customer satisfaction, according to Phil Moore, vice president of marketing for Federated Auto Parts.

The Federated Profit Improvement Seminar Program, which was developed in association with Affinia and the Essential Actions Design Group, consists of field training coupled with workbooks and an interactive CD that allows for benchmarking of statistical data and development of profit plans specific to each service providers’ business.

“This new training program is another example of the great tools Federated provides its customers to help them succeed in today’s competitive marketplace,” said Affinia’s Mike Allen. “Our goal is to help the service provider customers see that making small changes in how they do business every day can make a big difference to their bottom line.”

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The training program is currently being conducted through test groups with a planned expanded rollout later in the year. For more information, contact your local Federated jobber or Affinia sales representative.

Curtis Air Compressors’ Distributors can win Daytona 500 trip
Six lucky customers will win an all-expense paid trip to the most exciting event in car racing history — the 50th running of the Daytona 500 on Feb. 17, 2008.

The winning prize package includes round-trip air tickets from the home base of each winner, three nights’ lodging at the Hilton Garden Inn in Orlando, FL, tickets to the race in the Weatherly Box on Feb. 16 and tickets in the Lockhart Tower on Feb. 17.

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As part of Curtis Air Compressors’ year-long “Discover Curtis” promotion, distributors earn points by selling the company’s “Ultra Pak” air compressors to win the grand prize. In August 2007, six winners were treated to an all-expense paid trip to the Brickyard 400 in Indianapolis.

AMRA Announces Retirement of Larry Hecker in 2008
The Board of Directors of the Automotive Maintenance and Repair Association (AMRA) announce the pending retirement of the organization’s executive director and president, Larry Hecker, effective June 30, 2008. Hecker will also be retiring from his leadership post at the Motorist Assurance Program (MAP), a subsidiary of AMRA, at the same time.

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AMRA and MAP have been instrumental in developing communication standards and best business practices that are followed by all members of AMRA and their MAP participating automotive service facilities. Since the organization was founded in 1994, Hecker, working closely with state regulators and consumer advocacy groups, has led AMRA and MAP in efforts to improve relations with automotive repair customers and regulators through the establishment of consistent explanations regarding vehicle repair needs and recommendations.

“Larry has provided strategic direction and focus on the core goals of both AMRA and MAP,” said Jack Fischbein, board chairman of AMRA. “The aftermarket repair industry has gained increased respectability among consumers as a result of his efforts.”

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Mitchell 1 and WHI Announce Product Integration
Mitchell 1 has integrated its Shop Management System with WHI (formerly Wrenchead), an e-business solution provider to the wholesale distribution and retail markets, to provide e-commerce capabilities to benefit service providers through increased efficiency and productivity.

WHI’s Nexpart Link e-commerce module allows Mitchell 1 users to place orders online with more than 4,000 parts distributor locations already integrated into the Nexpart Network. The integration highlights the release of Mitchell 1’s new Manager SE next-generation shop management system.

“This new integration exemplifies Mitchell 1’s ongoing commitment to connect service providers with the parts providers of their choice,” said Nick DiVerde, general manager of Mitchell 1’s Shop Management Solutions. “Integrating with WHI’s Nexpart Link allows us to improve our product, which enhances our customers’ productivity and profitability.”

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