Published on August 1, 2014

Hybrid Shop continues growth; Crawford joins firm as new CEO

(Tire Business file photo)
Dave Crawford

GAINSVILLE, Va. (Aug. 1, 2014) — The Hybrid Shop L.L.C. (THS), just formed last year, continues to charge up its business at a rapid pace.

THS announced that tire industry veteran Dave Crawford has become its chief executive officer, with the company’s founder and former CEO, Matt Curry, continuing on with the company as chief visionary officer.

Mr. Crawford has more than 40 years’ experience in the automotive industry, THS said, including holding executive-level positions at organizations spanning all business levels, including retail, franchises and the operation of multi-location service centers.

His background includes operations, management and marketing, which will be “critical to taking THS to the next level of growth and global expansion.”

Most recently he was vice president of operations for American Tire Distributors Holdings Inc. and its Tire Pros dealer network.

Mr. Crawford also has been active in several leading industry groups and publications as a speaker, THS said, contributing author to the trades, along with positions on the boards of directors in industry organizations, such as the Tire Industry Association.

Mr. Curry said Mr. Crawford “brings a wealth of industry experience and a robust strategy to drive THS’ continued growth and success. We are thrilled for him to join our team.”

Mr. Curry and his wife Judy operated Curry’s Auto Service Inc. in Gainesville, Va., before selling the chain of 10 retail tire stores in Virginia and Maryland — with combined annual sales of about $15 million — in late 2013 to Monro Muffler Brake Inc.

Gainsville-based THS said Mr. Crawford’s key goals as CEO will include a continued focus on attracting progressive dealers worldwide and ensuring the organization’s foundational structure is consistently up to the task of supporting, maintaining and driving THS’s ongoing growth in the future.

Mr. Crawford said that, “to me, this new role is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to lead the larger industry in the cutting-edge technology in the burgeoning hybrid market.

“The possibilities are virtually limitless for the growth THS can achieve in the future, in helping to drive success among key dealers worldwide.”

International expansion

With 19 dealers and 32 outlets already on board domestically, the company is looking for international growth.

“I recently visited potential dealers in Japan, Canada and Australia, so I think my favorite thing will be opening our first international location,” Mr. Curry told Tire Business.

With Mr. Curry’s new role, he said his focus is on growing the company internationally. Australia and Canada will be first, with a push to Asia afterward.

Looking over the past year, Mr. Curry said the excitement at the company’s booth at last year’s Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show in Las Vegas, along with opening 25 locations in under a year, were some of the highlights for him.

“But the biggest thing I’m proud of is the quality of dealers in our dealer network,” Mr. Curry said, “and seeing the fact firsthand how we are helping to drive customers, car counts and profits for our dealers is super exciting.”

He said he thinks THS has “the best dealers on the planet, no question.

“I’m amazed every time I visit them — really high quality businesses and people.”

Mr. Curry said that with most dealers, THS is just a “bolt-on” to their existing business.

“Every dealer is a partner with us, we give them equipment, training and tools they need to get into the hybrid business,” he said.

“We teach them how to diagnose, service, maintain and repair everything on hybrid vehicles and give them ongoing operational, technical, marketing and branding support.”

(Tire Business file photo)
Matt Curry

Looking down the road five to 10 years, Mr. Curry said growth and “worldwide domination as the thought leaders of all things hybrid and electric car technology” is the company’s plan and focus.

“Mark Quarto is constantly in the lab doing R&D, inventing and improving processes and procedures,” he said, referring to one of the founders of Automotive Research & Design L.L.C. of Port Angeles, Wash., a partner in the THS venture.

Mr. Quarto is the firm’s chief technology officer and inventor of the battery discharger unit, which allows dealerships to recondition rather than replace hybrid vehicle batteries.

A long-time veteran of General Motors Co., Mr. Quarto spent 16 years working on advanced vehicle development for the auto maker as an engineer and engineering group manager, according to THS’s website. His responsibilities included management and development of control, diagnostics systems and service solutions for the Chevrolet Volt.

THS said that as a “company based in science, everything we do is based in sound scientific fact. We are constantly working to improve the hybrid vehicle ownership experience.”

The company said it provides an environmentally friendly, cost-saving solution that virtually eliminates the need for battery replacement in hybrid-electric vehicles.

An underperforming hybrid battery can result in decreased fuel economy and torque, according to THS, leading to significant battery replacement costs, amounting to as much as $4,000-$9,000.

The ability to restore—as opposed to replace—a hybrid vehicle’s batteries is a critical element in the environmental sustainability of these services. In addition to battery conditioning, THS said it can diagnose, repair and maintain all the electrical systems on a hybrid, as well as all traditional vehicle systems.

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To reach this reporter: jkarpus@crain.com; 330-865-6143. Twitter -- @jenniferkarpus

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