BETHESDA, Md.-The Automotive Parts & Accessories Association has tapped Arturo Lopez to lead the aftermarket's charge into Mexico. Mr. Lopez, formerly a technical services manager for Federal-Mogul Corp. in Mexico, becomes executive director of the APAA's U.S. Aftermarket Industry Latin America office in Mexico City.
The new office held its grand opening May 10.
Through the Mexico office, Mr. Lopez will assist APAA member companies in generating contacts with distributors and retailers, identifying sales opportunities and developing market research for Mexico and other Latin American countries.
The APAA predicts the Mexican aftermarket should grow from $10.7 billion in 1990 to $34.2 billion by 2000, with U.S. part suppliers experiencing significant sales south of the border.
Vehicle exports to Mexico, the APAA said, are projected to rise from 6,000 annually to 30,000 in the first year of the North American Free Trade Agreement's (NAFTA) implementation.
Consequently, the association predicted 12,000 to 17,000 new jobs will be created in the U.S. automotive supplier market in NAFTA's first year.
New device may curb brake-related accidents
PHILADELPHIA-Potential brake-related accidents could be abated by the development of a maintenance-free automatic wet tank drain valve which keeps pneumatic braking systems completely clear of moisture, oil and contamination.
The product's manufacturer, Sage International Corp., of Philadelphia, said its Dri Valve contains a safety feature that prevents a vehicle from operating if brake pressure falls below 80 psi.
It said the product complies with Department of Transportation regulations, and underwent three years of testing in various climates and temperature conditions.
Airbags ripe for ripoffs: easy prey, fietch big $$
DETROIT-Carmakers are facing a big problem with airbags and, frankly, they're stumped.
The bags are relatively easy prey for thieves looking to make a fast buck. Remove a couple screws, pull a wire, and the unit is out-a two-minute job, according to one automotive service shop owner.
The hot bags are sold to shops for anywhere from $20 to $200, compared to retail prices of from $400 to $2,000 for complete systems.
A Chrysler Corp. spokesman said its engineers are ``scratching their heads'' but don't have a firm solution yet. A Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. spokeswoman called the ripoffs an industrywide problem. Ford Motor Co. believes the problem is limited, but is trying to make its airbags more theft-proof.
Meanwhile, an insurance industry executive recommended shops play it safe and install new bags to protect themselves against multi-million dollar lawsuits.