Canadian Tire subsidiary adds auto parts chain
TORONTO—The PartSource division of Canadian Tire Corp. Ltd. has expanded westward with the purchase of an Edmonton, Alberta-based auto parts chain that operates under the Auto Village and Drivers names.
In June, Canada's largest hardgoods retailer, which in August 1999 launched an auto parts unit, acquired the nine stores owned by Wayne Scrivens. Auto Village has four Edmonton outlets as well as stores in Calgary, Alberta, and Saskatoon, Regina and Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.
The Drivers/Auto Village stores will continue to operate under those names during a transitional period before eventually becoming PartSource outlets. Bruce Allen, PartSource president, told the Edmonton Sun newspaper that Mr. Scrivens will become general manager responsible for Canadian Tire's parts operations in Western Canada.
Since its launch, PartSource has continued to grow toward its goal of spending $400 million to build 200 auto parts stores in Canada. It currently has 24 in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario.
Dana Corp. plans to sell Mr. Gasket operation
TOLEDO, Ohio—In order to focus more on its core businesses, Dana Corp. has announced plans to sell its aftermarket-focused Mr. Gasket Performance Group.
Dana, a Toledo-based parts supplier to vehicle manufacturers and their related aftermarkets, had sales last year of $13.2 billion. Larry McCurdy, president of Dana's Automotive Aftermarket Group, said the Mr. Gasket sale, in the long run, will allow that unit's operations and people "to grow with a new parent and enable Dana to focus on growing its core businesses."
Mr. Gasket manufactures and markets high-performance ignition components, fuel pumps, camshafts, rocker arms and chrome accessories sold under brand names including Hurst, Mallory, ACCEL, Hays, Lakewood, Erson, DFI and Mr. Gasket. The company, which reported sales of $72 million in 1999, employs about 360 people at its two facilities, in Carson City, Nev., and Cleveland. Over the last decade or more, Mr. Gasket has been sold several times.
Dana has retained the investment-banking firm Austin-Pierce Ltd. to assist in the transaction.
EPA report: Vehicle fuel economy dropping
WASHINGTON—Increased sales of sport-utility vehicles and other light trucks has depressed the average fuel efficiency of the U.S. light vehicle fleet to its lowest level in 20 years.
A new report by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) noted that vehicle fuel economy peaked in the mid-1980s and has been falling ever since. Fuel efficiency for the 1999 model year was 23.8 miles per gallon for all light vehicles, which includes passenger cars, minivans, pickup trucks and sport-utilities that weigh less than 8,500 pounds.
SUVs and other light trucks for that model year recorded an average fuel efficiency of 20.3 mpg, while cars came in at 28.1 mpg. The EPA report states that "the increasing market share of light-duty trucks, which have lower average fuel economy than cars, is the primary reason for the decline in fuel economy of the overall new light vehicle fleet."
However, according to the Automotive Service Association (ASA), critics of the report say that people still care about fuel economy, but the value of cargo space and other features overshadow fuel efficiency.
Fuel economy has been an issue on Capitol Hill for several years, the ASA said, noting that Congress has barred the Clinton Administration from tightening standards. Lawmakers, it added, have included the ban as an amendment to the Department of Transportation appropriations legislation while environmentalists have urged the president to veto the spending bill because of the restrictions.
ATC Technologies Corp., an e-commerce business based in Vancouver, British Columbia, has agreed to purchase the shares of Jendham Inc. in San Diego, a provider of On-board Diagnostic II (OBD II) automotive technical manuals and training for the U.S. automotive repair aftermarket.
Motor oil manufacturer Castrol North America Inc. has signed an agreement with OCH International Inc., the franchiser of Oil Can Henry's, to be a primary supplier of premium motor oil to that fast-growing quick lube chain, which has 50 outlets either open or under construction in Washington, Oregon, California, Utah, Arizona and Florida.
The company features a 20-point full-service oil change regimen that covers lubrication, replacement of vehicle fluids plus visual inspections.
Microsoft Corp. said its MSN CarPoint Web site recently surpassed its millionth registration of a "personal auto page"—a feature that allows drivers to build customized reference centers on the Internet for their cars.
The company offers those who register at www.carpoint.com the opportunity to save money on oil changes and tires, monitor the value of their cars and get detailed information on all their vehicle service and maintenance needs.