ASA, NHTSA form safety alliance
WASHINGTON—The Automotive Service Association (ASA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have formed an alliance to promote the agency's Department of Transportation Auto Safety Hotline.
According to the ASA, consumers can contact the hotline to report safety defects in their vehicles that could lead to a recall. The hotline can be dialed toll free at (888) 327-4236.
NHTSA evaluates the problems that consumers experience with their vehicles, the ASA said, and determines if a recall and remedy by the manufacturer will be required. The hotline also has valuable safety information for consumers about air bags, child safety seats, tires, specific recalls, and general highway safety.
If an ASA member is interested in increasing public awareness of the hotline, NHTSA provides complementary posters, flyers and other literature that can be distributed to customers.
KYB expanding N.A. operations
ADDISON, Ill.—KYB America L.L.C., a major maker and marketer of gas shock absorbers and ride control components, is in an expansion mode.
The company recently opened a new 75,000-sq.-ft. facility in Addison that serves as its headquarters and Midwest warehouse, and has added a new 40,000-sq.-ft. warehouse in Mississauga, Ontario, to better handle its growing market in Canada,
The warehouse the company operates in Cypress, Calif., also has been doubled in size, to 70,000 square feet.
Rodger L. Wagner, vice president of sales and marketing, said an increasing market share in the overall shock replacement business, and the successful introduction of two new, high-performance product lines, "plus a shift from independent reps to factory-direct sales people, have all contributed to a strong sales performance for KYB.
"The need to accommodate our growth and better serve our customers has prompted us to expand our facilities."
Aftermarket U. now part of Northwood
LAS VEGAS—The "University of the Aftermarket," an educational alliance of three industry associations, has become an operating unit of Northwood University and will relocate from Kansas City, Mo., to Northwood's main campus in Midland, Mich.
The new relationship with Northwood, said Bob Raff, chairman of the University of the Aftermarket, "creates a synergy that will not only help expand the student body, but improve the quality of the education students receive, and thus improve the caliber of professionals working in the aftermarket."
The university was formed by the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA), the Automotive Warehouse Distributors Association (AWDA) and the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA). A joint operating committee of the school voted to transfer programs and employees to Northwood, which in turn will expand its services to the aftermarket.
Mr. Raff said the University of the Aftermarket's program has, in the last five years, grown from 250 students to more than 8,000. The university's goal is to develop and provide aftermarket business management education to the employees of association member companies and their customers.
Northwood is a private, accredited university specializing in managerial and entrepreneurial education. It offers two- and four-year degrees in a variety of enterprise fields, including Automotive Aftermarket Management.
It operates residential campuses in Michigan, Florida and Texas; the Margaret Chase Smith Library in Skowhegan, Maine; 31 University College outreach centers and locations throughout the U.S.; and international study programs abroad, principally in Europe.
Profit Pro joins with Wrenchead
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y.—Wrenchead Inc., a marketer of software-enabling technology for the automotive aftermarket, has joined forces with Profit Pro Inc., another automotive software firm.
Draper, Utah-based Profit Pro is a provider of catalog data, with more than 1.5 million aftermarket parts. Its products include automotive software, electronic parts cataloging and e-commerce technology. Wrenchead's products connect warehouse distributors and installers through what it called a "neutral and open environment, which enhances the flow of parts purchasing information." The company's investor group includes Polaris Venture Partners, Goldman Sachs & Co., WIT Capital, PaineWebber, CBS, and SFX Entertainment.
White Plains-based Wrenchead's business enabling software consists of Wrenchead Pro Manager, a turnkey shop management program for installers, and Wrenchead Pro Lite, a business-solution software program for installers that links them to current suppliers and permits installers to access required parts as well as check pricing and availability.
Wrenchead said the two companies have collaborated for more than a year and would mount an "aggressive rollout" of e-commerce products that will be shared with aftermarket partners.
E-commerce firms ease parts buying
NEW YORK—Autovia, which provides automotive aftermarket e-commerce applications for repair shops and parts distributors, has formed a partnership with iSalvage to provide integrated recycled-part procurement.
iSalvage is an Internet-based procurement network for recycled and remanufactured parts, primarily for the automotive market.
The union will offer customers a greater selection of new and used parts and ease the process for ordering recycled auto parts online, according to Autovia. Rod Georgiu, Autovia's founder and CEO, said the partnership expands his company's vast online parts database, allowing repair shops to "purchase all the parts they need—whether they're aftermarket or salvage parts—at one convenient site."
The iSalvage application will initially be available to Autovia customers by hyperlink, he said, but the eventual integrated application will allow repair shops, collision centers and dealers that use Autovia to search iSalvage for recycled parts availability and purchase parts directly.