CARB approves diagnostic II regs
BETHESDA, Md.-The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has approved a series of regulations that open up access to vehicle on-board diagnostic II systems.
CARB now requires that car makers permit independent aftermarket access to all service information and tools necessary to provide service and parts for late-model vehicles equipped with the onboard system.
According to the Bethesda-based Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA), the regulations put into action requirements enacted in September 2000 as part of state senate bill that was supported by the industry's Automotive Parts and Service Alliance.
That group, according to the AAIA, was particularly satisfied that the CARB board rejected attempts by vehicle makers to obtain provisions that would have expanded their ability to protect trade secrets and would have limited access to many of the enhanced diagnostic capabilities available in aftermarket tools.
The implementation date for the new regulations is Jan. 1, 2003.
iATN offers techs online chat room
BREA, Calif.-The International Automotive Technicians' Network (iATN) is hosting a weekly online event for automotive technicians.
Every Tuesday evening during ``TechNight,'' iATN said, techs from around the world meet online for a live conferencing event and virtual classroom.
Service professionals interact and exchange technical information and knowledge in real-time on specific topics chosen prior to the weekly event, which begins at 7 p.m. Pacific Standard Time.
Topics for upcoming TechNights are announced on the organization's Technical Theory Forum to give techs time to prepare for the discussion and gather any supporting images, waveforms and photos to upload to the online group.
Technical topics for the classroom discussion have included scan data analysis, ignition systems, diagnostic challenges, fuel system diagnosis, heavy line issues, pressure transducers for diagnostics and air-conditioning service.
The iATN said it's common for vehicle manufacturer and government agency representatives to join TechNight discussions when topics focus on specific vehicles, new vehicle designs and government regulations.
To participate, automotive service professionals must first register for the free service by joining iATN as a regular member. Membership requires at least four years of full-time work experience or certification by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE).
The iATN has more than 36,000 automotive technicians, repair shop owners and other allied service professional as members in 115 countries. For more information, contact the group at (714) 257-1335, or access its Web site at www.iatn.net.
SEMA applauds emissions law
WASHINGTON-The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) is claiming victory in a bill recently signed into law by Texas Gov. Rick Perry that allows counties to incorporate voluntary emissions-system repair and upgrades into their inspection and maintenance programs as an option available to qualified motorists.
Under the new law, the state will help certain car owners who wish to voluntarily repair and upgrade their vehicles to comply with state emission requirements.
Vehicles qualifying for the program must have failed an emissions test and be functionally operational and registered in a county implementing the program for at least two years, SEMA said.
Vehicles registered as classic and those not regularly used for transportation are not eligible for the new program, which will receive primary funding from fees collected through mandated emissions inspections.
``SEMA is optimistic that the upgrade option it convinced legislators to adopt and fund will steer motorists away from the state's vehicle scrappage program,'' said Steve McDonald, SEMA director of government affairs.
``Data has shown that voluntarily upgrading older vehicles with newer technologies can be roughly twice as cost effective as scrapping vehicles,'' Mr. McDonald added.
The Diamond Bar, Calif.-based association has historically fought attempts to mandate vehicle scrappage programs by seeking more cost-effective alternatives that save classic and restored vehicles-an area in which many SEMA members are involved.
Two parts firms agree on merger
ROANOKE, Va.-Advance Auto Parts and Discount Auto Parts Inc. have signed a definitive agreement for Advance to purchase Discount.
As a result of the merger, Discount shareholders will own about 13 percent (approximately 4.3 million shares) of the total shares outstanding of the combined firm, which will become a public company and be renamed Advance Auto Parts Inc.
Larry Castellani will remain as chief executive of Advance while Peter Fontaine, chairman and CEO of Discount, will become a member of the new company's board.
Combined, the two parts chains operate 2,420 stores in 38 states. A joint press release said that management believes significant benefits will be obtained through purchasing and distribution efficiencies and other expense savings that could total $30 million annually.
``Discount Auto Parts provides Advance with a solid position in the Southeast, a leading presence in the important state of Florida, and an emerging, sound commercial delivery operation,'' Mr. Castellani said.
The deal, Mr. Fontaine said, offered Advance the opportunity ``to merge with a company that was very similar to ours, from its roots in family ownership and its culture, to its store format and customer demographic.''
Advance, based in Roanoke, is the nation's second-largest auto parts chain. Lakeland, Fla.-based Discount is a specialty retailer and supplier of automotive replacement parts, maintenance items and accessories to both DIY consumers and professional technicians.