Tenneco: Record sales in '04
LAKE FOREST, Ill.-Tenneco Automotive Inc. reported net income of $13 million in 2004 on record sales of $4.21 billion, up from $3.77 billion in 2003.
For the fourth quarter, Tenneco reported a net loss of $21 million as sales rose 14.8 percent to a record $1.1 billion. Excluding restructuring and other items, Tenneco would have posted a net gain of $8 million in the period. In 2003's fourth quarter, the automotive parts supplier reported a net loss of $2 million.
In 2005, Tenneco plans to manage costs aggressively, adjust its business to the market and grow revenues by expanding in new markets and winning new business with advanced technology offerings. Tenneco hopes to generate at least $300 million in new business annually.
The company expects steel costs to rise $30 million to $50 million this year. Tenneco said it expects to mitigate the impact of higher costs by implementing a restructuring plan announced in the fourth quarter to generate $20 million in annual savings, among other savings initiatives.
N.J. man NAPA's tech of year
ATLANTA-NAPA Auto Parts and the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) have named Jeff Walker, owner of Walker's Automotive Services in Pleasantville, N.J., their ``technician of the year.''
The annual award from NAPA and the ASE recognizes an automotive service technician who ``exemplifies excellence and achievement in the industry.'' The winner is selected by a panel of former winners, automotive trade media and ASE representatives.
Mr. Walker has worked in the industry 32 years, starting with a job pumping gas in 1972 at age 16. He opened his own business in 1994, first leasing two bays at a gas station before opening his own eight-bay facility less than two years later.
A recertified Master ASE technician, Mr. Walker said the award ``is something I've aspired to during my career and winning it means I've begun to realize some of the goals I set for myself.''
Race promos launched
MONROE, Mich.-Sales of Monroe-brand shocks and struts and Walker exhaust products are the lynchpins in ``Ready2Race'' promotions offered by Tenneco Automotive Inc.
The spiff program is open to aftermarket professionals, who can earn free $25 retailer gift cards, be eligible for weekly $500 cash drawings and enter a NASCAR ``Total Pit Crew Experience'' running March 1-31. To qualify, participants are required to sell 10 pairs of qualifying Monroe Sensa-Trac and/or Monroe Reflex shocks or struts, or five Walker and/or DynoMax cat-back exhaust systems.
Monroe-based Tenneco said the pit crew event includes an expenses-paid package to the 2005 GM-UAW 500 Nextel Cup race at Lowe's Motorspeedway, Concord, N.C.
For more details contact a Monroe or Walker supplier or write to: Monroe/Walker Promotions, Tenneco Automotive, One International Drive, Monroe, Mich. 48161.
New software has vendor options
POWAY, Calif.-The latest version of Mitchell 1's Manager/Manager Plus Version 5.7 offers a selection of parts vendors and catalogs.
The company, based in Poway, said the software includes the industry's ``three premier parts providers''-NAPA, Carquest and O'Reilly Auto Parts. New key features in the package include support for three new high-speed Internet connections to order directly from those three as well as other parts vendors; new high-speed connectivity for any distributor using ``AconneX'' technology; a Web button providing wider access to Mitchell 1 support options like ``Manager Online Forum''; and a 350-page user guide that can open from Manager via the help menu.
Easy access to customer retention management marketing tools and report options provide improved customer statistics at a glance, according to Mitchell 1. Those include items such as lifetime dollars spent; number of lifetime invoices; invoice dollar average; average number of yearly visits; and last visit date.
For more information, visit the company's Web site at www.mitchell1.com or call (888) 724-6742, ext. 6313.
KYB site opens in Mexico City
ADDISON, Ill.-Aftermarket shock and strut supplier KYB America L.L.C. has opened a warehouse facility in Mexico City for distribution of the company's full line of ride control products to markets in Mexico and Central and South America.
Mike Howarth, KYB senior vice president, claimed the Addison-based company has made ``tremendous gains in market share in the North American aftermarket,'' and the new warehouse should help KYB boost its market share in Mexico as well as Central and South America and enhance its relationship with the OE market in Mexico.
The new center, KYB LatinoAmerica, will be a subsidiary of KYB.
Internet access in bays pays
BEDFORD, Texas-A recent membership survey by the Automotive Service Association (ASA) concluded, among other things, that it pays off for auto service shops to have Internet connections in their service bays.
The ASA said its 2004 ``How's Your Business?'' survey found a correlation between annual sales and having online access. For example, 19 percent of mechanical businesses with annual sales of $100,000 to $250,000 have service bay Internet access, the Bedford-based association reported in its AutoInc. magazine. But 71 percent of the mechanical shops that have service bay online access have annual sales between $1.5 million and $2 million, it added.
ASA research found that the same correlation between sales and Internet connectivity in service bays didn't seem to have the same impact on collision repair shops.
Of those responding to the annual survey, ASA said 84 percent of mechanical shops and 96 percent of collision shops reported they have Internet access in their front offices.
ASA mailed 1,000 surveys to randomly selected mechanical-and an equal number of collision-repair businesses, with nearly 40 percent of the former and 30 percent of the latter replying. The survey's purpose was to provide an accurate benchmark for business owners and those interested in the industry, ASA said.
Va. kills altered-height vehicle bill
DIAMOND BAR, Calif.-The Virginia State Legislature has killed legislation that would have included height-altered pickup or panel trucks under the scope of vehicles required to maintain a bumper height within the range of 14 to 22 inches.
The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) opposed the legislation.
In a letter to bill sponsor Sen. Harry Blevins, R-Dist. 14, SEMA argued that the measure would have banned reasonably altered vehicles due to overstated concerns with bumper mismatch. The trade group noted the bill also would have forced owners of many modified vehicles to spend large sums of money to reinstall original components and banned useful alterations that provide adequate clearance for on-/off-road capability and accommodate heavy loads, larger tires, improved suspension and water-fording capability. In addition, SEMA said the bill did not account for new vehicles coming off the assembly line with bumper heights significantly higher than 22 inches.
SEMA said it regularly participates in the development of vehicle equipment legislation and regulations in the states and has extensive experience concerning the regulation of vehicle suspension modifications. It supports reasonable and relevant regulations at both the state and federal levels, consistent with the current model policy of the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA).
``However, by this bill, Virginia appeared poised to impose restrictive vehicle bumper height requirements on these trucks without substantiating that the legislation would improve highway safety or provide other tangible benefits,'' SEMA said.