SKOKIE, Ill.Federal-Mogul Motorparts, a division of Federal-Mogul Holding Corp., has launched Garage Gurus, an extensive network of technical training and product support resourcesincluding multiple training facilitiesdesigned to provide its service shop customers with a com-petitive edge.
The Southfield, Mich.-based automotive supplier called Garage Gurus a first-of-its-kind comprehensive technical education platform that offers onsite, online and on-demand training for technicians, service writers and shop owners. The program, which debuted in April, is a key element of the firm's Tech First initiative aimed at strengthening the automotive service industry's support of repair and maintenance professionals.
As part of the program, Federal-Mogul has opened four regional Garage Guru training centers, located in the Bronx area of New York; St. Louis; Skokie; and Van Nuys, Calif. The firm expects to open 15 centers with a combined reach of more than 67,000 automotive repair shops by year-end.
Federal-Mogul invited hundreds of Chicago area repair professionals to attend the April 14 grand opening of its 15,000-sq.-ft. Skokie training center, which featured a guest appearance by reality TV star Danny The Count Koker, host of the History Channel's popular Counting Cars series. In addition, nationally recognized graffiti artist Antonio Shades Agee was commissioned to tag one of the center's classrooms.
Dan Ninivaggi, CEO of Federal-Mogul Motorparts and co-CEO of Federal-Mogul Holding Corp., told Tire Business that training is core to everything we do.
We've got to be on the ground with installers and repair shops, he said. Our job is to make them successfulit's the bread-and-butter of our business.
Each new facility will be staffed by more than 100 ASE-certified Gurus, Federal-Mogul said, teaching an extensive curriculum that features more than 100 diagnostic and repair courses. The training centers will include multiple vehicle repair/training bays that will be equipped with the latest diagnostic tools to be used during Gurus Onsite workshops.
In addition, Federal-Mogul will offer Gurus-On-The-Go field clinics featuring Web-connected product technology vans that will operate out of each training facility and visit repair shops in their respective regions. Other support features include the Gurus On-Demand mobile app, Gurus Online e-learning modules and webinars and Gurus On-Call telephone and e-mail tech lines.
Mr. Ninivaggi said a supplier-run training network on this scale is unprecedented.
All the customers and the repair shops say they want training, but very few suppliers have stepped up to do it the way we're doing it, and we're doing it not just in the training centers, he told Tire Business. We do it in St. Louis with our national training facility, we're doing it online, we're doing it through the training vans and we're going into workshops. We're doing it in a way that makes it convenient and accessible to repair shops.
Federal-Mogul said Garage Gurus and other Tech First initiatives are designed to support automotive parts distributors by servicing their customers and communicating the importance of selecting high-quality replacement parts from reputable partners. But the new training program is also meant to help build relationships.
We sell to basically every major distributor in the country already, Mr. Ninivaggi said.
It's really not about selling more, it's about getting a closer relationship with the end-customer, the repair shops and the installers, and reinforcing our products, our brands, our services and making their businesses successful.
If you make their businesses successful, good things will happen.
Announced in conjunction with the opening of its first training centers, Federal-Mogul said it will award $30,000 in scholarships to qualified full-time and part-time students studying to become professional technicians.
Through the program, Garage Gurus will award 12 scholarships worth $2,500 each for the 2015-2016 academic year. Applications are being accepted through June 30, and recipients will be announced July 10.
Applicants for the 2015-2016 scholarships must be enrolled on a full-time or part-time basis in an accredited, U.S.-based automotive tech-nical school, college or university, Federal-Mogul said. Scholarship awards will be based on completed applications, written essays or videos describing Why I want to be a top technician, along with other criteria.
All applications and related materials will be reviewed by Federal-Mogul Motorparts employees and its team of ASE Master Certified Garage Gurus, the company said. More information on the scholarship requirements and the application process can be found at the Garage Gurus websitewww.FMgaragegurus.com/scholarship.
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