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Aftermarket Update: April

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MEMA Releases Educational Counterfeiting Supplement
Distributors, retailers and automotive technicians looking for more information about automotive parts counterfeiting need to look no further. The Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA) recently released an informational supplement focusing on the issue counterfeiting in the auto parts industry.

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MEMA’s Counterfeiting publication was designed to serve as a resource guide for warehouse distributors, parts stores, retailers and technicians in the automotive aftermarket, as well as for parts distributors, fleet equipment and maintenance managers and service providers in the heavy-duty market. The full-color, 16-page supplement includes a comprehensive overview of the issue of counterfeiting, a glossary of terms, a list of crucial industry and government contacts and step-by-step directions on what you can do if you suspect you’ve come across a counterfeit product or a copyright, trademark or intellectual property right violation.

Produced by Babcox Publications, the supplement was distributed to more than 300,000 service professionals, being mailed with the February issues of select Babcox magazines, including Counterman, Underhood Service, ImportCar, Brake & Front End, Tire Review and Fleet Equipment.

If you missed the publication or would like more information, contact Paul Foley ([email protected]), vice president of MEMA/AASA at 919-406-8840 or e-mail [email protected]

ASA Announces CARS 2005 Chairman
Bedford, TX – The Automotive Service Association (ASA) has announced Don Seyfer, AAM, will serve as chairman of the 2005 Congress of Automotive Repair and Service (CARS). Seyfer is a longtime member of ASA and has held numerous industry and association leadership positions.

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CARS 2005 will be held Nov. 3-5 at The Mirage in Las Vegas. CARS is sponsored by ASA’s Mechanical Division and is an official event of Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week (AAIW) held annually in Las Vegas.

“With Don Seyfer’s dedication to ASA and the industry at large, you can count on CARS 2005 to offer the very best, and more of it. We design each day’s agenda to meet the specific needs of owners, managers and employees of automotive repair businesses. Accentuating this effort are the technical and management sessions available to CARS attendees.”

Seyfer started with four bays in his father’s garage in 1961. After three moves and steady growth through the years, he currently owns and manages Seyfer Automotive Inc. in Wheat Ridge, CO, with his son, Donny. Seyfer Automotive is an ASE Blue Seal of Excellence facility, a member of the Better Business Bureau and is AAA-approved.

Seyfer’s role as CARS chairman is backed by numerous credentials and long-term industry involvement. He has earned the Accredited Automotive Manager (AAM) designation from the Automotive Management Institute (AMI) and is ASE master and C1 certified with L1 credentials. He has served on the board of directors for the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence and is a past chairman of the board of trustees of its educational foundation, the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF). Seyfer also has served as chairman for the development of ASE and NATEF’s Continuing Automotive Service Education (CASE) program.

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Seyfer is a past NAPA Auto Care Council president and a current council member. He’s also a four-time NAPA/ASE Local Technician of the Year.

His many years of service to ASA include serving as director of the Mechanical Division from 1989 to 1994, as past president of ASA-Colorado, and several terms on ASA’s Mechanical Division Operations Committee. Seyfer also served on ASA’s board of directors for several years, and was ASA chairman from 1996 to 1997.

The theme of this year’s show is “Tool Chest for Success.” CARS will again offer cutting-edge technical training and AMI-approved management courses. The event also will feature an exhibitor showcase offering the latest in automotive products and services, and automobile manufacturers will be on hand to present new product technology seminars.

The Mirage is a change in venue for the event and will also be home to ASA’s Celebration of Excellence awards event Friday, Nov. 4. Additional information about CARS 2005, including schedules and online registration, will be available on the CARS website, www.CARSonline.org, as it becomes available.

AMI Accepting 2005 Tom B. Babcox Memorial Scholarship Applications
Bedford, TX – The Automotive Management Institute (AMI) announces its call for applications for the 2005 Tom B. Babcox Memorial Scholarship. AMI’s resource development effort, EXCEL, in conjunction with Babcox Publications, established the $1,000 scholarship, which is awarded annually to an Automotive Service Association (ASA) Mechanical Division member who strives to be, or is presently working, in a management capacity.

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The scholarship will be applied toward the recipient’s expenses to attend the 2005 Congress of Automotive Repair and Service (CARS) in Las Vegas, Nov. 3-5. CARS is sponsored by ASA and had record-breaking attendance in 2004. It offers an educational lineup of AMI seminars, technical courses and industry sessions, an exhibitor showcase and the opportunity to network with other automotive service professionals.

To be eligible for the award, the following requirements must be met: applicants must work in the mechanical repair industry; must demonstrate an interest in self-improvement through management education; must own or work for a business that is an ASA member in good standing; and, if the applicant is not the business owner, must be recommended by the business owner. AMI Trustees and their employees, and the Babcox Scholarship Selection Committee and their employees, are not eligible to apply.

To request a scholarship application, call AMI at 800-272-7467, ext. 239, or fill out a scholarship application online at www.amionline.org. Applications must be received by AMI on or before Aug. 15, 2005. The scholarship recipient will be notified by AMI on or before Sept. 6, 2005.

Protection Plus Program for Roadside Assistance
Woodland Hills, CA – Auto Road Services, Inc. (ARS), a provider of custom roadside assistance programs, has developed a new series called “Protection Plus.” Each “Protection Plus” series program is tailored to complement a specific aftermarket category. For example, the “Lubricant Protection Plus” program is packaged to include all basic services that roadside assistance encompasses: towing, tire change, jump start, fuel delivery and lock-out assistance. The program length for this category is 120 days, the same interval as the oil change for which the customer was awarded the benefit. To renew the benefit uninterrupted, the customer must then return for another oil change at the 120-day mark or suggested timeframe for such periodic maintenance.

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For more information on ARS’ “Protection Plus” roadside assistance programs, contact Joe Novak at 216-297-1389 or [email protected]

Siemens VDO Automotive Launches New Website
Allentown, PA – Siemens VDO Automotive has just launched a newly redesigned website for its Service & Special Solutions group in North America.

The new website address – http://sso-usa.siemensvdo.com – covers the company’s product offerings for aftermarket service and performance applications including replacement parts, instrumentation, and navigation systems, as well as instrumentation for the marine market.

The new website contains individual sections on all three of Siemens VDO Automotive brands – Siemens VDO, VDO and VDO Dayton. The site provides a complete overview and detailed information on each of the product lines which include Siemens VDO Blower & Fan Motors, Cooling Fan Assemblies, Power Window Systems, and Actuators. VDO Performance Instruments, VDO Marine Instrumentation, and VDO Dayton Audio and Navigation Systems. Online catalogs are provided for both VDO Performance and Marine Instrumentation along with a dealer locator, which can be searched by state.

Look up sections for Siemens VDO replacement parts features a parts application lookup by vehicle make, model, and year. Contact forms are provided for consumer and technical support along with links to international affiliates, career opportunities and upcoming events and trade shows.

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AAIA Legislative Summit Drives Home the Message
By Michael Freeze, Managing Editor, Counterman magazine Washington – With record numbers and spirited optimism, representatives from the aftermarket industry assembled in Washington, D.C., for the Aftermarket Legislative Summit held march 1 and 2. More than 250 attendees representing 37 states made the journey to the lobbying rally to discuss with members of Congress the issues that affect the aftermarket.

The Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA), along with other industry associations such as the Coalition for Automotive Repair Equality, the Automotive Warehouse Distributors Association, the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers and the Tire Industry Association, sponsored the event.

AAIA President and CEO Kathleen Schmatz spoke encouraging words to attendees before their congressional appointments March 2. “I sincerely believe that today could be the tipping point for the automotive aftermarket,” said Schmatz. “All of us have caught the ‘bug’ to fight for our industry. Today, about 250 compassionate, dedicated, committed individuals who represent our industry are going to have a big affect on the aftermarket’s future.”

The main focus during the summit was The Motor Vehicle Owner’s Right to Repair Act, which legally prevents vehicle manufacturers from restricting access to the information, parts and tools necessary to accurately diagnose, repair, re-program or install automotive replacement parts.

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Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) who also spoke during the summit, appeared confident about the passage of legislation that he will re-introduce to the 109th Congress.

“We will pass this bill this year,” said Rep. Barton, who is chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “This bill is in my committee’s jurisdiction; if I can’t move a bill out of my own committee, I’m not much of a chairman.”

Another issue discussed during the summit was proposed anti-counterfeiting legislation. Counterfeiting, in general, costs businesses in the U.S. $200 billion per year, as estimated by the U.S. Customs Service and Border Protection. It has especially damaged the sales and brands of many aftermarket suppliers. The 1984 Trademark Counterfeiting Act was established to prosecute those who dealt in counterfeiting. Through that act, knock-off goods were destroyed, but the equipment and materials used to make them were not required by law to be destroyed.

The proposed Stop Counterfeiting in Manufactured Goods Act of 2005 (H.R. 32) would tighten existing criminal sanctions against counterfeiters by mandating the destruction of equipment and materials used for making and packaging counterfeit goods.

Joe Knollenberg (R-MI), a sponsor of the bill, was on hand to explain the importance of the issue.

“Counterfeit automobile parts cost the [global] supplier industry over $12 billion annually,” said Rep. Knollenberg, whose congressional district, on the outskirts of Detroit, is home to various auto suppliers within the industry. “This will not just have an impact on the suppliers, but the whole aftermarket. You don’t want fakes on your shelves or in your shops. You want real product to build trust in your customers and that is the really what this is about.”

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Another topic during the Legislative Summit was association health plan legislation, written under the Small Business Health Fairness Act of 2005. This act, if passed, will allow small companies via trade and professional associations to obtain health benefits through small business health plans known as Association Health Plans.

Also on the summit agenda was asbestos litigation reform, which has placed an extreme burden on the aftermarket companies that manufactured products that contained asbestos. Companies throughout the industry have been battling lawsuits from those who worked in manufacturing facilities that made auto products containing asbestos or technicians who installed products that contained asbestos.

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