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News Update: Adrian Smith Appointed GM of Brembo North America

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Brembo North America (BNA) recently appointed Adrian Smith as general manager of its North American operations with responsibility for its three offices in Costa Mesa, Detroit and Charlotte, NC. Previously, Smith served as technical director of Brembo SpA based in Curno, Italy, where he was responsible for a staff of 240 engineers and core engineering activities covering project management, design, prototyping and product development for Brembo’s entire product range.

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In his new position, Smith will be in charge of Brembo North American operations including the Aftermarket and High Performance groups based in California, the Original Equipment business unit in Detroit, and Brembo Racing located in Charlotte.

In other company news, Brembo SpA and Sabelt SpA, maker of racing seat belts and child safety products, have signed a letter of intent to integrate and develop their business operations in the area of components and special accessories for motor vehicles and motorcycles. A joint venture company, Brembo Performance SpA, will be formed and headquartered at Curno, Italy.

ALLDATA Releases New Updates
ALLDATA LLC has issued its quarterly release, adding more than 330,000 pages of factory-correct automotive service and repair information to its core product.

In addition, 2,294 new TSBs, totaling 7,963 pages, were added. The release reflects new and updated information from U.S., Asian and European auto manufacturers.

During the third fiscal quarter, ALLDATA addressed 5,600 customer requests for additional information. As a result, more than 72,000 service manual pages were reviewed and updated.

AIA HOLDS 19TH ANNUAL INDUSTRY AWARDS PROGRAM
The Auto International Association (AIA) segment of the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA) will hold its 19th AIA Industry Awards program at AAPEX 2007. The awards display area has moved to a new high-traffic location near the entrance to the Sands Expo Center upper lobby from the Venetian Hotel.

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The program, which is open to all exhibitors, has received acclaim from many industry leaders. “Two years ago, Bosal Exhaust was honored at the AIA Awards Program,” said Pat Suiter, Bosal USA, Inc. “We have always believed our products to be superior, but winning this award from AIA meant that an independent panel of industry experts agreed with us. This type of validation is only possible from other aftermarket professionals, and the AIA Awards Program can provide you with this opportunity.” “Effective communications is more important than ever in today’s complex automotive aftermarket,” said Pam Krebs, Robert Bosch LLC. “The AIA Industry Awards Program honors those companies whose work in marketing and communications exemplifies the very best in creativity, planning and execution. This AIA award is dedicated to recognizing excellence and is truly one of a kind.”

Registrants for six of the seven awards categories at press time include:

Best Overall Import Aftermarket Product: ANSA Automotive Parts Distributors, Inc., Bosal USA, Richporter Technology LTD, Ross-Tech LLC; Best New Product for Import Cars or Trucks: Philips Automotive Lighting N.A., Professional Tool Manufacturing, Purolator Filters NA LLC, Siemens VDO; Best Merchandising/ Advertising of a Product for Import Cars or Trucks: Gates Corporation, Philips Automotive Lighting N.A., Robert Bosch LLC; Best New Packaging of a Product for Import Cars or Trucks: Autopart International, Federal-Mogul, Gates Corporation, Purolator Filters NA LLC, Robert Bosch LLC; Best New Catalog of a Product Line for Import Cars or Trucks: Autopart International, Bosal USA; Best Website Presentation of a Product Line for Import Cars or Trucks: Bosal USA, Gates Corporation.

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Mitchell 1 To Sponsor 2008 Mitch’s World Column
Automotive repair solutions provider Mitchell 1 recently announced its sponsorship of the Mitch’s World column in the Babcox TechGroup magazines, Underhood Service, ImportCar and Brake & Front End, beginning with January 2008 issues. “This is a great opportunity for our company,” said Ken Young, vice president of sales and marketing for Mitchell 1.

“Mitch Schneider is a household name among shop owners and technicians in this business, who admire his candid commentary about the real-world issues facing today’s automotive repair businesses. We’re delighted to have our name associated with Mitch and his well-read Mitch’s World columns in the Babcox publications. We feel that it’s the perfect venue to help extend our reach into automotive repair facilities across the country.” Schneider echoes similar sentiments. “I’m excited that Mitchell 1 has chosen to sponsor the Mitch’s World columns next year. Mitchell 1 is a company we’ve all grown up with and we are both working hard to help shop owners and technicians better meet the challenges of diagnosing and repairing today’s sophisticated vehicles, and taking customer service levels to new heights.”

Promotion From Monroe Brakes Extended
Due to the unprecedented popularity of the Monroe Brakes “Slick Offer” promotion, Monroe Brakes has extended the offer through Dec. 31, 2007. The program rewards consumers with a mail-in rebate for the price of an oil change when they purchase a qualifying set of Monroe brake pads.

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Monroe brake pads are manufactured and marketed by Tenneco Inc., a global supplier of ride control, emission control, and noise, vibration and harshness control products for the original equipment and replacement markets.

“We started this program in June, and experienced an unparalleled level of support and success,” said Sheryl Bomia, North American Aftermarket programs manager for Tenneco. “The ‘Slick Offer’ drove repeat business to our service dealers’ oil change bays while giving consumers an extra incentive to have their brakes replaced or serviced, and it will continue to do that through the busy fall and winter service seasons.” Redemption forms are available at www.monroebrakes.com.

Aisin Announces Major Expansion
Aisin Automotive Casting Tennessee, Inc. announced a $67 million expansion to its Clinton, TN, facility, a move expected to add 160 jobs to its current workforce of 400 employees.

The announcement marks the third recent expansion by a top-10 auto parts maker in the Knoxville-Oak Ridge Innovation Valley. Denso, the largest manufacturing employer in the 16-county region, and Eagle Bend, a division of Magna International, are also expanding their operations there.

The region has evolved into a high-tech center for practical, automotive research. Aisin’s expansion bolsters the Innovation Valley’s auto supply sector, which now accounts for about 20 percent of the region’s manufacturing employment.

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“Aisin has locations around the world,” said Tim Thompson, president of the Anderson County Economic Development Association. “The decision to expand here shows how positive they are about the Innovation Valley’s workforce and business climate.”

AMI Announces 2007 Tom B. Babcox Memorial Scholarship Recipient
The Automotive Management Institute (AMI), in conjunction with Babcox Publications, recently announced Kim Walker, owner and marketing director, Peak Automotive, Apex, NC, as the recipient of the Tom B. Babcox Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship recognizes a management-oriented member of the Automotive Service Association (ASA) Mechanical Division. The recipient receives $1,000 to be applied toward expenses to attend AMI seminars offered during the Congress of Automotive Repair and Service (CARS) in Las Vegas, Nov. 1-3.

Walker has worked in the automotive service industry for three years and is currently working on completing the necessary requirements to earn the Institute’s Accredited Automotive Manager (AAM) designation. She is a member of ASA.

When not working in the shop, she contributes her time to various community and industry organizations, including serving on the Women’s Board of the Car Care Council and being an advisor for the “automotive advice for women by women” website, Ask Patty.

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Lean Manufacturing Bolsters Raybestos 1-2-3 Product Strategy
To help maintain current efficiencies and satisfy increased demand generated by its new 1-2-3 strategy, Affinia invested $3.5 million in an advanced lean manufacturing cell at its Stanford, KY, manufacturing facility for Raybestos brand disc brake pads.

The new system, designed and produced by Leinweber Maschinen in Austria, is more comparable to OE than traditional batch manufacturing systems. “Lean cell manufacturing gives us the ability to produce the large variety of product our customers need in the abbreviated lead times they have come to demand,” said John Feather, plant manager for Affinia’s manufacturing facility in Stanford.

Feather said there are four priorities when setting up any new manufacturing process for Raybestos brand products: safety, quality, throughput and efficiency. “This new process wholly satisfies all four priorities and we expect almost zero defects from the new manufacturing cell.” While the new cell will increase production capacity in Stanford by nearly 15%, it takes up less than 10% of the floor space.

ASE Unveils Enhanced Website Navigation
ASE has upgraded the Service Professionals section of the ASE website at www.ase.com. The section now features more streamlined navigation, with content organized more intuitively into key interest areas. The new hierarchy-based design facilitates easy access to the newly defined categories of Explore Certification, Register to Test, Prepare to Test and Other Programs.

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The redesign also enables quick access to the increasingly popular myASE service. Using myASE, service professionals can view certification status and history online, as well as update their mailing address, view test registrations and review work experience status.

Identifix Direct-Hit Reaches Vehicle Search Milestone
Identifix, a source of online and hotline vehicle diagnostic and repair information, announced that subscribers to the company’s Direct-Hit product looked up information on more than 50,000 vehicles in a single week. The number of vehicles looked up by Direct-Hit subscribers per week has doubled in the last 12 months.

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