The investigation into the safety of using the new mobile A/C refrigerant HFO-1234yf continues. According to a report shared by our sister publication Underhood Service, Volkswagen is the latest automaker to put its proverbial foot down when it comes to using the refrigerant. Citing videos and tests showing the flammability of 1234yf, Volkswagen head Ferdinand Piech told journalists that “The right refrigerant is CO2. It does not burn for sure. Until this comes, we will continue using the proven refrigerant R134a.” His comments follow Daimler’s announcement on Sept. 25 that it would stop using HFO-1234yf.
In conjunction with this news, the SAE International Cooperative Research Program (CRP) was launched by the automotive industry to further analyze the safety of the new refrigerant. The participants in the 2012 R1234yf CRP include Audi, BMW, Chrysler, Daimler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Mazda, PSA, Renault and Toyota.
Meanwhile, in other news from the manufacturing sector, Exide Technologies announced it will idle its lead recycling operations at its Reading, Pa., facility, by the end of March 2013. The company will continue to operate its plastics recycling business at the Reading facility, however. According to Exide Americas President Paul Hirt, the decision was based on a number of factors, including the dramatic swings in the lead market and the high capital investment needed, due to regulatory requirements, to remain operational in Reading.
Financial reports from two major industry players also were among the most-read news items on AMN this week. Quebec-based Uni-Select reported sales of $463.4 million in the third quarter of 2012, compared to $472.5 million for the same period in 2011. Uni-Select said the 1.9 percent decrease in sales for the quarter is mainly due to a temporary slowdown in the industry, particularly in the Northeast.
Additionally, UCI Holdings Limited, parent company of UCI International, announced results for the third quarter ended Sept. 30, 2012. UCI’s net sales of $249.8 million for the quarter were down $4.4 million, or 1.8 percent, compared to the same quarter in 2011. The company reported that net sales increased in the OES (new car dealer service) and OEM channels, declined in the retail and heavy-duty channels, and were flat in the traditional channel.
Last in our recap of the week’s top news on AMN comes word from Continental Commercial Vehicles & Aftermarket that it has been selected by Federated Auto Parts as a new distributor for its VDO REDI-Sensor Multi-Application TPMS Sensors. VDO REDI-Sensor TPMS Sensors will be offered as part of the Federated Co-Man program, which is distributed out of the member-owned Federated Co-Man Warehouse in Staunton, Va.