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The AMN Week in Review (July 25-29, 2011)

The AMN Week in Review offers a snapshot of the most highly read stories of the week as seen on aftermarketNews. To access the complete stories, simply click on the highlighted links. If you missed reading one of our daily news emails, just click on the link that says “News Archives” at the bottom of the page to begin catching up on the latest industry news.

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Amy Antenora has been reporting on the automotive aftermarket since 2002.

AMN readers this week are keeping a close eye on the status of regulations surrounding the use of E15 — gasoline that contains up to 15 percent ethanol. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a final rule intended to minimize misfueling from use of E15. The final rule would prohibit the use of gasoline containing more than 10 percent ethanol on any vehicle, engines and equipment not approved by EPA for use of E15. Under two final rules issued by the agency late in 2010 and early in 2011, use of E15 was limited to only 2001 and later model year vehicles. Special warning labels have been developed and will be required for all dispensers of E15, in addition to several other requirements in the final rule. Read the full text of the final rule here.

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In other top news, the Automotive Distribution Network says it is on track to sell out early for its annual convention scheduled for Feb. 26-29, 2012, at the Wynn Las Vegas. According to Network President Mike Lambert, an unprecedented number of early registrants have already booked for the event, which is expected to be the group’s largest gathering to date. In anticipation of the large number of attendees, the convention’s manufacturers expo, featuring the latest aftermarket technology, products and services provided by the Network’s vendor partners, has been expanded to 50,000 square feet. In addition, the Network says it is signing more seminar speakers than ever, enabling guests at all levels of parts distribution to take advantage of these real-world training opportunities.

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From the manufacturing segment this week, AMN readers were interested in learning more details about Standard Motor Products’ second quarter results. Consolidated net sales for the second quarter of 2011 were $244 million, compared to consolidated net sales of $231 million during the comparable quarter in 2010. Lawrence Sills, Standard Motor Products’ chairman and CEO, said, "As we forecasted during our first quarter earnings call, our rate of sales increase moderated during the second quarter. Our first quarter increase of 23 percent benefited from a pre-season ordering program in Temperature Control, plus some buildup in customer inventories in other areas. As these inventories were absorbed, our sales increase in the second quarter moderated to 5.6 percent, leaving us with a still healthy 13 percent sales increase for the six month period.” SMP’s board also declared a quarterly dividend of 7 cents per share.

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At the distribution level, the most popular news of the week came from Epicor – the software giant that recently merged with Activant. Epicor announced that Canadian independent automotive parts distributor Warehouse Services Inc. (WSI) will implement the Epicor Eagle for the Aftermarket business management system in each of its five locations. The Eagle system is the next-generation solution for distributors and jobbers that want a powerful, easy-to-use Microsoft Windows-based platform for store operations, according to Epicor. A member of the Uni-Select network and ACDelco Dedicated Distribution Group, WSI operates an 80,000-square-foot warehouse and five stores that service hundreds of automotive installer locations in Edmonton and throughout Northern Alberta. In addition to implementing the Eagle solution, WSI will join other distributors that have switched to the Epicor suite of electronic catalog products, including the Epicor LaserCat 3 electronic catalog interface and Epicor Cover-to-Cover graphical electronic catalog module.

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Finally, for those of you stuck behind a computer monitor all summer – don’t give up hope. Federated Auto Parts wants to get you out from behind your desk and into the deep blue sea this winter. For a chance to join Federated spokesman and popular NASCAR driver Kenny Wallace on his annual Kenny Cruise 2011, become a fan of Federated Auto Parts on Facebook and enter the “Cruise the Caribbean with Kenny” contest. The seven-night cruise begins Dec. 4, departing from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., with stops scheduled at such locations as Falmouth, Jamaica, and Cozumel, Mexico, returning to Ft. Lauderdale on Dec. 11. Special highlights of the “Kenny Cruise” include a private cocktail party with Kenny, a remote control racing night and daily door prizes supplied by Federated and Kenny Wallace Racing.

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