The Week in Review (Dec. 8-12, 2008) - aftermarketNews

The Week in Review (Dec. 8-12, 2008)

The 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.

While it was nearly impossible to come across a newspaper, news website or televised newscast that didn’t address the Detroit 3 automakers’ defeat in Washington yesterday, this was not among the most-viewed articles on AMN this week.

Leading off our review of the top five most popular news items this week is the announcement of Les Schwab’s new corporate headquarters. The tire retailer’s new HQ in Bend, Ore., officially opened last month. More than 100 employees relocated to the 123,000-square-foot office building. In conjunction with the move, Les Schwab announced the appointment of three new senior management executives: new CFO John “Jack” Cuniff; chief marketing officer Dale Thompson; and Ken Edwards in the role of vice president, Supply Chain Management.

Quarterly results from some of the nation’s top auto parts retailers were also of high interest this week. Pep Boys reported third quarter sales of $464.2 million, down from $528.8 million in Q3 2007. CEO Mike Odell said sales and operating results were impacted by the decrease in miles driven and the general reduction in consumer spending.

AutoZone, which this week released its first quarter results for the 12 weeks ended Nov. 22, has reported a slight increase in net sales. AutoZone reported net sales of $1.5 billion for its first quarter (12 weeks) ended Nov. 22, up 1.6 percent from fiscal first quarter 2008. Bill Rhodes, chairman, president and chief executive officer, said sales early in the quarter were impacted by the disruption caused by Hurricanes Gustav and Ike, however beginning in October, sales became more consistent with recent quarterly performance.

In other news, Dorman has introduced a new way for customers to stay up to date on its latest product offerings. Dorman’s new Virtual Tradeshow is an interactive tradeshow experience that gives site visitors the opportunity to navigate through an exhibit of new categories, product line expansions, time-saving kits and innovative revenue opportunities. The “booth” will be updated in real-time, as new products are introduced.

The final news item in our top five this week brings to light yet another recall of tire valve stems. Dill Air Controls Products this week announced a voluntary recall of automobile tire stem valves sold in the U.S. between November 2006 and July 2007. The snap-in rubber valve stems under recall were manufactured by Topseal (Shanghai) Auto-Parts Co., in Shanghai, China, and imported and distributed by Dill Air Controls Products under its Dill ACP brand name. Upwards of 200,000 valve stems may be involved.

Earlier this year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration launched an investigation looking into 23 million replacement valve stems manufactured by Shanghai Baolong Automotive Corp. in 2006. The agency has found 4,767 complaints related to those valve stems, including one fatal crash of a 1998 Ford Explorer following a tire failure. In October, a separate Federal probe was launched into more than 1 million Ford vehicles, after reports of tires leaking air due to bad valve stems manufactured by a Chinese company.





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