Those with a vested interest in the health of the auto industry are keeping a close watch on struggling automakers such as Chrysler, GM and Ford. This week, the top story on aftermarketNews announced that Ford will temporarily shutter 11 plants in North America. The plants, which will be idled for one to three weeks, depending on location, are in Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Missouri, Kentucky, Ontario and Mexico.
In more positive news, two well-known aftermarket companies announced completion of some recent important acquisitions this week. Yesterday, Affinia Acquisition LLC, the wholly owned subsidiary of Affinia Group Holdings said it completed the acquisition of 85 percent of the shares of HBM Investment Ltd., owner of Longkou Haimeng Machining Co. Haimeng, located in Longkou City, Shandong, China, is one of the largest drum and rotor manufacturing companies in the world. Affinia said it will significantly expand its worldwide manufacturing capacity for brake components with this acquisition.
On the distribution side, Keystone Automotive Operations this week announced that its purchase of Arrow Speed Warehouse is now complete. Located in the Central U.S., Arrow Speed will provide Keystone additional resources and customer reach to grow the business in the mid-west region, said the company. Established in 1957, Arrow Speed Warehouse has served the automotive aftermarket for over 50 years. Keystone, based in Exeter, Pa., currently serves some 16,000 wholesale customers in the U.S. and Canada and exports to more than 30 countries.
In other new business news, China Automotive Systems is celebrating the win of its first North American OEM contract. The China-based power steering components and systems supplier this week announced its first purchase order as part of a larger agreement to supply power steering gears to a global automaker based in North America. The company said it will be providing power steering gears intended for one model of a well-known automobile brand.
And from new business to a new title for former Federal-Mogul exec Kevin O’Dowd, who has joined Trico as its global director of marketing, corporate branding and strategy. In this position, O’Dowd will assume responsibility for worldwide branding, product positioning, marketing, advertising and public relations. He will report to Brian Norko, vice president of sales and marketing-aftermarket. O’Dowd has more than 18 years experience in automotive marketing and brand strategy.