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The Week in Review (Sept. 22-26, 2008)

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Amy Antenora has served as editor of aftermarketNews since 2002 and has worked in the field of journalism for two decades. A graduate of Kent State University, Amy also earned her AAP designation from Northwood University's University of the Aftermarket in 2009.

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.

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More consolidation may soon take place in the distribution segment, if this week’s top story is any indication. Keystone Automotive announced that it has placed a bid to acquire certain operating assets of Arrow Speed Warehouse, a leading distributor in the Central and Southeastern United States. Keystone Automotive made a $12 million bid for the business after Arrow Speed filed Chapter 11 on Sept. 21.

Talk of rising jobless rates seems almost commonplace today, particularly in this election year. And, the automotive industry in particular is one segment that has seen its share of financial struggles and layoffs. If anyone can speak to this subject, it’s Howard Kesten, featured in this week’s Executive Interview. Kesten has spent the last 20 years as the owner/president of APA Search, a retained executive search firm that specializes in the automotive industry. In our interview, Kesten shares some tricks of the trade and talks about the most important core competencies businesses must focus on in this challenging economy.

And speaking of layoffs, Accuride Corp. made several significant announcements this week, including several restructuring initiatives. Accuride said it will eliminate a total of 392 positions, or 11 percent, of its total workforce, including 159 salaried positions and 233 hourly employees. In addition, the company’s top executive John Murphy tendered his resignation, effective Sept. 22. But the news isn’t all bad. Accuride also announced addition of a new dedicated aftermarket division to strengthen its services and offerings to its customer base.

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In other news, NGK Spark Plugs is taking a unique, new angle on green initiatives. NGK this week introduced the NTK Oxygen Sensor’s Salvage Sensor Recovery Program to all professional technicians. This program offers professional technicians an option for disposing of replaced sensors regardless of brand and was developed to encourage responsible practices in the automotive aftermarket by promoting the recovery of replaced oxygen sensors.

The final story in our weekly round-up of most-viewed news items comes from Champion Laboratories, which recently began offering product ordering, inventory management and tracking services to its customers through a Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI) platform. After two months in use, Champion Laboratories reports that its new VMI program is already managing more than $1 million in yearly sales, with many more customers showing interest.


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