Each year, we review the top distribution headlines of the previous year. To gauge this, we turn to our sister publication, the e-newsletter and website, aftermarketNews.com. We pick from the most-read stories those issues that made an impact in 2010.
In no particular order, here they are:
The Network Forms Alliance With Auto Pride
In 2010, the Automotive Distribution Network (ADN) announced it had formed a strategic alliance with the Auto Pride Network. The Auto Pride Network, which was a division of IWD, would become its own marketing entity within the Network. Both Mike Lambert, president of the Network, and Ron Sutton, chairman of Auto Pride, praised the move. “The footprint of the Network provides more efficient and cost-effective service for existing and future business for our organization,” Sutton said.
Federal-Mogul Announces Enhanced Organization for North American Aftermarket
Federal-Mogul announced it appointed Bob Egan, who has been with Federal-Mogul for 31 years, as vice president, customer relations for the global aftermarket. It also named Paul Johnson, who had been general director at ACDelco, as vice president, North America, global aftermarket.
Uni-Select Acquires FinishMaster
In December, the board of director of FinishMaster OK’d an agreement for the company to be acquired by a subsidiary of Uni-Select. Plans call for FinishMaster’s headquarters to remain in Indianapolis, Ind. With the agreement, the companies said Uni-Select would become the largest independent distributor of automotive paints, coatings and related accessories in North America. Also in 2010, Uni-Select announced it and the Automotive Distribution Network would part ways after 20 years.
Industry loses two icons
Two well-known figures in the aftermarket passed away in 2010.
John Noel Castle, the longtime dean of Aftermarket Studies at Northwood University, died at age 85. Castle was recognized for laying the foundation of the school’s aftermarket studies program. Jeff Stauffer, senior vice president marketing for Affinia Global Brake & Chassis, knew Castle for more than 35 years. “John took the aftermarket program to the next level,” Stauffer said. “He really made sure the students were connected to the industry.”
Larry W. McCurdy, chairman of the board of Affinia Group Inc. since the company’s inception in 2004, died at age 75. McCurdy was a highly respected leader within the aftermarket for many years, having held executive positions with several of the industry’s best-known companies.
GM Buys Back $2.1 Billion in Stock from the Treasury
In December, GM bought back 84 million shares of stock from the U.S. Treasury, worth about $2.1 billion. The Treasury’s lending of money to GM was said to keep it from the brink of disaster. In 2010, GM came out of bankruptcy after government intervention and was profitable for the first time in six years.
Used Car Prices Rise Dramatically
Used cars of all ages and types got more expensive in 2010, according to Edmunds.com. Americans holding onto their cars longer is always seen as a good sign for the aftermarket. Edmunds.com found the average price of a 3-year-old car was 11.1 percent higher than in 2009.
The Parts House Acquires Parts Pros Automotive Warehouse
Parts Pro Automotive Warehouse, in operation since 1972, flies the Parts Plus flag after being bought by The Parts House, a Parts Plus member of the Automotive Distribution Network. At time of purchase, The Parts House plan was to keep its existing location and management staff.
O’Reilly Auto Parts Selects Affinia Group For Drums, Rotors
O’Reilly announced the chain had signed an agreement for a portion of Affinia Group’s brake drum and rotor business. Affinia Group has served as a vendor partner with O’Reilly Automotive for more than 26 years, including through its Wix brand of filtration products.
U.S. Auto Parts Buys Whitney Automotive Group
The Whitney Automotive Group, a 95-year-old company best known for the JC Whitney brand, was purchased for $27.5 million and assumption of about $11 million in trade-related and other payables, according to the companies. The acquisition provides online parts retailer U.S. Auto Parts with product line expansion into ATVs, RVs and motorcycles, as well as deep product knowledge into niche segments like Jeep, VW and truck enthusiasts, the companies said.
Investment Firm Buys Tomkins plc in $5 Billion Acquisition
Tomkins, an industrial holding company, which owns Gates, was purchased by Onex Corp. and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.
Mighty Auto Parts is Under New Ownership
The Gonher Group of Monterrey, Mexico, a longtime business partner to Mighty Auto Parts, acquired the franchise distribution business. Gonher is a base manufacturer and prominent OE supplier of several lines of automotive products, including filters, batteries and lubricants, according to the companies.