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AAPEX represents $477 billion

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AAPEX represents $477 billion

What can repair shops expect consumers to spend on automotive products and services in 2014?

That was a topic addressed at the 2014 Aftermarket Outlook presentation at the Automotive Aftermarket Products Exposition (AAPEX) in Las Vegas Nov. 5-7, 2013.

David Portalatin, executive director of analysis at the NPD Group Inc., said auto product spending was down because consumers drove 100 billion fewer miles in 2013 than in 2007.

What can the aftermarket expect in 2014? Portalatin said consumers will remain in “cutback mode,” but will spend on necessities — and auto maintenance and repair are seen as necessary. Spending is likely to increase in 2014, he added.

That’s good news for the $477 billion global motor vehicle aftermarket AAPEX represents. Attendance numbers for the event also turned out to be good news: 2,411 exhibitors and 5,257 booths; 59,193 buyers; and 139,587 attendees total for SEMA and AAPEX (separate numbers are not available).

AAPEX is jointly sponsored by the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA) and the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA). This spring, AAIA will be renamed the Auto Care Association, or ACA.

Bosch unveils tire changer, OTC Encore

Robert Bosch LLC unveiled the TCE4435 THP Tire Changer featuring a rigid structure and a four-year parts and labor warranty. The new automatic tire changer has been completely redesigned to eliminate rim damage and offers the most rigid assembly available in North America, noted Bosch.

“Our engineering teams set out to develop a faster tire changer that protects wheels and a more ergonomic machine to use,” said Roberto Rossi, Bosch sales director, Workshop Technical Equipment. “This tire changer is the culmination of their work, addressing key user concerns — safety, speed and comfort — and delivering a superior product.”

In addition to increased rigidity and a more ergonomic design, the TCE4435 THP automatic tire changer has a 24-inch internal and 22-inch external turntable capacity with a locking jaw cross system and a “perfectly balanced” opposed cylinder system.

The two-speed turntable provides faster tire removal and mounting, and the Motoinverter provides optimum torque in every condition. The tubeless inflating system is 25% faster than the benchmark competition, the company says, and the four-position bead breaker is 40% faster than previous versions.

Bosch also introduced OTC’s next-generation scan tool, the Encore, the first Android-based scan tool for the North American market, capitalizing on the operating system’s speed, ease of use and functionality.

“Like your smartphone, you can browse the Web, Google and do all the things you can do on an Android platform, which has permitted us to develop a tool that boots up faster and allows technicians to move through testing more quickly,” said Patrick Pierce, director of Global Product Development, Bosch Automotive Service Solutions, a business unit of the Bosch Automotive Aftermarket division of Robert Bosch LLC.

Behind Encore’s 7-inch touch screen, which recognizes common device commands such as swipe and pinch, is a custom user interface with a boot time of less than 30 seconds or less. In addition to a new operating system, Encore has full scan functionality, including OEM domestic, Asian and European bidirectional controls and enhanced data.

“The purchaser of this product will be a combination of shop owners who are looking to equip their shops with new diagnostic tools, and it can also meet the budgets of serious technicians doing diagnostics every day,” said Pierce.

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Epicor Estimator generates results

Epicor Software Corp. showcased the Epicor Integrated Service Estimator (ISE) solution for the automotive aftermarket and announced it set a recent record of 375,000 completed estimates over a one-month period.

The Web-based solution reduces the time needed to generate comprehensive, accurate parts and labor estimates.

Epicor ISE now features a “Supplier+” tab that offers one-click access to non-application parts, tools, accessories and related products. Available through more than 20 leading shop management systems, Epicor ISE helps tire, transmission, oil-and-lube and other auto service specialists increase their share of the general repair and preventive maintenance categories.

Epicor ISE also allows users to electronically check parts availability and order the parts they need for the job with the click of a button through the industry-leading Epicor seller network of approximately 26,000 distributor locations.

“By integrating Epicor ISE into your point of sale system, you have the ability to efficiently and profitably expand into dozens of additional service categories, which helps drive sales, margin performance and customer loyalty,” said Scott Thompson, vice president, automotive eCommerce for Epicor.

Turn a smart device into an OBD II tool

Launch Tech USA Inc. introduced the EasyDiag that turns an Apple or Android smart device into a powerful OBD II diagnostic tool. EasyDiag provides full system coverage for reading and clearing codes, and enhanced Live Data with full graphing capabilities.

The EasyDiag includes a Bluetooth OBD II connector, along with OBD II Generic software. Customize the EasyDiag with additional software for over 30 manufacturers for Asian, European and domestic vehicles.

Magneti Marelli expands Mopar coverage

Magneti Marelli Offered by Mopar, the new high-quality aftermarket parts program for all major vehicle makes offered through Chrysler Group dealerships, has increased its 30-plus product lines to include more coverage for non-Chrysler vehicles.

The Magneti Marelli parts list has recently grown with ignition coils and an all-makes battery program combined with Mopar for Chrysler as well as non-Chrysler applications. Additional product lines to follow soon are fuel injectors and additional AC components.

The company is also continuing to expand the coverage of existing product lines. The brake pad kits and brake shoe product lines have recently grown by 251 additional part numbers.

“The Magneti Marelli All Makes line includes a wide variety of makes with a strong focus on all Ford and GM family brands as well as Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Hyundai, Kia and more,” said Annette Wolford, director Sales and Business Development at Magneti Marelli Offered by Mopar.

“The new brake pad expansion focused on European applications such as Volkswagen, Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, as well as fleet and HD applications.”

The distribution network of Magneti Marelli Offered by Mopar parts has expanded as well, with 1,900 of approximately 2,600 Chrysler Group dealerships using Magneti Marelli Offered by Mopar parts in daily operations.

Also included are 58 major distributors of the full line of products as well as 252 large stocking dealerships carrying a wider range of Magneti Marelli Offered by Mopar parts, the company noted.

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New search technology from Mitchell 1

Mitchell 1 launched the ProDemand with 1Search, a new search technology in its ProDemand repair information software. 1Search delivers complete OEM and experience-based information together in a single lookup.

ProDemand with 1Search streamlines the search process by integrating data from the SureTrack diagnostic resource to provide comprehensive, categorized repair information in a user-friendly interface, making it easier for users to find the complete repair information.

The 1Search feature in ProDemand incorporates a single search field for entering diagnostic trouble codes, components or symptoms, which then returns information from Mitchell 1’s vast library of OEM content as well as detailed parts replacement records, tips and Real Fixes from SureTrack’s experience-based information database.

The information is organized into the familiar tabs in the ProDemand dashboard, enabling the user to easily find the most relevant information to solve their specific repair problem.

Permatex retools product packaging

Permatex launched a major new packaging initiative for its adhesives, sealants, gasketing and service products to make it easier for consumers to recognize the brand and identify the product they need.

Permatex graphic/media designer Courtney Riley said that in developing the new designs, the Permatex creative and product management teams focused on creating a fresh, consistent look that presented a clear and simple message at point of purchase. Avoiding information clutter and clarifying the product’s function and key applications as quickly as possible, were prime objectives of the initiative.

New packaging concepts were developed based on extensive analysis and feedback from the sales force and retail partners in all channels.

Headlight restoration made easy

Search Automotive Technologies LLC introduced LightRite, a premium headlight restoration kit that restores polycarbonate headlight lenses after the factory coating wears off. UV exposure then cause the lens to become cloudy and faded, reducing the optical illumination.

Search Automotive President John Mangham Jr. said his team developed LightRite to provide a long-term solution to faded headlights. Mangham said there should be a demand for LightRite, because there are 100 million cars on the road today with bad headlight lenses.

LightRite provides for chemical, water, heat and abrasion resistance for a clear, hard and durable lens coating. This formula is over 65% solids, which forms a coating that is superior to the original factory coating, Mangham noted.

The LightRite formula can be cured either by direct, natural sunlight or the company’s custom-made handheld wand. Search Automotive Technology’s UV curing wand will cure the LightRite coating in approximately one minute depending on the size of the lens.

When using natural sunlight to cure, the lens finish will be tack-free in approximately 10 minutes and the vehicle may be driven. The lens will continue to cure in the natural sunlight, says the company.    ■

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Ken-Tool introduces products as different as night and day: 

Company debuts its truck and trailer drain pan and Super Magnum tire cage

Ken-Tool Corp. introduced the 30600 Professional Super Single Axle Drain Pan at the SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) Show. The company says the new drain pan prevents gear oil and grease drips and spills on wheels and tires as well as on shop floors when servicing the axles of trucks and trailers.

Made in the United States from lightweight, high-density polyethylene (HDPE), the axle drain pan can be attached to the wheel using two or three lug studs with finger-tightened nuts. The pan is contoured to rest flat with the sides gripping the wheel’s drop-center.

The company says the pan fits most 22.5- and 24.5-inch, 10-hole hub or stud-piloted steel or alloy super single, wide-base and dual wheels.

The pan has a pair of self-draining shelves to place hub covers, bearings, retainers, seals and hub or axle nuts. The high-capacity pan (124 ounces/3.66 liters) has two drip-proof drain spouts.

Ken-Tool also expanded its line of tire-restraining devices with the official introduction of the 36010 5-bar Super Magnum cage, which provides more inside clearance. The company says testing has shown the Super Magnum cage reduces the side-force energy resulting from a catastrophic sidewall zipper rupture of a super wide-base tire by 93%. This is achieved with expanded steel mesh deflection barriers welded to the insides of the cage tubing.

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