Consumer automotive searches on Google are seasonal in nature, according to Danielle Russell, industry director of automotive at Google Inc.
Russell joined Tim Rogers, president of R.L. Polk & Co., in covering car-related trends at the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA) Town Hall. Hosted by AAIA President Kathleen Schmatz, the Town Hall was sponsored by Polk and took place at the Venetian Hotel during the Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo (AAPEX).
“Tire interest starts to peak from September to December as consumers prepare their cars for the colder weather,” said Russell.
In addition, Google’s data reveals a spike in battery and starter searches in December. Of the 20 million consumer product searches on the site in the first quarter of 2012, 52% were for automotive products and services.
On Google’s video site, YouTube, automotive repair videos are increasing in popularity. Automotive searches on mobile devices also have increased.
Russell added that auto repair shops can take action to improve their businesses by tracking the shop’s search trends at google.com/trends.
Rogers’ presentation was titled “5 Trends in 5 Minutes” and outlined the following developments in the auto aftermarket:
1. Light vehicle sales are on the rise, and OEMs are getting more aggressive as consumers return to the showroom.
2. The vehicle population continues to age.
3. CUVs and mid-size cars are driving the recovery in new vehicle sales.
4. Globalization of platforms and model families is accelerating.
5. Technologically advanced vehicles offer increasing aftermarket opportunity.
Attendees also heard a lively political debate between Haley Barbour, the former governor of Mississippi, and Terry McAuliff, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee. The dialogue was moderated by Schmatz.
Mitchell 1 takes the ‘SureTrack’
There were many products introduced at AAPEX. Mitchell 1 launched its latest online product, SureTrack, an all-in-one repair information resource that brings together a combination of intelligence and expertise to help aftermarket automotive shops increase accuracy and efficiency from diagnosis to completed repair.
“SureTrack combines a powerful suite of resources that will set a new standard for automotive repair excellence by bridging the gap between symptom and accurate repair,” said Ben Johnson, director of product management for Mitchell 1.
“In a nutshell, SureTrack provides a short and direct path to the most likely repair for specific symptoms on a specific vehicle.”
The result of a collaborative development effort between Mitchell 1 and Snap-on Inc., SureTrack combines diagnostic experience with repair timesavers and detailed parts replacement records, all in an interactive forum.
SureTrack will be available by subscription as a stand-alone product and as an optional module within ProDemand from Mitchell 1. In addition, SureTrack will be available as an optional module in ShopKey Pro from Snap-on and as an integrated component of Snap-on’s Windows-based diagnostic platforms, Versus and Verdict.
3-Points of contact
Robert Bosch LLC introduced the rugged TCE 4335THP tire changer. The mid-priced tire changer incorporates a premium-grade helper assembly with three rigid arms to keep the tire bead in the drop center of the rim at all times.
Bosch said the 3-Point helper system eliminates the need for costly bead-holding accessories that may break or get lost, and can possibly cause injury. All available tools are within an arm’s reach to reduce wasted time and energy.
The TCE 4335THP features outside clamping up to 26 inches. A reinforced tilt tower adapts to different rim diameters without the need for mount head adjustment. The advanced high performance mount head design allows for tire lever removal without ever touching the rim, thus eliminating the potential for costly rim damage.
Genisys Touch has AutoDetect
OTC, a division of Service Solutions LLC, launched the professional OEM-grade Genisys Touch. The company said it is the first-ever PC-based tablet diagnostic tool with an included J2534 Reflash/Reprogramming device.
The exclusive AutoDetect feature finds repair information by code, symptom and pattern failure. Technicians can view relevant embedded test procedure training videos during live diagnostic sessions without interrupting workflow.
The new Genisys Touch is a leading-edge Windows 7 diagnostic platform with a large resistive 10.1-inch touch screen. It includes advanced and exclusive features such as VIN-based AutoID to detect CAN vehicles in one touch, Wi-Fi and web browser access, including directly to technicians’ favorite OEM subscription sites, and Bluetooth pairing to an included J2534 vehicle communication device.
“Today’s automotive aftermarket technicians have dramatically shifted how they operate in-shop with the adoption and utilization of advanced diagnostic tools and technology, which are now an integral part of the conduct of daily business,” said Ed Lipscomb, OTC senior product manager of Diagnostic Systems.
Federal-Mogul Corp. announced a new in-market technical and product support platform. The new platform features a team of ASE-certified specialists and sophisticated technical support vehicles that will be deployed throughout North America with the capability to reach thousands of automotive service professionals each year.
The in-market support teams complement the in-depth technical training programs and materials available via Federal-Mogul’s award-winning Technical Education Center in St. Louis.
MAHLE Original filters website
MAHLE Clevite Inc. launched its new MAHLE Original filters website (www.mahleoriginalfilters.com). The website includes detailed information, advanced search features for both consumers and automotive repair shops, and informative videos that are specific to the MAHLE Original filter product line.
MAHLE Original aftermarket replacement filters provide coverage for oil, fuel, air and cabin air. The new website provides a centralized location for information that is specific to the MAHLE Original filter product line.
Featuring expanded search functionality, the site allows the user to input their vehicle year, make and model resulting in precise product information that is specific to that application.
The website also features product videos that, according to the company, present the superior features of MAHLE Original filters compared to the competition.
Ignition coils cover millions
Delphi Corp.’s Automotive Division introduced 20 new ignition coils that cover more than 6.4 million North American vehicles.
Delphi said its ignition coils are designed to operate as part of an integral engine management system. Their function is to insert power into spark plugs and ensure fast starts, consistent engine performance and optimized fuel efficiency.
Delphi has analyzed the environment that ignition coils must withstand and is combating failure issues with high-quality design and materials. The company backs its ignition coil design with proven materials, such as high quality wires and wire coating that resists the cracks, pin holes and imperfections that most often lead to failure issues. ■