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INDUSTRY NEWS


Recall fallout hits car parts-makers
The Wall Street Journal
Car parts suppliers are stepping up quality control efforts and the traceability of their components in the wake of an unprecedented wave of auto-safety recalls and massive fines against manufacturers. Several are investing in new equipment to better automate defect-detection and assigning more employees to parts checks. Daicel Corp., which makes air bag inflaters, the explosive devices that pump up an air bag in event of a collision, has invested several million dollars to beef up its system for tracking inflaters shipped to customers, a spokesman said.
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Custom wheels and TPMS
Tire Review
Selling, mounting and balancing custom wheels can be a profitable business, but what about tire pressure monitoring system sensors? According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, it’s a violation of the TREAD Act to disable the system, which includes vehicles with aftermarket or — custom rims, but there are a few options that will save you from taking any heat.
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Laredo issues tire disposal law reminder
Laredo Morning Times
The City of Laredo wants to remind the public and tire shop operators that it is against the law to keep old tires when buying new ones. This ordinance — 2014-O-107 Chapter 15 "Health and Sanitation," Article IV, "Tire Business Registration Program" — was approved Sept. 15 by City Council. It took effect in early November. This was done to further address the serious problem of illegal tire disposal and the potential harm to the environment and the public’s health.
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GM expects better profitability, fewer recalls
Detroit Free Press via USA Today
General Motors expects better profitability this year after a 2014 in which the cost of repairing tens of millions of recalled vehicles and a weak European economy dampened strong earnings in North America and China. The automaker, which plans to report fourth-quarter earnings on Feb. 4, expects better results in all regions this year. CEO Mary Barra, President Dan Ammann and Chief Financial Officer Chuck Stevens told analysts this morning that GM remains on track to be profitable in Europe by 2016 for the first time since 1999.
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Concept cars, once outlandish, now vital to auto industry's future
NPR
Concept cars tell us much more about the current state of the auto industry than the future of it. Showcasing the latest in styling and technology, concept cars have been virtually absent from auto shows for the past few years, but now they're back with a vengeance. The concept cars at the Detroit Auto Show this year look pretty normal, but Bill Visnic of Edmunds.com says it wasn't that long ago that concept cars were just plain wack. "But some of the really wildest of the wild that I remember back then was Chrysler was very big on plastic cars," he says. "They were going to make all-plastic cars."
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Car dealerships gain market share in tire sales — again
Modern Tire Dealer
There were 5 million more passenger tire sold in the U.S. last year compared to 2013, and car dealerships accounted for 400,000 of those units. Their 8 percent share of the market is the highest it has ever been — and it is growing. A highlight of the 49th annual Modern Tire Dealer Facts Issue is its comprehensive look at distribution channels. This year, car dealerships and warehouse clubs gained market share at the expense of mass merchandisers.
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Are you indispensable to your customers?
By Adrian Davis
As you look at your customer base, are there any customers who really can't do without you? If not, you could be in big trouble. Our economy is fragile, and it is no longer sheltered from the unpredictable upheavals overseas. Anything that happens anywhere in the world can cause an economic downturn in North America, resulting in difficult financial challenges for your customers. The easiest way to deal with these challenges is to simply stop paying suppliers. Sometimes that means altogether, and other times, it means delaying payments until cash flow improves. Either way, it means trouble for you.
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Dealership of the future adds tech, comfort and cuts time
Automotive News
There's value in the traditional brick-and-mortar dealership showroom, industry experts say — but it must evolve. The physical showroom will have to tie more closely to the dealership's increasingly important digital presence, incorporating technology and other features to facilitate a faster transaction time and a more customer-friendly environment, they say. "The new consumer, the one who is educated on the Internet, doesn't want to spend much time in the dealership. They want in and out, whether it's sales or service," said Forrest McConnell, outgoing chairman of the National Automobile Dealers Association.
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