Monday, December 20, 2010

GAAS Announces 2010-2011 Officers

CHICAGO, IL –  December 20, 2010 – The board of directors for the Global Automotive Aftermarket Symposium (GAAS) has elected officers for 2010-2011. Dave Caracci was selected to serve another term as GAAS chairman, a position he has held since 2007. A retired vice president of sales at Robert Bosch LLC and past chairman of both AAIA and the University of the Aftermarket Foundation, Caracci serves as the executive director of the National Engine Parts Manufacturers Association and an aftermarket business coach.

Brian Cruickshank, director, University of the Aftermarket, Northwood University was elected vice chairman and Pete Kornafel, chair of the GAAS Scholarship Committee, was elected secretary-treasurer. 

Before joining Northwood University in 2008, Cruickshank worked in various roles at Babcox Publications during his 15-year automotive journalism career including his last post as editor-in-chief of Counterman magazine. During his career, he has received numerous industry awards for his writing, including the Northwood University Automotive Education Award in 2006 and multiple awards from the Automotive Communications Council and the American Society of Business Press Editors. In 2009, he was named the AIA Young Executive of the Year.

Kornafel has been the vice chairman of CARQUEST since 2001. He served as president of the group from 1996-2001, managing the CARQUEST Headquarters Office in Lakewood, Colorado. From1970 to 1996, he was president and owner of Hatch Grinding Company in Denver, an automotive parts distributor and CARQUEST member. The company had distribution centers in Denver and Albuquerque, serving 100+ CARQUEST Auto Parts stores, including eight company owned stores.

In other news, Caracci announced that Northwood University has agreed to become a financial sponsor of GAAS 2011 to be held May 18-19 in Rosemont, Ill. at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare.  Northwood joins R.L. Polk & Co. and Automotive Week/The Greensheet as 2011 sponsors. 

GAAS 2011 will focus on the theme “Aftermarket Fast Forward: What You Need to Know to Stay Ahead.” The annual two-day Global Automotive Aftermarket Symposium brings together industry leaders and experts to examine the issues and trends affecting the worldwide automotive aftermarket and influencing its future. For more information on GAAS 2011, visit or phone (301) 654-6664.


Following a tough year for the European car market, there are faint signs of optimism for the industry going into 2011, as shown in the latest analysis from the world’s leading provider of automotive intelligence, JATO Dynamics.

Sales in Europe’s ‘Big Five’ markets of Great Britain, Germany, Spain, France and Italy all showed negative growth for November, however sales in Eastern Europe remain strong and continue to recover. New car sales across Europe as a whole are down 4.8% on 2009 levels, but despite this Great Britain and Spain look likely to end the year positively with sales up 3.4% and 5.9% respectively for the year to date.

November sales for six of the top ten brands in Europe were down compared to the same period last year. German premium brands continue to perform well, with BMW, Mercedes and Audi up 17.9%, 5.6%, and 3.1% respectively. Volkswagen retains the status of Europe’s best-selling brand for November, helped by the solid performance of its new Polo, which grew 11% compared to 2009.

November saw larger models perform well with strong sales for many Crossover and 4X4 vehicles. For example in the Crossover range, sales of the Volkswagen Tiguan and Land Rover Freelander were up 9.8% and 9.3% respectively while in the 4x4 range the Toyota Land Cruiser and Mitsubishi Outlander were up 38.3% and 43.1%.

David Di Girolamo, Head of JATO Consult, explains: “It has certainly been a tough year for the industry and while sales continue to fall in some markets, there is an emerging optimism about the coming year. However we should remain cautious of how we interpret these figures as many markets had temporarily high growth rates at the start of this year as Scrappage schemes came to an end.”

National Trends

Big five suffering
The ‘Big Five’ markets continues to show declining sales compared to this time last year. While Germany experienced the smallest drop in sales compared to last year, down only 6.2% compared to Spain’s 25.5%, sales over the year to date in Germany remain the least optimistic of all five markets, down 25.2%. This almost equates to the same number of vehicles registered in Spain year to date alone. 

Emerging optimism
Despite overall sales volumes being down 4.8% year to date, there is some optimism emerging as we near the end of the year with 20 of the 27 markets showing positive growth for the year to date. These positive figures, however, are likely to have been impacted by Scrappage schemes, which in many of these markets ended in the first quarter of the year.

Central and Eastern Europe continues to demonstrate strong sales growth in November compared to the same period last year. For example, sales in Lithuania were up 70% in November with Estonia and Slovakia up 42.5% and 35.5% respectively. As volumes in these countries continue to rise, they will become increasingly important to the recovery of the market as a whole.

David Di Girolamo comments: “While sales are still down across many markets compared to this time last year, there are some positive signs across the region, especially in Central and Eastern Europe, where the market is expanding.”

Brand Performance

Premium brands perform well
Of the top 10 brands BMW has shown the biggest increase in sales for the month, up 17.9% compared to the same time last year while Fiat has seen the largest decrease, down 27.7%. Volkswagen retains its place as Europe’s best-selling brand having sold 117,852 units in November while Toyota continues to miss out on a place in the top ten selling brands due to the strong performance of Audi.

GM appears back on track
Opel/Vauxhall has improved its sales performance to break into positive growth. The General Motors owned brand saw positive growth of 3.8% for November compared to last year, this is in comparison to a decrease of 19.9% the previous month.

Model Performance

New models hit the ground running
The Volkswagen Polo, Opel/Vauxhall Astra and the Citroen C3 were the only three models in the top ten to increase sales in November, up 11%, 12.6% and 9.7% respectively. The strong performance of new vehicles, such as the BMW 5 Series and Opel/Vauxhall Meriva, which grew 115.5% and 71.9% respectively, demonstrates the importance of investment in new models.

Webb Aftermarket Fills Fleet Sales Manager Position with Industry Veteran

Cullman, AL (December 20, 2010) The Aftermarket Business of Webb Wheel Products has hired Ed Smith as Fleet Sales Manager.  In his new role Smith will have direct contact with fleets to help the company meet the needs of trucking operators for quality wheel end components.  In making this announcement, Duane Ricketts, President of Webb Aftermarket emphasized the importance of the position Smith is filling.  “Webb Wheel knows the value of hearing directly from fleet operators about their wheel end requirements both when writing specifications for new vehicles and when they need replacement parts.  Ed brings that experience with him to Webb.” 

Smith has represented companies in the heavy truck industry for more than 25 years, most recently as National Accounts Manager for Champion Laboratories/Luber-Finer Filters, where he also spent five years as their National Fleet Sales Manager.  Prior to joining Champion Laboratories/Luber-Finer Filters, he held managerial positions with Fyda Freightliner in Canonsburg, PA and Truck City Parts in Clarksburg, WV. 

Webb Wheel Products, Inc., headquartered in Cullman, Alabama is a Marmon Highway Technologies company that manufactures hubs, brake drums, and rotors for medium and heavy-duty trucks, trailers and buses.  MHT serves original equipment manufacturers, highway transportation companies and the automotive aftermarket with a comprehensive line of products.  MHT companies are members of The Marmon Group, an international association of more than 125 business units that operate independently within diverse business sectors and have collective revenues of $7 billion.  The Marmon Group is a Berkshire Hathaway company.