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Automotive big wigs gather every year for one of the biggest events in industry. Yes the SEMA show in Las Vegas. It takes place at the end of October into the first few days of November every year. On display are all kinds of cool new concept cars, automotive related products as well as informational booths.
One such informational feature was The Automotive Lift Institute (ALI) Lift inspector Certification program. This program aims to teach industry technicians and other professionals the points of inspecting automotive lifts. Auto lifts are required to be inspected at least once a year according to ANSI lift standards. This is the first program of it’s kind that addresses this need. Prior to this, there was no program to reference as a standard. Of course, there could be no better candidate to choose to run a program of this nature, since ALI is the authority on all things pertaining to vehicle lifts.
The program goes through critical aspects of lift inspection, including operational functions, maintenance, as well as repair. It will go over all types of features relating to lifts, like electrical, hydraulic, pneumatic, structural and mechanical features. There has been a lack of certified lift inspectors, so this could not have come at a better time. Most inspections have been performed by technicians who may not be qualified to assess the condition of the lift. This program assures that technicians will be qualified in the future to inspect any vehicle lift. ALI will also issue a directory which will list all of the certified technicians.
If you haven’t been inspecting your lifts on a frequent basis, now is the time to start. Check in with ALI to locate a qualified inspector near you.
It’s that time of year. Yes, the Holidays bring on all kinds of sales as consumers are searching for bargains. That’s what they’ve been conditioned to do each year. Many shoppers simply refuse to purchase anything unless it is discounted 20 to 50 percent.
Well, the clothing industry may operate on 40 % margins, but we can assure you that the automotive equipment industry does not. Our margins are much slimmer. If any company is able to discount their products by 40 percent at any given time, then that means they were over charging you in the first place. Who wants to deal with a company that regularly overcharges you by 30 percent?
Our prices are normally already steeply discounted, and our average margins are at about 10 %. That doesn’t mean we don’t offer discounts and sales. Each month, we have new promotions that offer discounts well below our normal pricing. These sales are meant to draw in new customers who have never purchased from us before. Once you have purchased from us, we find that you’ll keep coming back. This is because we offer some top level customer service, along with knowledge of the products and industry. Plus, we’re not going to try to up-sell you. We are going to fit you with the product that is right for your application, even if it costs less.
But the main point of this post is to remind you, (or perhaps warn you) that some of our prices will be going up soon. Come January 1st, many manufacturers we carry increase their prices. This is typical of many manufacturers. This is typically the time of year when they adjust their prices due to market conditions. The increases won’t be major. And they won’t be across the board. But there will be some minor increases. Some sales are also set to end at that time as well, particularly on some auto lifts and tire changers.
So if you’ve been dawdling, now is the time to get going. There are only a couple of weeks remaining. Don’t miss out.
We’ve shown you our various customer locations from all over globe in previous posts. But one location that we seem to get a lot of customers is the beautiful islands of the Bahamas. We’ve sold auto lifts and other products to many customers from the many islands of the Bahamas, such as Freeport, but the most popular destination is the island of Nassau. We’ve sold many products to many customers there. It is a fantastic destination with many attractions and a healthy economy. We recommend checking in at Paradise Island Resort.
If you are a citizen in Nassau, then stop by Muffler World, owned by Mike Pinder. He purchased a BendPak exhaust tube bender from us several years ago for one of his two locations on Nassau on Mackey st, and he just recently purchased another for his other location on Robinson Rd. He’s been in business for many years and has a strong following on the island. We were lucky enough to get a chance to say hello to him recently. His shop has numerous bays all decked out with the latest equipment. We recommend you check him out if you’re on the island.
BendPak is one of the biggest names in the exhaust tuber bender industry. You might be more familiar with their lifts, but they started out making benders as their name implies.
No auto lifts in this post. This is the time of year for giving. And anybody who’s followed us for the past few years knows that our pet cause is the very worthy charity called Homes For Our Troops. We have been supporting them for over 5 years now. What better way to show your appreciation for our wounded veterans who make selfless sacrifices out on the combat theatre every year?
This charity fabricates specially adapted homes for soldiers who have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan with debilitating injuries. Homes that will cater to their specific injury so that they can lead as normal a life as possible.
So far, they have built over 100 homes and their ambition has only increased. They plan on building hundreds more with the help of good Americans like yourself.
Now we don’t just choose any charity to support without investigating it thoroughly. These guys are rated highly by all the charity rating services with very high ranks when it comes to the percentage of funds it forwards to the actual cause vs fundraising and administration.
Every holiday season, we ask you, our followers to make a small donation to this cause because it’s the right thing to do, and the right time of year to do it. Please give generously and may God bless you during this Christmas season.
While Black Friday is traditionally the biggest volume day when it comes to retail sales in traditional brick and mortar store outlets each year, traditionally, the Monday after Thanksgiving day tends to be the busiest day for on-line shoppers. It’s called Cyber Monday. The term describes the busiest day for internet sales for the year. Who knows, maybe Webster’s Dictionary will soon list it as an official new word. The computer and everything related has added many new words to the English language over the past decade.
Like most retailers, Amazon.com claims that the 4th quarter is the most busy quarter every year. According to the National Retail Federation 44 percent of shoppers made an online purchase last year. Some incentives that on-line stores offer are free shipping and large discounts for Cyber Monday purchases.
The automotive equipment industry is no different. While we do offer traditional outlets for purchases, including catalog and phone based sales, internet sales account for a large portion of our sales, and the percentage has grown every year.
The reasons cited are easy to understand. Making life easier is the main reason given time and time again when internet shoppers are asked why they purchase online instead of heading out to their local malls. You don’t have to deal with the traffic and the crowds. Time is money. Many consumers just don’t have the necessary time to fight the traffic.
And with modern websites offering close up images, as well as 3D images along with videos and owner’s manuals as well as dimensional drawings for many of their products, you can get a pretty clear idea on what the product is all about. We try to top all of those handy shopping aids with one more thing that we feel helps immensely – customer pictures and testimonials. Nothing helps our customers understand the product better than a customer testimonial topped off with a picture or two submitted by the customer. This also aids us in gaining the trust of new customers. If they can see how other customers experiences were, they can establish a pattern. We recommend asking any retailer you’re not familiar with for references. Especially with such large ticket items like auto lifts.
With business taking off already from Cyber Monday, the 4th quarter of 2011 is sure to be the biggest ever for internet sales.
BendPak / Ranger, one of our largest manufacturers, announced on Monday that they plan on holding their prices at their current levels for the next two quarters. BendPak / Ranger is a manufacturer of such essential auto shop products as auto lifts, tire changers, exhaust tube benders, floor jacks, air compressors and much more. They have been manufacturing these types of products for over 40 years and are known throughout the industry as a leader in their field.
This announcement is significant as many of our manufacturers of automotive service equipment have recently increased their prices or have indicated they will be increasing prices in the near future. It’s no secret that commodity costs have increased dramatically over the past year which has had a noticeable impact on products that require steel, rubber, plastic and other raw materials. On top of that, labor costs have also risen in China and other countries. This has raised costs for many manufacturers who moved much of their production over to Asia in an effort to reduce costs and remain competitive.
BendPak’s decision shows that it is possible to hold the line on costs and remain competitive. They have shown true leadership on this and many other issues over the past 15 years that we have been carrying their products. That is one of the many reasons we are proud to carry their product line.
For those folks who need to lift the really heavy trucks – this lift is for you. If you need to lift fire apparatus, semi trucks, a bus, or anything heavy, the BendPak PCL-16HD Portable Column Lift was made for your application.
They have a capacity of 16,000 lbs. each, and typically are sold in sets of four or six. The benefits of a portable column lifting system over a four post lift is the heavier lifting capacity and of course the portability. Plus they don’t have to be permanently mounted. You can roll these out when you need them, and roll them back into the corner when you are done with them. They have a pallet jack type design when it comes to engaging the wheels for the portability feature. They have forks to place under each wheel for lifting purposes, and are powered by and electric motor, which powers a hydraulic pump.
They are synchronized to assure steady, even lifting. The set of six requires three phase power due to the high power demand needed. You can get single phase for the set of four, but it requires a dedicated 90 amp circuit, which is tough to come by, so you may need to go with the 3 phase power one again.
There are heavy duty tall jack stands available as an accessory that also have a 16,000 pound capacity as well. And because they are made by BendPak, you know these Auto Lifts are premium quality.
More good news on the auto maker front. Most major auto manufacturers came out with much improved figures for sales for the month of April. Hyundai was the big winner, with their second best month ever up over 40 percent. Honda was up over 9 % and Nissan up 12%. Most European manufacturers fared well also. VW sales were up 23 percent, while BMW was up 19%. US auto makers did well, with GM sales increasing over 26%, Ford up 16% and Chrysler up 22%. Not all manufacturers performed so well. Some barely squeaked out a gain. Mercedes was only up 2%, while Toyota was the worst performer, at just over 1%.
Part of the reason for the poor performance for Toyota was the earthquake / sunami disaster in Japan. Toyota had to cut production because of the disaster and they expect to continue to struggle for the next few months as well.
Small car sales accounted for the largest percentage increase, with an increase of over 17%. Much of that statistic can be attributed to rising fuel prices. Consumer are predictable. They will buy smaller cars as gas prices rise.
Automotive Equipment manufacturers also saw increased sales. Averaging 15% among the major manufacturers. Auto Lifts and Tire Changers were among the leaders.
Hopefully, these statistics are a sign that we can expect to see continued robust sales for the near future. The figures are so healthy now because of the significantly depressed levels they were the previous year. As time goes on, and monthly sales figures are compared to the more moderate current figures, it will be more and more difficult to show improvement.
We told you in a previous post about Toyota shutting down their North American plants. Now there’s word that Nissan will be moving production of it’s Infinity SUV to the US along with production of it’s electric car, the Nissan Leaf. After hearing about the news of Toyota halting production in it’s North American plants, it’s comforting to know that there are jobs actually coming in to the US. Nissan is Japan’s second largest auto manufcaturer. Nissan decided to bring production of it’s Infinity to the USA due to the Earthquake tragedy in Japan. They announced at the New York Auto Show that they intend to eventually bring production up to 85 percent in the Americas. Much of the manufacturing will occur in it’s Smyrna, TN and Canton, MS plants. All these jobs coming to the US means more autos going up on Auto Lifts to be serviced.
In other Nissan news, production of it’s electric car, the Nissan Leaf has started slow in part, due to the eathquake, but they now have their first shipment of Leafs headed to the USA now. There are 127 Leafs headed to the USA as this is being written with many more scheduled for production. The Leaf won the 2011 World Car Of The Year Award. All the major auto manufacturers are dipping their toe into the waters of “Green” automobiles. We expect many more to come.
Too busy during the week to get that nagging problem with your car fixed? Maybe your boss won’t allow you the necessary time off to take your car to the shop. Well, don’t fear anymore. At least one car manufacturer is trying to make it easier to get your car serviced. If your schedule isn’t flexible enough to bring your car into the shop on weekdays, you may soon be able to do so on weekends (Saturdays anyway). At least, that’s if Chrysler has it’s way.
They are keeping their parts distribution centers (20 locations) opened on Saturdays in an effort to nudge auto dealerships into maintaining Saturday hours. As you know, most dealers don’t keep their service departments opened on weekends. Many independent auto shops have kept open schedules on weekends, but for some reason, the idea never caught on with the dealerships. When you add to that the fact that the independent garage owners typically have lower labor rates, the dealers have a difficult time competing. Chrysler is hoping this move will even the odds somewhat.
One factor that came in to play was the fact that car dealers haven’t been able to rely on car sales as much since the economy took a downturn. So they are hoping that raising some cars up on the Auto Lifts on Saturdays will help boost revenues. One of the ways they encouraged some dealers to open their service doors on Saturdays was to go out and take pictures of Chrysler automobiles being serviced on competitors Automotive Lifts and tires being mounted on a Tire Changer. Nothing sticks in your craw like somebody taking something that you feel should be yours. Chrysler indicates that the locations that have opened on Saturdays have seen a significant increase in sales. More than enough to prove that it is a profitable venture, along with being convenient for the consumer.