News from the road


By Jim Taylor, Editor MACS ACtion Magazine
Man, how quickly things change!

In last week’s Industry News, we observed that battery maker A123 Systems had informed government regulators that there was “substantial doubt on the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern.” Scary words when heard from a large company.

Now it’s evident that the company plans a strong fight to stay solvent, and is planning to play to its strengths. A123 has announced it will hire an additional 400 people to staff up its Michigan plants and accelerate battery production for various contracts around the world. It also noted progress on developing the next generation of vehicle batteries, capable of providing longer range and quicker recharge.

Also from the “Not dead yet” file comes word that Saab of Sweden may have been bought and might begin making cars again. Evidently the deal went down (or not) in the middle of last week. Details are sketchy and there has been no official announcement from any of the players.
But third party sourced news items – including local newspapers in Sweden – say that the new owner is “a Swedish-registered company founded by a Hong Kong firm and a Japanese investment fund.” The apparent name is National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB; that’ll be NEVS for short. The report also said that the deal was for the car manufacturing portion of the company only, and the parts operation (mentioned in last week’s blog) was not part of the package.
You probably already know that (in general) the aftermarket segment has picked up quite a bit in the past year. Both parts sales and repair shop business has increased noticeably in most areas over last year.
But not for everybody. East Coast regional parts retailer Strauss Discount Auto filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last week and abruptly closed all 46 of its stores in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania putting nearly 600 employees out of work. The company says the closures are temporary, and that “buyers have shown interest in some portions of the business.”

The filing is the company’s fourth bankruptcy overall and the third in six years. Strauss cited higher fuel costs which cause consumers to delay repairs, and a mild winter that eliminated many service calls as some of the reasons for the closure.

The Mobile Air Conditioning Society’s blog has been honored as the best business to business blog in the Automotive Aftermarket by the Automotive Communications Awards and the Car Care Council Women’s Board!

When having your mobile A/C system professionally serviced, insist on proper repair procedures and quality replacement parts. Insist on recovery and recycling so that refrigerant can be reused and not released into the atmosphere.

If you’re a service professional and not a MACS member yet, you should be, click here for more information.

You can E-mail us at macsworldwide@macsw.org or visit http://bit.ly/cf7az8 to find a Mobile Air Conditioning Society member repair shop in your area. Visit http://bit.ly/9FxwTh to find out more about your car’s mobile A/C and engine cooling system.

The 33rd annual Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide Training Conference and Trade Show, Be the Best of the Best will take place February 7-9, 2013 at the Caribe Royale, Orlando, FL.

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About macsworldwide

Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide Founded in 1981, MACS is the leading non-profit trade association for the mobile air conditioning, heating and engine cooling system segment of the automotive aftermarket. Since 1991, MACS has assisted more than 600,000 technicians to comply with the 1990 U.S. EPA Clean Air Act requirements for certification in refrigerant recovery and recycling to protect the environment. The Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide’s mission is clear and focused--as the recognized global authority on mobile air conditioning and heat transfer industry issues. www.macsw.org
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