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    • By Counterman
      Counterman’s “
      link hidden, please login to view” contest challenges our readers to solve an automotive riddle, for a chance to win $100. And each month, we receive hundreds of responses from aftermarket professionals trying to guess the model of the vehicle depicted. The correct answer for the August/September contest is the Honda Clarity. The winner is Don Maloney, store manager at Carquest in Muscle Shoals, Alabama.
      Now, let’s get to know the “Guess the Car” champion.
      CM: How long have you been working in the auto parts business?
      DM: About 15 years or so.
      CM: What do you like most about your job?
      DM: Talking to people about vehicles and helping them solve their problems – that’s usually the most fun. And you get to meet some very interesting people and hear some interesting analysis.
      CM: What’s the strangest question a customer has asked you?
      DM: What I like is the customer who comes in and buys oil and an oil filter and says, “OK, where do I pull the car around to get this done?” That’s probably the best question we get asked. We even get that question with belts and alternators and starters.
      CM: What’s the coolest car you’ve ever owned or worked on?
      DM: The coolest car I ever owned was a 1986 Mercedes 190E Cosworth. It was a four-door sedan with a Cosworth-built engine. It came standard with Recaro seats and a dogleg five-speed transmission. It was what they call a homologation car, which means that Mercedes had to build a certain number of these cars [for street use] and put them on the market for sale to qualify for a race series.
      CM: Do you have any interesting hobbies? What do you do for fun?
      DM:  When you have seven grandkids, you pretty much have your days off occupied. That is my hobby, pretty much.
      CM: What’s your dream car?
      DM: My dream car would be a Mercedes 190E Evolution. There may be a few floating around the United States, but way beyond anything I could ever afford.
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    • By Counterman
      As the automotive industry grapples with ongoing inventory shortages, consumers continue their shift to used vehicles.
      According to Experian’s “State of the Automotive Finance Market Report: Q2 2022,” 61.78% of all vehicle financing was for used vehicles, up from 58.48% in Q2 2021.
      The shift to used vehicles was present across all credit tiers, though near-prime saw the largest increase, going from 72.3% in Q2 2021 to 77.69% in Q2 2022.
      Subprime consumers saw the percentage of used-vehicle loans grow from 86.28% in Q2 2021 to 89.29% in Q2 2022, while prime consumers saw growth from 61.02% to 63.59% in the same time frame, according to Experian.
      “Between the inventory shortage and rising vehicle costs, consumers are looking to make the most cost-effective decision, which is often a used vehicle,” said Melinda Zabritski, Experian’s senior director of automotive financial solutions. “The benefit of higher vehicle values is that consumers are able to get more for their trade-ins, which can help offset the increased cost of their next vehicle.”
      The shift to used comes amid rising average vehicle-loan amounts and monthly payments for both new and used vehicles. The average new-vehicle loan amount increased 13.21% year-over-year to reach $40,290 in Q2 2022, with a monthly payment of $667 compared to $582 in Q2 2021. Average used-vehicle loan amounts saw a sharper increase of 18.66% year-over-year, clocking in at $28,534, with an average monthly payment of $515, an increase from $440 in Q2 2021.
      As consumers financed more used vehicles, credit unions experienced significant growth. Credit unions saw a jump in overall market share, reaching 25.81% in Q1 2022, up from 18.32% in Q1 2021, coming in second only to banks (27.94%) and surpassing captive lenders (22.64%), according to Experian.
      Credit unions achieved growth in both new- and used-vehicle financing, though the growth was more pronounced in the used-vehicle space.
      Though captives still led new-vehicle financing at 46.14% in Q2 2021, credit unions increased to 21.35%, up from 11.15% last year. For used-vehicle financing, credit unions comprised 28.62% in Q1 2022, up from 23.49% in Q1 2021. The growth places credit unions just behind banks, which held 29.19% of used-vehicle financing in Q1 2022.
      “With the market dynamics we’re seeing right now, the shift in lender market share makes sense, as credit unions often offer two things that consumers are seeking: lower interest rates and longer terms,” Zabritski continued. “This helps to manage their monthly payment, which is often what consumers prioritize when looking at financing options. Understanding these trends will ensure lenders and dealers can help consumers make the most informed decisions when purchasing a vehicle.”
      Additional findings for Q2 2022:
      Leasing decreased to 19.65% of new vehicles in Q2 2022, down from 27.82% in Q2 2021. The market continues to move more prime with prime (45.74%) and super prime (19.57%) comprising more than 63% of all originations in Q2 2022. SUVs surpassed 60% of total financing in Q2 2022 at 60.43%, up from 58.57% in Q2 2021. The average difference between a new-vehicle loan and lease payment was $127 in Q2 2022. The average loan term for new-vehicle loans remained flat going from 69.45 to 69.46 months from Q2 2021 to Q2 2022; average used-vehicle loan terms grew from 66.14 months to 68.01 months, year-over-year. To learn more, watch the entire
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    • By Counterman
      CARDONE Industries has been recognized as a Philadelphia Inquirer Top 10 Workplace among large companies, placing ahead of all other manufacturers on the list.
      The award is based solely on employee feedback gathered through a third-party survey administered by employee engagement technology partner,
      link hidden, please login to view. The anonymous survey measures 15 culture drivers that are critical to an organization’s success, including alignment, execution, and connection. “I am thankful for our employees and for the culture they continue to cultivate daily,” said Mike Carr, CEO. “It is an honor and testament to our employees to be ranked among the Top 10 Philadelphia/Delaware Valley Workplaces. Our dedicated workforce has created a collaborative environment that adapts to challenges, embraces new opportunities, and shapes the future of CARDONE. I am grateful for the opportunity to be part of this award-winning team.” 
      The post
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    • By Counterman
      The University of the Aftermarket Foundation (UAF) has introduced a new corporate-support aspect to its popular UAF Coffee Club recurring-donor program.
      Called the BARISTA level, the new donor program provides organizations with a pathway to join individual donors in “pouring it forward” to benefit of the automotive aftermarket through education.
      “We are excited to offer this unique new program to give aftermarket organizations a chance to ‘expresso’ their support and help provide scholarships and educational opportunities for the next generation of industry professionals,” said Mike Buzzard, UAF trustee and chairman of the UAF Coffee Club sub-committee.
      Organizations that donate a minimum of $3,600 to the UAF that is earmarked for the Coffee Club campaign will be recognized as BARISTA at the UAF Coffee Club event during AAPEX on signage, the UAF Website, UAF newsletter and other UAF communications. BARISTA donations apply toward Lifetime Trustee status.
      “BARISTA donors will join UAF Coffee Club members at a special networking event at AAPEX which has proven to provide a valuable venue and professional connection springboard for those new to aftermarket careers to interact with industry veterans,” said Buzzard.
      To learn more and become a BARISTA, contact UAF Executive Director Jennifer Tio at [email protected] For more information about the University of the Aftermarket Foundation and its available scholarships, or to make a donation, visit
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    • DIY like a pro! Shop from over 1,000,000 Repair Manuals at eManualOnline.com! As low as $14.99 per manual. Shop now.


      DIY like a pro! Shop from over 1,000,000 Repair Manuals at eManualOnline.com! As low as $14.99 per manual. Shop now.


      DIY like a pro! Shop from over 1,000,000 Repair Manuals at eManualOnline.com! As low as $14.99 per manual. Shop now.

    • By Counterman
      Well this is a first.
      Apparently, after months of easy puzzles, the August/September “Guess the Car” contest has stumped our readers.
      So far, Counterman hasn’t received any correct answers. However, we’ve seen some excellent guesses, and we can tell you this: Some of you are on the right track.
      The woman in the picture is having an “aha moment.” That much is obvious. But how does that translate into the name of a vehicle model?
      Here are a few answers that are close but not correct:
      Fiat Idea GM Bright Idea Honda Insight If we don’t receive any correct answers in the next week or two, we’ll provide more clues to help you gain some clarity on the current puzzle.
      The post
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