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Activist investors targeting auto-parts retailers are taking hits to their investments, and Amazon isn’t helping.
When hedge fund Starboard Value LP disclosed a stake in Advance Auto Parts Inc. in 2015, it said the stock, then at $171, could more than double. The retailer’s shares have instead nearly halved since then, after warning weak sales will continue for an industry that’s also drawn interest from billionaire Carl Icahn. Advance Auto’s peers O’Reilly Automotive Inc. and AutoZone Inc. also have also plunged this year amid disappointing demand.
Perhaps the biggest bogeyman weighing on the shares is Amazon.com Inc., which sent shockwaves across the retail industry in June with its $13.7-billion acquisition of Whole Foods Market Inc. The online juggernaut has also been making inroads with autos, launching a car-research site and a parts marketplace last year. While car-part distributors -- with their technical expertise, trove of components and ability to quickly deliver to mechanics -- are more insulated from e-commerce than other retailers, though they’re not invincible.
“We fear an increased level of price transparency -- these companies either more aggressively price or promote their products to drive the same level of sales growth,” Seth Basham, an analyst at Wedbush Securities, said of the auto-parts retailers. “I don’t think it’s a primary driver of what’s been hurting same-store sales in the industry this year, but that doesn’t mean there can’t be a bigger impact going forward.”
The more immediate challenges dragging on the industry include economic uncertainty for low-income customers, higher gas prices and warmer weather that has eased the wear and tear on consumers’ cars, Advance Auto Chief Executive Officer Tom Greco said Tuesday.
Starboard’s view is that Amazon is a mild headwind -- at most -- to the industry, a person familiar with its strategy said. The New York-based hedge fund is pleased with Advance Auto’s efforts to cut costs and bolster its online presence and sees earnings improving early next year, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private.
Further encroachment by online rivals could pose a threat to industry profit margins that are in excess of 20 per cent -- part of what initially drew investors like Starboard and Icahn to the aftermarket parts business.
With the average age of vehicles on American roads approaching 12 years, investors also are betting an older vehicle fleet will mean more repairs and parts replacement. To capture that expected growth, Icahn has strung together several companies that deal in automotive parts, including service and retail chain Pep Boys, Auto Plus and parts supplier Federal-Mogul.
For now, e-commerce represents a sliver of the $277-billion aftermarket parts business, according to estimates from Wedbush and the Auto Care Association, an industry trade group. Online sales were about $11-billion last year, with EBay Inc.’s roughly 40-per-cent share being the largest, Wedbush estimates. Amazon had about a 25-per-cent share, though it’s growing at a rapid clip, Mr. Basham said.
Amazon launched the Amazon Automotive store in 2006 and has been expanding its inventory since then. It’s added a parts-finder filter that lets shoppers enter the make and model of their cars to find the correct parts.
“We’re continually expanding our selection and improving the customer experience with things like our Part Finder, Amazon Garage and, most recently, Amazon Vehicles,” a company spokeswoman said in an email.
Icahn Automotive, which owns Pep Boys and Auto Plus, and Starboard declined to comment. Spokespersons for O’Reilly, AutoZone and Advance Auto also declined to comment.
In trying to assess the potential threat from Amazon and other online parts sellers like RockAuto and EBay, analysts are honing in on retailers’ exposure to the consumer-facing “do-it-yourself” market, as opposed to the “do it for me” approach in which retailers sell to professional mechanics. The do-it-yourself market could be more vulnerable because consumers who aren’t in a hurry to buy a new wiper blade or spark plug may go online to find the cheapest price.
The do-it-yourself segment already is lagging, according to the Auto Care Association, which estimates sales will grow at a compound annual rate of 3.8 per cent in the five years ending in 2017, compared with a 4.4-per-cent increase for the do-it-for-me market.
The slower growth also is a reflection of cars getting increasing complex and loaded with technology, which contributes to more repairs necessitating technicians, said Behzad Rassuli, senior vice president of strategic development at the Auto Care Association. Some bumpers, for instance, now are built with embedded sensors that need to be properly calibrated.
“The opportunity for the consumer to repair their own vehicle has been dwindling,” Mr. Rassuli said.
Mr. Icahn said as much when speaking about his acquisition of Precision Auto Care Inc. in June, the latest addition to his chain of auto-repair shops. He’s also planning to take advantage of higher utilization of cars driven by the growth of ride-hailing businesses, he told the Wall Street Journal in an interview at the time.
Greg Henslee, O’Reilly’s CEO, has said the impact of companies like Amazon will be limited because they will struggle to sell component to consumers who don’t know what’s wrong with their car. Online retailers “will continue to take a little bit of market share here and there,” Mr. Henslee said on an earnings call in February. “I don’t see them nearly as one of our most prominent competitors.”
Even if their expertise diagnosing car troubles offers some protection, traditional parts retailers still are under pressure to improve their digital experience, especially since a buyer will often go online to ensure a part is in stock before picking it up at a store.
Advance Auto is investing heavily in technology to ensure a “consistent experience every time, both in-store and online,” Mr. Greco said on the company’s earnings call Tuesday. He told analysts consumers will have a “faster and more frictionless experience” online.
If you’re a parts retailer, “you’re definitely concerned,” Wedbush’s Basham said. “You’re thinking about ways to defend your turf and to capitalize on the way consumers are changing their behaviour.”
By Auto News
No need to go to a mechanic for basic car maintenance—you can do it yourself! It’s not a coincidence that Car Care Month falls on April, a ripe time for life and an overall season of renewal. It is the perfect time to jolt your car from hibernation and prep it for spring and summer driving whose open and oftentimes overwhelming roads lead to some of the most breathtaking places you’ll ever see (think Pacific Coast Highway, Blue Ridge Parkway, and the like).
But before taking everything in—the sceneries, the sensations, the stir brought by steering the wheel—it’s a must to check your car for issues that may have manifested or been overlooked during winter and ensure it is in top shape. This is, after all, what Car Care Month is about.
So here’s a list of repairs you can do on your own before gassing up for your getaways:
Fix Up Filters
Air, oil, fuel—all these filters play an important role in keeping your ride’s efficiency at a high level: drive with a dirty air filter and it affects fuel economy, keep using a damaged fuel filter and you put your engine at risk of costly damage. It is critical to fix up new filters, especially when your old ones have been around for a while. Installing a new fuel filter could be a complex job but shouldn’t be a problem for a seasoned DIYer.
Out with Old Oil
If your ride has racked up significant mileage, somewhere between 3,000 and 5,000 miles, chances are, your oil has already broken down and needs changing. It’s good practice to change your oil not just to ensure proper lubrication but also—and this is particularly true for the summer, a season of soaring temperatures—to guarantee that its viscosity matches the requirements of your car. If the temperatures are higher, you need heavier oil. Same thing if you’re driving an old vehicle model. Disregard this and you could be looking at potential engine damage.
However, be sure you’ve done research prior to upgrading your oil because not all makes and models perform well with thicker oil.
A no-no when changing oil: proceeding when your engine is hot. Waive Worn Wipers
Unsightly streaks on your windshield can ruin its look and be a distraction when you’re driving. If you’ve been using old, worn-out wipers, they might be responsible for these ugly streaks, so ditch your old wiper blades and swap them for new ones. Do this every year—and clean them using windshield wiper fluid and a paper towel—and you’re guaranteed an unobstructed view of the road.
It can take less than 20 minutes to install new wiper blades, but it can change your view of driving—literally.
Looking for quality wiper blades? Here are some bang-for-the-buck options: https://bit.ly/2ISx62W
Drain Dirt and Debris
Your car’s radiator can be such the indefatigable workhorse. But as it performs overtime, it builds up deposits that can take a toll on your cooling system and cause decay on its chief components. How do you stop this from happening? One way is to use a cleaning solution to eliminate the harmful contaminants. It is imperative, though, to drain your old coolant first, flush it out with all the dirt and debris that come with it, then dispose it properly. Afterwards, it’s time to fill up your car with fresh coolant.
Stop! Hammer Time
You don’t scrimp on something that can save your life. You can invest on high-quality brake pads, but if you know how to change them without having to visit a mechanic, you can cut costs without compromising your safety on the road.
Changing your brake pads (every 20,000 miles as suggested by experts) is a DIYable task that involves a bevy of tools: C-clamp, wrenches, pliers, pry bar, wire brush, floor jack, jack stands, and…a hammer.
See, when you have an older car, you might have to use a hammer to secure in place your newly installed pads with the retaining clips that once locked the old pads in. It’s a nifty hack, but it needs to be done with caution.
An advanced DIY project, replacing brake pads should be done with the right equipment and expertise. Yes to Connection, No to Corrosion
No list of car maintenance tips is complete without a mention of the battery. Checking the battery from time to time should be second nature to any owner as it is important to vehicle performance.
When it comes to battery upkeep, maintaining clean and snug connections remains to be the most critical part of the procedure. There is no place for corrosion on battery terminals because once rust sets in, the terminals’ ability to conduct power is curtailed.
While soda is a viable option and is said to be effective, it’s still wise to get a professional product (or use a mixture of baking soda and water) to rid your battery of those powdery blue and white corrosion mounds. Make sure to dry the posts with a clean rag after the cleanup.
You’re all set! If you’ve ticked these items off your maintenance checklist, then you can go back revving on the road in no time.
Want a step-by-step breakdown of more maintenance tasks? Check out these expert-guided car repair videos: https://bit.ly/2GtwYUG
The post Car Care Month: A DIY Car Maintenance Checklist appeared first on The Auto Parts Warehouse Blog.
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By Auto News
If you’ve been putting off fixing your car, the best time to do those repairs would be right now because April is National Car Care Month. A lot of vehicles need maintenance and upgrades, yours included, and Car Care Month is an important reminder of the value of taking care of our vehicles. Here at Auto Parts Warehouse, we want to help you get your ride in tip-top shape with APW Rewards’ exclusive offer from April 10-12. During this period, APW Rewards members will get free 100 points just for signing up!
But your savings on auto repair don’t end there. For 3 days only—every product you purchase from AutoPartsWarehouse.com as an APW Rewards member will get you either free 100 points or 200 points! All these points are easily redeemable for exclusive coupon codes that you can use on the site to get huge discounts on auto parts and accessories. In fact, you can already redeem a $10 off coupon with just a minimum of 200 points and you can keep on earning points to get discounts up to $100 off per order!
During the limited promo period, APW Rewards will give you free 100 points on select items–with no purchase limit. The great news is you can earn even more points–200 points to be exact–if you purchase from the brands listed below:
Plus, all loyalty members who accumulate $300 worth of purchases unlock Premier Tier membership, which automatically credits double points for every purchase all year round–even after our Car Care Month promo is done! No need to hunt down discount codes; with an APW Rewards membership, all the coupons you need can be found right inside your APW account.
Investing in your daily driver ensures the smoothest and safest drive. To help get you started on refreshing your ride, check out this simple car care checklist. Sign up for an APW Rewards membership for free today at https://bit.ly/2UOEfrq and avail of this special deal that await you for Car Care Month. Remember: the more points you earn, the more auto parts store coupons you can redeem for future purchases. Make car care a priority while earning big savings with APW Rewards.
The post APW Rewards Car Care Month: Free 100 or 200 Points for Every Purchase for 3 Days Only appeared first on The Auto Parts Warehouse Blog.
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2019 upgraded dual 360-degree rotating car phone holder for more scenes, such as in-car, home, school, office, kitchen and more.
For details, please click:
Advance Auto Parts, Inc. (NYSE: AAP) has acquired the DieHard brand from Transform Holdco LLC (“Transformco”), for $200 million utilizing cash on hand.
“We are excited to acquire global ownership of an iconic American brand. DieHard will help differentiate Advance, drive increased DIY customer traffic and build a unique value proposition for our Professional customers and Independent Carquest partners. DieHard has the highest brand awareness and regard of any automotive battery brand in North America and will enable Advance to build a leadership position within the critical battery category,” said Tom Greco, president and CEO, Advance Auto Parts. “DieHard stands for durability and reliability and we will strengthen and leverage the brand in other battery categories, such as marine and recreational vehicles. We also see opportunities to extend DieHard in other automotive categories. We remain committed to providing our customers with high-quality products and excellent service. The addition of DieHard to our industry leading assortment of national brands, OE parts and owned brands will enable us to differentiate Advance and drive significant long-term shareholder value.”
AmazonBasics High Mileage Motor Oil - Synthetic Blend
AmazonBasics high-mileage synthetic-blend motor oil offers an enhanced level of protection for engines over 75,000 miles. Its synthetic blend combines conventional oil with synthetic for cost efficiency with some of the benefits of a full synthetic. An important part of routine maintenance, the motor oil works well for anything from topping off levels to complete oil changes. Whether it’s a beloved older vehicle or one with an uncertain maintenance history, help protect its engine with AmazonBasics high-mileage, synthetic-blend motor oil.
When selecting parts for a car repair, it pays to know the differences between original and aftermarket parts. Whenever possible, get estimates for both.
Choosing between original and aftermarket car parts — and even used parts of either type — is all about squaring your priorities with your budget.
You’ll have different options depending on the part and the shop. And the best choice will depend on whether you’re trying to keep repairs cheap, restore your car’s appearance after a wreck or soup up your ride.
Original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts match those that came with your car, and are of the same quality as its original parts. They’re also the most expensive.
The factory-recommended replacement intervals for filters can vary quite a bit depending on the year, make and model of the vehicle, as well as how it is driven. As a rule, older vehicles (those more than 15 to 20 years old) typically have more frequent service intervals than newer vehicles. Why? Because late-model vehicles require less maintenance, thanks to improvements in motor oils, transmission fluids, engine design and filter media.
Many long-life air and oil filters use synthetic fiber media or a blend of cellulose and synthetic fibers to extend filter life.
Changing the oil and filter every 3,000 miles was standard practice decades ago. But it’s no longer necessary because most multi-viscosity oils today are a synthetic blend or a full synthetic that resist viscosity breakdown and oxidation for a much longer period of time. Late-model fuel-injected engines also run much cleaner than their carbureted ancestors, which reduces oil contamination in the crankcase.
Air filters, cabin air filters, oil filters and (sometimes) fuel and transmission filters are important maintenance parts that typically are replaced according to a time and/or mileage schedule. A vehicle’s service schedule recommendations can be found in the owner’s manual or in a separate brochure. Unfortunately, many motorists never read – or totally ignore – the recommendations.
Factory service schedules are designed to prolong the life of the engine, transmission and cooling system, to reduce premature wear and breakdowns, but also to minimize maintenance costs while the vehicle is still under warranty. That’s why factory oil change recommendations have been stretched to 7,500 to 10,000 miles or more on many late-model vehicles. Most late-model cars and light trucks no longer have recommended change intervals for transmission fluid and filters, or for fuel filters. These so-called “lifetime” fluids and filters are supposed to last a long time – but they won’t last forever. Experience has shown that “lifetime” filters and fluids don’t live up to the hype.
Fuel filters always should be replaced when a fuel pump is replaced (unless the filter is part of the fuel pump module assembly). Likewise, transmission filters should be replaced if a customer is changing the fluid in their transmission.
Last Line of Defense Against Contaminants
Filters are the first line of defense against contaminants. Air filters keep dirt and abrasive particles out of the engine. A good-quality air filter will trap about 98 percent or more of the particles that can cause trouble inside an engine. As the filter media becomes saturated with dirt, it’s efficiency actually increases. But, as the filter becomes clogged with more and more dirt, it also becomes more restrictive to airflow. The greater the pressure drop across the filter, the more it hurts performance and fuel economy.