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July 10, 2014
ELEMENT FINANCIAL COMPLETES PHH ARVAL PURCHASE

Element Financial Corporation completed its acquisition of assets and operations of PHH Arval for $1.4 billion USD. The deal grows Element’s assets to $10 billion with total fleet assets now totaling $6 billion.

“This accretive transaction doubles both our asset base and our tangible leverage at the same time that it sets in motion a process for achieving investment grade ratings to reduce our funding costs that will drive incremental returns for our shareholders,” said Steven K. Hudson, Chairman and CEO, Element Financial Corporation.

Element Fleet Management business will be headed by Jim Halliday, current President of PHH Arval.

“Element’s focused and disciplined approach to growth presents us with an exceptional opportunity to deliver new solutions and a broader scope of services to our clients,” said Halliday. “I believe our passion for customer service together with the added scale and financial strength to support increased investment in technology and product development, sets Element Fleet Management apart as North America’s premier fleet management company.”

Element will operate from its Canadian head office in Mississauga, Ontario and the U.S. head office in Sparks, Maryland. It will also make use of the Arval global alliance in more than 40 countries.

“The transaction positions Element Fleet Management as North America’s premier fleet management provider,” said Brad Ley Nullmeyer, President, Element Financial Corporation. “Through Element’s other business verticals, it also presents an opportunity for our new fleet clients to access equipment financing solutions for a much broader range of their capital assets from fork lifts and highway tractors to railcars and aircraft.”

July 1, 2014
ED BOBIT, FOUNDER, BOBIT BUSINESS MEDIA, DIES

Edward Bobit, Founder of our sister publication Automotive Fleet magazine, and Bobit Business Media passed away at home on Sunday, June 29. Bobit is survived by his five children: Ty Bobit (Chief Executive Officer of Bobit Business Media), Barbara Jusseaume, Bobi Jo Banas, Beverly Jacobson, and Beth Edwards as well as 14 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Jake McLaughlin remembers: “Some thirty years ago Ed Bobit’s determination and enthusiasm underlined his dedication to the growth and prosperity of the fleet industry in the United States where he had successfully established Automotive Fleet magazine,” said Jake McLaughlin, Founder, Canadian Automotive Fleet. In conjunction with with Ed, Jake launched Automotive Fleet in Canada.

Bobit started Automotive Fleet in November 1961, and laid the foundation for a multimedia empire that spanned various segments of the fleet profession and other industries. Automotive Fleet is credited as being one of the most respected fleet-related journals in the publishing world. Even after his surgery in 2013, Bobit continued to stay current with the industry through his blog and editorials within his publications.



June 30, 2014
VINCENTRIC NAMES BEST FLEET VALUE IN CANADA AWARDS

Vincentric identified winners of the third annual Best Fleet Value in Canada awards. Nissan and Toyota led, with each earning eight awards. Next were General Motors with seven awards, Chrysler, Mercedes-Benz, and Ford, with four each, and Mitsubishi with two.

"With a three-year history of fleet awards in Canada, we are noticing some trends,” said David Wurster, President, Vincentric. "The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and the Toyota hybrids have had strong performances all three years, with GM and Ford also consistently delivering numerous award winners. The Nissan line-up and Ram trucks also had a strong presence in the awards this year, which will give fleet operators a wide range of choices when using total cost of ownership to help guide their vehicle selections."

Award winners were designated after analysis of more than 1,900 vehicle configurations in 24 different lifecycle cost settings using eight cost factors: depreciation, fees and taxes, financing, fuel, insurance, maintenance, opportunity cost, and repairs. Lifecycle costs were measured in all provinces then applied to determine winners.

Vincentric found that:
  • “Nissan success was led by its crossover class and a strong performance by the NV product line in the van class, with three Nissan award winners in each segment.”
  • “Toyota earned its awards with a well-balanced line-up in the passenger vehicle and crossover classes, including multiple hybrid winners.”
  • “The General Motors achievements were led by Buick and Cadillac with a combined total of five awards.”
  • “Dodge and Ram brands earned two awards each for Chrysler, with the Ram 2500 and 3500 pickups sweeping the heavy-duty pickup segments.”
  • “The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter performed strongly for the third year in a row, winning three of the heavy duty van segments.”
  • “Ford earned awards in key fleet segments with the F-150 pickup and E-150 passenger van topping their winners list.”
For complete list of winners, view the PDF here.

June 30, 2014
JD POWER INITIAL QUALITY STUDY (IQS) RESULTS

J.D. Power issued the 2014 Initial Quality Study (IQS) and determined that there is an increased number of problems being reported by new vehicle owners than in the year past. For 2014, 116 problems were reported for every 100 vehicles (PP100), up from 113 PP100 in 2013, reports cover the first 90 days of vehicle ownership.

Much of the problem increase is attributed to new technologies, since the majority of problems are in areas of voice recognition and Bluetooth; more prevalent on newly released models than carryover models, 128 PP100 to 113 PP100 respectively.

“Automakers are trying to give consumers the new features and technology they want without introducing additional quality problems into their vehicles,” said David Sargent, Vice-President of Global Automotive, J.D. Power. “However, almost all automakers are struggling to do this flawlessly with some consumers indicating that the technology is hard to understand, difficult to use, or simply does not always work as designed.”

For the second year consecutively Porsche had the fewest problems with 74 PP100, followed by Jaguar with 87 PP100, Lexus with 92 PP100, Hyundai with 94 PP100 and Toyota with 105 PP100. Segment awards were given and General Motors led with six, followed by Hyundai with five (including Kia), Ford, Nissan and Porsche each had three awards.

“At GM we are committed to providing customers with the highest levels of safety, quality and an exceptional ownership experience,” said Alicia Boler-Davis, Senior Vice-President Global Quality and Customer Experience, GM. “Having the most award winners of any automaker shows that we are on the right track by putting the customer front and center in everything we do.”

J.D. Power also disclosed the Plant Assembly Line Quality awards. Toyota Motors Corporation Cambridge South (TMMC) plant in Cambridge, Ontario, received the Platinum award for the fewest defects or malfunctions per 100 vehicles with 12. The plant produces the Lexus RX. General Motors’ Ingersoll CAMI plant was recognized with a Silver award with 20 (PP100). The plant produces Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain.

“This award recognizes the dedication and skill of our Canadian Team Members,” said Brian Krinock, President, TMMC. “It’s a testament to their craftsmanship and pride.”

For complete results, view the PDF here.

June 17, 2014
NORTH TORONTO AUCTION MAKES PROFIT 500 RANKING AGAIN

North Toronto Auction has been recognized by the annual PROFIT 500 ranking of Canada’s fastest growing companies for the second consecutive year. The ranking is published by PROFIT magazine and ranks Canadian businesses by revenue growth over five years.

“Wow! Back to back for North Toronto Auction. We feel honoured and humbled, yet still amazed at what we’ve been able to accomplish. It seems we are just getting started. We would also like to salute the other companies in this “Fastest Growing” category and have a deep understanding of the passion and tenacity it takes to nurture growth in today’s business environment,” said Stu Ralph, Owner/Partner, NTA.

NTA was launched in 2003. It holds dealer auctions bi-weekly; 24 public auctions a year.

June 3, 2014
ELEMENT FINANCIAL CORPORATION BUYS PHH ARVAL

Element Financial Corporation has a definitive agreement to acquire assets and operations of PHH Arval for $1.4 billion USD in an all-cash transaction.

“This transformative acquisition achieves all of the strategic and financial objectives that we established when we set out to expand our domestic fleet management business into the U.S. market,” said Steven K. Hudson, Chairman and CEO, Element. “It provides us with a fully integrated North American fleet management offering that complements our other three business verticals at the same time that it is accretive to our shareholders and immediately improves our capital efficiency.”

Under the agreement, Element acquires: employees, systems, intellectual property, operations, offices, agreements and other assets that PHH currently employs to service North American fleet customers.

“PHH Arval’s service culture is renowned in the North American fleet management industry and we are very excited about the opportunities that we see emerging from combining their operations with Element’s existing domestic fleet management business,” said Bradley Nullmeyer, North American President, Element. “We also see exceptional growth opportunities for the combined business by being able to offer a North American wide fleet management solution to customers that we service in our other business segments.”

The transaction is expected to close on or before July 31 subject to closing conditions, which include regulatory approvals and post-closing purchase price adjustments.

“This acquisition, and the concurrent expanded funding arrangements that we have put in place, will transform both sides of our balance sheet resulting in improved economics for each of our business lines going forward,” noted Michel Beland, Chief Financial Officer, Element. “In addition, the transaction provides Element with an additional US$600 million of tax deferrals which will push out the expected time horizon for the payment of cash taxes to more than 15 years.”

May 23, 2014
IARA CANADA COMPLETES A FIRST TRAINING EVENT

International Automobile Remarketers’ Alliance (IARA) Canada recently hosted Training Session 101 on Remarking, which was well attended by representatives of the automotive remarketing world.

The event was held at Adesa Toronto and designed to furnish a detailed understanding of various aspects of selling vehicles at auctions. Claudio DeAngelis, Foss National Leasing and Gerry Corcoran, Jim Pattison Lease, made presentations about many methods a remarketer can apply when re-selling returned vehicles. Steve Coulman, Manheim Canada, Steve Langdon, Adesa Canada, and Josh Bailey, Canadian Black Book, were also available to answer questions.

An appraisal challenge allowed those assembled to predict values of seven vehicles sold that same day using their newly-honed skills. Four teams recorded estimates which were then compared to the actual sales results from the auction block.


May 20, 2014
JIM PATTISON LEASE PARTNERS WITH DONLEN

Jim Pattison Lease has partnered with Donlen, the U.S. Fleet and Lease company founded in 1965 and headquartered in Illinois, on a new co-branded maintenance product. Donlen customers can access fleet management services in Canada with a vendor network of service and repair facilities using a new co-branded Canadian maintenance card. Canadian services and fleet-related data will be consolidated into FleetWeb, and a single Donlen invoice will be available for North American services. Donlen customers will have access to Canadian and USA data.

“In choosing a Canadian partner, there were two areas where we wouldn’t compromise: a strong focus on customer satisfaction and the ability to provide services to the same high standard that we do at Donlen. Jim Pattison Lease delivers on both,” said Gus Xamplas, Vice-President, General Manager Canada, Donlen. “With this agreement, we’re also able to provide complete FleetWeb data integration, a key factor for our customers with Canadian operations.”

“There are similarities in our two companies that go beyond the services we can provide,” said Wayne Rose, Vice-President Operations, Jim Pattison Lease. “Like Donlen, we’re focused on 100 per cent customer satisfaction at Jim Pattison Lease. That means every interaction we have is important to our long-term relationship with our customers. We’re proud to partner with Donlen and we look forward to working together.”

May 16, 2014
HINO MOTORS MARKS 40 YEARS IN CANADA

In 2014, Hino Motors Canada, Ltd., celebrates its 40th anniversary in Canada. When it started operations in Burnaby, British Columbia; it imported and assembled the first Hino trucks for North America in 1974.

“From humble beginnings in 1974 to the prominent Canadian manufacturer of Class 4 – 7 trucks it is today, Hino is proud to celebrate its 40th year in Canada. Today the company is well entrenched within the Canadian marketplace with a coast-to-coast network of 47 dealers, a Canadian assembly plant in Woodstock, Ontario, and its head office and Parts Distribution Centre located in Mississauga, Ontario,” said Eric Smith, Vice President of Sales, Hino Canada. “The next 40 years for Hino promise to be very interesting and exciting.”

Hino Canada will sponsor a gala event with customers, dealers, suppliers and special guests at its new Mississauga head office; a combined, parts distribution centre and national training centre, later this year. Hino Motors’ history in Japan goes back to 1918, and has been a presence in the United States for 30 years.

May 13, 2014
NISSAN TESTING DIRT-REJECTING CAR PAINT

Ultra-Ever Dry
Ultra-Ever Dry technology shown on the right side of the Nissan Note.
Nissan is testing super-hydrophobic and oleophobic paint that can repel rain, mud, and dirt, in order to help keep the vehicle clean. To test the technology’s effectiveness, engineers at Nissan Technical Centre Europe will use a Nissan Note under varying conditions.

Called Ultra-Ever Dry®, the technology creates a protective layer of air between paint and the environment; it blocks standing water and road spray from forming dirt marks on the car's surface.

"The Nissan Note has been carefully engineered to take the stress out of customer driving, and Nissan's engineers are constantly thinking of new ways to make families' lives easier," said Geraldine Ingham, Chief Marketing Manager, Nissan Note. "We are committed to addressing everyday problems our customers face and will always consider testing exciting, cutting edge technology like this incredible coating application."

May 6, 2014
ARI NAMES KEYNOTE SPEAKER FOR TORONTO FLEET FORUM

David Chilton
David Chilton.
Author David Chilton is the keynote speaker for ARI Canada’s up-coming fleet forum June 9 at Angus Glen Golf Course in Markham, Ontario. Chilton is best known for his book ‘The Wealthy Barber’ and as a ‘dragon’ on the CBC program Dragon’s Den. Chilton will review his experience and insights with the expected audience of 150 fleet professionals.

“David Chilton is literally a household name across Canada,” says Peter Nogalo, Marketing Manager at ARI. “With concepts like ‘paying yourself first,’ the Wealthy Barber has become one of the best-selling books in Canadian history. We are incredibly excited to have David share his expertise and insight, not to mention a copy of his latest book with each attendee,” said Nogalo.

The coverage of ARI’s fleet forum will include risk management and fleet safety, sessions on ARI’s new safety offerings, as well as a presentation by The Insurance Bureau of Canada.

“Risk management remains top of mind for fleets,” said Nogalo, “so this year we have two sessions focusing exclusively on managing risks and enhancing driver safety. We are pleased to partner with the Insurance Bureau of Canada to support this programming.”

Allan O’Dette, President, Ontario Chamber of Commerce will discuss “A Vision for Ontario,” highlighting strategies designed to help drive prosperity in the province.

April 21, 2014
NAFA ONTARIO CHARITY GOLF EVENT SELLS OUT IN RECORD TIME

NAFA Ontario’s upcoming charity golf event on May 29th at Copper Creek Golf Club in support of Sick Kid’s Hospital in Toronto sold out its foursomes in record time this year. The event still has a very few select sponsorship positions left in support of it’s goal of raising $25,000 for the foundation in 2014.

For more information regarding the remaining sponsorship availability please contact Stu Ralph, Owner/Partner, North Toronto Auctions at sralph@northtorontoauction.com

April 21, 2014
WORLD CAR OF THE YEAR AWARD WINNER AND FINALISTS

Audi A3 Cabrio
Audi A3 Cabrio.
Audi A3 was declared the 2014 World Car of the Year. The award was presented at the 2014 New York Auto Show in New York, N.Y. Other finalists included: BMW 4 Series, and Mazda3. There were a total of 24 candidate entries.

“The Audi A6 was the first ever winner of this award and we are delighted that the Audi A3 has repeated that achievement by being voted 2014 World Car of the Year,” said Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management, Audi AG. “ The Audi A3 showcases Audi’s technical competence in all aspects of carmaking, not least in the areas of lightweight technology, drivetrain, mobile infotainment and driver assistance systems. This major award win is an achievement that the whole company can celebrate.”

BMW i3 was designated 2014 World Green Car of the Year, topping the Audi A3 Sportback g-tron and Volkswagen XL1. BMW i3 was also designated 2014 World Car Design of the Year, besting Mazda3 and Mercedes-Benz C-class.



“To have the BMW i3 named World Green Car of the Year is a great honor,” said Dr. Ian Robertson, Member of the Board of Management, BMW AG, Sales and Marketing BMW. “From the production process onwards, the BMW i3 is a truly sustainable vehicle, created with the needs of the 21st century city in mind.”

Porsche 911 GT3 was declared World Performance Car of the Year. Other finalists were: Chevrolet Corvette Stingray and Ferrari 458 Speciale.



“To be chosen as the winner of the World Performance Car by this global jury is extremely rewarding,” said Detlev von Platen, President and CEO, Porsche Cars North America. “Each generation of the 911 GT3 epitomizes our vision of the ultimate pure bred, track ready sports car. And our newest iteration is no exception. To be elected against such formidable competitors by a large number of auto experts pays a huge compliment to our designers and engineers.”

Finally, the 2014 World Luxury Car designation went to the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, topping the Bentley Flying Spur and Range Rover Sport.

“It is not only our customers who expect a new S-Class to set standards, but also the journalists," says Prof. Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Management Daimler AG, responsible for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development. "The success of the S-Class in this category makes us very proud indeed, and once more demonstrates that we have met these expectations." To have been eligible for consideration, vehicles must have been on sale on at least two continents between January 1, 2013 and May 31, 2014. Candidate vehicles are selected and voted on by an international jury panel comprised of 69 automotive journalists from 22 countries around the world.

April 8, 2014
MERCURY ASSOCIATES OPENS CANADIAN OFFICE

Mercury Associates, an independent North American fleet management consulting firm based in the Washington, D.C. area, has opened a Canadian office in Midhurst, a suburb of Barrie, Ontario.

Mercury’s list of clients in Canada have included: BC Hydro, Bell Canada, EPCOR, Horizon Utilities, National Express Corporation, Shell Canada, and Suncor Energy. In addition, clients have also included local government jurisdictions such as Calgary, Fredericton, Medicine Hat, North Bay, Saint John, Toronto, Vancouver, and Waterloo, as well as provinces and territories such as Ontario, Saskatchewan, and Yukon.

The Canadian fleet component of consulting services will be managed by Senior Manager Katherine Vigneau, CAFM, and Senior Consultant Bannu Hurtig.

“We are extremely pleased that two individuals of Kate’s and Bannu’s stature and experience have seen fit to continue their fleet management careers by joining Mercury’s consulting team,” said Paul Lauria, President, Mercury Associates Inc. “Although we have worked with many clients in Canada over the years, our decision to open a regional office in Ontario reflects the importance that Mercury attaches to the Canadian market and our confidence that these outstanding professionals will enable Mercury to serve our clients in Canada even more effectively in the future.”

April 1, 2014
SHELL CANADA INTRODUCES THE SHELL FLEET NAVIGATOR CARD

Shell Canada’s new Fleet Navigator Cardn
Shell Canada’s new Fleet Navigator Card.
Shell Canada’s new Fleet Navigator Card is a fuel credit card designed for medium-to-large sized fleets. Available to fleets sized 30 vehicles or more, the card allows fleet managers to customize a fuel network and set controls for an individual card or driver, providing more control and oversight for fuel costs.

"Shell's expertise in the fleet card space, combined with the flexibility of the Shell Fleet Navigator(SM) Card, allows us to help fleet managers create the best fleet card program for their businesses," said Henry Miller, General Manager of the Commercial Fleet Card Program for Shell in North America. "Working with a dedicated Shell representative, fleet managers are able to customize their fuel network to best fit their company needs and set controls on driver behavior to avoid fraud and increase efficiency."

In addition, fleet managers will have access to a Shell regional sales manager to assist in creating a unique fuel network and to tailor the program around current company policies, driver behavior and other singular needs to help assure savings. A useful and customizable online management tool allows fleet managers to set alert options, including the possibility of fraudulent behavior, and to use data to set enhanced controls where needed.

The card will be accepted at 1,200 Shell stations across Canada and at any Canadian fuel station that accepts MasterCard. Shell customer service is available to fleet managers and drivers 24/7. An Air Miles Reward Program is included with the card.

April 1, 2014
NAFA NAMES 2014 FLEET EXCELLENCE AWARDS FINALISTS

NAFA Fleet Management Association selected finalists for the 2014 Fleet Excellence Awards (FLEXY), to be granted during the second annual Fleet Excellence Awards Gala on Tuesday, April 8 at the Minneapolis Convention Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota as part of NAFA’s Institute and Expo.

“NAFA is proud once again to open our 2014 Institute & Expo with these prestigious awards,” said Phillip E. Russo, CAE, CEO, NAFA. “These individuals have demonstrated the highest level of achievement in their respective categories and exemplify the work that is going on in the fleet profession today.”

The “FLEXY” awards consider all fleet participants, including non-NAFA members. Industry leaders were judges in the selection process for finalists and winners. They made their selections based on actions and ideas listed by nominees on submission forms (without knowing their identities).

“The excitement generated from the 2013 debut of the FLEXYs was astounding, and very gratifying,” said Russo. “Fleet professionals are some of the most creative thinkers and dedicated professionals when it comes to finding cost-savings, increasing safety, and fostering sustainability in their organization's fleet. NAFA wanted to honor that, and we have; and to see how the fleet community has embraced it says so much more than I ever could.”

The 2014 list of finalists is as follows:
    Outstanding Achievement in Corporate Fleet Management
  • Jonathan Kamanns, Fleet Manager, Ingersoll-Rand
  • Patricia Smith, Senior Specialist – Facilities/Fleet Management, Diageo North America, Inc.
  • George Survant, Senior Director – Fleet, Time Warner Cable
    Outstanding Achievement in Public Fleet Management
  • Mike Plato, Director – Fleet (EMS), Alberta Health Services
  • Kelly Reagan, Fleet Administrator, City of Columbus
  • Kevin Schlangen, CAFM; Fleet Manager; Dakota County
    Excellence in Corporate Fleet Sustainability
  • Bonnie Brown, Manager of Administrative Services, Roche Diagnostics Corp.
  • Bruce Donovan, Director of Global Fleet Operations, DeAngelo Brothers Incorporated
  • Doug Swistock, Division Service and Operations Manager, TruGreen LandCare
    Excellence in Public Fleet Sustainability
  • Keith Leech, Fleet Manager, City of Sacramento
  • Kelly Reagan, Fleet Administrator, City of Columbus
  • James Reinish; Manager, Central Automotive Division; Port Authority of NY & NJ
    Excellence in Corporate Fleet Safety
  • Jonathan Kamanns, Fleet Manager, Ingersoll-Rand
  • Albert Powell, DOT/Fleet Manager, Express Energy
  • Andy Sacha, Global Fleet Manager, Nestlé
    Excellence in Public Fleet Safety
  • Jacquie Deitch, Director – Fleet Services, City of Calgary
  • Glenn Brown and Kevin LeBlanc, City of Edmonton - Fleet Services
  • J.D. Schulte, CAFM; Fleet Manager; City of Moline
    Excellence in Fleet Leadership
  • Lisa Grater, Transportation and Parking Services Coordinator, University of La Verne
  • Jonathan Kamanns, Fleet Manager, Ingersoll-Rand
  • Keith Leech, Fleet Manager, City of Sacramento


April 1, 2014
ARI’S 2014 FLEET FORUM SERIES

ARI Fleet Forum across Canada Series for 2014 will make appearances in Toronto, Ontario, Calgary, Alberta, Vancouver, British Columbia and Montreal, Quebec.

“Over the past 15 plus years, ARI’s forums have become ‘don’t miss’ events on the Canadian fleet calendar,” says Peter Nogalo, Marketing Manager at ARI. “And with recent legislative changes leading to a renewed emphasis on fleet safety, this year’s focus will be on the latest risk management tools, tactics, and technologies.”

The annual series provides information on fleet management best practices and general business trends. This year’s forums will focus on safety and risk management. For the 2014 season, dates are as follows: Toronto, June 9, Calgary, July 22, Vancouver, July 24, and Montreal. September 18.

For more information on how to participate, contact ARI at info@arifleet.ca.

April 1, 2014
EMKAY’S VEHICLE REMARKETING RECERTIFIED

EMKAY’s Vehicle Remarketing Department has been recertified by the International Automotive Remarketers Alliance (IARA) Certified Automotive Remarketer (CAR) program. The certification was given to John Elizaga, Director of Vehicle Remarketing; Mona Spoon, Territory Manager; and Dave Thomson, Territory Manager.

“At EMKAY we are consistently innovating which includes taking the extraordinary and making it a standard,” said Andrew Griffith, Vice-President of Operations and IT, EMKAY. “We are so pleased to have the entire remarketing department achieve the IARA CAR recertification. This new standard within our company is pushing the bar to enable us to provide a simple better and different client experience.”

The IARA CAR program covers remarketing channels, presale activities, actual sale activities, post-sale activities, legal and ethics issues, and terminology. Recertification requires that each applicant pass a test comprised of 50 core questions taken from 20 course exams.

April 1, 2014
ENTERPRISE RENT-A-CAR CANADA BUYS AUTOSHARE

AutoShare CarSharing Network Inc. (AutoShare), has been purchased by Enterprise Rent-A-Car Canada. AutoShare will continue to operate under the Autoshare name and be managed by Enterprise Canada’s Toronto division.

“This acquisition reflects our longtime commitment to offering sustainable transportation options throughout North America,” said Ryan Johnson, Assistant Vice-President overseeing Enterprise’s CarShare, Rideshare and Zimride operations. “We are very excited and proud to become part of Toronto’s car-sharing community, which AutoShare launched and has supported for more than 15 years.”

AutoShare has 12,000 local members , and was Toronto’s first car sharing organization in 1998. Staff will remain AutoShare employees with updated benefits.

“Enterprise’s leadership role in providing affordable, accessible and sustainable transportation options on a local basis is authentic and well documented,” said Kevin McLaughlin, Founder and President, AutoShare. “That makes Enterprise the right partner to lead the future of car sharing in Toronto. Its existing car rental network fosters flexible and economical options for an hour, a day, a week or even longer, benefiting both consumers who rely on mass transit during the week and those who simply cannot afford to purchase or maintain a vehicle on their own.”

Enterprise Holdings also operates the CarShare program, which offers service in 20 major markets, and university, government and business campuses.

March 18, 2014
PROVINCE OF ONTARIO PROPOSES AMENDMENTS TO HIGHWAY TRAFFIC ACT

Ontario introduced legislation by way of the proposed Keeping Ontario's Roads Safe Act and supporting amendments to the Highway Traffic Act.

“Ontario’s roads consistently rank among the safest in North America thanks to our tough laws and strong enforcement, along with the work of our many dedicated road safety partners,” said Glen R. Murray, Minister of Transportation, Minister of Infrastructure. “Our new legislation, if passed, would keep drivers, cyclists and pedestrians even safer as we get tougher with those who ignore the law.”

The changes include:
-Increasing fines for distracted driving from a range of $60 - $500 to a range of $300 - $1,000 and assigning three demerit points upon conviction;

-Increasing fines for drivers for dooring cyclists from a range of $60 - $500 to range of $300 - $1,000 and raising the demerit points from two to three;

-Requiring all drivers to maintain a distance of one metre when passing cyclists;

-Requiring drivers to yield the whole roadway to pedestrians at school crossings and pedestrian crossovers.

“Despite Ontario’s road safety record, there is still more to do. by targeting impaired, distracted and other unsafe driving with increased fines or penalties, we hope to reduce the tragic and costly consequences of collisions, injuries and fatalities on our roads,” said Dr. Arlene King, Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health.

March 11, 2014
NTEA NOW HAS A PRESENCE IN CANADA

The National Truck Equipment Association (NTEA), The Association for the Work Truck Industry, has opened a Canadian Government Relations office in Ottawa, Ontario. Offices in Ottawa and Washington will focus on creating a unified voice for the work truck industry and address the needs of the North American market.

“Around the world, governments have begun to recognize the economic benefits associated with global truck platforms, harmonized safety regulations and emissions standards for commercial vehicles.” said Steve Carey, Executive Director, NTEA. “Having a second Government Relations office further strengthens the NTEA’s ability to influence and respond to regulations and legislation impacting the North American market.”

The Ottawa office is under the direction of Mike Kastner, NTEA managing director.

March 11, 2014
WORLD CAR OF THE YEAR FINALISTS NAMED

The World Car of the Year finalists were named as part of a press conference at the Geneva International Motor Show. Selected from a list of 24 candidates, finalists for the World Car of the Year are: Audi A3, BMW 4 Series, and Mazda3.

Eligible vehicles must have been on sale on at least two continents between January 1, 2013 and May 31, 2014. Candidate vehicles are selected and voted on by an international jury panel comprised of 69 automotive journalists from 22 countries around the world.

Other category finalists are:

World Luxury Car – Bentley Flying Spur, Mercedes-Benz S-Class, and Range Rover Sport.

World Performance Car – Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, Ferrari 458 Speciale, and Porsche 911 GT3.

World Green Car of the year finalsits were: Audi A3 Sportback g-tron, BMW i3, and Volkswagen XL1. They were voted on by Phil Berg (USA - PopularMechanics.com); Richard Bremner (U.K. Autocar magazine), Claus-Peter Koeth (Germany - automobil-industrie.de); Yumi Kawabata (Japan-environmental journalist) and John Voelcker (USA - GreenCarReports.com).

World Car Design of the year finalists were: BMW i3, Mazda3 and Mercedes-Benz C-class. They were voted on by Masatsugu Arimoto (Japan – freelance design journalist); Silvia Baruffaldi (Italy – Auto & Design magazine); Gernot Bracht (Germany – Pforzheim Design School); Sam Livingstone (U.K. - Car Design Research and Royal College of Art) and Tom Matano (USA - School of Industrial Design at Academy of Art University in San Francisco).

Winners will be announced in April at the New York Auto Show.

March 3, 2014
CONSUMER REPORTS NAMES ITS TOP BRANDS

Consumer Reports magazine has named its top brands for 2014 with Lexus taking top spot with an overall score of 79 (out of 100). It was rated a reliability factor much better than average, with 78 per cent of Lexus vehicles being recommended.

Acura took second spot with a score of 75, a better than average reliability score, and 83 per cent recommended vehicles. Audi rounded out the top three with a score of 74, better than average reliability and 50 per cent of its vehicles recommended.

The remaining top 10 were: Subaru (72), Toyota (72), Mazda (71), Honda (70), Infiniti (69), Mercedes-Benz (68), and BMW (68). Seven of the top 10 brands were Japanese nameplates; the remaining being German marques.

Focusing on road test scores for each OEM, German brands take the top two spots with Audi (83) and Mercedes-Benz (81), Subaru, Infiniti and Chrysler tie with a score of 80. Acura (79), BMW (78) and Lexus, Mazda and Volkswagen (77) round out the top 10.

Results are based on two factors; road-test and reliability scores for each vehicle tested by Consumer Reports and reliability data provided by subscribers in Consumer Report’s Annual Auto Survey. To be considered, a brand must be represented by least three models with test and reliability data. Because too few models were tested or a lack of reliablity data, this year Fiat, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lincoln, Mini, Mitsubishi, Porsche, Ram, Scion, and Smart vehicles were not included in the survey.

    BRAND SCORES
  1. Lexus; (Overall: 79, Road test: 77)
  2. Acura; (Overall: 75, Road test: 79)
  3. Audi; (Overall: 74, Road test: 83)
  4. Subaru; (Overall: 72, Road test: 80)
  5. Toyota; (Overall: 72, Road test: 71)
  6. Mazda; (Overall: 71, Road test: 77)
  7. Honda; (Overall: 70, Road test: 73)
  8. Infiniti; (Overall: 69, Road test: 80)
  9. Mercedes-Benz; (Overall: 68, Road test: 81)
  10. BMW; (Overall: 68, Road test: 78)
  11. Volvo; (Overall: 66, Road test: 71)
  12. Buick; (Overall: 63, Road test: 74)
  13. GMC; (Overall: 63, Road test: 73)
  14. Chrysler; (Overall: 62, Road test: 80)
  15. Kia; (Overall: 61, Road test: 76)
  16. Hyundai; (Overall: 60, Road test: 76)
  17. Volkswagen; (Overall: 59, Road test: 77)
  18. Nissan; (Overall: 59, Road test: 70)
  19. Chevrolet; (Overall: 56, Road test: 70)
  20. Cadillac; (Overall: 54, Road test: 73)
  21. Dodge; (Overall: 53, Road test: 69)
  22. Ford; (Overall: 50, Road test: 73)
  23. Jeep; (Overall: 50, Road test: 54)
February 25, 2014
DISTRACTED DRIVING FINES GOING UP IN ONTARIO

The Chief Justice of Ontario has filed an Order to increase fines for distracted driving. Total costs to the driver for a Part I distracted driving charge will now be $280 ($225 fine plus $50 victim fine surcharge and $5 court costs) up from the current $155 ($125 plus $25 victim fine surcharge and $5 court costs) .

“While we have seen success with our distracted driving law and public education efforts, distracted driving continues to be a growing problem on the province's roads,” said Bob Nichols, Ministry of Transportation spokesperson. “That is why the government has been working on ways to discourage texting and driving, including proposed legislation and higher fines for distracted driving. We support the Chief Justice of Ontario's decision to take action and proactively increase the fine amount as it will likely further discourage the use of hand-held devices while driving on the province's roads.”

The new fine will come into effect March 18, 2014.

February 18, 2014
VW CHATTANOOGA TENNESSEE EMPLOYEES VOTE AGAINST UNION REPRESENTATION

In a ballot conducted by the National Labor Relations Board (an independent agency of the United States Government) between February 12 and 14, employees of Volkswagen Chattanooga voted against being represented by the United Auto Workers (UAW). A majority (89 per cent) voted in the election. Fifty three per cent of those voting, voted against.

“On behalf of Volkswagen Group of America, I want to thank all of our Chattanooga production and maintenance employees for their participation in this week's vote. They have spoken, and Volkswagen will respect the decision of the majority,” said Frank Fischer, CEO and Chairman, Volkswagen Chattanooga.

“Our employees have not made a decision that they are against a works council. Throughout this process, we found great enthusiasm for the idea of an American-style works council both inside and outside our plant,” Fischer noted. “Our goal continues to be to determine the best method for establishing a works council in accordance with the requirements of U.S. labor law to meet VW America's production needs and serve our employees’ interests,” Fischer said.

February 18, 2014
FORD WILL BUILD NEW EDGE AT OAKVILLE PLANT

Ford of Canada announced that new Ford Edge units, to be sold world-wide, will be built at it’s Oakville Assembly Plant in Oakville, Ontario.

“The decision to produce the all-new global Edge in Canada is proof that Canadian manufacturers can compete, and win, globally,” said Dianne Craig, President and CEO, Ford Motor Company of Canada, Ltd. “We’re ready to showcase Oakville Assembly’s commitment to craftmanship and advanced manufacturing to deliver what our global customers want and value -- a high-quality vehicle with class-leading design, fuel efficiency and performance.”

The vehicle will be shipped from Oakville to over 60 countries worldwide. Ford’s Oakville Assembly Plant manufactures Ford Edge and Ford Flex, as well as Lincoln MKX and Lincoln MKT currently.

“Oakville is vital to Ford’s global manufacturing system as we prepare to launch more vehicles this year than ever before,” said Joe Hinrichs, President of The Americas, Ford. “The Oakville facility will offer world-leading flexibility, enabling us to react quickly and efficiently to shifts in consumer demand here in North America and around the globe.”

February 11, 2014
MEINEKE CANADA BUYS CAA CAR CARE CENTRES IN ONTARIO
Meineke Canada purchased bought 12 CAA Car Care Centres from CAA South Central Ontario (CAA SCO). Three franchisees will own stores; three of the locations will be owned and operated by Meineke Car Care Centre franchisee and former hockey player Wendel Clark.

“At Meineke, we are committed to growing our presence through acquisitions of other brands or independents that can accelerate our exposure and growth, said Duane Arbeau, Vice-President and General Manager, Meineke Canada. In addition to keen industry insights across Ontario, CAA has an excellent reputation and provides the type of quality customer service we value. We are excited about this addition to the Meineke family and are confident this acquisition will result in a win-win for both customers and our brand alike.?”

Meineke will integrate the locations over the next few months and will have a total of 50 Centres in Canada.

“We would like to thank our Car Care customers for their support and patronage over the years, said Cindy Hillaby, Vice-President of Membership and Automotive Services, CAA SCO. “We are confident Meineke will continue to offer the same level of service our customers have come to expect.”

February 11, 2014
FORD TO OFFER SNOW PLOW OPTION

Ford will offer a snow plow prep option on its new 2015 F-150 pick-up. The option will be available on 5.0 litre V-8 equipped four-wheel drive models in all cab configurations (regular, supercab and supercrew), and on XL, XLT and Lariat trims.

The snow plow mode is activated with a button; the vehicle temporarily turns off nonessential features to provide dedicated power for the plow.

“The new 2015 F-150 is the toughest F-150 ever, and by using more high-strength steel in its frame and advanced materials in the body, we’ve made the new truck up to 700 pounds lighter,” said Eric Peterson, F-150 Marketing Manager, Ford. “This leads to more capability and better handling, which is exactly what you’d want for plowing. Adding a snow plow prep kit to our lineup helps ensure our customers have even more tools at their disposal to get the job done.”

Customers who purchase a F-150 with the snow plow prep option, will need to go to a Ford Qualified Vehicle Modifier and purchase and install the snow plow hardware. The maximum light-duty plow weight will be over 450 pounds.

February 11, 2014
NISSAN CREATES CONCEPT FRONTIER DIESEL

Nissan will use a technical study project to gauge customer interest in a diesel engine mid-size pick-up truck. It will use a Cummins diesel in the Frontier Desert Runner 4x2 (available in the U.S. only). The show truck on display at the Chicago Auto Show in Chicago, Ilinois has a 2.8 litre four-cylinder diesel engine with over 200 horsepower and 350 foot/pounds of torque and matched to an eight-speed automatic transmission.

“Frontier continues to be a huge success story for us, with more than 60,000 units sold in 2013,” said Fred Diaz, senior vice president, Sales and Marketing, Parts and Service, U.S.A, Nissan North America, Inc. (NNA). “Nissan has always valued the mid-size pickup segment, and with this technical study project, we are looking to explore what is possible for the next-generation Frontier. We are always looking for ways to engage our customers, innovate and take the segment in an evolutionary direction.”

The show truck remains on display at the Chicago Auto Show, while the development truck undergoes real world testing.

“We’ve been building pickup trucks in North America for more than 30 years and selling them here for even longer than that, even offering four-cylinder diesel in our U.S. pickup truck in the 1980s,” said Pierre Loing, Vice-President, Product Planning, Nissan. “With this Frontier Diesel Runner project truck, we can reflect on our extensive heritage while also looking to the future and the changing demands of mid-size pickup buyers.”

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