NISSAN CENTER OPENS - Nissan Motor Corp. U.S.A. has opened a training center for dealership service technicians in Grove City, Ohio, near Columbus. It is three times the size of the previous center. Sixteen Nissan and Infiniti dealership technicians can be trained there each week. Nissan has invested about $800,000 in the 12,400-square-foot building, equipment and training materials. The center has 10 service bays, six service lifts, two classrooms and a laboratory with 12 computers. The new center will train technicians primarily from dealerships in Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky and Pennsylvania. Nissan has 12 other U.S. training centers.
TIRE SATISFACTION - Big O and Michelin won top honors in the J.D. Power and Associates 1998 Replacement Tire Customer Satisfaction Study. Big O ranks as the No. 1 replacement tire for cars and compact vans, while Michelin took the top spot for light trucks. The tire satisfaction index measures satisfaction in safety/traction, retailer experience, styling, special traction, ride, price/selection, wearability and incidence of problems. Big O Tires are manufactured by Kelly-Springfield Tire Co., a division of Goodyear U.S.A.
MORE CONSOLIDATION - CAR-STAR, a body shop consolidator in Over-land, Kan., has signed a letter of intent to acquire A&B Body Shop for an undisclosed amount. A&B operates three collision shops in Kansas City, Kan. Annual revenues for the three shops are projected to exceed $6.5 million. CARSTAR has 250 collision repair franchises and company-owned collision shops in the United States and Canada.
CHARGEBACK PROTECTION - Virginia has adopted a law that protects new-car dealers against chargebacks for honest mistakes and technical errors on warranty claims. The Na-tional Automobile Dealers Association says it is the second law of its kind. North Carolina passed a similar law last year. Under the Virginia law, a claim from a dealer cannot be rejected or reduced for a technicality as long as the dealership can document the claim. The law also says a warranty parts markup must be expressed as an agreed-upon percentage and applied uniformly to all parts. Some dealers complained they were shorted on rebuilt engines and transmissions used in warranty repairs. The dealers received a flat fee as a handling charge instead of the cost plus 40 percent typically paid by manufacturers.