Retail

Sears continues to dismantle your childhood memories with sale of DieHard battery brand

Customers shop at Chicago's last remaining Sears store on May 3, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. The store, which opened in 1938, closed in July 2018. Sears opened its first retail store in Chicago in 1925.

Photo by Getty Images

Do you remember the smell of freshly painted metal Kenmore appliances? Tiles floors with remnants of cardboard packaging stuck on the bottom corners of display racks? The sound of the mall's waterfall welcoming customers to the store's entrance?

Slowly but surely, financially-challenged Sears is selling off parts of your childhood. Left and right, the box box retailer has been closing stores. In 2017, Sears sold the Craftsman brand for $900 million to Stanley Black & Decker Inc. Now, the retailer has sold the DieHard car battery brand to Advance Auto Parts for $200 million.

"We are excited to acquire global ownership of an iconic American brand," said Tom Greco, president and CEO, Advance Auto Parts. "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."

In 2005, Sears merged with K-Mart. K-Mart, once a staple of midsize towns across the U.S., is having its own difficulties and will be reduced to just over 50 locations by early 2020. As part of its efforts to become profitable, Sears will operate under 200 stores in the U.S. by early 2020.

Both companies are now subsidiaries of Transform Holdco LLC, a privately held company that is owned by ESL Investments, a hedge fund managed by Eddie Lampert who formerly has previously served as the director of AutoNation and AutoZone.

This isn't the total end of Die Hard at Sears. The company will still be able to sell the batteries at its stores. Advance Auto Parts will also sell the batteries at its 4,800 stores. Advance Auto Parts also granted Transform Holdco LLC the exclusive ability to have a royalty-free, perpetual license to develop, market, and sell DieHard branded products in non-automotive categories.

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Volvo is helping teens safety get behind the wheel.

Photo courtesy of Volvo Car USA

Pandemic or not, teen drivers need to learn how to properly operate a vehicle. Volvo has announced that all Volvo owners with aspiring student drivers can now receive free access to AAA's "How to Drive" online driver education course.

AAA's 30-hour, self-paced course is built on research based-curriculum and featuring interactive exercises and real-world scenarios.

"While Volvo strives to make the safest cars on the road, it is just as important for the safety of all that the driver feel prepared and confident behind the wheel," said Jim Nichols, Sr. Product and technology Communications Manager, Volvo Car USA. "In a year that has seen unprecedented disruption to driver education nationwide, we felt compelled to provide Volvo families with access to the best online learning platform available and tools like Care Key and AAA resources to help make the roads safer for everyone."

Volvo driver's ed analysis Photo courtesy of Volvo Car USA

In 2019, Volvo released the results of their study into the state of driver's education in the U.S. According to the study, more than half (52 percent) of Americans feel driver education is outdated, while 60 percent feel the driver's test is designed to be passed, as opposed to truly testing one's driving skills.

Volvo owners can receive access to their AAA "How to Drive" course by:

  • Visit the Volvo Car USA Customer Support page
  • Click AAA Driver Education
  • Enter your information including Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
  • Once approved, you will receive a confirmation email with unique code
  • Click on link to AAA website and use code to redeem course.

Volvo has been on the forefront of automotive safety innovation for decades. The three-point safety belt was launched by Volvo in 1959. The company announced earlier this year that it will limit all its vehicles to 112 mph. The company's Care Key allows owners to set a speed limit for themselves or family members, similar to the way Chevrolet's Teen Driver works.

"AAA is excited to partner with Volvo to help prepare new drivers for the rigors of driving on today's roads, and to use modern vehicle technologies safely and effectively" said William Van Tassel, Ph.D., AAA driver training programs manager. "TeenDriving.AAA.com offers a a variety of tools to help prepare parents and teens. Both the Parents Coaching Guide and StartSmart Parent Session are excellent resources on how to become effective in-car coaches as well as advice on how to manage teen driving privileges."

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Toyota Mall of Georgia, one of AutoNation's dealerships, has raised money to support the caregivers at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.

Photo courtesy of AutoNation

You know the pink license plate brackets and the pink-leather jacket clad spokeswoman. All that pink is paying off. AutoNation announced that it has raised $25 million for cancer research and treatment through its Drive Pink (DRV PNK) Initiative. Drive Pink launched in 2015.

In 2020 alone, DRV PNK funds have been invested in seven major research projects through the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF), the largest private funder of breast cancer research in the world. BRCF focuses their efforts in six different areas: tumor biology, treatment, survivorship, metastasis, lifestyle and prevention, and heredity and ethnicity.

"AutoNation has played a valuable role in enabling BCRF to be at the vanguard of every major breakthrough in breast cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment and survivorship," said Mrya Biblowit, BCRF President and CEO.

"Every October, we celebrate all that we have accomplished through DRV PNK" said Mike Jackson, AutoNation's Chairman and CEO. "This year, we've taken our mission to new levels, thanks to the incredible support of our Customers, our Associates and our partners."

As part of its DRV PNK efforts, AutoNation works to raise awareness of breast cancer. The company sponsored NTT Indycar Series drivers Jack Harvey, Alexander Rossi, and Marco Andretti who were behind the wheel of vehicles wearing pink liveries.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and AutoNation will be stepping up its efforts throughout the month. Expect to see ad campaigns reflecting such. The company's annual DRV PNK Across America Day by selecting local cancer treatment facilities to receive care bags for patients battling cancer.

For longtime AutoNation Associate and breast cancer survivor, Lisa Logan, DRV PNK is personal. "Sadly, just about everyone has been touched by cancer. I am so proud to work for a company that not only supported me throughout my journey, but that also supports such an important cause."

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