Creating New Markets - Transmission Digest

Creating New Markets

Recently, Eastern Transmission of has assembled specialty kits to compete with scrap yards and has taken on specialty repairs to develop new areas of expertise. Moreover, the business has become a distributor of Raybestos Powertrain parts, adding value not only as a separate venture but also as a user of the company’s products, said Stephen Svetliza, who spoke for his brother Andrew and father Marcelo. The shop is in St. Laurent, Quebec, a suburb of Montreal.

Eastern Transmission, St. Laurent, Quebec

Two brothers in their 30s are pushing forward with initiatives designed to build on their father’s success by virtue of a commitment to quality.

Recently, Eastern Transmission of has assembled specialty kits to compete with scrap yards and has taken on specialty repairs to develop new areas of expertise. Moreover, the business has become a distributor of Raybestos Powertrain parts, adding value not only as a separate venture but also as a user of the company’s products, said Stephen Svetliza, who spoke for his brother Andrew and father Marcelo. The shop is in St. Laurent, Quebec, a suburb of Montreal.

While the biggest change at Eastern is the distributorship, they have been working on their own specialty kits for sale across Canada and somewhat in the United States. The project started in house to offer an alternative to scrap parts for certain applications that are very expensive from the scrap yard, such as BMW differentials, he said.

At the same time, Eastern has a policy calling for a comprehensive rebuild of all components of all transmissions. “My biggest competition here is not the transmission shop that is a few miles away, but it’s the scrap yards that sell transmissions and differentials for prices that you cannot possibly compete with,” Stephen said.

On another front, specialty repairs have been in demand.

“We’d never shy away from a job even if that job ultimately costs us money because we spent more time on it than expected,” Stephen said. “The hours that you spend the very first time you’re working on something pays dividends once you understand how it works and for the following cars that have the same problems. Now, all of a sudden you’ve created a new market for yourself.”

Roughly 20% of Eastern’s revenue comes from transmissions shipped to customers as far as British Columbia. To minimize problems at the customer’s end, the shop tests rebuilt units on a dynamometer. It’s also used for in-house testing before delivering the vehicle to the customer. At the beginning of the repair process, diagnosis and road test is free; further exploration requires the customer to commit to a charge for an hour or two as needed.

With this commitment to quality including full rebuild of transmissions, Stephen said he has no concerns about their 3-year, 80,000 km warranty (nearly 50,000 miles); what’s more, the warranty is not the issue.

“Every rebuild that we do comes standard with an overhaul, a friction kit, a bushing kit, a piston kit, all the bands, a filter and a complete rebuild of the valve body,” he said. “We’re going to charge a little more for the job because we’re investing more into them, and in a market where people will jump to the competitor for a $50 difference in price, without understanding what goes into their transmissions, we decided, if you build them properly, they should last a heck of a lot longer than three years.”

History & operations

Twenty years ago, Marcelo bought the existing Eastern Transmission, which dates to 1989. Andrew came on board in 2005, Stephen in 2012, when the shop moved to a facility with triple the space. Marcelo still works but has put his sons in charge. Andrew and Stephen do not have transmission training but rely on nine people who Stephen describes as “a fantastic team of technicians.”

The three Svetlizas fill the remaining duties. Andrew manages the Raybestos Powertrain distributorship and Stephen handles customer relations and business functions.

Stephen sums up the operation: “lean but efficient.”

The business casts a wide net across eastern Canada, with motorists driving three or four hours from northern Quebec. One of their biggest customers is from Newfoundland, and units are shipped nationwide. Their largest source of business comprises five of the biggest extended-warranty companies in Quebec. A major fleet customer is a large telecommunications company.

The shop has eight bays with seven lifts and one rack. The shop completes 5-10 transmission jobs per week. The shop is equipped for most vehicles except for large trucks such as 18-wheelers.

Distributorship

The relationship with Raybestos Powertrain took shape near the end of 2016, Stephen said.

“This venture and this product that we’re offering – they are premium rebuild kits that Raybestos offers: the best of the best products in your everyday rebuild kits. It’s a big challenge for us in our business,” he said.

“These kits pertain to everybody out there, whereas some of the other specialty products pertain to certain people. We have been able to create a network globally at this point. Our main focus has been the United States and Canada. This has opened a lot of doors to a lot of fantastic places south of the border for us and even on our end of the border. … With the addition of this network, we can now source into the U.S. many products at better prices than we can here in Canada.”

Meanwhile, Eastern is using Raybestos Powertrain kits in its own work, boosting quality and efficiency while reducing costs.

“Ordering takes a fraction of the time. The builders build faster because they are given all the components in one box,” Stephen said, adding that there’s no more waiting for parts, no receiving wrong parts. This streamlining of the process meshes with the Svetlizas’ goal of creating a standard for transmission rebuilding, doing it the Eastern way.

Overall, the arrangement has been successful all around, Stephen said.
“With this network, the main thing, we’ve created a lot of new friends and new contacts and lot of people to help each other out.”

You May Also Like

Vote for the Top 10 Powertrain Products of 2023

Each reader can sign in to vote for up to 10 products. Descriptions of each product are provided by the suppliers.

Top Ten 2023

Every year, TD conducts a poll on the top powertrain products of the year, and 2023 will be no different. At the link below are suppliers’ nominations for the Top 10 Powertrain Products of 2023. Once you’ve looked over the choices, we invite you to cast a ballot. There are 53 nominations this year so be sure to look through them all! Each reader can sign in to vote for up to 10 products. Descriptions of each product are provided by the suppliers. Click the link here to cast your vote.

Transmission stories to be thankful for

Transmission repair is all about solutions. Problems present themselves; repair professionals solve them. That’s why this Thanksgiving, we’re thankful for solutions. Related Articles – Road to AAPEX: Can a 33-year-old Cadillac make it across the country? – 2022 Reman Suppliers and Product Matrix listing – Se habla Español! Here at TD, we pride ourselves on

Road to AAPEX: Can a 33-year-old Cadillac make it across the country?

You may notice a different type of show car at the Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo (AAPEX) this year. It only has 140 HP, with a four-speed automatic transmission, and clocks in at 20 feet long. This car is not arriving at the show on a trailer. Instead, it’s coming from Akron, Ohio, on its own power. The

2022 Reman Suppliers and Product Matrix listing

Each fall, Transmission Digest provides a listing of suppliers of remanufactured transmissions, as well as a product matrix. Both of these can be found in the images below – click on each image for a closer look. Related Articles – A wealth of information: Recapping the TCRA Annual Seminar – Biggest takeaways from the TCRA

Se habla Español!

I had an interesting phone call this month, one that reminded me that while transmission builders are the automotive equivalent of brain surgeons, they aren’t necessarily possessed with the skills of clairvoyance or telepathy. The caller wanted to know if there was a Spanish language version of the articles in Transmission Digest. Related Articles –

Other Posts

A part for every need

One of the earliest signs that an industry was forming was a transition to specialty transmission hard parts suppliers emerging from general salvage yards, to create the efficient flow of those parts to every shop in the nation. Related Articles – TD’s 2022 State of the Industry Report – Powertrain industry directory 2022 – The

TD’s 2022 State of the Industry Report

The Transmission Digest Annual Survey of Retail Shops has served as benchmark and planning tool for the industry now for the past 36 years. Charts and tables in this section are based on a survey that was conducted early this year.  Related Articles – Performance supplier listings 2022 – TD’s top ten products and tools

state-on-industry-feature-1400
Powertrain industry directory 2022

This is the latest in TD’s annual series of directories for the powertrain industry. Companies that supply products to the powertrain aftermarket are listed in alphabetical order. Because data changes frequently, only organizations that have updated information with Transmission Digest in the recent past are included. Related Articles – Help us benchmark the transmission repair

buyersguide-art-feature-1400
The effects of supply chain holdup on the transmission industry

Everyone is aware of the current supply chain issues plaguing our industry and many others. Between a lack of raw materials that affect all rubber/paper and steel products and problems with containers at our ports, these are issues that will continue through Q2 of 2022, if not beyond. This is happening during a time when