Posts in category "Company Announcements"


Solera CEO Tony Aquila Interviewed on Bloomberg TV

Solera CEO Tony Aquila Talks Leveraged Buyouts, the Value of Content, His “Invent and Acquire” Strategy, and More with Alix Steele and Bloomberg TV–Live from the Goldman Sachs Leveraged Finance Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California:



Identifix® Launches New Direct-Shop Solution for Shop Management

ROSEVILLE, MN, APRIL 18, 2016: Identifix, Inc., an industry leader in vehicle diagnostics and repair information for nearly 30 years, today launched Direct-Shop, a technology suite of fully-integrated shop management solutions designed to improve workflow and communications. Direct-Shop will provide shop owners with the necessary visibility, control, and tools required to improve operations, create efficiencies, and increase shop profitability.

The Direct-Shop technology suite features two products designed to meet the needs of aftermarket automotive repair facilities with both single- and multi-location shops:

  • Direct-Shop – The brand name for Identifix’s base-level shop management system (SMS), offering core capabilities including estimating, repair order, and invoicing solutions for small- to mid- size shops; and
  • Direct-Shop Elite – An end-to-end shop management solution providing customer relationship management, point of sale interactions, estimating, accounting, integrated inventory management, repair history, offline access, and reporting features.

Both products will join the company’s award-winning Direct-Hit® online tool and technical Repair Hotline as keystone offerings in the company’s growing portfolio. “Our entrance into the SMS space with the Direct-Shop suite extends our commitment to meet the needs of every type of shop, and ultimately provide more value across our customers’ entire business,” said Mark Theriot, Managing Director at Identifix. “With Direct-Shop and Direct-Shop Elite, we’re able to serve our customers more holistically by streamlining processes, creating efficiencies, and boosting bottom lines.”

In the development of its new shop management offering, Identifix conducted extensive market research, revealing shops that have never used an online tool to manage their business and shops whose business needs have outgrown their current system. Theriot continued, “Based on the feedback from our customers and the market, we were able to identify and tailor-make solutions to address those unique circumstances. Identifix Direct-Shop was the result. With this new product suite of shop management solutions, we’re providing our customers with options to meet their business needs.”

As with Identifix’s other tools, Direct-Shop and Direct-Shop Elite will continue to evolve as the company receives feedback from customers and the vehicle service and repair industry changes. “As all technology should be, the Direct-Shop family of solutions is fluid,” said Theriot. “We are never satisfied with leaving ‘well enough’ alone and constantly look for ways to make something good even better – and something better the best. We expect to make more announcements in the coming months about enhancements and value-adds for customers.”

For more information about Direct-Shop and Direct-Shop Elite, visit http://www.identifix.com/shop-management.


Identifix and ASE Honor Aftermarket Drivability Technician of the Year

Identifix, Inc., an industry leader in vehicle diagnostics and repair for over 25 years, and the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), recognized Dennis Turner, an ASE Certified automobile technician and shop manager of Franklin’s Service in Arcata, California, with the organization’s esteemed Identifix/ASE Aftermarket Drivability Technician of the Year award at the ASE’s Fall Board of Governors meeting, held on November 18, 2015, at the Hotel Valley Ho in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The ASE annual awards celebrate the top scorers on the ASE Certification Tests. Other criteria the ASE takes into consideration include on-the-job excellence and community service. Out of a talent pool of over 300,000 ASE-certified technicians nationwide, only 46 ranked high enough this year to receive awards. Identifix is one of just 36 companies in the OEM and Aftermarket industries to co-sponsor an individual technician award in the auto, truck, collision and parts segments. Additionally, the ASE presented awards for instructors, students, service and parts consultants, and managers.

“The ASE Blue Seal represents a commitment to excellence for our industry, something Identifix strives for in assisting our customers,” said Mike Wiltrout, Identifix Training Supervisor, who presented the award to Turner at the meeting. “We also understand the value of ASE certification and testing, which is why only ASE certified technicians staff our repair hotline. This ensures our customers receive the best, most comprehensive information that’s a result of years of rigorous training and hands-on experience.”

Turner, who’s been an automotive technician for 25 years, will receive a complimentary one-year subscription to Direct-Hit®, Identifix’s online diagnostic tool as part of his award package, something he appreciates as a current subscriber.

“Over the years, technology has really come to the forefront of auto repair,” said Turner. “Computer systems of vehicles have become complicated. When I started, I used to take things apart and repair them; now I have to spend more time diagnosing and replacing parts,” he said. “But when I don’t know what’s wrong with a vehicle, Direct-Hit saves me a lot of time. And I like the fact that it is easy to use.”

Turner lives in Fortuna, California and is an avid outdoorsman, spending time with family and friends hiking, backpacking, camping and hunting. He also enjoys attending his son’s sporting events.

The ASE is a non-profit, independent organization dedicated to improving the quality of automotive service and repair through voluntary testing and certification of automotive professionals. It has been recognizing top technicians within the automotive industry for more than 40 years.

About Identifix:

Located in Roseville, MN, Identifix is a leading source for vehicle diagnostics, genuine OEM service & repair information, Factory Scheduled Maintenance plans and reliable estimating. Identifix’s products and services include the online tool Direct-Hit and its technical Repair Hotline. Direct-Hit is a registered trademark of Identifix. Founded in 1987, Identifix serves customers in the United States, Canada and Latin America and is a subsidiary of Solera Holdings, Inc. (SLH), a leading global provider of risk and asset management software and services to the global automotive and property marketplace, including the P&C insurance industry. For more information, visit identifix.com or follow the company on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/identifixdotcom.


Identifix Announces the Winners of its 50K Giveaway

Identifix, Inc., an industry leader in vehicle diagnostics and repair for over 25 years, today announced the winners of its 50K Giveaway contest:

1.    Roger K., Kaufman’s Auto Repair, Sarasota, Florida
2.    Timothy T., Southland Automotive, Inc., Parma, Ohio
3.    Benjamin J., Christian Brothers Automotive, Murfreesboro, Tennessee
4.    Adam V., St. Cloud Hyundai, St. Cloud, Minnesota
5.    Isalias M., Master Transmission & Auto Center, Las Vegas, Nevada

The five winners are subscribers of Direct-Hit, Identifix’s online automotive service tool, and were chosen at random for submitting a Hotline Archive Confirmed Fix between July 6 and October 4, 2015. Each winner will receive a $10,000 cash prize.

“Direct-Hit subscribers are the lifeblood of Identifix and the cornerstone to our success,” said Jeff Lagges, Managing Director. “Their Confirmed Fixes fuel Direct-Hit with accurate, reliable content that benefits the entire automotive community. It thrills me beyond words that we’re able to recognize their dedication and enthusiasm with this token of our appreciation.”

To commemorate Direct-Hit’s 50,000th subscriber, the company launched the 50K Giveaway. This contest was the first of its kind in Identifix’s history, and was designed to celebrate and reward its valuable customers.

Upon being notified, the winners said the following about Identifix and Direct-Hit:

“I’ve been using Direct-Hit for the past four to five years and love the product,” said Roger K.

“I couldn’t be nearly as good of a technician without the best info, and Identifix is hands down the best provider of the information I need to get the job done,” said Timothy T. “Thanks for making my life turning wrenches so much more enjoyable and profitable.”

“I use Identifix every day, it’s a great product,” said Benjamin J.

“Direct-Hit is a very good product; it gets you straight to the point and is much better than service manuals,” said Adam V.

“I’ve been using the product since 2006, and recommend Identifix to a lot of other shops,” said Isalias M.

With Identifix celebrating 30,000 subscribers in 2011 and 50,000 subscribers in 2015, Direct-Hit’s subscriber base increased by 67 percent in four years.

About Identifix:

Located in Roseville, MN, Identifix is a leading source for vehicle diagnostics, genuine OEM service and repair information, factory scheduled maintenance plans and reliable estimating. Identifix’s products and services include the online tool Direct-Hit and its technical Repair Hotline. Direct-Hit is a registered trademark of Identifix. Founded in 1987, Identifix serves customers in the United States, Canada and Latin America and is a subsidiary of Solera Holdings, Inc. (SLH), a leading global provider of risk and asset management software and services to the global automotive and property marketplace, including the P&C insurance industry. For more information, visit identifix.com or follow the company on Twitter at twitter.com/identifixdotcom.

 


Identifix Adds Several Key Enhancements To Direct-Hit, Celebrates 50K Subscribers

Newest upgrades better position Direct-Hit as a single-tool solution for repair facilities

Roseville, MN (August 5, 2015) Identifix, Inc., an industry leader in vehicle diagnostics and repair for over 25 years, has once again made substantial enhancements to Direct-Hit, the company’s online automotive service tool. This latest round of improvements makes Direct-Hit’s information database even more comprehensive, allowing independent repair shops and dealership service departments the ability to perform critical, everyday functions with a single tool, helping to increase shop productivity, profitability and customer care.

The upgrades are:

  • Links to the International Automotive Technicans Network (iATN) from Direct-Hit’s vehicle home page, pairing the real-world fix database of Direct-Hit with the automotive professional community of iATN – all in one seamless user experience. iATN, Identifix’s sister company, complements Direct-Hit’s information with TechHelp, which is a community of technicians posting questions on vehicle issues and exchanging helpful suggestions and solutions. iATN also offers more than 20 discussion forums, training resources and a waveform file library to help technicians advance their automotive knowledge. iATN is the largest network of automotive repair professionals in the world, with over 81,000 members in 168 countries. An iATN Basic Membership is free; go to join.iatn.net for more information.
  • Fully interactive color wiring diagrams*, standardized across all OEMs and available for the majority of vehicles for model years 1985 – 2015. This highly anticipated upgrade elevates the utility of Direct-Hit by providing the level of diagram quality and clarity required by technicians as they work on vehicles with increasing complexity. New diagrams are detailed with location and number descriptions, circuit tracing and partial- or full-diagram printing, in addition to displaying a multitude of information in a single view* (see the next page for a screenshot example from Direct-Hit).
  • Vintage service and repair data from Chilton dating back to 1960. Users can access service manual information and Technical Service Bulletins from Direct-Hit’s diagnostic Hotline Archives, or from the Vehicle Home Page. With coverage for domestic and import models, this brings Direct-Hit’s total vehicle coverage to over 98 percent of all U.S. vehicles on the road today.

“These new enhancements are much more than simply adding data to our existing online tool. They’re part of our greater mission to provide automotive repair professionals with the tools they need to keep up with the complexity of the vehicles they service, without compromising the efficiency and accuracy that their customers demand,” said Jeanette Dorazio, Vice President of Product Management for Identifix. “This isn’t the first time we’ve expanded our offerings beyond our signature real-world diagnostics, and we’re going to continue evolving our products with the singular objective of delivering high value and return-on-investment to our customers.”

These upgrades come at a time of significant growth for the company, which recently marked its 50,000th online subscriber with a contest called the 50K Giveaway. Identifix will award five $10,000 prizes at random to Direct-Hit subscribers who submit a Hotline Archive Confirmed Fix by October 4, 2015. Identifix celebrated 30,000 subscribers in 2011 (see details here), increasing Direct-Hit’s subscriber base by 67 percent in four years.

About Identifix:

Located in Roseville, MN, Identifix, Inc. is a leading source for vehicle diagnostics, genuine OEM service and repair information, factory scheduled maintenance plans and reliable estimating. Identifix’s products and services include the online tool Direct-Hit and their technical Repair Hotline. Direct-Hit is a registered trademark of Identifix. Founded in 1987, Identifix serves customers in the United States, Canada and Latin America, and is a subsidairy of Solera Holdings, Inc. (SLH), a leading global provider of risk and asset management software and services to the global automotive and property marketplace, including the P&C insurance industry. For more information, visit identifix.com or follow the company on Facebook at facebook.com/identifix and Twitter at twitter.com/identifixdotcom.

Illustrations: Screenshot example of Direct-Hit’s new fully-interactive color wiring diagrams.

screenshot

  1. Highlighted search term in the diagram description
  2. Circuit tracing with click to hold/remove highlight
  3. Zoom
  4. Isolate only highlighted wires
  5. Reset to restore the entire diagram
  6. Expand/collapse
  7. Bookmark for future reference
  8. Print Preview/Print view of selected wires, isolated wires or the original diagram

Identifix Celebrates 50,000 Direct-Hit Subscribers, Awards Them For Support

50K Giveaway contest awards five winners $10,000 each

Roseville, MN (July 8, 2015) Identifix, Inc., an industry leader in vehicle diagnostics and repair for over 25 years, has reached another milestone: its 50,000th subscriber to Direct-Hit, its award-winning online tool.

To commemorate the occasion, Identifix has launched an unprecedented contest, called the 50K Giveaway. Five Direct-Hit users who submit a Hotline Archive Confirmed Fix in Direct-Hit from July 6, 2015 to October 4, 2015, will be chosen among all eligible entries to win $10,000.

“We literally wouldn’t be where we are without our subscribers, as their calls to our Repair Hotline as well as their confirmed fixes fuel Direct-Hit with accurate and reliable content that benefits all our customers,” said Jeff Sweet, President of Identifix. “We developed the 50K Giveaway contest to thank our subscribers for their loyal support allowing those technicians who contribute to the value of Direct-Hit by posting fixes to participate for a $10,000 prize.”

Confirmed Fixes must be validated by Identifix and posted to Direct-Hit to be eligible for the giveaway, with a maximum of 100 fixes per participant. In order to participate, users must select a vehicle from the “My Open Fixes” tab in Direct-Hit under the “Confirmed Fix Dashboard” and click on the “What Fixed It?” link (see Step 1 illustration on the next page). Select the Hotline Archive used for the fix (Step 2) and choose the component and action to fix the vehicle from the respective dropdown lists (Step 3). Users may include additional components and actions if necessary by clicking on the “Add another Component and Action” link. First and last names in the field at the bottom are necessary so Identifix can contact the winners (Step 4), then hit “Submit.” For full contest rules please visit: http://50grand.identifix.com/.

Identifix celebrated 30,000 subscribers in 2011 (see details here), making Direct-Hit’s subscriber base increase by 67 percent in just four years.

About Identifix:

Located in Roseville, MN, Identifix, Inc. is a leading source for vehicle diagnostics, genuine OEM service and repair information, factory scheduled maintenance plans and reliable estimating. Identifix’s products and services include the online tool Direct-Hit and their technical Repair Hotline. Direct-Hit is a registered trademark of Identifix, Inc. Founded in 1987, Identifix serves customers in the United States, Canada and Latin America, and is a joint venture between Solera Holdings, Inc. (SLH), a leading global provider of risk and asset management software and services to the automotive and property marketplace, including the P&C insurance industry, and Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe. For more information, visit identifix.com or follow the company on Facebook at facebook.com/identifix and Twitter at twitter.com/identifixdotcom.

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Identifix 50K Direct-Hit Subscriber
July 8, 2015
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Identifix and ASE Recognize Aftermarket Drivability TechnIcian of the Year

Partnership commends top professional for high certification score, professionalism & dedication

Roseville, MN January 22, 2015 – Identifix, Inc., an industry leader in vehicle diagnostics and repair for over 25 years, along with the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), honored Edward Kiekover, an ASE Master automobile technician from Zeeland, Michigan, with the prestigious Identifix/ASE Aftermarket Drivability Technician of the Year award. The ceremony took place in November during the Fall Board of Governors meeting for the ASE in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

The ASE annual awards honor the top scorers on the ASE Certification Tests, along with other criteria such as on-the-job excellence and community service. Out of a talent pool of 300,000 ASE-certified technicians nationwide, only 47 ranked high enough to receive awards. Identifix is one of just 38 companies in the OEM and Aftermarket industries to co-sponsor an individual technician award in the auto, truck and collision and parts segments, in addition to three instructor awards.

“We’ve been partnering with the ASE to sponsor this award since 1999,” said Jeff Sweet, President. “The qualities that exemplify the Aftermarket Drivability Technician of the Year – precision, integrity and fortitude – are the same ones we strive for with our own team of ASE Master Technicians who staff our Repair Hotline, so our sponsorship is the perfect fit. We congratulate Mr. Kiekover and wish him much success in the future.”

Keikover co-owns three OK Tire Stores and has been an automotive technician for 35 years. Out of over 100 questions in the ASE tests in subjects such as engine performance, electrical, breaks, front end, steering and alignment, Keikover missed only one, which qualified him for the award. He enjoys volunteering in the community through his church activities and also mentors troubled youth. Keikover cited increased technology as the number one change he’s seen in the automotive industry since he started at OK Tires in 1979.

“Back then, the cars we worked on were from the ‘60s and ‘70s, which was practically from the Jurassic Period when they were big and heavy, and for lack of a better word, crude,” he said. “I’m amazed by the incredible use of electronics today and the complexity of what they allow us to do. Technicians still have the ‘grease monkey’ reputation, and it simply isn’t true anymore. For example, I use up to five laptops at my job every day.”

Keikover’s secret to a fulfilling career isn’t in prestige or profits, but in personal connections, such as when a customer smiles and thanks him for taking care of the issue, as well as the satisfaction that comes with a job done right.
“I have a saying at work, and it’s ‘humility is the next car in the bay,’” he said. “I love my job because it’s a never ending challenge of my ability to diagnose and fix cars.”

Identifix ASE Award
January 22, 2015

The ASE is a non-profit, independent organization dedicated to improving the quality of automotive service and repair through voluntary testing and certification of automotive professionals.

About Identifix:

Located in Roseville, MN, Identifix, Inc. is a leading source for vehicle diagnostics, genuine OEM service and repair information, factory scheduled maintenance plans and reliable estimating. Identifix’s products and services include the online tool Direct-Hit® and their technical Repair Hotline. Direct-Hit is a registered trademark of Identifix, Inc. Founded in 1987, Identifix serves customers in the United States, Canada and Latin America, and is a business unit of Solera Holdings, Inc. (SLH), a leading global provider of risk and asset management software and services to the automotive and property marketplace, including the P&C insurance industry. For more information, visit identifix.com or follow the company on Facebook at facebook.com/identifix and Twitter at twitter.com/identifixdotcom.


Identifix To Make Direct-Hit Available To Shop Management System Providers At No Cost

Integration will boost shop productivity and efficiency; vendors must submit application

Roseville, MN December 23, 2014 – Identifix, Inc., an industry leader in vehicle diagnostics and repair for over 25 years, will soon allow shop management system (SMS) providers to integrate Direct-Hit, Identifix’s award-winning online tool, within their systems. This enhancement will benefit SMS users, who are also Direct-Hit subscribers, giving them access to Direct-Hit’s proven short-cut test and confirmed fix information, along with genuine OEM repair information, routine maintenance schedules and other vehicle information from within their SMS.

“We’re excited for this new opportunity to integrate Direct-Hit with many of the premier automotive shop management systems available today,” says Richard Gunderson, Vice President of Business Development. “This integration will allow seamless movement between Direct-Hit and shop management systems, increasing shop workflow efficiency and boosting the value of both Identifix and our SMS partners.”

There is no charge for participation in the integration program, but SMS providers must complete and return an application to receive software development kits. Contact Gunderson at rgunderson@identifix.com for more details or to request an application.

About Identifix:

Located in Roseville, MN, Identifix, Inc. is a leading source for vehicle diagnostics, genuine OEM service and repair information, factory scheduled maintenance plans, and reliable estimating. Identifix’s products and services include the online tool Direct-Hit and their technical Repair Hotline. Direct-Hit is a registered trademark of Identifix, Inc. Founded in 1987, Identifix serves customers in the United States, Canada and Latin America, and is a business unit of Solera Holdings, Inc. (SLH), a leading global provider of risk and asset management software and services to the automotive and property marketplace, including the P&C insurance industry. For more information, visit identifix.com or follow the company on Facebook at facebook.com/identifix and Twitter at twitter.com/identifixdotcom.


Identifix Reaches 1,000 Direct-Hit Dealership Subscribers

Diagnostic and repair tool supports dealerships’ all-make strategy to grow revenue

Roseville, MN December 16, 2014 – Identifix, an industry leader in vehicle diagnostics and repair for over 25 years, has achieved another milestone: 1,000 dealerships throughout North America now subscribe to Direct-Hit®, the company’s award-winning online tool, to repair vehicles more quickly, accurately and profitably.

Identifix’s favorable reputation among aftermarket repair shops and positive word of mouth endorsements were mainly responsible for the initial growth in dealership subscribers. In January 2012, the company began actively pursuing the dealership segment with its own dedicated sales team, website and marketing communications.

Timing also played a role, says Jeff Sweet, Identifix President, who recognized that as new vehicle sales were slowing, more cars than ever before were on the road and no longer under warranty.

“We knew dealerships were realizing that in order to stay profitable, they had to expand their service offerings and concentrate on repairs that fell outside the realm of normal wear-and-tear. Dealerships also had to switch to an all-make strategy, not just servicing the cars that drive away from their lot,” he says.

Direct-Hit contains over 700,000 short-cut diagnostic test and confirmed fix procedures for most makes and models, thereby eliminating time-consuming factory flowcharts. This real-world fix information is validated by Identifix’s own factory-trained, ASE Master, L1 carline specialists. Coupled with genuine OEM service and repair information on more than 35 vehicle makes, Direct-Hit helps dealership technicians work on older and off-make vehicles with the same level of expertise and confidence they have for their dealership’s brand(s).

“Direct-Hit is one of the most used, most profitable shop tools that we have,” says Dylan Arnold, service manager at Gaier Chrysler Dodge Jeep in Fort Laramie, Ohio. “It allows us the benefit of having access to actual manufacturer information for most vehicle makes. It also gives us access to repair information from thousands of technicians across the country, along with repair labor guides and parts pricing for accurate estimating.”

Direct-Hit also helps boost dealership productivity and increases revenue when it comes to reconditioning used cars, enabling technicians to turn vehicles quickly for profitable re-sale without sacrificing repair accuracy or quality.

 

About Identifix:

Located in Roseville, MN, Identifix is a leading source for vehicle diagnostics, genuine OEM service and repair information, factory scheduled maintenance plans, and reliable estimating. Identifix’s products and services include the online tool Direct-Hit and their technical Repair Hotline. Direct-Hit is a registered trademark of Identifix, Inc. Founded in 1987, Identifix serves customers in the United States, Canada and Latin America, and is a business unit of Solera Holdings, Inc. (SLH), a leading global provider of risk and asset management software and services to the automotive and property marketplace, including the P&C insurance industry. For more information, visit identifix.com or follow the company on Facebook at facebook.com/identifix and Twitter at twitter.com/identifixdotcom.


Identifix Founder Bill Sauer Retired After 52 Years

Industry icon among first to provide advanced automotive technical training

Roseville, MN September 26, 2014 – To say Bill Sauer has led an interesting life is like saying the 1964 Ferrari 250 GTO is a nice car — the words somehow fail to describe the intricacies and nuances that take something from ho-hum to truly special.

On Friday, August 15, Identifix’s founder officially retired after 52 years in the automotive industry. He ended his career on a high note as the vehicle diagnostics leader announced it broke yet another record: 46,000 Direct-Hit® subscribers accessed information from the online tool on over 400,000 different vehicles in July.

Sauer said he isn’t retiring for any particular reason. “I renewed my driver’s license recently and finally realized how old I had gotten,” joked the 77 year-old. “So I decided to move on – it’s time.”

Sauer started as a Mobil service station dealer in 1962, which eventually led to him launching an equipment sales company, selling oscilloscopes, dynos, infra-reds and other test equipment.

“I wanted my buyers to use the equipment properly, so with each sale I scheduled an on-site training session right in their shop with the techs,” he said.

It was during that time Sauer discovered the technicians had little knowledge of electric ignition, a revolutionary new technology, and were mystified about ignition theory, “even the good old ‘points and condenser’ variety.”

“I coined a saying back then,” said Sauer. “‘You can’t tell what is wrong, if you don’t know what is right.’”

It was this philosophy that led him to found Autotech in 1976, which provided advanced technical training over a three-day, 24-hour course, a format that decidedly went above and beyond the one-night beer and pizza clinics that had previously been the industry standard. Autotech was extremely successful and eventually went nationwide.

With the dawn of the 1980s and the computerized car, Sauer foresaw the increasing need for information and envisioned a technical hotline, complete with specialists and original factory service information accessible through a computerized database. Finding investors who believed in his business plan was tough, though, and it wasn’t until the fall of 1987 that Sauer partnered with Owatonna Tool Company (OTC) to create Autoline Telediagnosis.

“(It was the) best move I ever did and I owe them a lot,” said Sauer.

With Ford, GM, Chrysler and import specialists on hand, they ordered all factory manuals published since 1980 and set up phone and computer systems. On January 2, 1988, the phone lines were open for business.

Sauer admits growth was slow, since the industry expected information to be provided by parts suppliers at no cost. Sauer adjusted the payment format, eventually charging customer calls by the minute.

Management changed at OTC and the new regime wasn’t happy with the numbers. Sauer and his team rallied and he assumed majority ownership at the end of 1992 and renamed the company Identifix. The company struggled throughout 1993, and in 1994 Sauer knew he had to hire a strong CEO to lead the day-to-day operations. In came Jeff Sweet, who had previously been on the board of directors.

“With the last names of Sweet and Sauer, we knew we had to be together,” said Sauer.

Today Identifix, along with its sister company iATN, have become the largest source of diagnostic and repair information in North America. Identifix currently boasts 46 factory-trained ASE master carline specialists and receives up to 20,000 calls a month on its repair hotline. The hotline has taken over four million calls since its inception, and an average of 20,000 shops are accessing data through Direct-Hit at any given time.

“This hasn’t happened without help from a lot of believers,” said Sauer. “The key to our success (has been) the quality and knowledge of our dedicated and talented employees.

“I started this ‘dream’ partly because I felt it was financially feasible, but more importantly, to do a little to improve the working conditions and image of an auto repair technician,” he continued. “Jeff and I hope we have succeeded and thank everyone for all their years of support.”

Even though Sauer had been semi-retired for a number of years, his presence was keenly felt at Identifix’s headquarters in Roseville, MN, where he would often come in, give tours and communicate regularly with employees, both in person and through email. His salt of the earth, down-home approach was appreciated by his employees.

“I remember back in the early 80s when I first met Bill,” said Carline Specialist Ralph Dahlen. “He was teaching a scope class for his company AutoTech and showing how a tech could use their shirt fabric in a pinch to clean oxidation from a set of ignition points. I thought to myself, ‘He must have grown up on a farm, too.’”

Sauer has no plans to slow down during his retirement. “I’ve been very fortunate to have a life of adventure along with being an entrepreneur,” he said.

His personal life and hobbies are marked with experiences akin to a Jack London novel, with visits to the Arctic, kayaking with whales in Alaska, riding mules to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and living with nomads in Mongolia and Siberia. Back at the home he shares with his wife of 55 years, Duffy, Sauer works in his extensive flower garden and enjoys sharing his woodworking creations with family and friends, dogsledding and animal rehabilitation. The Sauers win their city’s holiday lighting contest almost every year (they return the prize money) and regularly host international guests for dinner parties through the U.S. State Department.

Sauer also plans to spend his retirement finishing his autobiography, which will have a focus on entrepreneurship and adventure. In the meantime, his former employees expressed a sense of bittersweet nostalgia on his last day.

“Bill excels in getting things accomplished without a bunch of hollering and chest pounding. His calm direct approach to identifying a need and fulfilling it has been an inspiration to all of us who have gotten the chance to work with him,” said Kevin Caple, another veteran Carline Specialist on the hotline. “He is a true student of the world. He treats everyone with respect and therefore has earned respect. A more warm, caring, generous, intelligent and friendly person will never be found.”

About Identifix:

Located in Roseville, MN, Identifix is a leading source for vehicle diagnostics, genuine OEM service & repair information, Factory Scheduled Maintenance plans, and reliable estimating. Identifix’s products and services include the online tool Direct-Hit and their technical Repair Hotline. Founded in 1987, Identifix serves customers in the United States, Canada and Latin America, and operates as a wholly owned subsidiary of Service Repair Solutions, Inc., operationally controlled by Solera Holdings, Inc. For more information, visit the company’s new corporate website at identifix.com or follow Identifix on Facebook at Facebook.com/identifix, Twitter at Twitter.com/identifixdotcom and YouTube at Youtube.com/user/identifixtv.