By Paul McCarthy, president & COO, Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA)
2020. What a year. The year the phrase “new normal” became mainstream and underscored a desire for a return to a world with some semblance of stability and predictability. But in this environment of revised projections and new forecasts arriving daily, it’s clear that our global community won’t witness a “new normal” for quite some time.
And yet, our industry is here. Our industry is essential.
The aftermarket has played a critical role throughout the crisis by keeping the literal wheels turning to ensure our society and economy are functioning and supplied – safely.
In addition to working hard to produce and deliver essential parts, the supplier community has answered the call by producing life-saving personal protective equipment (PPE) to support front-line medical workers.
And though the automotive aftermarket, like many industries, faces incredible challenges, there is reason for hope.
Miles driven have picked up and will grow further as economies progress through phases of reopening. Business at shops and stores is increasing steadily. Already, one quarter of survey respondents say they are making sales calls at pre-pandemic levels and by the end of July, they estimate it will be up to one-half (Source: AASA Member Survey, June 11). And frankly, millions of us who have been itching to get out, are starting to take the opportunity to travel and visit loved ones.
And all this, still months ahead of AAPEX.
The aftermarket supports our countries … and AAPEX will support the aftermarket.
This year’s AAPEX will provide crucial resources so our industry doesn’t just reopen, but instead, reignites with new growth and opportunities.
Attendees will gain access to the products improving everyday services, from diagnostics and telematics, to logistics and warehouse robotics. Exciting new features include Joe’s Garage, a Shop Demo area featuring six bays that simulate a real shop environment.
The new Repair Shop HQ section and three new training theaters will enable audiences to hear about the future of our industry straight from the experts, and exhibitors to raise brand awareness to even more end customers
Automotive Aftermarket Central will feature a vast product selection along with the product experts to answer your questions on the spot, and Technology of Tomorrow will allow you to preview innovations in development.
And this year, we will be enhancing our virtual offerings and opportunities, to enhance sales and brand opportunities for exhibitors, and reach additional target buyers.
None of us know what the rest of this unprecedented year will bring. But based on what we are seeing in the aftermarket, there is reason for hope. If we can have an opportunity for our essential industry to reconnect and drive growth, we need to take it.
Virus permitting, our goal is that this will be “Re-year” for AAPEX.
That AAPEX will be a way for our industry to re-invigorate, re-vitalize, re-launch, re-charge, and re-ignite all the important investments that lead to sustained growth for our vibrant aftermarket community.
Because after all, our industry is about Re-lationships.
That’s how we thrive; that’s how we grow.
Looking forward to seeing everyone I have missed so much.