By Bill Hanvey, President and Chief Executive Officer, Auto Care Association
I’ve spent my entire career in the automotive aftermarket – more than 35 years. But have you ever stopped to reflect upon what this industry truly means? It’s easy for us to go through the daily grind, go to work, get behind the counter or desk and do what we do best. But very rarely do we think about what we as an industry contribute to this giant ecosystem of which nearly every person is a part.
Did you know? Every single day:
- 12 billion miles are driven by consumers in the U.S.
- $1.5 billion is added to the U.S. economy by our industry.
- 20.7 million tons of freight are moved on America’s highways and byways by heavy duty vehicles.
- 9 million product catalog lookups occur.
- 2.3 million kids are driven to soccer practice.
- 2.2 million cars are brought in for repair.
- 900,000 law enforcement officers get into their cruisers to make our towns and cities a safer place.
- Nearly 900,000 technicians report to work, open the garage door and keep America moving.
- 158,000 brake jobs are performed in America.
Day in and day out, you contribute to the economic powerhouse that is the United States of America. We’re 4.6 million workers strong, the third largest industry by employment, comprising 536,237 individual businesses. We’re a $392 billion industry, expected to reach $433 billion by 2021. We keep 280 million registered vehicles on the road. And we enable 221 million licensed drivers to have the freedom to discover and explore America.
And all of the industry professionals who keep these dynamic numbers growing come together every year at AAPEX in Las Vegas.
These representatives are just a sliver of what AAPEX has to offer. The global aftermarket is estimated at over $1 trillion and presents a tremendous opportunity for businesses like yours, whether you’re an established global leader or new to the marketplace. And while the aftermarket is strong, and there are many upward trends: increasing consumer confidence and spending, CAGR sustaining its upswing, rising average hourly wages and over 50,000 new industry jobs added in the past year, we continue to face challenges and transformative changes.
Transformation is what gives rise to opportunities for growing and strengthening our industry through new ideas, products and technology. This is what AAPEX is all about: a global gathering across the entire aftermarket industry to celebrate our success, exchange new ideas, explore the latest innovations and craft our future. To be notified when registration opens in April, visit the AAPEX website.
However, the transformative changes we’re seeing in our industry today are not isolated to us. These impact the lives of everyone. From tariffs to telematics, public awareness of these issues is rising. Here are three transformative changes you can expect to see addressed at AAPEX 2019 that you can start taking action on now:
- Telematics and Vehicle Data: If you’ve heard the term “telematics” but aren’t sure what it is, you’re not alone. Telematics is a form of wireless technology that enables real-time transmission of vehicle data, including information that provides a safer driving experience by monitoring driver behavior and vehicle health. That data is vital for automotive maintenance and repair. But right now, cars automatically send that data back only to the vehicle manufacturer, making them the ones to decide how to use this data and who can access it. Currently, car owners have no control over who gets this information. If owners could direct vehicle data to independent repair shops and auto parts stores like yours, you could service their cars more conveniently and efficiently. Repair shops would also be able to diagnose car trouble and obtain auto parts before the vehicle even gets there. Without owner access to and control over their own data, your business remains out of the loop. Tell your customers to demand access to and control of their vehicles’ data by signing the petition at yourcaryourdata.org.
- Tariffs and Trade: Whether it’s 301, 232, steel and aluminum or USMCA – if it is currently having or will have an eventual effect on your business, Congress and your local representatives need to hear from you on these issues now. The most effective voice to reach legislators right now isn’t ours – it’s yours. You create jobs and pay taxes, you are the constituent that lawmakers want to hear the most from. You can find resources on either association’s site – the Auto Care Association and the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association – to make your voice heard and make a difference in the future of the industry.
- The seismic e-commerce shift: The trend of researching and purchasing aftermarket products online is increasing exponentially: 75% of DIY part purchases are initially researched online and subsequently purchased in store. Now with the trend of product data being available online, it’s imperative for manufacturers and distributors to utilize AAPEX as an opportunity to learn how to present your products more effectively and create a better customer experience.
Source: Disrupting Trends Shaping the Aftermarket: E-Tailing 2018
Whether it’s industry advancements in technology, leading the charge on vehicle data access, or new industry trends and data, you can trust that AAPEX is the place to keep you ahead of the curve, paving the road of our global future … every day. We thank you for your continued support.