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Advocacy, data access among many focuses, goals of Auto Care Association

Tuesday, October 31, 2017 - 07:00
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LAS VEGAS —  The Auto Care Association continues on its mission to advocate for the aftermarket industry to ensure the success of its members today and going forward.

Last year at AAPEX 2016, the Auto Care Association unveiled five strategic pillars, and president and CEO Bill Hanvey detailed all the association has been doing over the past year to uphold and move forward with its commitments.

The five pillars — emerging vehicle technologies; global growth; supply chain efficiency and standards adoption; membership growth and retention; and profile and influence — all drive the association’s efforts and focuses in the industry. “We live our strategic plan every day and have structured our association around it,” Hanvey said.

The need for technology in the industry is vital in order to be able to properly and safely repair vehicles. “We are a technological industry, and we have to ensure that our membership and industry is allowed the benefits of those emerging technologies so that we can continue to repair those vehicles today and in the future,” Hanvey said.

Secure access to vehicle data is also a necessity, so the Auto Care Association has been in negotiations with OEMs to be able to promote a secure vehicle interface that allows shops and consumers to dictate who has access to vehicle data. 

A newly formed emerging technologies committee aims to work on various technology projects, making progress by remaining nimble and productive, Hanvey said.

Embedded software is one issue the committee will be looking at. Parts are now becoming more and more associated with code, whether through a chip on the part itself or with software embedded in the part. The industry needs to ensure consumers and third-party providers are able to access that code to ensure that when a part is replaced, it is accepted by the vehicle, Hanvey said.

The association has worked tirelessly to speak for and represent the independent aftermarket in legislative issues. Currently, the Auto Care Association is fighting back against a new GM parts disclosure policy for dealerships. “What this says is that if you install a non-GM part on a vehicle that you need to disclose that to the dealer and GM so they are aware. Dealerships are being tracked by their non-GM parts purchases, and there is communication to the customers that these parts may or may not be copacetic,” Hanvey said. 

Aaron Lowe, senior vice president of Regulatory and Government Affairs with the Auto Care Association, detailed further industry battles in telematics and a current effort to support and push through a bill that would allow improved access to vehicle telematics data with permission from the vehicle owner.

“Telematics would allow us to manage parts more efficiently, reduce warranties and product returns, improve scheduling and efficiency; it could be a tremendous benefit to the aftermarket if and only if we are allowed access to that vehicle’s data,” Lowe said.

Global Growth
In order to achieve many goals, members are buying and selling products across borders and need to ensure that is allowed to continue,” Hanvey said. The association works to ensure the ease of global buying and selling, and also helps members with international relations through trade mission trips across the globe.

The Association also remains focused on the changing environment of membership and the need to make sure they can be healthy participants of industry.

Supply chain efficiencies
The Association is also focused on improving supply chain efficiencies through improved data usage and processes that will provide streamlined ordering and information including parts performance, service intervals and needs, among others. “We are the only association that represents the entire supply chain of the independent market, so we can see room for improvement across all areas,” Hanvey said.

Forward plans
So that’s what the Auto Care Association has done. Hanvey then detailed what their plan is going forward: 

  • Aggressive advocacy at the federal and state levels. Lowe’s team is more closely monitoring legislative activity at the state level, which may be ramping up. The Association aims to ensure it has a voice at this level. “Advocacy is our No. 1 focus,” Hanvey said.
  • They are bringing technology advances to the aftermarket. “We are bringing a technological solution that offers cybersecurity that offers direct access at the vehicle. We need to provide the solutions and we are doing that,” Hanvey said.
  • A continued focus on AAPEX and trade shows and using data to make that more successful for the attendees
  • Focused on the aggregation and dissemination of information to make members more successful
  • Highlighting the industry as the economic engine that it is at the federal and state levels
  • Mentoring young industry members. “We need to ensure that our next generation of leadership has the tools that they need to succeed. The YANG (Young Auto Care Network Group) has more than 1,000 members. We should be mentoring them and ensure they can take over the aftermarket for generations to come,” Hanvey said.
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