Opinion | Commentary

  • Congress is feverishly holding hearings on reauthorization of the highway bill, which will mean changes to highway safety laws, including, possibly, to reporting requirements for tire retailers. In addition, Congress will at the same time have to legislate new sources of funding for the federal highway grant program.
  • The paint jobber industry is undergoing significant change. Increasing customer concentration in the collision industry is putting pricing pressure on the entire refinish materials supply chain.
    Brad Mewes
  • Certified trade missions are hosted by Department of Commerce’s Commercial Service overseas offices. These meetings bring representatives of U.S. companies into contact with potential agents, distributors, joint venture partners, licensees, local businesses and government contacts.
  • But a danger lurks if you, like me, have diversified your business so much to get you through the slow season and you failed to realize that all of those other things you delved into are also going to boom during the busy season.
  • Various sectors within the auto aftermarket are pushing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in different directions with regard to a new ozone standard.
  • Recently there were a number of cyber attacks that affected many of the servers in our industry.  Sometimes I think we consider ourselves unlikely to be affected because we don’t have customer credit card numbers on file or any critical information stored where someone can get to it.
  • Real estate plays an important role in any business. As a significant long term asset, real estate represents a major financial investment. Whether it is owned or leased, real estate is one of the largest fixed expenses for many businesses.
    Brad Mewes
  • The worst part is that we are almost certainly doing the right thing by a customer but they are more willing to take the word of an invisible expert on an Internet blog who could very well be a 17 year old kid who has absolutely no training but is qualified as an expert by virtue of owning the particular model of vehicle.
  • China’s growing passenger vehicle market holds opportunities for the automotive aftermarket, especially in the areas of fuel economy, reduced emissions and advanced technologies, according to Todd Campau of IHS Automotive.
  • The ones that stick-out the most are the ridiculous and surreal happenings of everyday life in all things automotive. These are three vignettes of life behind a parts counter and dealing with the public.
  • A bill that encourages federal fleet managers to consider purchasing remanufactured auto parts got off to a quick start in this Congress as it passed the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee with no opposition.
  • TPMS replacement demand is expected to triple by 2018-2020. Frost and Sullivan expects the total market to grow from $121.1 million last year to $365.5 million in 2020, a compound annual growth rate of 17 percent.
    Frost and Sullivan
  • Two high-profile trade agreements are currently in negotiations: the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP).
  • Any lowering of allowable emission levels would force cities and counties that suddenly fall into the ozone "non-attainment" category because of tighter restrictions on hydrocarbon and nitrogen oxide emissions to improve inspection and maintenance programs for autos.
  • Program groups are merging, independent warehouses are buying each other out, and now manufacturers’ investment groups are buying warehouses, distribution centers and company-owned stores.
  • After two years of low growth, the business landscape in Mexico is changing rapidly. The southern neighbor to the U.S. is ready to launch and is the bright spot in Latin American markets.
  • Perhaps the aftermarket could benefit from the influence of outside sources such as third-party logistics providers (3PLs) that specialize in seeking the most efficient manufacturing and distribution possible.
  • In the digital aftermarket, the customer is no longer guided by a knowledgeable parts professional. Their purchase decisions are driven by the accuracy and completeness of the content on the screen. Nothing will turn off a customer faster than a missing image or an ambiguous product description.
    Scott Luckett
  • How new distribution systems impact the race to provide excellent customer service
  • For the first time in a very long time, maybe ever, aftermarket leaders sat in the same room with vehicle manufacturers to have a discussion about telematics.