Opinion | Commentary

  • The United States is currently involved in two high-profile trade negotiations that could have far-reaching benefits for suppliers: the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP).
  • In an unusual move, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced in April that it was withdrawing a proposal it had made last summer as part of a broad greenhouse gas emissions proposed rule. The announcement was  good news for the aftermarket, since it would have inhibited aftermarket sales to the racing car industry.
  • The global demand for quality automotive aftermarket products from North American suppliers has never been greater and the importance of international business is continually growing.
    Ben Brucato
  • The new OSHA standard goes into effect on June 23, 2018 and establishes a new permissible exposure limit (PEL) for respirable crystalline silica that is half the old standard. This new PEL will  affect a broad range of auto parts manufacturers, according to a chart published by the OSHA.
  • Saudi Arabia is building an attractive environment for foreign companies to invest in the automotive sector. Already the leader in automotive sales and the largest importer of vehicles in the region, it intends to continue to grow by having affluent consumers and offering liberal incentives to investors.
    Larry Silvey
  • The long-term development of the aftermarket in China is viewed as a huge opportunity. The key now is the development of a sustainable profitable business model to service this opportunity, and parts manufacturers are the key to this development.
  • The problem for aftermarket players is that original equipment manufacturers increasingly use firmware and software to control the function and operation of a wide range of motor vehicle parts. OEMs have replaced what were once purely electro-mechanical parts with microprocessors and software controls embedded in ECUs.
  • We’re in the midst of a second catalog revolution, one that once again will separate businesses committed to strong growth from those that are at risk of losing touch with the changing needs of today’s aftermarket customers.
    Scott Thompson, Epicor
  • The schools are teaching the students what the school knows but not necessarily what the industry needs. Advisory councils provide input to the schools on curriculum requirements; their goal is to educate a student on what they must know to become employable.
  • The automotive aftermarket is at a crossroads because it remains to be seen on how e-tailing will affect it. Will there be collaboration between suppliers and resellers on this subject or will they choose to go it alone?
    Larry Silvey
  • Aftermarket Business World columnist Brad Mewes says that understanding the role that synergies play is important in evaluating the merits or a merger or acquisition in his column, "3 synergies that maximize value in the automotive aftermarket."
    Brad Mewes
  • Refinishing a part because it was scratched not only costs in materials but also the time it takes to rework that panel and the time lost on other repairs.
  • Some dealerships are boosting the image of their technicians in how they treat them. If the aftermarket is going to keep up, it will have to do the same and stop treating them as “second-class citizens.” The dealers and independent repair shops that treat them as professionals will be the winners.
    Larry Silvey
  • Husky Spring worked with Vertical Development and its partners to create a system that offers a comprehensive website for ordering parts and a publishing system to get ACES format catalogs to retailers.
    Jay Wright
  • With declining new car sales margins, some auto dealerships are trying to improve their service businesses. Many are doing it with services offered through new car sales.
    Larry Silvey
  • If the manufacturer of the product and the distributor/retailer don’t have their product data and inventory files in perfect sync, the business systems consuming that data fuel can misfire and make some costly mistakes.
    Scott Luckett
  • Auto parts manufacturers and resellers struggle to handle returns efficiently and accept it as a cost of doing business. They need to invest in a system to handle returns or hire an outside expert, such as a third-party logistics company.
    Larry Silvey
  • While strong 2015 vehicle sales is good news for the industry and bodes well for the aftermarket’s future, the automotive aftermarket is still feeling the aftershock of the recession. More specifically, the hangover from the recession is still being felt rather acutely by the aftermarket sweet spot.
  • It’s important to note that automotive online returns have become more common in aftermarket ecommerce. According to a 2015 UPS study, 39 percent of auto parts shoppers return items compared to 27 percent in the 2014 study. Nevertheless, returns represent fertile ground for any retailer looking to build loyalty and drive revenue.
    Stephen Hewitt
  • Category management is a complex marketing mechanism that should be focused on customer needs. Run as a collaborative system between automotive retailers and suppliers, category management will benefit both parties greatly, although it should be driven by the retailers.
    Larry Silvey