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Newsmaker Q&A: Keith Pretty

Pretty speaks to the Detroit Auto Show, what's ahead for the aftermarket
Tuesday, January 22, 2013 - 11:51
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Pretty speaks to the Detroit Auto Show, what's ahead for the aftermarket

Keith Pretty, Northwood University President and CEO, attended the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Mich., this month. Running from Jan. 14-27, the show offers a preview into what issues and trends are ahead for the aftermarket. Pretty spoke to Aftermarket Business World about his impressions and takeaways from the show.

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What were your thoughts on the show atmosphere?

“There is a lot of enthusiasm, which is great to see for Michigan, the Midwest and in automotive-producing areas. The show is beginning to take on a lot more life and vitality, similar to how it was 4-5 years ago. It recently was “cars on carpet” and not much more. Now, there are more product introductions, elaborate displays, glitz and glamour. Almost all the corporate CEOs of the automotive manufacturers were there to introduce products. It is again becoming what it has been historically — the leading international show to start the calendar year and a place where companies really bring a lot of their newest and best ideas.

What new types of innovation were introduced?

There were tons of innovation, far more than I’ve seen in the last couple of years. Every manufacturer is now exhibiting some type of hybrid vehicle or a vehicle with an alternative source of power. Everyone is talking about how many miles per gallon can be achieved with this new vehicle or that to meet fuel economy standards. All these vehicles have an impact on the aftermarket — maybe not immediately, but in the future.

For example, Jeep put out a new clean diesel vehicle, which may have been spurred from their new partnership with Fiat. Diesel, and the other alternatives for gasoline and combustion engines, are high on the list for manufacturers and are going to become mainstream for the aftermarket in a couple of years. Many manufacturers have hybrid models they expect to be better-selling vehicles. The service side of those hybrid vehicles is going to be a critical component of success in the aftermarket.

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