The Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA) recently promoted the automotive aftermarket industry and the business interests of its supplier members at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), held Jan. 6-9 in Las Vegas.
“The automotive industry aftermarket is a large and stable industry, but we can’t be complacent. Advances in vehicle technology are transforming mobility and the driver experience and pose a wide range of possibilities and opportunities for our industry,” commented Bill Long, AASA president and COO, about the association’s participation in CES. “Aftermarket suppliers must have a first-hand understanding of the technology companies developing software and hardware enabling vehicle connectivity and vice versa. AASA used CES as a great opportunity to identify and present the supplier perspective and discuss our industry’s challenges and opportunities with the leading technology companies.”
During CES, AASA Vice President Chris Gardner represented aftermarket suppliers in the panel discussion, “Reinventing the Phone-Car Connection,” on Jan. 7. In the education session attended by more than 200 CES participants, Gardner addressed the “Connected Aftermarket” – the increasing ways in which motorists, vehicles, repair facilities and even the independent aftermarket supply chain are connecting.
“There are many aspects to this growing niche industry – sensors and ECUs, OBDII port connectors, gateways and wireless networks connected to cloud-based servers, mobile apps for drivers that serve up vehicle health and diagnostics information, ability for motorists to compare, schedule and pay for maintenance and repair jobs,” Gardner explained. “All of these are increasingly positioning consumers to assume more of the decisions about caring for their vehicles.”
He noted that there are 260-plus million vehicles in use in the U.S., which represents a tremendous opportunity for connectivity, branding, functionality and more. However, three challenges must be addressed to meet this potential:
- Real estate – Vehicles only have one OBDII port and one or two cigarette lighter ports – and several entities want access to vehicle data through these connection points
- Collaboration – Traditional hard parts suppliers and emerging technology companies must develop ways to collaborate
- Data owners – Steps should be taken to ensure motorists own their vehicles’ data and are enabled to use the data to make decisions regarding their vehicles
The panel also discussed Pandora’s continued growth in in-car services, having recently purchased companies with streaming content and continued relationships with OEMs; GM’s balance between “build-it” vs. “bring-it” applications and content; and Driversiti’s new foray into using mobile phones to connect vehicles and drivers to reduce accidents.