CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Automotive aftermarket suppliers need a 360° view to succeed in today’s changing market, noted Bill Long, president and COO of the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA), in his opening comments at the 2015 AASA Vision Conference today at the NASCAR Hall of Fame, Charlotte, N.C.
“The aftermarket is a large and stable industry, but we cannot be complacent,” Long told the crowd of more than 200 members of AASA, the light vehicle aftermarket of the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA). “New channels of distribution and new markets offer opportunities, and innovation and differentiation are the drivers for increased profits. A new level of customer collaboration and differentiated services offer opportunities to suppliers.”
Long also commented on AASA’s breakthrough study, “DIFM Outlook 2025: A Dynamic Battleground,” the member-only report released first to Vision Conference attendees today. “The independent service provider won’t be eliminated, but it won’t be business as usual. Suppliers must have a first-hand understanding of shops and technician needs,” he noted.
The morning session of the AASA Vision Conference included three presentations examining the results of “DIFM Outlook 2025,” starting with an overview of the key findings by Evan Hirsh, vice president of Strategy& (formerly Booz & Co.).
“The basic structure of the DIFM industry will not change much –predominantly single-outlet, non-franchise shops,” Hirsh noted. “However, how those shops serve customers, how they work on vehicles and how they are served by their channels and suppliers, will be transformed.”
AASA Senior Vice President Bill Hanvey followed Hirsh’s overview with a deeper dive into the DIFM Channel shift. “Suppliers must determine how best to help channel partners become more successful in the DIFM market and make your business uniquely indispensable to them,” he said.
Hanvey also facilitated a discussion among aftermarket supplier leaders about the opportunities and threats that DIFM changes offer suppliers. Panelists were Tim Corcoran, managing director, Region North America, ZF Services LLC, and Jim Fish, vice president, global automotive diagnostics, Bosch North America
The morning session of the AASA Vision Conference also included a unique perspective on using technology to turn obstacles into opportunities by Sam Schmidt, a former Indy Racing League driver, who is an owner of Indy Car Series team Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and an accessible vehicle upfitter. Schmidt suffered a spinal cord injury in a racing accident in 2000, which ended his career as a driver. He discussed his recovery, starting over from a business perspective, the SAM (semi-autonomous car) Project and its important technological applications and business opportunities.
STAY TUNED: Coming up tomorrow on aftermarketNews.com, we get the scoop from “The Group” – Bill Maggs and Larry Pavey discuss the Automotive Parts Services Group (the Group).