The Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance continued to lead the industry in advocating on behalf of the automotive aftermarket at the Auto Care Association’s Legislative Summit held Sept. 18-19 in Washington, D.C.
More than a dozen representatives from across Alliance membership channels – including multiple Alliance leaders, warehouse distributors and Certified Service center owners – met up in the nation’s capital to speak to U.S. congressmen and senators about how issues like Right to Repair and Your Car, Your Data are affecting both technicians and vehicle owners.
The Alliance’s coalition joined 300 other auto care leaders and professionals at the summit, which was the biggest in the industry to date. The largest delegation came from Texas, which included 4M Parts Warehouse’s President Lanny Martindale and President of Sales, Marketing, and Product Management Craig Meadows, Auto Value members of the Alliance.
“To see so many folks show up and march the hill together makes me proud of our industry,” Meadows said. “Our right to repair and our right to our data is critical for every American car owner, and I’m glad I had the opportunity to be a voice for these campaigns in Washington. I can’t wait until we march the hill together as a group in 2021!”
In addition to the 4M Parts Warehouse and Alliance members, representatives from ABC Auto, Automotive Parts Headquarters, C&M Auto Service, Replacement Parts Inc., Slack Auto Parts Company, The Detroit Garage and Vast-Auto Distribution Ltd. also flew out to D.C. for the summit.
They explained to members of Congress that as vehicles become more and more complex, the data they keep about their drivers become more and more personal – and vehicle owners don’t have access to or ownership of any of it. This poses a privacy concern to vehicle owners, and a logistical concern to independent repair shops, who need some of that data in order to do fix vehicles. Failure to pass legislation on these two issues could threaten the ability of consumers to find economical, high-quality repairs.
“Owning your data is a big deal, and not enough people know about it yet. We need to get in front of the problem before it becomes a problem,” said Fletcher Lord III, president of Replacement Parts Inc. He and his father, E. Fletcher Lord, Jr., were among the delegates from Replacement Parts at the summit. “Honestly, I’m looking forward to April 2021 when our group will go to the hill and we’ll be able to show our presence and support of the Your Car, Your Data campaign.”
The Alliance’s strong showing at the Legislative Summit was a part of an ongoing effort by the program group to take a stand on the challenges facing the industry. At its 2019 Summer Shareholder Meeting, the Alliance brought in one of the industry’s top political advocates from the Auto Care Association to speak to attendees. At the group’s 2019 Sales & Marketing Forum, a Texas state senator addressed the crowds. And in 2021, the Alliance will bring 1,500 people to Washington, D.C. for its Alliance Takes the Hill 2021 Convention.
“These issues are becoming increasingly prevalent and problematic to our industry,” said JC Washbish, vice president of sales and marketing for the Alliance. “We’re proud to lead the industry in fighting for our rights.”