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Batter Up

Auto Care’s Bill Hanvey recently described the Massachusetts Right to Repair win as a “clean up hitter.”

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Amy Antenora has been reporting on the automotive aftermarket since 2002.

By the time you read this, the 2021 AAPEX Show, lovingly dubbed as the “industry’s homecoming” will be just about to begin. I wish you –  and your feet – best of luck at this year’s AAPEX Show. I know it is a welcome opportunity to reconnect and move forward for many.

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While we may have felt like the world was somewhat on hold the past 18 months as we continue to ride out this pandemic, the automotive aftermarket industry hasn’t missed a beat. This month’s issue of AMN/Counterman is proof positive of that.

In this issue, we share a number of reports that showcase the continued strength of the aftermarket – from this year’s AASA Top Suppliers list, starting on page 55, to our update on the M&A boom, confirming the continued attractiveness of the industry to Wall Street and investors,  on page 75, to Josh Cable’s article on the industry’s new bootstrapping “Check the Part” campaign to help tamp down wasteful warranty return issues, on pages 16 and 17.

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There’s a great quote by the late musician Prince that says, “Sometimes it takes years for a person to become an overnight success.” This couldn’t be more true of the aftermarket. A mature and stable industry that for many years went under the radar as a “silent giant” keeping America rolling, the aftermarket is now getting the recognition it deserves for the powerhouse it really is.

As Auto Care Association President and CEO Bill Hanvey shared in a recent “AMN Drivetime” podcast, this success has been years in the making. Speaking about the effort it took to have the automotive aftermarket declared an “Essential Business” during the pandemic, he shared: “That was not something that was an immediate get. We had to lay the foundation for that years in advance. The way we had done that was through our government affairs team and our members who created a relationship with local representatives, their local congressperson, so that at least that elected official would understand the importance of our industry going forward. What people may not know is that groundwork was laid well in advance,” said Hanvey.

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And speaking of groundwork, aftermarket associations and advocates are not letting up on efforts to keep Right to Repair top of mind as well. As you will read about on page 76, the CAR Coalition has launched a new multi-million-dollar education and mobilization campaign in support of Right to Repair. At the Sept. 29 Congressional Baseball Game for Charity in Washington, D.C., the Auto Care Association hosted the “Auto Care On Deck” tailgate event during which it communicated with members of Congress and their staffers about Right to Repair and the importance of the automotive aftermarket and commercial-vehicle aftermarket to the health of the nation’s economy and infrastructure.

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Sticking with the baseball theme, during the “AMN Drivetime” podcast, Hanvey shared an analogy for where we stand with the issue today. “We certainly put the runners on base in order for that cleanup hitter to be able to come in, get it done and get the industry declared as essential,” he said. “I don’t want a Right to Repair to be seen as a single either. That was a home run in Massachusetts. We won the vote by 75% of the voters. That again entailed a lot of pre-work on our part to get the voters of Massachusetts prepared for this and to vote in our favor. A lot of groundwork goes into these decisions. That was a three-year process. We have to continue that process. We have to continue to put people on base.”

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To listen to the full “AMN Drivetime” episode with Bill Hanvey and the many other fantastic podcasts available now, go to: www.aftermarketnews.com/category/podcasts.

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