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Opinion

Editor’s Note: What Else? What Now?

There is some optimism for the aftermarket in the second half of 2020 and still work to be done.

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Amy Antenora has served as editor of aftermarketNews since 2002 and has worked in the field of journalism for two decades. A graduate of Kent State University, Amy also earned her AAP designation from Northwood University's University of the Aftermarket in 2009.

I know most of us feel overwhelmed by the barrage of content we are being exposed to daily during this pandemic. We want to stay informed and engaged. It’s critical to do so for a variety of reasons. But, as a collective, we are also tired of it. Tired of the what-if’s, of the holding pattern, the fear, the tragedy, the loss.

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Over the past several months, AMN – via both our online and print publication – has kept you apprised of the latest information on the pandemic as it relates to our industry, from the way repair shops, parts stores and suppliers have been navigating the crisis as “essential businesses” to their overall outlook for the future and the government resources available to help keep your business running.

And, while the pandemic has thrown a devastating spanner in the works, there are still a myriad of ways the aftermarket has kept on rolling. There is some optimism for the aftermarket in the second half of 2020 and still work to be done. Here are some of the other news and important goings-on that we still need to keep an eye on:

USMCA/Trade Issues:

In late June, MEMA and AASA announced a win for motor vehicle aftermarket parts suppliers, in negotiating terms in the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) that will ensure stability and certainty in the automotive aftermarket. Largely based on the efforts of MEMA’s D.C.-based government affairs team, USMCA specifically defines an “aftermarket part” as “a good that is not for use as original equipment in the production of passenger vehicles, light trucks or heavy trucks.” Therefore, the aftermarket must comply with USMCA requirements, but the provisions for aftermarket parts are less restrictive than for the parts used in the production of original equipment, according to MEMA. The USMCA went into effect on July 1. After June 30, the industry, including the aftermarket, will not be able to use the NAFTA certificate.

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Your Car Your Data:

In September 2019, the Auto Care Association and AASA signed a landmark agreement for a strategic partnership to educate and activate the industry as well as consumers in the fight for access to, and control of, vehicle data. “Your Car. Your Data. Your Choice.” is an education initiative created to engage car owners, policymakers and other stakeholders on car data – what it is, why it matters and its implications for consumer choice. While the world was essentially at a standstill the past several months, states are beginning to reopen, people are getting back on the road and cars will continue to need maintenance and repair. This issue still needs our attention. Go to yourcaryourdata.org to stay informed.

Right to Repair:

The Motor Vehicle Owners’ Right to Repair Act was finalized in a 2014 memorandum of understanding between the Auto Care Association, Coalition for Auto Repair Equality (CARE) and vehicle manufacturers. Because of their efforts, new-car manufacturers must now make the same service information and tools available to independent repair shops that they provide for their franchised dealers. Right to Repair now guarantees every car owner’s right to have their vehicle serviced at the repair facility of their choice. However, both the Massachusetts Right to Repair law and the national agreement specifically excluded telematics, the data transmitted wirelessly from the vehicle to the manufacturer. In order for the independent auto care industry to maintain and service today’s “connected” vehicles, it must be granted access to this information. As you may already know, an updated version of the Right to Repair bill is on the ballot this November in Massachusetts in order to reflect these technological changes that impact access to repair data.

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If you need a little break from all of the pandemic-related content hitting your desk, your inbox and devices, these are three important issues you can divert your attention to. AMN

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