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Automotive Aftermarket Service and Repair

Equipment and Tool Institute Event Aims at Renewing OEM, Aftermarket Partnerships

The theme of this year’s event, “OEMs and the Aftermarket – A New Direction – Renewed Partnership,” was designed to help bridge the gap that vehicle manufacturers have with promoting factory tools and equipment to aftermarket customers, and to help satisfy the aftermarket need for OEM information and tools.


TechShop Editor Jennifer Clements has more than 12 years of experience specializing in the equipment, tools and supplies used by technicians and repair shop owners. She also serves as managing editor of Underhood Service and ImportCar magazines in Babcox’s TechGroup. With Babcox since 1997, Jennifer also is an active team member in corporate marketing, custom publishing and show daily projects.

; — was designed to help bridge the gap that vehicle manufacturers have with promoting factory tools and equipment to aftermarket customers, and to help satisfy the aftermarket need for OEM information and tools.
“ETI member companies know how to market tools and equipment to the aftermarket; it is what they do,” said Charlie Gorman, ETI executive manager. “[At ToolTech] we explore ways vehicle manufacturers can provide dealership-level service capabilities to the aftermarket using ETI member capabilities.” Jason Ruban happily accepts his iPad from Zach Parker. Ruban he won the iPad in a contest hosted by Redline Detection during the Company Showcase event at ETI's ToolTech.
The private, One-on-One meetings held during ToolTech helped further this communication. The ETI Business Meeting, conducted by Gorman and Jessie Korosec, ETI’s marketing manager, included a change of command ceremony 
for incoming president Dan Brass of SPX Service Solutions, who is replacing immediate past-president Alan Tecmire of Robert Bosch.
ETI Survey Reports
Jeff Murphy, RTI Technologies, summarized the results of ETI’s recent air conditioning equipment survey. Murphy noted that 82 percent of respondents are using a scan tool for A/C diagnostics. And while most independent shops were aware of the new R-1234yf refrigerant, only 7 percent said they would invest in the new equipment immediately, with most waiting for the market to develop.  
Gary Mackey, Associated Equipment Corp., recapped the results of another ETI study regarding the repair industry’s involvement with servicing hybrid/electric vehicles, specifically their batteries and what types of battery service equipment is being used. Thirty-six percent of the independent repair facility respondents stated they are servicing hybrid/electric vehicles, with only 14 percent also servicing the vehicles’ batteries.
ToolTech Presentations
Gorman continued the "OEMs and the Aftermarket Partnership" theme, commenting on AASA’s report that there is $62 billion in unperformed maintenance.
“Neither market is well-served under the current conditions. Scan tool makers design and build tools for both dealers and the aftermarket, but not the same tools. In many cases they use different business units,” Gorman said with hopes of opening new markets for ETI members and closing the “us vs. them mentality.”
Providing dealership-level capability to independent shops using ETI member expertise in manufacturing, distribution and support can be profitable and can increase automaker brand satisfaction, Gorman said.
Brian Herron, Drew Technologies, noted that while aftermarket scan tools typically offer comprehensive technical support, often the technician needs more to finish the job. The need for the dealer tool is growing because of vehicle complexity and number of software fixes. But Herron pointed out that most dealer tools are hard to buy, and technicians want to buy from their local parts store or tool truck.
“It can take weeks (or months) to get the OEM tool,” Herron said. “Some dealer tools are difficult to use as well, especially without training, which isn’t always available. And many ‘all makes’ shops cannot afford the cost of every dealer tool.”
He also stressed the need for a universal pass-thru interface, and a la carte subscriptions, giving the aftermarket full dealership functions and support.
“OEMs should recognize that the aftermarket needs dealership capabilities. Getting this capability to everyone is good for selling cars and for customer satisfaction.”
Bob Augustine, Christian Bros. Automotive, spoke of "Situational Awareness," challenging the audience to consider where they have been and where they are now. He took a look at scan tools over the past 10 years and the many advancements that have been made. Included in his list of “Undeniable Trends” were standardized communication protocols, wireless communications and VIN-based diagnostics.
Donny Seyfer, Seyfer Automotive, offered real-world advice to the automakers in attendance.
“An uninformed tech or shop owner can result in lost vehicle sales and damage to reputations. It is far better to compete (with the aftermarket) on customer service and know the car will be fixed either way.”
His suggestions included OEM website improvements such as easy-to-find links to the latest tools and free tool training.
“The huge increase in complexity of the vehicle caused the OEMs to store their information in ever more complex ways in order to retain the ability to handle such large volumes of complex information,” said Scott Bolt, Mahle Test Systems.
Many OEMs are adopting global platforms for use in all regions along with standardized information that is provided to the aftermarket. Convergence of information, hardware and even vehicle systems is becoming more evident each year, Bolt said.
The SAE J2534 specification is at the core of much of the Right to Repair debate. [Proposed state and national "Right to Repair" bills aim to require that dealerships provide the same service and repair information to independent shops as they do their own dealership service departments.] Greg Potter, DG Technologies, discussed the overhaul this specification has been going through, which has taken several years to accomplish. Potter noted that the OEMs store their information in different tool architectures, and it is very challenging (and expensive) to put the data into a standard that is flexible enough to hold any kind of OEM data for any kind of ECU.
Robert Vogt, IOSiX, spoke about diagnostics via telematics, future connectivity standardization and adapting telematics to existing systems. He discussed what a universal telematics gateway might look like from an OEM perspective, including functionality and cost.
A panel of collision repair experts — Jason Bartanen, I-CAR; John Hall, American Honda; and Tom Brizuela, BMWNA — answered questions regarding the automakers’ role in helping aftermarket collision repair facilities be successful.
The event, which included a Company Showcase/Happy Hour, golf outing, board meetings and receptions, also hosted the National Automotive Service Task Force’s spring meetings. During the Company Showcase, Jason Ruban, Midtronics, won an iPad in a contest sponsored by Redline Detection. ToolTech wrapped up with its closing dinner themed “A Night to Remember” and featured a show by master hypnotist James Kellogg Jr.
Next year’s ToolTech will be held April 23-25 in San Diego, Calif. For more information, visit
For more photos from ToolTech 2012, see the ETI and TechShop Facebook pages at: and




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