Schwartz Advisors, a La Jolla, California-based strategic consulting and M&A firm specializing in the automotive aftermarket, this week partnered with investment bank Piper Sandler to host a private Automotive Service Symposium in New York City. Focused on investing in the DIFM aftermarket, market segments addressed during the conference included service, tires, car wash, oil change and fleet services.
M&A activity in the aftermarket has been growing significantly over the past several years, reported to have increased 158% in 2021 to $2.4 trillion in deals (source: Refinitiv Deals). Within the automotive aftermarket, the service segment has shown to be particularly attractive to investors over the past few years.
On the agenda for the day-long conference were a number of well-known speakers and subject matter experts from both the automotive aftermarket as well as the investing community.
The day kicked off with a panel discussion on “Leadership Perspectives on Current Trends in Vehicle Repair & Service,” featuring Jim Dykstra, CEO, Dytech Auto Group; James LaNeve, CEO, Ben Tire Distributors; Eric Frankenberger, president, Oil Changers and Moderator Mike Buzzard, partner, Schwartz Advisors.
Schwartz Advisors’ Managing Partner Derek Kaufman spoke on “The Aftermarket’s Next 30 Years.” The morning continued with a “Fireside Chat” with Cris Hollingsworth, president, Repairify, and moderator David Coolidge, CEO, Coolidge Consulting, discussing “Data-Driven Repair.”
The day also included two “Service Disruptor” presentations: Victor Darolfi, CEO, RoboTire, presented on “Automation in the Bays” and Tilak Kasturi, founder & CEO, Predii, presented “How AI Will Improve the Repair and Service Dynamic.”
A panel discussion titled “Cleaning Up with Car Washes,” featured Stu Crum, CEO, True Blue Car Wash; Paul Fazio, CEO, Sonny’s Car Wash; and Tim Barrett, CEO, Raceway Car Wash, led in a dialogue by moderator Peter Keith, senior research analyst for Piper Sandler.
The daylong conference also included a presentation focused on “Customer Engagement in Vehicle Services: The Converging OE Dealer and Aftermarket Ecosystem,” with External Perspectives from Bain & Company,” featuring: Sandeep Heda, partner, Bain & Company; Glenn Egler, partner, Bain & Company and David Sturtz, CEO, CarMagic, discussing Consumer Disruptor Perspective.
The afternoon continued with a second Fireside Chat “From Single Store to Regional Powerhouse: The Les Schwab Story,” featuring Corey Parks, chief administrative officer/EVP, Les Schwab Tire Centers and Moderator Brian Cruickshank, partner, Schwartz Advisors.
Two final presentations rounded out the day: “Service Disruptor: The Future of Technician Training and Efficiency,” featuring Jill Trotta, Automotive Consultant and Advisor, CYTK, and a panel on “Trends and Opportunities in Heavy Duty and Fleet Service & Repair,” with
Tina Hubbard, CEO, HDA Truck Pride, Edward Neeley, president, Truck Supply Company of South Carolina, and John Simmons, chairman & CEO, W.W. Williams Company, moderated by Bill Hanvey, CEO, Auto Care Association.
The event was bookended with opening remarks from Rick Schwartz, CEO and managing partner, Schwartz Advisors, and closing remarks from Treavor Hill, managing director, Piper Sandler.