Auto Service World
News   May 14, 2019   by Allan Janssen

Aftermarket challenges ‘daunting’ but not insurmountable, says new AIA chairman

Incoming chairman Jason Best says the accessibility to vehicle repair data remains the highest level of pointed focus within the association.

The incoming chairman of the Automotive Industries Association of Canada (AIA) says the aftermarket’s ability to adapt to change will come in very handy in the coming years as vehicle technology continues to advance.

Addressing members at the association’s annual general meeting in May 8, Jason Best said the aftermarket faces many new disruptors on the horizon, including market consolidation, the entry of new players, a steady move to e-tailing, and the uncertainties of trade disputes and international tariffs.

“These challenges may seem daunting, but they are not overly so,” he said. “The aftermarket has always been about an everchanging dynamic and the capacity to adapt.”

Best, the senior vice president, aftermarket for Montreal-based Spectra Premium Industries, was elected to lead the AIA’s executive committee for the next year as chairman. He told his audience that he has witnessed a lot of change in his 25 years in the aftermarket.

“The challenges that we see today and those that we are anticipating in the future require adaptation from everyone in our industry,” he said. “The aftermarket cannot remain in the 21st Century when the manufacturing sector firmly moves into the 22nd Century.”

Job one, he said, will be to ensure automotive repair shops have unfettered access to vehicle technology moving forward.

“The accessibility to vehicle repair data and how to equip service providers with the same accessibility as the car manufacturers themselves remains the highest level of pointed focus within this association,” he said. “This fight for OE manufacturer data is of critical importance for our industry, and the right to repair is fundamental in providing all consumers the choice of where they get their vehicles serviced.”

He promised that the AIA will continue to engage government at all levels and challenge roadblocks to service access established by car manufacturers.

Best will serve on the AIA executive committee with:

* First vice chairwoman, Susan Hitchon, head of global new business development and special markets at Schrader International (a division of Sensata Technologies);

* Second vice chairman Brent Windom, president and CEO of Uni-Select Inc.;

* Immediate past chairman Brent Hesje, CEO of Fountain Tire.

Newly elected members to the association’s board of directors, serving until spring 2022 are:

* Graham Jeffery, vice president, automotive merchandising division, Canadian Tire Corporation

* Jason Yurchak, senior vice president, Worldpac Canada Inc.

During the annual general meeting, the association’s finances were reviewed. According to a report from the audit and finance committee, 2018 revenues of $6,396,583, down about 2% from 2017’s total of $6,539,786, and expenses increased approximately 6% over last year to $6,497,390.

Jason Best will serve with Brent Hesje, Susan Hitchon, and Brent Windom on the AIA’s executive committee. New board of director members are Jason Yurchak and Graham Jeffery.

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