Auto Service World
Feature   August 1, 2008   by Allan Janssen

N.B. Shop Owner Addresses Conference

Doug Reevey of Autotec in Saint John, N.B. speaks out at Global Automotive Aftermarket Symposium.

The Consumer’s Right to Repair is the biggest threat facing independent service providers, says shop owner Doug Reevey of Saint John, N.B.

Speaking at the Global Automotive Aftermarket Symposium in Chicago in May, Reevey told over 400 business leaders that access to OE service information, tools, and training, is a matter of survival for independent shops.

“It’s almost as if the people in our industry are holding their breath, waiting to see what’s going to happen,” he said. “If we don’t get access to this vital information, quite frankly I don’t know what will happen.”

Reevey, owner of Autotec, a CARQUEST TechNet shop, was participating in a panel discussion on challenges facing family-owned businesses in the automotive aftermarket. He shared the stage with Craig Bond, senior VP purchasing at Bond Auto Parts, and Dominic Grote, VP sales and marketing at Grote Industries.

He identified the second biggest challenge as human resources.

“It comes down to people, people, people,” he said. “There’s going to be a mass exodus of talent and experience. We’ve done a poor job of attracting youth and talent into this business. Staffing is our number one issue.”

The third challenge, he insisted, is customer education.

“Sometimes you want to beat your head against the wall trying to make consumers understand that you in the aftermarket are every bit as capable of looking after their vehicle as the OE dealer,” said Reevey. “That’s not an easy thing to do. The OEs are well-heeled competitors, and they’ve become very aggressive on the service side because they’re not making what they used to on the sale of new cars.”

The panel discussion was moderated by John Washbish of Affinia, who started off by saying family businesses are a significant and growing part of the North American economy.

“The greatest intergenerational transfer of wealth in the history of North America is occurring during the first decade of the new millennium,” he said. “An estimated $11 trillion will have changed hands by the end of 2010, and much of it – much of it – will be managed by next generation entrepreneurs in more than 14 million family controlled businesses in Canada and the United States.”


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