Dave Fifield will assume the role of chairman of AIA Canada at the association's annual general meeting next week.
By Allan Janssen
The incoming chairman of the Automotive Industries Association of Canada (AIA), sees an opportunity for aftermarket players to work even more closely together as they deal with the challenges of rapidly advancing technology.
Dave Fifield, president of Wakefield Canada, will take over from Doug Reevey as chairman of AIA at next week’s annual general meeting.
Speaking to AutoServiceWorld in advance of the AGM, Fifield said all levels of the aftermarket value chain – from automotive service providers (ASPs) to jobbers to parts manufacturers – must come to grips with the rapid pace of change in the era of automotive connectivity, autonomous driving, telematics, and aggressive fuel economy targets.
“As technology continues to advance, impacting that front-line service provider more and more, we see a greater need for an integrated industry,” he said. “I think we have to work with a greater array of players, whether they be ASPs, or tire shops, or the collision industry. We need the right critical mass to tackle some of these issues.”
Fifield believes AIA has an important leadership role to play as a tangle of regulations and protocols is developed to oversee new automotive technologies.
“The bigger constituency that AIA represents, the more muscle we’ll have when we’re talking to governments and other interested parties,” he said. “There’s great value in ensuring all levels of the aftermarket community, and that includes services providers, are more closely aligned.”
“New technology – and particularly disruptive technologies – present real challenges for service providers. And, let’s face it, independent shops are the most vulnerable,” he said. “I think jobbers and ASPs have always been aligned, but the growing complexity of vehicles, and the training related to that will require even closer collaboration. AIA can help.”
He pointed out that AIA has recently reintroduced its Service Provider Council, where shop voices can be heard on issues like ensuring continued access to repair information.
The right-to-repair issue keeps coming up because carmakers exert tremendous influence on where vehicles are repaired.
“Today’s warranty provisions really create stickiness between the vehicle owner and the OE networks for four to five years. They would like to see that stickiness lengthened,” he said. “The AIA promotes a level playing field for all. That’s what the aftermarket is looking for.”
Fifield will take the reins of the association’s executive committee May 16, taking over from chairman Doug Reevey. Brent Hesje of Fountain Tire will serve as first vice-chairman.
He says he’s excited about the team he’ll be working with.
“When you look at the board and our directors, you see that we have a good representation from east to west, up and down the supply chain. I think it’s as good a cross section of the industry as I’ve seen in a long time. And really good, smart people who know this industry very well.”
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