The Automotive Industries Association of Canada has announced that it has partnered with The NPD Group Inc. to provide consumer market research in the automotive aftermarket sector to its members. "In recent years AIA members identified a need for consumer research into channel preferences and consumer demographics," says AIA president Ray Datt. AIA produces a number of statistical reports, such as the biennial Outlook Study. "Members continue to find the Outlook Study information useful, but they were also looking for AIA to provide supplementary information on automotive aftermarket consumer trends." "NPD is honoured to partner with AIA," says Bob McPherson, vice president, NPD Group Inc. "AIA has a long and distinguished track record as a vital and vibrant association. AIA continuously strives to better meet the needs of its members, and this report is yet another example. We are confident the Association and its members will find the AutoTrac information useful in better understanding consumer attitudes towards automotive aftermarket service repairs." AIA struck a task force, lead by Larry Raymond of Blue Streak-Hygrade Motor Products, to guide the Association in determining the needs and resources required to better meet member needs in the area of consumer market research in the automotive aftermarket sector. The task force determined that the industry had made inroads at gaining knowledge into the automotive service provider sector, but did not have adequate data into the behaviour, choices and habits of the consumer. After an extensive search process, AIA chose to work with NPD Group and its AutoTrac online survey to follow consumer trends in a number of categories including: Replacement Parts, Motor Oil, Appearance Products, Performance Additives, Installed Service, Customer Paid Loyalty Service, and Motor Fuels. AutoTrac will monitor total service occasions and break the occasions down by total national and regional categories. The service information will include service occasions by outlet type, by age of vehicle, and type of service. NPD will provide AIA with aggregate data including analysis on outlet loyalty and the factors that drive consumer loyalty and frequency of service. The research will also track the awareness and habits of consumers in response to the Be Car Care Aware consumer education program in Canada. "This report will be an excellent addition to our market research line-up and will assist us in our on-going efforts to provide AIA members with timely information and analysis to assist them in making informed business decisions," says Datt. The initial findings of the NPD research for AIA will be shared at the AIA Aftermarket Conference for Executives to be held May 24 to 26 in Ottawa, Ont.