Ronald Tremblay, owner of The Garage in Vancouver, is chairman of the Automotive Retailers Association of British Columbia, and speaks for the National Automotive Trades Association (NATA).
A spokesman for the National Automotive Trades Association (NATA) says the aftermarket needs to come together if it hopes to preserve access to OE service information, tools, and training.
Ronald Tremblay says any aftermarket group that wants to express opinions about the right-to-repair issue will continue to be heard by NATA – the one group that has served as an umbrella organization for auto repair associations in Canada.
NATA recently suffered the resignation of two key executives as well as some high-profile association defections, including the Automotive Aftermarket Retailers of Ontario (AARO) and the Automotive Recyclers of Canada.
“There have been some ups and downs and ins and outs with some associations, but we’re pressing on,” he said. “NATA is taking the high road as it plans an organizational realignment before the end of the year.”
He said all industry associations, including AARO, are invited to be part of those strategic planning sessions.
“We’d like to have their input on where NATA goes next. We welcome it. We want to be inclusive,” he said. “We believe NATA can be a driving force, protecting the automotive aftermarket’s interests in Canada.”
Tremblay said he acknowledges AARO’s right to pursue any path it deems worthwhile, but urges it not to completely abandon a team approach.
“There needs to be more commitment to come together and a more unified response to the challenges we all face,” he said. “This can’t be about what the different provinces want – what Ontario wants, or what B.C. wants, or what Nova Scotia wants. We’re all in this together. This is an international conversation and we need to bring ourselves together to effect change.”
He acknowledged that progress on ensuring ready access to OE tools, training, and service information has been slow and there have been some recent roadblocks.
“There’s an awkward transition happening, no doubt about it,” he said. “But it mostly has to do with new technology and a lack of collaboration between all the relevant parties.”
Furthermore, the Canadian Automotive Service Information Standard (CASIS) has been chaperoned by a very small group of people. As new issues emerge, he said, CASIS watchdogs need more resources.
“We need a much larger group of people with better funding to be able to handle it all,” he said. “This is a time to shake off what happened to get us here, and start thinking about what we can do together as a body of cooperative groups to take a stand for the quality of the aftermarket’s future.”
Until NATA redefines itself later this year, Tremblay said the association’s presidency will remain vacant.