Chris Gardner, AASA’s senior vice president of operations, is seen here at the group’s Technology Conference in the fall.
By Adam Malik
While the automotive aftermarket future is bright, it’s also increasingly complex, rapidly evolving, and digitally reliant.
Enter the Mobility Technology Council (MTC), a new organization launched exclusively to help aftermarket companies make the most of what lies ahead.
Established by the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA), which represents the aftermarket supplier industry in North America, the MTC is founded on the reality that there is a growing number of suppliers and technologies for connected aftermarket applications. Data, services, platforms, and applications based on sensor and OBD-II connections are emerging daily.
As its name suggests, the MTC advances the business interests of suppliers of mobility technologies for aftermarket applications, said Chris Gardner, AASA’s senior vice president of operations in Raleigh, N.C.
“This covers telematics, dongles, vehicle data platforms, sensors, predictive analytics, connectivity and ADAS,” he said. “The amount of development of and innovation in technology for consumer driving experiences, CRM tools for repair shops, and fleet management applications is exploding.”
There is also the problem of a lack of understanding of the aftermarket from technology suppliers.
“Nor do they have the resources to support efforts that will create a competitive environment through standardization, influence on regulatory activities or the creation of a widespread awareness of their products and services,” Gardner said.
The council’s role is to create opportunities that will bring parts suppliers and emerging technology suppliers together to share ideas, collaborate and evaluate possible partnerships.
As well, the group will provide the forum for traditional aftermarket suppliers to address needs around the influx of new technologies that can be difficult or expensive to develop internally.
“We also will address specific industry issues that will impact the aftermarket mobility technology space,” Gardner said.
Initial initiatives for the group include a focus on access to telematics and vehicle data, helping the repair community service advanced driver-assistance systems and technology-enabled vehicles.
“Opportunities to meet and collaborate with emerging technology firms and traditional parts suppliers and to address industry issues is expected to attract both types of companies and those from the investment community to the council,” Gardner said.
There is little doubt change is coming on all fronts. A new report from the Conference Board of Canada, in conjunction with the Automotive Industries Association of Canada, for example, has concluded that connected, autonomous, shared, and electric (CASE) vehicles will have a significant adverse impact on the automotive aftermarket and its workforce. The board estimated that the rollout of CASE vehicles could result in a loss of more than 48,000 jobs in Canada’s automotive aftermarket.
According to the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association, MTC member benefits include:
* Networking among technology firms, parts suppliers, consultants and research firms.
* Access to member-only documents such as white papers, reports, surveys, and webinars, presentations.
* Opportunity to address industry, regulatory and technology challenges such as cybersecurity, data privacy, and access to vehicle data.