Registration is now open for the Virtual AAPEX Experience – the online version of the annual Automotive Aftermarket Parts Exposition, normally held in Las Vegas.
The in-person event had to be cancelled due to concerns over Covid-19, but organizers say they are pulling all the stops to create an arresting virtual experience for automotive service professionals around the world.
In a recent conference call with automotive journalists, Mark Bogdansky, vice president of meeting and events for the Auto Care Association, said technicians and shop owners will be able to sharpen their skills with technical and management training, watch new product and equipment demos, and do business with exhibitors during pre-scheduled one-on-one meetings.
“We are very excited about all these training features that we will be able to show attendee shops, even in a virtual setting,” he said.
He also confirmed that all the companies that had originally signed up to be part of a new virtual Repair Shop HQ – a demonstration area would have been a key attraction at AAPEX this year – have committed to turning it into a virtual destination, with demonstrations and information sessions.
The experience will feature a number of exhibitor-supplied training sessions from companies like Bosch, Hunter, Autel, NAPA, DRiV’s Garage Gurus, and Bolt On Technologies.
Liz Goad, director of meetings and events for the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association, said the virtual experience is now being designed to expand awareness of industry training, services, and information to help the service and repair community.
“We know you can’t replace the power and impact of an in-person trade show and those face-to-face connections. We’re not trying to,” she said. “But this is an excellent opportunity to expand our reach and show everyone what AAPEX has to offer.”
She described it as the best place for technicians and repair-shop owners to see the suppliers that are creating the new products and technologies that are essential to their businesses and the future of the industry.
“We are really excited about what we are putting together here,” she said.
Technical and management classes will be geared toward shop owners, technicians and service advisors, although all aftermarket professionals are welcome to attend.
She said several of the automotive aftermarket industry’s most highly skilled and sought-after trainers will lead the classes, many of which are accredited toward the Automotive Aftermarket Professional (AAP) and Master Automotive Aftermarket Professional (MAAP) designations.
The Virtual AAPEX Experience will also include new product and new packaging showcases, as well as ceremonies to honour recipients of the AAPEX Service and Repair awards and the Women in Auto Care awards.