The Auto Service World team is in Las Vegas for Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week, highlighted by AAPEX and the SEMA Show.
It will be a busy week with product announcements from suppliers and aftermarket pros getting firsthand looks are components and tools.
Many training sessions are scheduled for pros of all stripes, from solving vehicle issues, diagnosis strategies, selling strategies for service advisors and management advice for owners. There are two key general sessions to look forward to: Trends Impacting the North American Aftermarket and Aftermarket Outlook 2024, which will provide the latest trends and market research to help the aftermarket prepare for the future.
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The opening night reception was held on the second floor outside the exhibition floor. Hundreds of aftermarket pros mixed and mingled as they networked through the crowd. It was an easy-going welcome before the next-day official opening.
The morning keynote kicked off with Auto Care Association head Bill Hanvey and MEMA Aftermarket Suppliers leader Paul McCarthy pushing for urgent action on right to repair.
Then legendary basketball player and entrepreneur Magic Johnson entertained the crowd, telling them his story of becoming a basketball star, getting wooed by shoe companies and transitioning from off the basketball court to the business world. He fielded questions from the audience, ranging from how to cultivate a winning attitude to bringing a divided society back together. And without hesitation, called Michael Jordan the greatest basketball player to ever live.
The day’s general session featured S&P Global Mobility’s Todd Campau looking at key aftermarket trends. Notably, it appears forecasts that suggested pent-up demand would see new car sales spike may not materialize as lingering economic factors hold back potential buyers — meaning average vehicle age will continue to climb and the aftermarket will be kept busy.
Canada Night welcomed hundreds of Canadian attendees at both shows. It was held at the Venetian, giving a dedicated space for Canadians to gather and network.
MEMA Aftermarket Suppliers held a media and members breakfast where right to repair was a primary focus. Ann Wilson said momentum is on the industry’s side. A key strategy is to make the issue about the customer and how right to repair impedes them — buying a new vehicle is cost-prohibitive for many, so freedom to choose their repairer is critical.
Nathan Shipley from Circana led the day’s general session, looking at how the industry has performed this year. One highlight was that high-income consumer spending is offsetting lower-income consumers deferring maintenance. And, overall, the aftermarket is near the top of the list when it comes to performance, despite economic headwinds. “We should feel pretty good.”
A coalition of TPMS manufacturers —Schrader, Bartec, ATEQ and Continental — held a press conference to put out the word out about the importance of shops updating TPMS tools. They pointed to the potential service issues and delays that can happen when tools aren’t updated.