The automotive aftermarket is facing disruptions that threaten to hamstring the $21.6 billion industry.
That is one of the key messages the Automotive Industries Association (AIA) of Canada has for the federal parties competing to lead the nation.
In advance of the Oct. 21 election, AIA has released an industry primer, outlining some of the biggest challenges faced by aftermarket auto part manufacturers, distributors, and installers.
At the top of the list is open access to repair information, telematic vehicle data, security protocols, tools, and training.
“Aftermarket businesses across Canada may not be able to participate in the digitalization of the automotive industry,” the AIA letter states. “This is not because they are not competitive or unable to ‘go digital,’ but because vehicle manufacturers have positioned themselves as gatekeepers of data generated by the connected vehicle.”
It reminds the candidates that the automotive aftermarket is a powerhouse, contributing to the national economy and employing 389,900 Canadians.
“The automotive aftermarket is downstream to vehicle manufacturing; the introduction of change upstream, means change downstream,” it explains. “As vehicles are outfitted with digital communication platforms that support the transmission of vehicle data out of the vehicle (including information about the state of the vehicle) and transmission of data into the vehicle (including over-the-air updates), the entire automotive supply chain must have instant and direct access to these communication platforms.”
Other workforce disruptions include a growing technician shortage, it says, fueled by increasing retirement rates and a general challenge attracting individuals to the skilled trades.