AAPEX Briefing: Aftermarket Poised to Weather Uncertain Times
Nov. 3, 2022—The next couple years may prove to be a crucial window for implementing Right to Repair and related legislation on the federal level, aftermarket representatives said during a media briefing at AAPEX.
The briefing, which kicked off day two of AAPEX, included Ann Wilson, SVP of legislative affairs for the Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA).
Wilson said that “2023 and 2024 I believe are our years to get this done.” Proposed legislation includes the Save Money on Auto Repair Transportation (SMART) Act and the Right to Equitable and Professional Auto Industry Repair (REPAIR) Act. Bills like this would need to be reintroduced in the new Congress after the 2022 elections.
Wilson added that 27 states are considering some kind of Right to Repair legislation, though many are related to sectors like electronics and farm equipment. But Wilson says the organization is happy about the growing sentiment toward consumer repair choice.
“What we see is a growing awareness of elected officials…that this is an important consumer issue,” she said.
Paul McCarthy, president and CEO of the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA), said that the organization will release a report in 2023 that examines the impact and growth of ADAS, which McCarthy called the “revolution that’s happening right now.”
Through a combination of government mandates of ADAS features and improved technology, ADAS prevalence in vehicles is set to grow at a rapid pace.
“ADAS parts will be over a billion-dollar market between repair and collision and mechanical by 2035,” he said.
McCarthy said that the aftermarket will have challenges to meet the tooling and training requirements needed to work on those components. But it also presents a big opportunity for repairers.
McCarthy also offered comments on the prospects of the automotive aftermarket amid economic uncertainty on a global level. He said that his organization is confident in the resilience of the aftermarket during tough times.
“What we’ve seen in recessions, the aftermarket has consistently been one of the best segments to be in,” he said.
McCarthy pointed to consumer patterns during economic downturns of the past. Vehicle owners are more likely to hold onto used vehicles and take them in for repairs and maintenance to maximize their longevity.
He added that the past decade has been a time of unprecedented growth for the aftermarket. Thus, shops are in a good position for the times.
“We’re working from a much higher floor than what we’ve had before,” McCarthy said. “And moreover, we believe that we are leaving the pandemic with consumer settling patterns and lifestyles that are more dependent on the vehicle than ever before.”