More Business? Bring It On

By Mark Phillips

Mark Phillips

The aftermarket could begin to experience an unprecedented windfall in the next few months. What’s happening? Thousands of new car dealerships — at least 3,000 of them — are slated or are expected to close. The financially strapped car manufacturers are looking to thin the ranks of the car dealerships because during these economically challenging times, there are simply too many dealers. Some would argue even during the good times, there were too many dealers.

The upshot is there’s going to be a slew of repair work that is going to be redirected somewhere else. There’s anticipation that the slack cannot be taken up by the remaining car dealers because there aren’t enough bays to handle all the repairs. It’s expected, you now know, to flow to the aftermarket.

So, get ready.

Now is the time to self-promote like never before.

If you’re employed at a jobber or retail store or WD, now is the time to let everyone know about your expertise. If you’re a manager, come up with a plan and get talking to your staff. Now is the time to let your independent shop customers know that you’re going to be there for them when the expected new work comes in the door. Now is the time to be extra helpful to those DIYers coming into your stores. Use this time as an opportunity to foster a lasting relationship so that when someone needs a part, they think of your business.

This month’s issue features our annual look at the program groups. In it, several program group presidents discuss their strategies in securing the expected new business.  From talking to many people inside and outside the automotive aftermarket, the business is certainly on its way.

The question is, will you be ready?


Once again, we officially kick off our call for entries for the Counter Professional of the Year award, sponsored by Wix, Affinia and Raybestos. We now accept entries online year-round at, but from now until November, you’ll see a page published in the magazine asking for submissions. Counter Professional of the Year is open to ASE-certified counter professionals, WD employees or independent jobbers.

The award is about recognizing the best and brightest in the industry today. You can either enter yourself or someone you believe is worthy of the recognition. Besides being recognized by your peers during a special ceremony at the Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo (AAPEX) in Las Vegas, Nev., in early November, the recipient will be featured on the cover of the December issue of Counterman magazine.

And, it gets better. Babcox Publications, the publisher of Counterman magazine, will fly the CPOTY recipient and a guest to Las Vegas for AAPEX. The flight, three nights at a hotel and meals are on us. It’s our way of thanking the recipient for the hard work they’ve put into making this industry truly great. You can enter at


I have to put in a plug for the 2009-10 class of Leadership 2.0 at the University of the Aftermarket at Northwood University. Leadership 2.0 is designed for any mid-level professional working in any segment of the automotive aftermarket. I was fortunate enough to be a member of the 2008-09 class and it was easily one of the most rewarding experiences of my professional career.

You spend one week at Northwood’s Midland, Mich., campus in 2009, and another week at the school’s West Palm Beach campus in 2010. What’s more, you get 6.0 continuing education units (CEUs) to be applied toward your AAP (Automotive Aftermarket Professional) and/or MAAP (Master Automotive Aftermarket Professional) certificates.

Bottom line: It’s more than worth your time and you’ll reap rewards from it that you never thought possible. For more information, go to You’ll be glad you did.

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