Auto Care's Bill Hanvey: 'Apathy Is Our Greatest Threat'

Auto Care’s Bill Hanvey: ‘Apathy Is Our Greatest Threat’

Hanvey, president and CEO of the Auto Care Association, discusses key issues affecting the aftermarket in 2022 and beyond.

In our 2022 Distribution Preview in the January issue of AMN/Counterman, aftermarket leaders talk about some of the key issues affecting the industry, and discuss their plans, goals and expectations for the year ahead.

This year, we added several fun “Lightning Round” questions that you won’t want to miss.

Here’s our Q&A with Bill Hanvey, president and CEO of the Auto Care Association.

AMN/CM: What did your organization accomplish in 2021 that you are most proud of? 

BH: Without question, I am most proud of the fact we were able to meet once again at AAPEX in 2021.  The Auto Care team along with our show partners at MEMA put extensive thought into the health and safety protocols that were implemented.  Despite the severely diminished presence of our international attendees, by all accounts the show was successful and I have heard consistent feedback from our guests that they were able to hold productive meetings. We are an industry that values face-to-face interaction and while our 18 months of Teams and Zoom meetings got the job done, there is no substitution for sitting across the table from your customer or supplier.  In addition to the show itself, our communities such as Women In Auto Care, YANG and Import Vehicle all had the opportunity to once again reunite, share stories and find the connection that turns a meeting of diverse people into a true community.

AMN/CM: As advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) and other emerging technologies become more prevalent on new vehicles, it will require the brightest minds to service and repair them. How can we better position this challenge as an opportunity for the parts and service segments of the aftermarket?

BH: There is no question that today’s vehicles are becoming more and more complicated technologically and require different skill sets for maintenance and diagnostics. In order for us to meet the technician shortage and skills gap, we need to continually push our state and federal governments to invest in apprenticeship programs in order to draw and retain talented young women and men into the industry. 

The opportunity for our industry is that the shops that make the investments in training and tools will be successful for many generations to come. Not every shop will be able to invest in their businesses to support full ADAS repair/calibration and we will begin to see more and more aftermarket ADAS “specialists,” just as we saw exhaust specialists 50 years ago, as this technology becomes more and more prevalent. 

Pricing models will change at the shop level as well, with diagnostics accounting for a much larger percentage of the repair bill, which, in turn, will help pay for the technological expertise required of today’s technicians.   

AMN/CM: What do you feel is the greatest threat facing the automotive aftermarket right now? 

This is not going to be a popular answer, but in my opinion APATHY is our greatest threat. Business is good, we are growing despite a pandemic, and parts supply can’t meet demand. What’s not to like? Well, if you take a look at the threats our industry is facing both from a regulatory and technological standpoint, we need to all become more activated in preserving our future. Our industry has fewer than 10 lobbyists collectively advocating for our behalf; the automakers employ more than 270. Despite the fact that we employ more than 4 million people, we have a hard time activating people in our industry to become engaged in the preservation of our future. This would entail hosting a member of Congress at their place of business, donating to ACPAC or something as simple as signing a petition that supports Right to Repair. We also have to acknowledge the advances in technology and prepare our industry for the transition to selling/installing parts with associated code and the growth of the EV. We have always adapted and need to get young women and men trained for the next generation of vehicle repair. 

AMN/CM: What phrase describes your “words to live by?”

RH: Do the right thing.

AMN/CM: What is your best icebreaker at a networking reception?

RH: How’s business? 

AMN/CM: What is your dream car, or favorite vehicle you’ve owned?

RH: Dream car: Ford Mustang Shelby GT500

Favorite car: My first one, 1970 Buick Skylark

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