In our cover story for the January issue of AMN/Counterman, we asked distribution leaders to reflect on the successes and challenges of 2022 and share some of their insights for the industry in 2023.
Here’s our Q&A with Bill Hanvey, president and CEO of the Auto Care Association.
AMN/CM: What did your organization accomplish in 2022 that you are most proud of?
BH: I am most proud of the work our communities have done to engage and develop the industry. AWDA celebrated its 75th anniversary this year and as I noted during their awards ceremony, AWDA is represented on every single Auto Care community and committee and is engaged in every aspect of the industry. Women in Auto Care drew the largest crowd at the AAPEX stage during their awards ceremony, their breakfast had a waitlist, they raised more than $100k for scholarships and the registration for their upcoming Leadership Conference is the highest ever. YANG (Young Auto Care Networking Group) had record-breaking attendance at their reception at AAPEX and donated more than $20k to the Automotive Aftermarket Charitable Foundation in 2022 through various fundraisers, including their Top Golf meetup that was attend by more than 160 young executives nationally. Automotive Content Professionals Network started off our Connect Conference in May with record attendees and continues to set the example for welcoming newcomers to the industry. Auto Care has invested in all our communities through increased staff representation and the creation of a community engagement department to facilitate the collaboration and growth of all Auto Care communities.
AMN/CM: How is the ongoing Right to Repair issue impacting your business?
BH: From an industry perspective we have seen ongoing awareness of Right to Repair in our sector as well as agriculture and consumer electronics. The more exposure this consumer issue receives, we gain increased mindshare of legislators and regulators. The Auto Care Association has been helping to vigorously support our position to implement the will of the voters in the Massachusetts court case, and after numerous delays we are hoping to have a ruling soon. We are also working with CARE to support a ballot initiative in Maine to further expand our state strategy. We are also working with AASA, SEMA and the CAR coalition to reintroduce our REPAIR Act in Congress, which would provide a nationwide/federal solution for the access of telematics data and are encouraged by the momentum around the issue that we see. The European Union, Australia, South Africa and our Canadian colleagues all have Right to Repair initiatives taking place and we are working hand-in-hand with them to provide support and guidance as needed. We are also working with other aftermarket associations around the globe to support their Right to Repair initiatives and are in the process of developing a global Right to Repair positioning statement that unifies our industry in our approach.
AMN/CM: What do you feel is the greatest threat facing the automotive aftermarket right now?
BH: The biggest threat is two-fold: meeting the challenges of today’s technology on the vehicle and finding young men and women to repair and maintain those vehicles. Our industry has always adapted to technology. However, the financial investment required by a shop to keep up with that technology has become increasingly difficult. ADAS calibration, for example, requires more than $100k in equipment, not to mention the amount of space required to conduct those calibrations. Attracting talent to our service bays requires an investment on all our parts by providing scholarships and apprenticeships. I firmly believe that a national apprentice program is long overdue, and such a program will help reduce student-loan debt while providing good-paying jobs. Our good friends and members at Dynamic Automotive in Frederick, Maryland, are a great example of a progressive shop working with state and local governments to provide meaningful apprenticeship programs that groom qualified technicians for the next generation of technology.