In our 2019 Midyear Distribution Update in the June issue of Counterman, aftermarket leaders reflect on their first-half successes and look ahead to second-half opportunities.
Here’s our Q&A with J.C. Washbish, vice president of marketing for the Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance:
CM: We’re at the halfway point of 2019. Could you reflect on the Alliance’s accomplishments and highlights from the first half of the year?
JW: The Alliance began the year by welcoming two new shareholders to the group: Distribuidora De Autopartes Pescador S.A. (DAPESA) and IWI Motor Parts. DAPESA, which joined the Alliance from Veracruz, Mexico, on Jan. 1, serves more than 15,000 auto parts stores across Mexico. IWI, based in Dubuque, Iowa, joined the Alliance effective April 1 as a Bumper to Bumper member operating in Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois.
In May, we hosted our largest-scale sweepstakes trip to date when 250 guests joined us in Orlando, Florida, for a completely magical “Orlando Experience.” They enjoyed lavish meals, theme parks, pool days and much more.
We also saw record participation – more than 220,000 entries – in our “Ultimate Outdoor Adventure” sweepstakes, which ran in March and April. Fifty grand-prize winners won a trip to Big Cedar Lodge in Branson, Missouri, this October, where they can expect a perfect combination of rustic beauty and outdoor exploration. Another 150 technicians won $25,000 in prize money.
Finally, Auto Value and Bumper to Bumper announced 13 Technician of the Year finalists. To qualify, technicians needed 10 channel-partner trainings, six hours of live training, and ASE certification. They will travel to Detroit this summer for a 90-minute custom ASE test to determine the Technician of the Year winner, and will enjoy racing with our friends at DRiV, camaraderie and a celebratory banquet to crown the champion.
CM: What kinds of challenges and opportunities are you seeing in aftermarket distribution this year?
JW: This year, we’re seeing great growth opportunities as we expand the footprint of our Certified Service Center (CSC) locations. We are north of 3,700 [locations] and quickly growing. Our CSC tools provide the independent repair facilities the tools they need to compete in their market, such as SEO, reputation management, group health insurance and more.
MyPlace4Parts continues to perform and is having a banner year. This tool enables technicians to do their job right, spending less time clicking and more time fixing.
The biggest threats right now are political: the consumer’s right to their vehicle’s data and the technician’s right to repair. We’re rallying our people to take a stand by encouraging them to support the Auto Care Political Action Committee, host hometown summits, attend the Auto Care Association Legislative Summit and join us during our 2021 Alliance Takes the Hill Convention in Washington, D.C.
CM: What’s on the Alliance’s agenda for the second half of the year?
JW: We’ve kicked off our summer promotion, the “Perfect Stop Powersports Giveaway.” Six lucky technicians will win their own powersports vehicle, and another 150 will receive cash prizes. Technicians can enter that promotion through June and July by purchasing any Perfect Stop products.
In September, we’ll be hosting 100 sales and marketing professionals from our warehouse distributors in San Antonio for a three-day Sales & Marketing Forum. Finally, we’re thrilled to announce that technicians can win an unforgettable trip to our “Big Race Weekend” in Indianapolis in 2020 and 500 gift cards totaling more than $75,000 in cash prizes through our promotion this fall. That’s right – in addition to taking 30 guests to one of the biggest racing events in the country, we’re giving away a gift card for every single mile those racers drive.