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 JC Washbish, vice president of sales and marketing for the Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance.
AMN/CM: What did your organization accomplish in 2022 that you are most proud of?
JW: For the third time, Auto Value and Bumper to Bumper held their national convention in Las Vegas during the AAPEX show. The 2022 Aftermarket Jackpot: High Stakes edition was the grandest convention yet! With over 2,000 industry professionals representing the entire distribution channel, the entire event was a success.
A major highlight of Jackpot was the Auto Value and Bumper to Bumper Technician of the Year program. The program began in Dearborn, Michigan, in July when the Alliance and our friends from DRiV and Garage Gurus hosted 11 Technician Finalists for the Annual Tech of the Year finalist event. Each finalist advanced to Las Vegas where the winner, Ross Colket, was revealed on stage amid much pomp and circumstance.
The Alliance would like to thank our wonderful channel partners who supported Jackpot. The focus of the convention was the AAPEX show and visiting channel partner booths. The Alliance channel partners were ready to engage and interact with the Jackpot attendees. From world-class training efforts to celebrity meet-and-greets, to unbelievable giveaways and prizes, the two full days on the AAPEX show floor were fast-paced and action-packed.
AMN/CM: How is the ongoing Right to Repair issue impacting your business?
JW: The Right to Repair issue is here, right now, in our faces. We need to engage our elected officials and bring awareness to the needs of all motorists. We deserve the right to accessible, equitable and professional motor vehicle repairs.
Our friends at the Auto Care Association are doing much of the heavy lifting on this issue. They have made it easy for us, as constituents, to influence Washington. We urge everyone to take a moment and let your position be known by visiting https://www.autocareadvocacy.org/take-action-tell-congress-support-right-to-repair/ today and demand that Congress take action!
AMN/CM: What do you feel is the greatest opportunity facing the automotive aftermarket right now?
JW: The consolidation of the traditional aftermarket is the greatest opportunity for our industry right now. Traditional shop owners, national service chains, DIYers and suppliers all will benefit from the opportunity to work with a united traditional aftermarket.
The Alliance and Federated Auto Parts Inc. announced a strategic collaboration to combine certain activities and resources to reduce costs and improve service and efficiency to their respective members. This joint venture, The Federated Alliance, became effective on Jan. 1, 2023.
The collaboration provides a framework for sharing benefits and costs in several administrative and support areas and includes shared ownership in The Automotive Parts Services Group.
This collaboration will also allow the Alliance to partner with Federated and APSG in a number of important areas, providing enhanced value and opportunities for all Alliance shareholders while maintaining unique marketing identities and focusing on local markets and the needs of professional service providers. The Alliance continues to be dedicated to shareholder member success. This joint venture will support those initiatives by reducing costs and strengthening the Alliance’s ability to focus on customers and their needs. 2023 will prove to be an exciting and successful year.