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 Larry Pavey, CEO of the Automotive Parts Services Group (The Group).
AMN/CM: What are your thoughts about the business environment for the automotive aftermarket in 2023?
LP: We believe that most market drivers will be very positive for the aftermarket in 2023 and expect that the overall business environment will also be very positive. Fuel prices should remain stable, allowing miles traveled to continue to grow. We see the number of vehicles on the road between six and 12 years old at the highest level in years. The overall fleet age is the highest in history, providing tremendous repair opportunities as new-car sales continue to lag and used-car values remain high. More vehicles, driving more miles in their prime repair and maintenance age, with fewer warranties, will provide a strong market environment in the coming year.
AMN/CM: Has your business been impacted by labor and supply chain issues this past year? If so, how did you address this?
LP: Supply chain issues continued to be a challenge in the past year, although we saw improvement as the year went on. We worked closely with our supplier partners to provide data and information and alter processes where possible. We recognize that to achieve improvement requires collaboration, and our focus was to find ways together to support strong sales increases while dealing with supply disruptions. We are thankful for our supplier partners and the help and support they provided, and we look forward to a return to more “normal” challenges in the future.
AMN/CM: How is the ongoing Right to Repair issue impacting your business?
LP: As the industry continues to go through transition, the need for vehicle repair and outstanding customer service not only affects our industry but impacts most businesses and individuals as well. Restrictions on where and who can repair vehicles will impair safety and air quality and cause consumers to postpone or avoid needed maintenance and repair. Higher costs for transportation impact budgets, reducing funds available for food, shelter, education and other basic needs. Restricting the Right to Repair will also eliminate jobs and lessen the ability for others to work. The Right to Repair issue is about so much more than the impact on our organization and other businesses in our industry. It is about the effects on the mobility of our entire society and all of those who provide or rely on transportation for their livelihoods.