Delivering Success Through Adversity

Throughout another challenging year, the AAAA Board has worked hard to deliver member support and landmark achievements.

At our virtual AGM in October, we not only presented the Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association Annual Report for 2020/21, but also announced the make-up of our Board for 2022.

From supporting our members through the pandemic, to wins in mandatory data sharing, ongoing advocacy and research work, the continuing development of the Auto Innovation Centre (AIC) in Melbourne, the opening of the Adelaide AIC, and all of the excitement around the upcoming Expo – our Board Members have overseen it all and each played their own important part in driving our industry forward despite the obstacles that have been thrown at us.

In 2022, Darren Robinson (Hella Australia Managing Director) and Don Cormack (Adrad Chief Executive Officer) will be staying on, while Mike Carnemolla (313 Automotive Pty Ltd) and Peter Rogers (Repco Authorised Service National Manager) will join the Board. For more about these appointments, please see page 9 of this magazine. I also want to thank and acknowledge Cody Harrison and Michael Werle for their nominations and thank retiring Directors Steve Lewis, John Benson and Sean Buckley for their outstanding service.

The AAAA is the only independent national body representing and supporting the automotive aftermarket industry, with more than 2,600 automotive aftermarket companies relying on the AAAA for direct support, business services and resources. Made up of key stalwarts of our industry who are in tune with the struggles and opportunities of our membership base, I am proud to say our Board has been uniquely positioned to have their collective finger on the pulse of the wide array of issues that matter to our members, ensuring we could work together to ensure these businesses not only survived, but thrived during the recent times.

Firstly, we have continued as the industry’s leading source of timely, accurate and relevant COVID-19 information. Coupled with our Legal and HR hotlines, which have maintained an extremely high level of usage, and our direct support, members have been able to navigate these difficult times knowing we have their back.

The Mandatory Data Sharing fight has been another core focus and without a doubt, the most momentous achievement over the last year and possibly in the AAAA’s history was watching the Motor Vehicle Service and Repair Information Sharing Scheme pass the House of Representatives and the Senate, officially becoming law.

While the subjects of mandatory data sharing and the pandemic have gotten plenty of attention, so too have the areas of automotive labour and skills shortages, Gross Vehicle Mass regulations, business licencing improvements, greater consumer awareness of warranty rights plus continued efforts campaigning to the ACCC against misleading logbooks and 10-year conditional warranty offerings, to name just a few.

Action has been taken in all of these areas to move our industry forward, with just one example being the introduction of the industry-first ‘4WD Accessories Technician Course’ which was championed by our very own 4WD Industry Council, alongside the Kangan Institute.

As we all know, knowledge is power, and so our continually evolving industry-leading market research offering published the AAAA 4WD Industry Research Report alongside our quarterly industry insight dashboards, specific research reports on manufacturing, consumers, telematics, workshops, EVs, customised data solutions, and much more. And off the back of our research, we continued to update our highly regarded Car Parc Data Tool and free to industry Workshop Health Check.

At the same time, our Auto Innovation Centre (AIC) continues to support members and the wider industry in a practical sense, the Melbourne headquarters are growing from strength to strength and the launch of the Adelaide facility marks another important milestone, while we are working hard in preparation for welcoming the industry back together in April 2022 for the Australian Auto Aftermarket Expo, co-located with the Collison Repair Expo.

All of this and more has been made possible thanks to the passion, dedication and hard work of our Board Members, and together with our Chairman, Mark Pedder, I would like to thank them for their insight and unwavering contributions to our fantastic industry through these challenging times.

Of course, all of these achievements over the last year wouldn’t have been possible without the support, feedback and encouragement of our valued members. Our members are the driving force of motivation behind our ability to serve, protect and promote the interests of the industry, so, thank you.

The aftermarket industry has already proven its resilience time and time again throughout the pandemic. With light at the end of the tunnel in Australia’s pandemic crisis, we firmly believe this period of adversity will provide the catalyst to a bright future.

The AAAA looks forward to being part of this new chapter right alongside you.

This article was originally published in the November Australian Automotive Aftermarket Magazine.

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