With another financial year behind us, and a welcome return to normal operating rhythms post-COVID, I am proud to share details of what was another strong year of growth for our Association.
It was also fantastic to see that across nearly all segments, our industry continued to enjoy strong consumer demand and favourable business conditions.
The end of the financial year marked the one-year anniversary of the game changing Motor Vehicle Information Scheme (MVIS).
The law ensures consumers have a choice of repairer and that independent workshops can efficiently access all manufacturer service and repair information. Combined with the operationalisation of the law through the Australian Automotive Service and Repair Authority (AASRA) and their dedicated information portal, the law has been transformative for our industry, and we are proud to see it making a positive difference to technicians and workshops across the country.
Importantly, we’ve made significant progress on our industry’s two key issues, the transition to EVs, and the automotive industry skills shortage, through an advocacy-based approach backed by our own market research and data.
Our EV strategy and advocacy efforts are geared to ensure that the views of our industry are factored into EV policy at government level, that our workshops are equipped to service and repair EV vehicles, and that our workforce is trained to work on these vehicles safely and proficiently.
From a skills perspective, our dedicated research yielded fascinating insights into the apprentice journey and industry remuneration to guide our advocacy and provide learnings to our industry. With skilled migration part of the mix, we have also provided input on the government’s new Migration Strategy.
We were proud to see our work collaborating with industry and government regulators result in the landmark new Gross Combination Mass (GCM) modification code in QLD, a huge win for motorists and aftermarket manufacturers. Leveraging this experience, we are working with other States and Territories with the objective of introducing more practical and clearer GCM regulations across the country.
Autocare 2023 was a massive highlight for our industry, and a highly successful event for visitors and exhibitors. We achieved our goal of attracting a younger demographic, and hosted a diverse mix of technicians, apprentices, and workshop owners from across the country. We are now looking forward to Australia’s largest automotive industry trade show, the Auto Aftermarket Expo and Collision Repair Expo, taking place in Melbourne from 11 – 13 April 2024.
Our face-to-face networking and training activities were back in full swing, with 15 member events hosted across the country. With an average of 117 members in attendance at each event, this demonstrates the value of these events to facilitate two-way communication and learning with our members.
The Association achieved our financial and operational targets. Our membership retention rates remain pleasingly high at 97 percent, and we hit a new milestone of 3,020 member companies, a six percent increase on the previous year.
Over the last three years the AAAA has achieved membership growth of 20 percent, a proud accomplishment, and one that demonstrates the value that members see in our role supporting their business and the wider industry.
From an Auto Innovation Centre (AIC) perspective, valuable new services were launched to better serve the industry. This includes Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) testing for ADR98/00, as well as a full service GVM upgrade program, with significant demand for both of these services.
The AIC’s static product testing has also shown considerable growth, and the purchase of two new EVs will provide opportunities for the industry to leverage these vehicles for training and product development. The volume of business going through the AIC has steadily increased as the centre builds its reputation as a critical supplier of testing services and 3D vehicle scans for aftermarket developers.
Our membership benefits value proposition is stronger than ever. We significantly upgraded our unique car parc data dashboard to provide more granular and targeted information to support business growth, and our new EFTPOS program adds further value to our partner discount offers. Meanwhile, our highly regarded legal and HR Hotlines helped hundreds of members throughout the year with important advice. We are proud of the value of our membership benefits, and continue to review and improve our offering year on year.
Our members are the lifeblood of the Association, and I am humbled by the support and encouragement we receive from you, and our team have your success at the heart of everything we do.
The AAAA is well positioned for the future as we continue to promote and protect our industry. We look forward with optimism to a prosperous future.