Manufacturers, distributors, and installers come together for CAWA-ASCCA summit
Newport Beach, Calif.—Manufacturers, distributors, and installers came together, Feb. 8-9, at the CAWA-ASCCA 2013 Automotive Aftermarket Industry Summit at the Fairmont Hotel in Newport Beach.
The gathering provided a forum for open dialog between two associations representing the entire supply chain. Topics included what determines what parts distributors have on their shelves, impact of ‘Right to Repair’ legislation, effectiveness of membership-driven legislative pressure, brake pad compliance and awareness, and how to address the increased demand for skilled technicians, parts advisors, service writers, and product engineers.
CAWA Board Chair and Riebes Auto Parts Vice President of Operations Ed Jimenez Sr., of Yuba City, and ASCCA President and Fisk Automotive Owner Jack Crawley, of Fullerton, hosted the discussions. They provided opening remarks welcoming guests with the hope of continued meetings, discussions, and positive results such as the defeat of SB750 in 2012.
ASCCA representative and German Motors Owner Dennis Montalbano, of Fresno, and CAWA representative and independent NAPA Owner Scott Nassif, of the Inland Empire, led the discussion about how decisions are made concerning what parts a distributor carries.
Warehouse representatives said price, demographics, quality, and warranty all play a role. Lower-income areas are concerned primarily with price. Distributors servicing those areas will trend toward economy lines, where those serving a more affluent area will see more name brands on the shelf. “We want to have what you want to buy,” said CAWA Past President Steve Sharp, of WORLDPAC. “It’s a hard target to hit in different areas.”
Installers said warranties and product quality sometimes had no correlation. “When customers have to choose between a generic brand with a two-year warranty and a name brand with a one-year warranty, they go with the generic part almost every time,” Montalbano said. “The public equates the warranty length with product quality. The difference in warranties can affect our use of brand name parts.”
Aaron Lowe, vice president of government affairs for the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA), reported on the developments since Massachusetts passed its “Right to Repair” legislation, saying automakers and the industry have agreed on a common platform for diagnostic and technical bulletins. The use of ‘cloud’ technology will provide a common portal for all manufacturers, and agreements have been made with all but GM, Chrysler, and BMW, Lowe said. State-by-state legislation should not be necessary and an agreement will be in place, he added.