Virtual conference advises businesses on how to futureproof operations
The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF) has urged the industry to gear up for change in its fittingly titled virtual conference, ‘Aftermarket for the Future’, as it provided a detailed and in-depth look at the upcoming opportunities and challenges the trade is set to face, while advising on how to futureproof their businesses in the years to come.
Held on 2 December, this year’s conference, sponsored once again by Alliance Automotive Group, was headed up by a new face at the IAAF, it’s recently appointed chief executive, Mark Field.
The conference saw Field kick off the proceedings by celebrating the hard work the aftermarket has carried out over the course of what has once again been a difficult but rewarding year for the trade, before introducing the first speaker of the day, Quentin Le Hetet from GIPA.
Analysing key data and trends, Le Hetet provided an informative insight into where the aftermarket is heading in the not-so-distant future, highlighting the increase of the ageing vehicle parc and how this will directly affect the industry.
Next up was arguably one of the most anticipated segments of the conference, with UK automotive expert on Brexit, Professor David Bailey, taking centre stage to discuss the hot topic of Brexit and the effects it has had on the automotive aftermarket since coming into place earlier this year.
Bailey reiterated the decrease in new car sales and the decline of diesels, while also stressing how the slow shift to electric vehicles (EVs) will impact the aftermarket.
Members then heard from Christopher Lowe and Sophia Mir from the DVSA Market Surveillance Unit (MSU), with the pair outlining how the MSU can support the trade with its range of useful work programmes and by providing clarity on rules and legislation affecting the aftermarket.
Ronan McDonagh and Pierre Thibaudat, technical director, governmental affairs and communication manager at FIGIEFA stepped up next to discuss Motor Vehicle Block Exemption Regulation (MVBER) and most importantly, how it affects the automotive aftermarket.
With the current framework expiring in 2023, the duo stressed how 2022 is a crucial year for EU aftermarket legislations, while revealing what’s at stake for the industry and the steps FIGIEFA has taken to reinforce and improve existing legislation.
The conference then featured a short advert break, before introducing its second guest speaker of the day, Martin McCourt, the previously long-standing CEO of Dyson.
McCourt provided members with expert advice on meeting and overcoming adversity and how to turn this into positive opportunities, as well how to retain a business’ identity, while scaling up and continuing to grow.
Field was then welcomed back to outline the successful activity the IAAF has been undertaking to help support its members and the future of the federation in the coming years.
The IAAF has overseen its first hybrid industry briefing session, the launch of UK AFCAR, who will help lobby the government in a post-Brexit era, and the introduction of a new products and services eBulletin, which is distributed to more than 7,500 garages, to name a few, before Field outlined 2022 targets and the IAAF’s future plans.
Field concluded the conference on a positive note, commenting: “It’s been another eventful, yet exciting year for our sector, and it’s been great to see aftermarket businesses do what they have always done best and step up to the challenges and tackle them head on.
“As outlined in the conference, these challenges aren’t likely to disappear any time soon, but with challenges always comes an abundance of opportunities and I am personally looking forward to taking an active role in supporting the industry as we head into this exciting new stage for the automotive aftermarket.”