Ciao from Bologna

While attending Autopromotec in Bologna, Italy this week, I’m reminded once again that there seem to be more similarities between our respective aftermarket industries, than stark differences. Talking at dinner with our European counterpart aftermarket association executives from Denmark, Norway, the UK, Italy, France, Germany and Poland, we shared our concerns about the marketplace and our key initiatives on behalf of our member companies. 

Fighting for repair information from the car companies was at the top of the list. They hated Cash for Clunkers that removed two million vehicles from the car parc. Education and training of technicians is important, especially for the Europeans, who expect electric vehicles to become a reality before they take hold in the U.S. Both Germany and Poland have begun consumer education programs inspired by our Car Care Council’s “Be Car Care Aware” campaign. Just a few examples. 

The dinner I reference was a five-course, five-hour event, wrapping up around midnight with more than 100 guests at a historical eatery in central Bologna. This culminated a day and half of travel with a couple of hours of sleep. This morning was the European Automotive Aftermarket Symposium hosted by FIGIEFA, which addressed aftermarket strategies, opportunities of electric vehicles and telematics, challenges for garage equipment manufacturers and the nature of new Right to Repair guidelines issued by the European Commission.

Wow!  We truly are a global aftermarket industry, interconnected and interdependent in more ways than most folks imagine.

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