government affairs blog
AAPEX 2014 is almost upon us, and while there is always a focus on what is happening on the trade show floor, more and more attendees are excited about the educational sessions that will be occurring during the show. These sessions tend to reflect the issues that are hot on the minds of the industry, which helps explain why many of this year’s seminars will focus on the impact of telematics on the auto care industry. Just a few years ago, the issue barely warranted notice at the show, but now the ability of vehicles to communicate with car owners, shops and others in the distribution chain is front and center on the minds of auto care industry leaders.
Of course, a central element of this discussion is who will control the data being transmitted from a vehicle, the car owner or the vehicle manufacturer. As currently configured, the data coming off a car, which includes a lot of diagnostic, repair and personal information of the car owner, goes only to the manufacturers. Changing this scenario to providing car owner control is a major goal of the Auto Care Association.
However, this is a very complex issue with few clear answers. For example, if access to the systems was required by legislation, how would that actually occur? How would the independent auto care industry use the information being transmitted by those vehicles if our industry had access to the data being sent by it? What is the business model? Should car owners be charged or should the shop pay the cost of the system based on the benefits of obtaining access to the car owner’s data?
While there is a lot to get your arms around, fortunately, AAPEX will give you the opportunity to learn more about the issue of telematics and to begin the thought process of how it would apply to your business. There are three interesting sessions that will take place during the show, listed below, that cover the issue from different vantage points. Hopefully, you find time to get to one or more of these sessions which will take place in Marco Polo Rooms 704-705 at The Venetian. Additional information on all of the educational sessions can be found on the AAPEX website athttp://www.aapexshow.com/2014/public/enter.aspx.
The Telematics Business Model for WarehouseDistributors
Tuesday, November 4, 3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Speaker: Jim Dykstra, Aftermarket Telematics Technologies
The independent auto care industry has learned how telematics technology has the potential to make it increasingly difficult to compete with OEs for parts sales and service and repair work. Many warehouse distributors are currently researching how they can take advantage of telematics to direct vehicle owners to their repair shop customers, but often are not sure what type of business model will work best. This session outlines what WDs need to consider when developing a telematics business model. This session is not about telematics technology, but instead the use of this technology to enhance traditional sales.
AftermarketTelematics and the Connected Car
Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2 p.m. - 3 p.m.
Speakers: Derek Kaufman, C3 Network,Inc.; Aaron Lowe, Auto Care Association
Telematics and the connected car are among the most challenging advances in vehicle technology. If vehicle manufacturers have the ability to communicate with their product wirelessly and perform remote diagnostics, how will that impact the independent auto care and service industry? The Aftermarket Telematics Task Force was formed to represent a unified industry voice in this issue and develop an open technical solution that offers consumers the right to choose where information from their vehicle is sent. Representatives of the Task Force will brief the industry on progress and recent activity.
Diagnosing the Connected Vehicle
Thursday, Nov. 6, 7:30 a.m. - 8:30 a.m.
Speaker: Ben Johnson, Mitchell1
This presentation describes the changing role of the diagnostician and how to most effectively utilize all information resources available to technicians for efficient and accurate diagnosis of the vehicle. The session will focus on analytic and diagnostic strategies when incorporating OE information as well as vehicle data and industry experience. The diagnostic process changes from the point of vehicle arrival practiced today to the point of vehicle symptom detection using telematics will be discussed and how telematics will enable the technician to work more effectively.
Participating in trade shows is among the most effective ways for companies to enter into new international markets or expand their visibility in existing markets. Trade shows offer the opportunity to meet potential foreign buyers, test foreign market interest, gather valuable market intelligence and evaluate the competition.
In response to member feedback, AAIA’s programs and activities during AAPEX 2013 reflected a new, more focused international trade promotion program aimed at helping our members compete more effectively in the global market place. AAPEX promises participants the opportunity to grow their business, and what better way to do that than to connect with the 95% of consumers that live outside U.S. borders? In 2013 AAIA worked harder than ever to make AAPEX a platform for opening the world to AAIA members.
Bringing the World to Your Booth. More than 16,000 international buyers attended AAPEX 2013. Additionally, more than 450 buyers visited AAPEX as members of 12 international buying delegations. The U.S. Commercial Service (USCS), the export promotion arm of the U.S. Department of Commerce, led nine of the 12 delegations with buyers from Bulgaria, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nigeria, Spain and Turkmenistan.
AAIA has been working closely with the USCS’s global automotive team to promote the export of automotive goods and services from the United States, and to help AAIA members find qualified international partners. Prior to AAPEX, AAIA staff hosted a webinar for USCS automotive specialists to help them better understand the car care industry and how to use AAIA’s vast member network to identify export-ready companies. During AAPEX, AAIA staff hosted several meetings with USCS leaders that generated many ideas for mutual cooperation.
Member Engagement. AAIA’s international segment, the Auto International Association (AIA), has been working closely with AAIA staff to better define the association’s international goals and priorities. During AAPEX 2013, AIA hosted two focus groups conducted by a third party facilitator. One session was for the member companies and the other session was for international associations. The member session was aimed at understanding members’ international trade challenges and what role AAIA can play in helping overcome those challenges. The association session was aimed at identifying opportunities for cooperation with AAIA’s international partners. The sessions were well-received and will help AAIA better respond to member’s international needs.
International Partner Engagement. AAIA staff met individually with several international groups to explore opportunities for cooperation. The groups included:
- Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA)
- Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India (ACMA)
- ProExport Colombia
- Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association (AAAA)
- Italian Trade Commission (ITC)
- Latin Auto Parts Expo
- Brazilian Auto Parts Manufacturers Association (Sindipecas)
- Russian Trade Representation
Foreign Market Intelligence. AIA organized three “Global Market Update” sessions highlighting export opportunities for AAIA members in Colombia, India and Australia. AIA plans on offering similar webinars throughout the year. AIA also presented an education session, in partnership with the USCS, which gave an overview of U.S. government export assistance programs and highlighted key export opportunities for U.S. auto parts manufacturers.
Advocacy. Two high-ranking Commerce officials attended the show and met with AAIA staff and some members to discuss AAIA’s international trade concerns. The officials were:
- Daniel Green, Director of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Market Access and Compliance (MAC) Office at the Embassy of the United States in Beijing, China
- Chandra Brown, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing, U.S. Department of Commerce
AAIA is committed to making AAPEX a key tool for its members to identify and achieve their international goals. For more information on AAIA’s international programs and resources, please contact Andres Castrillon at email@example.com.
AAPEX is just over a week away and the excitement is building. I know everyone is busy during the show, but I would like to highlight some of the seminars, taking place as part of the AAPEX Learning Forum, that will address timely regulatory issues that could impact your company’s bottom line. These seminars include:
- The Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as ObamaCare will be discussed at Tuesday, November 5 seminar entitled “Confused About Healthcare Reform? What Employers Need to Know”. At this seminar, Speaker Kelly Davis, employee benefit specialist at CliftonLarsonAllen, will provide an overview of the law and focus on key issues that will impact companies and their employees. The session also will cover what employers need to do to comply with the new law. This session begins at 7:30am.
- On Wednesday, November 6, both AAIA and the Automotive Aftermarket Supply Association will sponsor a seminar on California’s Chemical Management Rules. Anyone who sells products in the State of California should be interested in actions that are taking place there to manage how toxic substances are managed. The seminar will feature former Director of the California Department of Toxic Substance Control, Maureen Gorsen, who will discuss newly finalized rules to implement the State’s Green Chemistry Initiative. This initiative could eventually force many companies to reformulate their products as the State seeks to eliminate the use of substances that are considered a threat to human health. The seminar also will include guidance from California legal experts on issues related to Prop 65, a law requiring companies to disclose the use of chemicals that are harmful to human health. The seminar begins at 11am.
- Thursday, November 7 will feature a seminar entitled “Wallet Flushing”, a term used by regulators to categorize automotive services or products that provide little or no benefit to the consumer and is sold without disclosing the facts. In this session, the Motorist Assurance Program provides information and guidance on how repair shops can better communicate with their customers about proper fluid exchange intervals and suggested maintenance services for their vehicles. Specifically, this seminar will attempt to help shops and companies that market these products to learn how to inspect and communicate in a manner that helps consumers understand and appreciate the benefits of your service offerings. This session begins at 7:30 am.
There is no fee to attend the seminars and they will all take place at the Venetian Hotel, Marco Polo Rooms 701-707. For additional information on all education offerings during AAPEX, go to:http://www.aapexshow.com/2013/public/Content.aspx?ID=2931&sortMenu=106001
With November quickly approaching, many of you are busy making final arrangements for AAPEX. In addition to finalizing booth details, travel itineraries and meeting times, you should also consider how you will protect your intellectual property (IP) during AAPEX.
IP protection is critical to the auto care industry and is therefore an important part of AAPEX itself. The organizers of AAPEX have a zero tolerance policy toward IP violations and will work with exhibitors to resolve legitimate claims of IP infringement. To provide a mechanism for exhibitors to lodge complaints about potential infringement of an exhibitor’s IP by another exhibitor at AAPEX, AAIA and its partners provide IP attorneys during the show. IP counsel will be available in the AAPEX IP Office in the Sands Expo Center Room 401 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday, Nov. 4 – Thursday, Nov. 7 to receive and investigate complaints of IP infringement. AAPEX welcomes any exhibitor concerned about potential infringement to make use of this exhibitor service.
The key to adequately protecting your IP during the show is being able to support a complaint with adequate documentation explaining the ownership of the disputed or applicable rights. Thus, it is important to plan to bring copies or have access to registrations for IP, such as patents and trademarks, as well as any relevant marketing materials, contracts and other supporting documentation.
Upon receiving a complaint, IP counsel will conduct an initial review to determine whether a complaint is adequately documented and demonstrates a violation of the AAPEX IP Policy. When necessary, IP counsel may also conduct an investigation into the specific facts or circumstances to whatever extent is necessary in order to clarify, expand or corroborate the information provided by the complainant. This may include review of an exhibitor’s display and products, as well as documentation of the evidence through the taking of photographs, as well as contacting other individuals who may have knowledge of the facts and circumstances surrounding the complaint.
In circumstances where the evidence presented by the complaining party indicates a violation of the IP Policy or otherwise may be disruptive to the AAPEX show, IP counsel, in coordination with AAPEX management, may order the respondent exhibitor to remove products during the pendency of the investigation. Violating exhibitors face potentially severe consequences, which may include closing an exhibitor’s booth and a ban from future AAPEX shows, as well as the loss of seniority privileges.
AAIA urges all AAPEX exhibitors to develop year-round protection and enforcement programs for their IP and to utilize the IP Review Process to protect their intellectual property during AAPEX. AAIA also recommends that exhibitors consult with an attorney experienced in the field of preserving and protecting IP. More information on the AAPEX IP Policy is available here: http://www.aapexshow.com/2013/public/Content.aspx?ID=3089&sortMenu=103007.