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The challenges for the future of the aftermarket

Third edition of eaas

How will the work of car repairers change? And what will be the main changes in the automotive aftermarket in the coming years? The main players in this sector answered these questions at Autopromotec during EAAS 2011

by Vincenzo Conte

100 billion euros: this is the annual volume of business generated by the sale of spare parts in Europe. The figure emerged during the 3rd Automotive Aftermarket Symposium (EAAS 2011), which specifically discussed future opportunities in the European automotive aftermarket.


Many challenges await the automotive aftermarket sector in the medium- and long-term. The work of operators in this sector must certainly change to meet the demands made by the development of the market and the technological evolution of vehicles: in an attempt to understand what the future of the automotive aftermarket holds, Autopromotec 2011 in Bologna was the setting for the third Automotive Aftermarket Symposium (EAAS 2011), an event held under the aegis of the Ministry for Economic Development and the Italian Trade Commission (ICE), with the support of the European Commission and the sector’s national and European associations (Aica, Anfia, Airp, Clepa, Egea, Federpneus, Figiefa).

The aims of the conference
When he opened the conference, Aica chairman Giorgio Cometti defined the aim of the event, to “analyze the present trends and to forecast future developments and business opportunities in automotive aftermarket sector”. “The Symposium” – Cometti continued – “aims to be a reference point for all specialists and for all those who work in this sector”.
The conference began with a picture of the situation: one of the most important facts that emerged was the annual volume of business generated by the sale of spare parts in Europe: 100 billion euros. Josef  Frank, aftermarket director at Clepa, pointed out that “in 2011 the automotive aftermarket sector started off better than expected, mainly because of huge growth in BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China). For the medium- and long-terms trends of the future” – Frank continued – “new legislation on the emission of noxious substances, the market share of electric vehicles and investments in research and development will be very important”.

Electric cars
Michel Vilatte, chairman of Figiefa, completed the aftermarket picture in Europe by  saying that “the aftermarket faces many challenges, starting from the growth in the number of vehicles and continuing with the increase in the average age of vehicles, fewer accidents and mechanical breakdowns and the drop in the average distances travelled. The arrival of new technologies, like electric cars, will change the face of mobility.” An analysis of the state of the electric car market in Europe was given by Jacques De Selliers, managing director of Going-Electric. Making particular reference to the consequences of the forecast increase in electric cars for the aftermarket, he  stated that “electric cars need less maintenance compared to traditional cars. But the forecast boom in electric cars will also mean a request for a different professionalism; aftermarket operators will have to be experts in electronics so training will be required”. “It is”  – De Selliers concluded – “an important challenge that will be an opportunity for growth that operators in this sector cannot miss”.

A common platform for servicing
Egea chairman Leon Andriessen discussed the important subject of vehicle inspections. “Egea’s proposals with regard to PTI directives (periodical technical inspections) at European level include important safety standards for electronic systems, new categories of vehicles to be inspected (including agricultural vehicles), the creation of a common European platform for sharing data, and the standardization, again at European level, of inspection procedures. It is of fundamental importance” – Andriessen concluded – “to guarantee access to technical information (about onboard diagnostics and repairs and maintenance) by all multi-brand operators in the aftermarket sector”.

The new BER
The symposium continued on the subject of legislation and outlined the commercial prospects for the automotive aftermarket sector. At the end of the Symposium, Stephan Simon, Deputy Unit, Competition Directorate General, European Commission, outlined the first balance sheet for the application of the new BER one year after it came into force. “The first indications” - Simon stated – “are that the new legislative regime has caught on well, as shown by the fact that fewer problems have been presented  by consumers and sector operators compared to those that emerged when the preceding regulations went into effect”.

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