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Independent Aftermarket Image: Quality Does Matter

The latest AASA/MEC Special Report calls for the automotive aftermarket industry to stand united and encourage more parts education throughout the channel — from manufacturers, to end users, to the vehicle owner.

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RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC – The Marketing Executives Council (MEC) of the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA) has just released the second in its series of reports outlining the danger that low-quality, low-cost automotive aftermarket components pose to the entire independent aftermarket industry’s image and level of trust among consumers. 


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The AASA Marketing Executives Council was formed in 2003 to be a collaborative effort in improving the image of the North American supplier base. Since its inception, its members have studied a growing trend among various channel partners offering lower-cost, often lower-performing aftermarket parts in an attempt to offer more competitive pricing and/or improve profit margins. Problems have surfaced with this practice at all levels within the supply chain. 


The council has issued two publications that highlight these problems. The most recent report, “Independent Aftermarket Image: Quality Does Matter,” raises an industry-wide call to action to stem this tide before irreparable damage is done to the reputation of the entire automotive aftermarket.
 


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The two AASA “Special Reports” are available for free download in the publications section of its Web site, www.aftermarketsuppliers.org:
• "Independent Repair Industry: Focus Group Findings on Buying Influences of Repair Professionals"
• "Independent Aftermarket Image: Quality Does Matter"

You can also print a downloadable copy of the "Independent Aftermarket Image: Quality Does Matter" report by visiting the Tomorrow’s Technician Training Center:  http://www.tomorrowstechnician.com/TrainingCenter/Category/customer_service.aspx

The results of the AASA Marketing Executives Council focus study research outlined in the previously released report, “Independent Repair Industry: Focus Group Findings on Buying Influences of Repair Professionals,” revealed that most repair professionals put quality above price and refuse to put their reputation at risk by installing inferior quality parts.

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However, the shop owners and technicians that take the time and care enough to participate in surveys and focus groups generally tend to be those already adhering to best practices. 
 
“AASA MEC ‘Independent Aftermarket Image’ is the industry call to action,” said Steve Handschuh, president and COO of AASA.

“Education is needed throughout the channel all the way down to the vehicle owner. This educational effort is the responsibility of everyone in the industry regardless of position in the supply chain because it has never been more important to ‘Know Your Parts.’”


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The latest AASA MEC Special Report calls for the automotive aftermarket industry to stand united and encourage:

• Full-Service Suppliers to help Channel Partners Know Your Parts by promoting brand and essential services;

• Channel Partners to help Repair Professionals Know Your Parts by promoting brand name products from trusted suppliers and supporting suppliers’ programs instead of direct importing; 


• Repair Professionals to help Vehicle Owners Know Your Parts by asking questions about parts offered by their suppliers and by installing only premium quality aftermarket parts;

• Vehicle Owners to Know Your Parts by asking what parts are being installed and researching the brand before authorizing repairs.

“In short, everyone throughout the aftermarket distribution channel must Know Your Parts,” said Jack Cameron, vice president of AASA and group executive of the MEC. “Together we can make a difference. We must stop automotive parts from becoming a commodity and the OE dealer from being perceived as the only reliable place for quality maintenance and repair,” he concluded.

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