'Green' products and technologies are taking center stage

Jan. 1, 2020
Open any major newspaper or magazine, and chances are you?ll find a headline or two about 'green' products, resources and practices. No matter where you look, 'green' is in — and the automotive aftermarket is no exception, a fact that will be h

(Oct. 27, 2007) Open any major newspaper or magazine, and chances are you'll find a headline or two about "green" products, resources and practices. No matter where you look, "green" is in — and the automotive aftermarket is no exception, a fact that will be highlighted during this week's Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week (AAIW), where "green" products and technologies are taking center stage at the biggest industry event of the year.

"You're starting to see a lot about 'green,' no matter where you look," says Arlene Davis, senior director of trade shows for the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA). "Our goal with the aftermarket is to make sure retailers and service providers are aware of the industry's 'green' side so that they can relay it to consumers."

Industry Week features the Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo (AAPEX) that begins tomorrow and runs through Nov. 1 at the Sands Expo Center, and the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show through Nov. 2 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The shows planners have estimated that 2,100 exhibitors have set up approximately 10,000 booths at both shows, and that more than 125,000 attendees are scheduled to attend the week's events.

"AAPEX and AAIW is the world's largest business-to-business event for the global automotive aftermarket industry," says Steve Handschuh, president and chief operating officer of the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA). AASA and its parent association, the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA), co-sponsor AAPEX each year with AAIA. "Our members come to AAPEX for vital face-to-face networking time with potential clients. The show is an important venue for our members to launch new products and service in the aftermarket, reach new markets and promote existing product programs."

The Green Zone
To highlight the show's "green" theme, AAPEX organizers have created the "Green" Zone, a special display area located in the Venetian Ballroom that features products repair shops and retailers can sell to consumers to help make their vehicles more efficient and environmentally friendly. "Green" Zone exhibitors will include suppliers that sell tools and diagnostic equipment used to repair alternative fuel vehicles, suppliers that recycle waste or remanufacture parts and suppliers of environmentally friendly aftermarket parts. Show exhibitors also are featuring their company's green practices, such as environmentally friendly manufacturing processes and training programs to encourage employees to be environmentally responsible.

"The automotive industry is not new to green," Davis says. "We've been doing it for a long time. But we still want to get as many people participating in the 'Green' Zone as possible, so that we can get people thinking about green issues. And if we can make consumers aware of green products and educate them about green practices, we can make them better customers."

The Philadelphia, Pa.-based auto parts remanufacturer, Cardone Industries, U.S.A., is staffing a booth in the show's "Green" Zone, where it will promote its "cleantech" philosophy. According to the company's Web site, "cleantech" is any technology that promotes the more efficient use and re-use of the earth's resources in industrial production while promoting improved operational performance and reducing overall costs, energy consumption, waste and pollution.

The SEMA Show also is devoting a good portion of its floor space to "green" innovations, including hybrid and alternative fuel technologies. Peter MacGillivray, SEMA's vice president of marketing and communications, says that in recent years these technologies have become an increasingly important element of the show, for both automakers unveiling green initiatives and the more traditional exhibitors showcasing green accessories.

"There are anumber of exhibitors scheduled to demonstrate new technologies this week," MacGillivray says. "Volkswagen, for example, will be unveiling some new diesel technologies. But I think all the other OEMs at the show will be addressing alternative fuels in one form or fashion. It's just such a hot topic right now, with consumers expressing a growing interest in this issue."

New Product Showcase
Of course, many traditional products are on display at AAPEX, too. Buyers can see the latest products by visiting the New Product Showcase, which is available both onsite and online at www.AAPEXShow.com. The onsite showcase will be located in the upper lobby of the Sands Expo Center, alongside the New Packaging Showcase. Last year, these two exhibits featured more than 500 products combined.

The 2007 New Product Showcase is divided into eight categories, including:

  • Cool Car — Products that enhance the driving experience, such as car care products, air fresheners, racing products and electrical and interior accessories.
  • Fixing it Right — Tools or equipment that improve the diagnosis or repair process for technicians or DIYers, such as hand and diagnostic tools, battery chargers and belts.
  • Good Sense — Products that help consumers save money by creating more fuel-efficient vehicles. Includes additives, oil absorbers, filters and tire gauges.
  • Individuality — Products that enhance the appearance of a vehicle, including accessories, chemicals, paints, decals, waxes and lights.
  • Making it Better — Improved versions of previously advertised products.
  • Safe & Sound — Products that increase the safety or security of a vehicle’s driver or passengers, such as brakes, security systems and anti-rollover/crash technologies.
  • Smooth Sailing — Products that improve the driving performance of a vehicle.
  • Work Smart — Products that improve labor productivity or shop efficiency, such as shop management software, online solutions, e-cataloging and new training materials and service guides.

A fully searchable list of exhibitors is available on the AAPEX Web site, as is the newly updated Networking Zone, a matchmaking tool that lets buyers and exhibitors connect before the show. Now in its second year, NetZone allows buyers to build a list of exhibitors they want to see, get a customized floor plan of target exhibitors and schedule and confirm appointments with exhibitors. This year, NetZone also has been expanded to include SEMA Show exhibitors and their products.

"NetZone allows buyers to have a more productive and efficient time at the show," says Davis. "I'm hoping we'll see even more benefits for manufacturers and buyers now that they are becoming comfortable with this online feature."

SEMA Show attendees can find this online feature, called My Show Planner, on the SEMA Show Web site at www.semashow.com.

A Celebrity Hot Spot
No trade show is complete without celebrity appearances, and both the AAPEX show and the SEMA Show are no exceptions. This year, AAPEX has planned a new NASCAR Celebrity Day, which will highlight the drivers and crew chiefs attending the show. All celebrity appearances will be identified by maps and signage at the show, and listed on the AAPEX Web site prior to the weeklong event.

Bob Schieffer, anchor of Face the Nation and CBS News chief Washington correspondent, will headline this year's AAIA Town Hall meeting on Wed., Oct. 31 at 7 a.m. in the Palazzo Ballroom of the Venetian Hotel. Dick Morgan, AAIA chair and president of the Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance, Inc., and Kathleen Schmatz, AAIA president and CEO, also will participate in this event.

"Bob has covered the White House for many years and will bring a unique perspective of how current issues affect the aftermarket," Davis adds. "It will be interesting to hear his take on where things are going and how it will affect our industry, especially since we’re a year away from the national election."

At the SEMA Show, attendees can mingle with NHRA drivers, NASCAR celebrities, Formula 1 drivers and other notable celebrities from the motorsport industry. In addition, celebrities from the television series Overhaulin' Studio will be on hand to tape a live episode of the show from the convention center floor, complete with an in studio audience and a behind-the-scenes look at the latest products, tools and technologies used to revamp the test car.

"One of the untold benefits of being at the (SEMA) show is that you can end up in an elevator with one of the giants of the motorsports industry," says MacGillivray. "The show is full of walking legends. It's a great experience."

Visit www.aapexshow.com and www.semashow.com for show planners, a schedule of events, registration information and an updated schedule of the week's events.

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