AAPEX and SEMA: your chance to stay up to date in the face of constant change

Oct. 3, 2013
Many market trends are driving new products in today's aftermarket.

The AAPEX and SEMA shows next month give aftermarket professionals their annual opportunity to better understand how their market is changing, why it’s changing and what tools are available to help them meet new and future market demands. A review of the educational sessions indicates show organizers have a good handle on market trends, new technologies and government mandates that impact the types of repairs aftermarket shops will be doing in both the near and distant future. With vehicle technology changing so rapidly, the education offered at AAPEX and SEMA is critical for professionals who want to be prepared.

The shows are organized so that shop owners and technicians can attend seminars, then visit the trade show floor to find tools and equipment that address the issues discussed in the seminars. Not all seminars are product focused; the rosters include plenty of business management topics in addition to product-related topics. 

Product-oriented topics to consider

The product-oriented topics include hybrid and electric vehicles, gasoline direct injection, diesel fuel systems, start/stop systems, AGM and gel cell batteries, homogeneous charge compression ignition, techniques for wiring diagram analysis of electrical circuits, TPMS troubleshooting, vehicle exhaust systems and telematics. Aftermarket service providers need to know how these technologies work if they want to maintain and repair the vehicles that use them.

Attendees will also have a chance to learn about the government regulations driving much of this technological change.

An AAPEX seminar on California’s chemical management rules on Nov. 6, for instance, will shed light on why carmakers will continue to invest in alternative fuel systems. California has some of the more restrictive rules in the country, and its rules impact other states since many states base rules on California. California’s “green chemistry initiative” is examining the impact of chemicals and is considering changes that could affect the aftermarket.

Meanwhile, starting in 2017, the EPA’s Tier-3 will set new vehicle emissions standards and lower the sulfur content of gasoline, considering the vehicle and its fuel as an integrated system. Hence, many technicians will want to see the new emission detection and analysis tools that have been developed in the last year.

Counterfeit tools to be addressed

On the diagnostic tool front, the National Automotive Service Task Force (NASTF) will present a session on counterfeit scan tools, a hot topic among technicians. Bob Stewart, manager of aftermarket service support for General Motors, was recently charged with coordinating the GM response to this threat and has agreed to share his knowledge with the independent aftermarket in a session titled "Who's Cheating Whom." Stewart will speak at the NASTF general meeting from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Casanova Room 605 at the Sands Expo/Venetian Hotel.

No doubt, this session will give technicians plenty to talk about as they visit the diagnostic equipment exhibits on the show floor.

The “telematics challenge” is back again at this year’s AAPEX show. The “telematics challenge” competition is designed to identify and recognize the best example of technology and software that can be fitted to a vehicle to perform remote diagnostics and other safety and maintenance telematics services. Delphi Product & Service Solutions won the first telematics challenge last year for its OBDII plug-in Connected Car solution.

A telematics session on Nov. 7 at AAPEX will give attendees a chance to learn how telematics will affect the aftermarket. Aftermarket members need to recognize that carmakers are using this technology to direct customers to OEM dealerships for maintenance. Since last year, the AAIA has joined other industry organizations to form an aftermarket telematics task force.

Change is ongoing in the aftermarket. Shops and technicians need to know how and why vehicle technology is changing if they want to be prepared to handle the repairs tomorrow’s vehicles will need.

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