AAPEX 2019 served as the world’s gathering place for automotive aftermarket professionals to conduct business, see new-product launches, participate in advanced training and learn about the hottest trends and vehicle technology.
With the industry experiencing significant growth, opportunities and challenges, the trade show featured hands-on demos and new product and technology displays from 2,545 exhibiting companies representing 43 countries and occupying 5,433 booths. A designated Technology of Tomorrow section provided a glimpse of technology still in the prototype phase, while an Automotive Technology section spotlighted mobility technology, advances in recycling, evolving technologies in repair, advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS), digital inspections and integrated management systems.
Hundreds of new products made their debut at AAPEX on the show floor and in the New Product Showcase, while the most innovative packaging designs were spotlighted in the New Packaging Showcase.
George W. Bush, 43rd president of the United States and founder of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, joined AAPEX 2019 on Nov. 5, offering his thoughts on eight years in the Oval Office, the challenges facing the nation in the 21st century and the power of freedom.
An extensive AAPEXedu program tackled many of the significant challenges facing the industry, including the adoption of technology, the acquisition of data, connecting with the end consumer, tariffs, the technician shortage and now, the ultimate battle: consumers’ right to control their vehicle data and retain freedom of choice for parts and repair. The “Your Car. Your Data. Your Choice.” national consumer-education campaign was in the spotlight during several sessions and attendees also were asked to sign the petition at AAPEX or at yourcaryourdata.org.
AAPEXedu featured sessions on trends, opportunities and industry forecasts. IHS Markit’s Mark Seng, global aftermarket practice leader, delivered the session, “Five Trends in Five Minutes.” He identified the top trends as continued growth in vehicles in operation (VIO); the changing VIO mix and its impact on repair opportunities; the aging vehicle population; and the acceleration of electrification, which for now has limited impact as the internal combustion engine continues to thrive.
Nathan Shipley, executive director, industry analysis, for the NPD Group, provided a “2020 Aftermarket Outlook,” unveiling the results of the firm’s “2019 Consumer Outlook Survey” for the first time exclusively to AAPEX attendees.
In addition, the AAPEXedu program included a three-hour ADAS forum; quick learning presentations in Let’s Tech; advanced training on alternative-fuel and electric vehicles and shop technology in Mobility Garage; and a Service Professionals Summit, “Aftermarket 2030: Consolidation Trends, Opportunities and Challenges for the Independent Service Professional.”
As a friendly competition among attendees, AAPEX offered the Virtual Vehicle Challenge, in which attendees journeyed into a virtual garage, selected automotive parts and installed them on a vehicle. Daily winners with the fastest time received free AAPEX 2020 registration and housing for up to four nights. New this year, cars created by attendees raced on the Virtual Vehicle Track with bends and turns similar to a Formula 1 track.
Held Nov. 5 through Nov. 5, AAPEX 2019 drew 46,415 targeted buyers, and 162,829 automotive aftermarket professionals were in Las Vegas during AAPEX and the SEMA Show. AAPEX is co-owned by the Auto Care Association and the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA), the light-vehicle aftermarket division of the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA).