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Take the High Road

Did your choice for President win the election?

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All I can say is I’m thankful that the election is over, along with all of the mudslinging, debates, negative television commercials and campaigning. Finally, there’s an end to all of the wasted time, money and energy that was used by the two political parties to attack each other, just to elect one man into office. The one thing the election process did achieve was that it further divided the country into two opposing groups. I don’t think division is healthy for our country. We need to come together again and be Americans. As you read this magazine, you’ll note several news items and new product introductions that took place during the AAPEX trade show held during the first week of November (which was also the week of the Presidential election) in Las Vegas. While there were many seminars, speeches and presentations on various topics during this week, two recurrent themes were:

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1) Improving the image of the automotive industry in the mind of consumers seeking automotive service; and

2) Improvements aftermarket companies can make so independent shops will not source as many parts from new car dealers.

There aren’t a lot of people who enjoy spending money on their car or truck to keep it operating properly. Sure, there are some accessories or performance parts that can bring a smile to their face, but how about having to replace the infamous water pump or exhaust manifold? Most consumers would rather spend that money on something else or pay down their credit card bills.

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But we all know that these service expenditures are absolutely necessary to protect the investment the motorist has made in his/her vehicle, to keep it running as fuel efficient as possible, for the safety of the family and the welfare of the environment. Regardless if the repair is made at your shop or a car dealership, many consumers feel they are paying too much or are skeptical about the extent of the repairs that are needed. This is where the image problems arise (and, of course, also from television programs like 60 Minutes and 20/20).

To help elevate this industry’s image, repair shops, parts manufacturers, national retail service chains, car dealerships, parts stores and distributors need to promote the features and benefits of their products and services, rather than focusing on their competition’s faults. All businesses should promote quality service, achieved through quality parts and professional repairs. By joining together to promote preventive maintenance and good car care practices, everyone wins. This industry can’t afford to fight out its differences in public like the political parties. There are billions and billions of dollars worth of automotive service opportunities available – indeed, enough for everyone serving this industry.

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