By Ed Salamy, ABPA Executive Director
At the conclusion of this year’s ABPA annual meeting in Chicago, our organizations’ Chairman, Dan Morrissey, proclaimed that, “Our association is stronger than it’s ever been.”
That sentiment seemed to echo throughout the week, as leading aftermarket parts manufacturers and distributors came together to assess the state of the industry, to learn more about ongoing efforts to promote aftermarket parts, and to network with their peers.
We are an industry with a great deal of momentum. While our members continue to fight to build acceptance and gain a larger share of what one speaker estimated is a $13 billion market, we can point to a number of initiatives and successes that show we are moving in the right direction.
- We’ve added 23 new members to the ABPA this year, proof that our message and our mission are gaining traction within the aftermarket industry. The more support and participation we have, the stronger our position will be.
- A crucial court victory has allowed our patent lawsuit against Ford – so critical for our industry’s survival – to finally move forward, with depositions expected to begin as early as June.
- With a shift in power after the mid-term Congressional elections, the prospects for the long awaited PARTS bill look brighter than ever. This legislation, if passed and signed into law, could push the door open for more widespread use of aftermarket parts.
- Certification of parts has grown exponentially, with over 17,000 individual parts now certified by CAPA and new applications for certification coming in at a dizzying rate. Applications for certification were up 81% in 2014, a rate that has already doubled in 2015. New certification standards for radiators are expected this year, adding an important new category to the program.
None of this would be possible without the focus and hard work of our members, their employees, and the allies we have enlisted to help our cause. But now is not the time to sit back and enjoy our successes. If we are to continue the momentum we have built up we must redouble our efforts.
- Keep investing in the quality of the parts you manufacture and move as quickly as possible toward 100% certification.
- Remain involved in and informed about the legal and legislative activities the ABPA and QPC are taking on your behalf.
- Contact the U.S. Representatives and Senators in the states where you do business and encourage them to support the PARTS bill. Believe me when I tell you that they do pay attention when taxpayers and voters take the time to voice their opinions.
- Most important of all, we need everyone in the industry to provide financial support to keep the Ford lawsuit moving forward. I can’t stress enough how critical it is that we win this court case and force OEMs to loosen their stranglehold on parts patents.
It was very encouraging to see the largest attendance in recent memory during our annual meeting, including more exhibitors than ever before. Now let’s take the energy and enthusiasm that so abundant in Chicago and bring it to the work we have before us in the coming year.