Dear ABPA Members,
As we look back on 2020, it is a year that I am sure that many of you will not miss. As the year started no one could have imagined that a pandemic would ravage our country, our economy and affect so many lives. Even though auto parts distributors were classified as essential businesses, most members saw a drop in their business in 2020 as less people were on the road due to various state restrictions. Thankfully, various pharmaceutical companies are rolling out vaccines which should have an impact soon and the country will start to fully open again.
Now that 2021 is here, the ABPA and the entire collision repair industry are looking forward to a semblance of normal business operations and a return to full profitability for our members. The new year also means a return to normal in addressing the various issues that affect our membership. Proposed anti-aftermarket State and Federal bills will surely come up again in 2021 after a hiatus in 2020. We will continue to address these bills along with our industry partners and will call upon our members as needed to voice their concerns with their legislators. In the meantime, should ABPA members wish to be proactive and voice concerns with their government officials or government agencies, we have convenient links on the ABPA website for both US and Canadian members on our Advocacy page to take the guesswork out of it. Members can also contact me at the ABPA office for guidance.
In July 2020, we made an announcement of the successful formation of the Consumer Access to Repair (CAR) Coalition. The ABPA is a founding member of this coalition which also includes part distributors, insurers, and consumer group support and has seen growth in membership throughout 2020. ABPA involvement in this Coalition is due to support from our members – thank you! The CAR Coalition will be highly active in 2021 and I encourage you to visit their website at www.carcoalition.com for more details as their success will benefit your businesses. The ABPA will also be posting Coalition updates on our main website www.autobpa.com.
It is no secret that the cost of auto repair has risen tremendously over the past few years and is outpacing the rate of inflation. One of the main reasons is the rising costs of parts. Part pricing is increasing due to the various methods the car companies are utilizing to suppress the aftermarket which include design patents, position statements, repair procedures, controlling First Notice of Loss (FNOL), etc. Most affected are consumers who may not fully understand the situation.
With this in mind, the ABPA will be launching a new consumer awareness website in 2021 to educate consumers on the benefits of our members’ products, what would happen if our industry did not exist, and to highlight what the car companies are doing in attempting to suppress the aftermarket. The content will be regularly updated and will feature original videos, articles, and podcasts. The announcement with details for this new website will be coming in the first quarter of 2021 and I welcome the feedback from membership.
Finally, 2020 was the first year in memory that the ABPA did not have an in-person annual convention. We first postponed Newport Beach 2020 to September and then decided to cancel outright due to safety concerns. ABPA 2021 in Nashville is scheduled for April and as of this writing, it is still on! As we get closer to the date, we will continue to monitor the safety issues and will adjust the schedule, as necessary. Please keep in mind that should you book your trip; your convention tickets will be fully refundable should you change your mind or should travel restrictions come up. An in-person convention is always preferred, and many members are probably going stir crazy from a lack of travel.
I would like to wish all of you a safe and profitable 2021 and thank you for being a member of the ABPA! As always, I can be reached directly at the ABPA office at 800-323-5832 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Executive Director, Automotive Body Parts Association