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IAAF Conference: Gearing up for Change

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The IAAF Conference took place last month and highlighted the massive technology-led transformation in the global automotive industry and how every business in the independent aftermarket can take full advantage.

The Federation highlighted how technology had dominated its work in 2019, from a Counterfeit Parts Campaign to Cyber Security, and outlined the work FIGIEFA was doing in securing fair vehicle digitalisation opportunities along with other technology-led work on Extended Vehicle1 and SERMI2:

1: Extended vehicle is a structure which enables secure access to vehicle data via an off-board facility, in accordance with clearly defined technical, data protection and competition rules.

2: The process by which independent garages, who can meet the strict requirements of the scheme, will be accredited to access all areas of manufacturer technical information, including data related to the security of the vehicle.

“Vehicles are like computers on wheels and we are seeing them becoming increasingly more connected and sophisticated,” stated IAAF chief executive Wendy Williamson. “As an industry, we need to steer the supply chain in the right direction to ensure we’re on track to tackle the challenges we face head on and ensure we are equipped with the tools and know-how to be able to continue to service and maintain the vehicles of tomorrow.”

Williamson stressed the importance of being able to compete fairly and safely in an open market, while ensuring the motorist continues to have the right to choose where they take their vehicle.

ADJUSTING TO CHALLENGES

Dean Lander from Thatcham, established by the motor insurance industry to maintain car safety standards, discussed the growth of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), reiterating the need for garages to have greater access to ever-changing technology in order to avoid handing over all power to vehicle manufacturers. Lander urged the industry to recognise that autonomous vehicles are already a reality and that change is inevitable.

The conference keynote speaker, Richard Noble, spoke of how he fulfilled his life-long mission to build the world’s first supersonic car and going on to break the land-speed record. In the process, Noble used his experience and network of contacts to set up the largest STEM programme in the UK, directly targeting the next generation and engaging with more than 129,000 schoolchildren.

Mike Smallbone, Head of Membership Development, summarised the body’s activities over the past year, including its ‘Your Car – Your Choice’ campaign. The pilot project in Chesterfield had been instrumental in the automotive aftermarket winning business from main dealers, as independent garages felt more confident in the greater use of OE-quality parts.

Neil Pattemore from FIGIEFA, the industry’s European federation and political representative, rounded off the event with a presentation on the immediate threats affecting the industry, such as protecting Block Exemption, the risks surrounding the extended vehicle and the importance of cyber security.

Wendy Williamson had the final say: “It’s a challenging but also exciting time to be in the aftermarket, and we will need to all work together to ensure we can not only adapt to the challenges that we face, but also maximise the enormous potential in front of us. However, if we’re to continue to thrive, the time for change is now.”

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