BETHESDA, Md.—Members of two automotive aftermarket industry associations have overwhelmingly voted in favor of merging their groups. Following a referendum last month, leaders of the Automotive Service Industry Association (ASIA) and the Automotive Parts and Accessories Association (APAA) announced the organizations would consolidate and be renamed the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA).
ASIA President Gene A. Gardner was named president of the newly formed group, which will consist of automotive manufacturers, distributors, jobbers, wholesalers, retailers, manufacturers' representatives and others. APAA President Al Gaspar becomes executive vice president of the AAIA, which will have its headquarters in Bethesda.
The merger, effective July 1, came about through a common goal of both associations ``to strengthen the automotive aftermarket industry,'' said Mr. Gardner. ``This will remain the mission of AAIA, as we strive to play a leading role in a number of areas,'' including national and state legislative issues affecting the automotive industry and the aftermarket.
Noting the industry ``has been hit hard by consolidation and legislative policy,'' Mr. Gaspar said the merger ``enables us to marshal growth opportunities'' and leverage them for member businesses' future growth. Both associations are ``financially strong and operating from a position of strength,'' he added.
Member companies of Elk Grove Village, Ill.-based ASIA manufacture, distribute and sell motor vehicle parts, accessories, tools, equipment, materials and supplies. ASIA's stated mission is to provide industry leadership while enhancing the ability of member companies to effectively serve their marketplace.
Bethesda-based APAA's mission is to serve the automotive aftermarket by expanding the consumer market and preserving and enhancing the sale of goods in the industry.