Telematics, electrification, connectivity and hybrid power are technologies that are impacting new vehicle design, "and it's clear that data has become more than nice to have. It's an absolute must for our industry to continue to prosper," Mr. Long said.
By 2020, industry analysts predict there will be more than 250 million connected vehicles, with 94 percent of new vehicles and nearly a third of the entire vehicle population enabled with dynamic two-way communication.
While in-car technology features continue to be included in new vehicle models, only 32 percent of consumers are willing to pay for features such as WiFi or Onstar, Mr. Hanvey claimed.
"According to a survey we conducted, 62 percent of consumers have no idea what telematics is or that their vehicle is producing data," he said. "Those same respondents, however, when educated about the issue, will take action to ensure they have the right to choose to whom their vehicles' data is sent."
These vehicle technologies and connectivity with OEMs creates a couple of issues for the aftermarket, the executives said, including:
What will happen to aftermarket businesses if motorists no longer possess the right to choose where they want their vehicle repaired?
Who will be able to repair a car or sell a part if OEM data, tools, training and information are not made available to the aftermarket?
The answers lie, in part, with working together with OEMs, policymakers and regulators regarding cybersecurity and intellectual property rights, Mr. Long said, while standing up for the aftermarket businesses' rights and informing consumers about theirs.
Mr. Hanvey said the ACA has strengthened its partnerships in Canada, Mexico, Latin America and Europe to work globally on a telematics solution, as well as hosted legislative summits in Washington.
"Our industry has to be engaged in the political process…. Every individual in the industry needs to make their voice heard in Washington and at the state level," he said.
"This is not the time to be on the sidelines. Host a congressperson at your place of business. You provide jobs and tax revenue to those congresspeople in their respective districts. Your voice carries much more weight than ours in Washington.
"We all need to work diligently on new trade, regulation, taxes and labor laws not only at the federal level but at the state level where many of these issues are playing out and we're earning victories," he continued.
"If we're not engaging with policymakers to make sure that today's legislation doesn't affect your bottom line tomorrow, we won't be able to make continual progress on these key issues. The bottom line is, get off the sideline, stand up and be heard."
Another challenge for the aftermarket is the entrance of new business models, distribution models and e-retailing.
"The OEMs are doing their best to create a cradle-to-grave relationship with their customers, and they are doing as much as they can to drive as much repair business as possible to their dealerships," Mr. Hanvey said.
"We're seeing the fastest-growing segment of service providers as import specialists. We're seeing new ways that products are being sold. The way that service providers and shops install them.
"We're utilizing more kits in component sales. First it was just a strut; now it's a strut with a compressed spring on it.
"First it was just the timing belt; now it's a complete kit that includes the water pump...."