The Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association (AAAA) and its members face a particularly busy year ahead

As part of the AAAA’s informative webinar series, AAAA Chief Executive Officer Stuart Charity, and Chairman of the AAAA Board of Directors, Mark Pedder, recently took a look at the highlights and challenges in store for the industry across the coming year.
“After a false-start with the Omicron wave, when I look at what we have in place for 2022, I can say we are definitely looking forward to a better year ahead. We have an incredibly ambitious agenda for 2022 here at the AAAA,” Stuart said.

The AAAExpo
The Australian Auto Aftermarket Expo (AAAExpo) will take place across 7-9 April after a forced postponement due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“We are sitting on the edge of a sell-out from an exhibitor point of view with 97 percent of space sold; visitor registration numbers are on the rise after an Omicron pause; and we have so many exciting things happening including the Workshop of the Future Pavilion, the 4WD Innovation Zone, the Awards Banquet and much more – it is going to be so great to get our industry together again,” Stuart said.
“Of course, COVID-19 presents challenges, but we are seeing shows across the world successfully starting up again – we are confident, and we are seeing that our visitors are also confident of a great, Covid Safe event.
“All of the numbers show that there is a massive industry desire to come back to Melbourne and reconnect and learn, and all the features we have running at the Expo will create such a buzz on the Expo floor. It will be a terrific atmosphere for visitors and of course, it is free for trade – and once you register, the expert Seminar Series is free to attend too.”

Mandatory Data Sharing Law
The hard fought for Mandatory Data Sharing Law will come into effect on 1st July and the AAAA is playing a leading role in setting up the infrastructure to enable its successful operation.
“We are excitedly getting ready for the kickoff of this much-anticipated new Law in July and there is in fact so much to talk about on this subject, we have been holding dedicated webinars on the topic and there will be seminars at the AAAExpo concentrating on this subject also,” Stuart said.
“It is the first time ever that the Australian Government has changed the consumer competition act for any industry, and we also now have the most comprehensive legislation anywhere in the world, leap frogging the American and European laws, and that is very, very exciting but also very complex to put together.
“Everything about this new Data Sharing Law is new and so that can be challenging. We are on a path we have never walked in Australia and whilst we have the American system to draw from, it has to fit our unique environment and our law is different – in some respects it is more comprehensive than the US and it is certainly more ‘mandatory’ with up to ten-million-dollar fines for non-compliance.”

The Auto Innovation Centre (AIC)
2022 marks the third year of the AIC and the Centre is experiencing a growing client list and increasing demand for its specialised services.
“The AIC has a great, talented and motivated team which is doing fantastic work. We have a whole fleet of R&D vehicles, we have scan data, we are doing dynamic vehicle testing, and we are working with the regulators on trying to setup the framework for testing, such as for ADAS calibration,” Stuart said.
“We are also hard at work with one of the first deliveries of the 300 Series Landcruiser which is going to be huge for modifications – we have already torn it down to create scan packages and are now getting ready for dynamic testing.
“We are very proud of this facility and very excited about where it is heading. Now more than ever we need the AIC – the industry is using the Centre and the fact it is bringing the government regulators into a collaborative dialogue is also an incredible bonus.”
The AIC will be exhibiting at the AAAExpo, showcasing the technology they offer, and answering questions on how they can assist companies with product development.

Electric Vehicles
The AAAA Board has a strategy group dedicated to the topic of Electric Vehicles which has been designed to provide a blueprint on how the AAAA can support members to be EV ready.
“We really want to lead the way with our EV strategy for our members throughout the country, so we can be ahead of the game – not just with how we do things, but also with the regulators. This is a really important project,” Mark said.
“Whilst the EV car parc is modest, it is coming, and we are going to have to work hard to make sure that car companies don’t peddle the myth that EVs need to go back to the dealer because they are technologically advanced beyond our capabilities,” Stuart said.
“This isn’t the case, and we need to make sure that governments are not only looking at the sales pipeline but also the ‘whole of life’ cycle and the role the independent aftermarket will play in that. We have a real opportunity to optimally position our industry for this future era.”
With EVs such a popular topic, it formed the focus of another recent AAAA webinar, which is available on the AAAA YouTube channel and titled ‘Electric Vehicles – Are we ready?’ EVs will also be a key subject at the AAAExpo – click here for more details.

Skills Strategy Workshop
A Skills Strategy Workshop was held last year by the AAAA Board, and the resulting project launches this year.
“As an industry we have not done a great job for a long time in the area of skills shortages, and it is hard to get good and qualified people who want to join our industry. We have spent a lot of time on how the AAAA can impact that and help our members, so you will certainly see a lot over the next 12 months from us on how we are going to battle the skills shortage,” Mark said.
“The skills crisis is very real, and it is hurting our members every day. The first stage of this project will be enacted in cooperation with the Dealer Association and MTAQ – this is incredibly interesting and definitely a first.
“With both the EV strategy and the Skills Shortage projects, we are certainly feeling the pressure to make sure these bring about real member benefits – we don’t have the luxury of time to just sit around talking about it. We are focusing on narrowing down our activities on where we are going to make the biggest impacts in this area.”

Working together for success
With such a wide array of activities and challenges ahead for the AAAA, Stuart and Mark say working together is what will make success possible.
“Our team and our membership give us confidence that we can meet the challenges ahead,” Stuart said.
“Our membership drives us and is also engaged in the process, and we draw on their expertise and their commitment.
“We couldn’t do what we do without the support of our members which not only helps us achieve what we need to but also drives us to keep lifting the bar.
“We are in a good position– I am not saying it
won’t be tough, but we are very confident that we have all the ingredients for a successful year ahead.”
To watch the webinar in full, please visit the ‘AusAutoAftermarketAssoc’ YouTube channel.
These topics and many more will form the AAAExpo Seminar Series. This comprehensive program is free for show attendees and is designed to provide the information they need on the topics that matter.
Mandatory Data Sharing will be explored by Lesley Yates in the presentation ‘Fair and Open Competition in the Automotive Industry’, while Stuart Charity will investigate ‘Electric Vehicle Trends and Opportunities.’
Another feature seminar, ‘Our Skills Shortage: Attracting Great Staff and Keeping Them’ will be presented by a panel of industry experts and is sure to be extremely valuable.

To register for these seminars or for more information on any of the AAAExpo seminar topics, please visit or for the Collision Repair Expo Seminar Series,