As Australia starts to emerge from winter, we hope this signifies the beginning of brighter days for us all in relation to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and we all remain resilient to ensure we work towards the ongoing recovery across our industry and broader economy

Difficult decisions
We recently had to make the difficult decision to reschedule the 2021 Australian Automotive Aftermarket and Collision Repair Expo. The Expo, the largest aftermarket industry trade show of its kind in Australia, will now take place from the 7th to the 9th of April, 2022.
With the continued uncertainty surrounding the pandemic and our commitment to ensuring the health and safety of everyone involved, the risks were simply too high for us to commit to the event in 2021.
We know this decision is disappointing for so many in our industry and it leaves a large hole in the aftermarket event space next year. To fill the void and bring the industry together in 2021, we are already considering alternative activities for networking and learning opportunities to be held in the near future. We will also make good use of the longer than usual lead-up to the next Expo, to design and deliver a spectacular milestone event for the aftermarket industry in 2022. For more information on this announcement, click here.

Financial results coming soon
We will shortly release our financial results for the 2019/20 year. Although COVID-19 has had an impact on some of our key performance indicators, member retention levels and revenue remained solid, and our member services and industry support capability is as strong as ever. The AAAA currently has 2500 member companies, an increase of seven percent from last year. Over the course of the year we saw a commitment from Government to a mandatory data sharing law, our Association rebrand, the relocation of our national office, the launch of the Auto Innovation Centre, an expansion of our team, and much more.

Second Workshop Impact Survey
To ensure we stay abreast of how our automotive service and repair sector is tracking during these challenging times, we recently commissioned our second Workshop Impact Survey with ACA Research, for the period May – July 2020.
Just as the first Impact Survey yielded strong insights into the effects of the pandemic, we now have a clearer picture of how our industry is faring across the country a few months further into the year. Unsurprisingly, there is a significant variation in impact across Australia.
In Melbourne and greater Victoria, automotive service and repair businesses have been severely impacted by ongoing COVID-19 restrictions. However, workshops across the rest of Australia have staged a strong recovery overall, and in some cases are back to and exceeding pre-pandemic levels. To read more about the survey findings, click here.
We are encouraged with this strong rebound in markets once COVID restrictions are eased, and the result does provide some solace for those businesses in Victoria who are suffering at present. I also hope that the recently unveiled roadmap out of lockdown by the Victorian Government will see Melbourne and Victoria find some relief, so we can start the recovery process.
The survey findings also enable the AAAA to accurately discuss the status of the industry, its pressure points and feedback, as part of our role representing the industry on the Victorian government advisory panel for COVID-19.

We are here to help
With recovery and business growth top of mind, I encourage members to take advantage of the great member resources and services that can help direct and target your efforts to maximise your success. We have a great wealth of market research in our member’s area, from consumer insights, to manufacturing data, industry snapshots and a workshop benchmarking tool.
We have also received great feedback on our updated Car Parc Data tool, so if you want to learn more about your local area car parc and demographic insights, or if you’re a manufacturer and distributor looking for a national view, this is a great tool to explore when preparing your plans for business growth.
And finally, to ensure your well-laid plans don’t get sabotaged by sudden regulatory changes or proposed laws, remember that AAAA membership is like an insurance policy that ensures you can continue to conduct business in a fair and safe way. We are here to work with you and where required, represent and fight for your interests. Our advocacy work with Government is an ever-constant part of our role and one we are very proud of.
As always, we are here for you. Take care and stay safe.

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