Automotive aftermarket takes control of its own destiny

The industry-first National Light Vehicles Modifications Summit was held in Brisbane in conjunction with Autocare 2023 last month.
The Summit presented an opportunity for the industry to come together and discuss how to protect the future of aftermarket manufacturers.
It included sessions on industry and government collaboration; lithium battery applications and certifications; emerging modification issues; Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS); state and federal regulation inconstancies; motor vehicle information sharing law; and consumer awareness.
Jaunt Motors Chief Executive Officer, Dave Budge, gave a keynote presentation on how his company is modifying Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) cars into EVs. He outlined what the future of EV modification and customisation might look like.
Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association (AAAA) Director of Government Relations, Lesley Yates, described the Summit as a huge success.
“This Summit was a fantastic initiative, because it gave us the opportunity to discuss and address some of our critical and emerging issues,” Lesley said.
“We achieved something special by convening a full room of important industry participants who came together to invest some time in our shared interests.
“In the past, we have generally been reactive. We let others threaten our future and only then do we respond to defend our industry. But we have been changing that by convening specific purpose working groups to find solutions and to draft the regulations that we think work for both vehicle safety and commercial outcomes.
“It is our job to come up with solutions because whether it is government, regulators, or other industry bodies, no one understands our industry better than the people who attended this Summit.
“Many of us have witnessed the power of unity – when we rally together for a cause, we get great results. We’ve done it before – the industry-drafted, GCM code, our work on ADAS validation, emissions and brake testing, bull bar standards, lights, ladder racks, tow bars and recovery straps; the list is huge.
“We probably don’t harness our collective strength often enough until minor issues become serious threats. So, the Summit provided a time to come together, to talk, to exchange opinions and to agree to work together on the issues that unite us.
“I was genuinely surprised by the collaboration that occurred at the Summit,” Lesley continued.
“We scheduled a session looking for advice on how we should address common issues. The session itself was loud with voices and we got a lot out of it that we are still working our way through.
“Industry can be a little quiet when you turn it over to them to have input on the advocacy agenda but on the day, it was incredible the volume of considered views that were openly contributed.”
One of the main sessions at the Summit saw Lovells General Manager, Mike Davison, and Herrod Motorsport Director, Rob Herrod, join Lesley to talk about best practices in influencing regulation.

Another important panel included Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads Manager Vehicle Standards, Scott Hall; Auto Innovation Centre Managing Director, Luke Trunkinger; Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads Principal Engineer, Vehicle Standards, Adam Shaw; and ARB General Manager of Engineering, John Clark, who discussed the government working together with industry to achieve best practice regulatory outcomes. This included insights from both a government perspective and industry perspective.
Federal Department of Transport Assistant Director, RVS Legislation, Policy and Partnerships, Road and Vehicle Safety Division, Wayne Bryant and Federal Department of Transport Director, RVS Legislation, Policy and Partnerships, Road and Vehicle Safety Division, Graham Evans, joined Luke in a session to explain the new Department of Transport ROVER portal and the applications and approvals process for vehicle modifications.
Luke also told the audience why Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) is a crucial new domain for the aftermarket sector to understand and integrate into planning for vehicle modifications.

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