‘Aftermarket Matters Weekly’ asks AAPEX co-owners how the virtual event is evolving and its emphasis on shops, training and bringing the industry together. Event registration is now open.
Las Vegas—The AAPEX co-owners have been busy since March in developing a game plan for this year’s virtual AAPEX with innovations and input from the industry.
“Our teams have been working together to examine all the different scenarios as to how AAPEX will look virtually,” Bill Hanvey, president and CEO of the Auto Care Association, told Aftermarket Matters Weekly on Tuesday. “To the team’s credit, they’ve done a great job in being proactive by enlisting additional support from suppliers and vendors in order to turn AAPEX into a virtual experience.”
Registration is now open for the Virtual AAPEX Experience, where at no cost, automotive service and repair professionals can sharpen their skills with technical and management training, watch new product and equipment demos and conduct business with exhibitors during pre-scheduled one-on-one meetings.
“It’s a great opportunity to make the industry better through all the tools and technology we have available.”— Paul McCarthy, AASA
Paul McCarthy, president of AASA, said, “The connections everyone makes at AAPEX are so important to grow our industry and work together, but safety of our members is paramount and, ultimately, it wasn’t our decision to [not be in Las Vegas] as we followed state guidelines for the pandemic.”
The Virtual AAPEX Experience will take place Tuesday, Nov. 3 through Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020. However, attendees may begin setting up business meetings with exhibitors starting in early October. To register, visit www.aapexshow.com/register.
The virtual event has also afforded the AAPEX co-owners an opportunity to step back and evaluate how to expand the show to another group of auto care industry professionals who may not have been able to participate before, Hanvey said. “We want to broaden the experience and AAPEX brand, so we’re focusing this year’s virtual event on our relationships with shops. We want to give them a taste of what AAPEX is all about and, in turn, offer shops education and training that will benefit them.”
“We have a really good core foundation to increase the shop experience.”— Bill Hanvey, Auto Care Association
The technical and management classes are geared toward shop owners, technicians and service advisors, although all aftermarket professionals are welcome to attend. Several of the automotive aftermarket industry’s most highly skilled and sought after trainers will lead the classes, many of whom are accredited toward the Automotive Aftermarket Professional (AAP) and Master Automotive Aftermarket Professional (MAAP) designations. For class descriptions and speaker information, visit the Training Schedule at: https://www.aapexshow.com/schedule/training-schedule/.
“Exhibitors are seeking better relationships with shops through their distributors, which can be difficult to do,” Hanvey said, noting that the initial AAPEX show had dedicated an entire floor to developing a better relationship with shops through training, called “Joe’s Garage.”
Joe’s Garage will now be brought to shops virtually, and AAPEX organizers are working with ASE to possibly incorporate its training, as well. “We have a really good core foundation to increase the shop experience. If it is a success, then there’s no reason that we might be able to expand AAPEX in some ways that are both live and virtual in years to come — we’re really excited about its potential.”
The list of Joe’s Garage participants that will be giving 20- to 30-minute demonstrations include 360 Payments, BG Products, Bolt On, Bosch, Broadly, Challenger Lifts, Coates, Eurovent, Hunter, Kukui, Mitchell1, NAPA, Shopboss, and TekMetric.
Several companies will also conduct additional exhibitor training and new product and equipment demonstrations in the new virtual Repair Shop HQ, including Autel, Bolt On Technology, Bosch, Garage Gurus/DRiV, Hunter Engineering Company, Kukui, and NAPA Auto Care.
The show’s “core foundation” will continue to serve as the basis for further innovations, tweaks and additional means of presentation. “I guarantee you that the show will look different — and likely more expanded — by the time it takes place in November,” Hanvey said.
McCarthy added, “It’s a great opportunity to make the industry better through all the tools and technology we have available. It will enable us to have a greater audience with international buyers, grow the AAPEX brand, and connect shops with exhibitors.”
McCarthy stressed, however, that there’s no substitute for an in-person show. “We need that powerful relationship building of an in-person event that’s at the heart of our industry, our growth and AAPEX. There’s been tremendous excitement that we’re hearing for next year’s show and it has the potential to be the biggest AAPEX ever. We’re looking forward to 2020, and we’re also looking forward to 2021 when we’re back in Las Vegas.”
In addition, the Virtual AAPEX Experience will include New Product and New Packaging Showcases and ceremonies to honor recipients of the AAPEX Service and Repair awards and the Women in Auto Care awards.
AAPEX 2021 will return to the Sands Expo and Caesars Forum Conference Center in Las Vegas, Tuesday, Nov. 2 through Thursday, Nov. 4. All inquiries should be directed to W.T. Glasgow Inc., 708-226-1300, firstname.lastname@example.org.
For additional information, visit the AAPEX 2020 FAQ page, https://www.aapexshow.com/faqs/.