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Data access equality on expo agenda

Showing up: The AAAA Expo has enjoyed good attendance in the past and has already sold out for 2013.

Independent repairers look to minister for firm decision on accessing new-car data

General News logo25 Mar 2013

By IAN PORTER

THE federal government is expected to provide Australia’s repair and maintenance industry with clear guidance on how it will be given access to data from car-makers when the minister for deregulation addresses the Australian Automobile Aftermarket Association Expo early next month.

The AAAA expo, held every two years, will again be a magnet for independent workshop owners and managers as thousands of repairers flock to Sydney’s Darling Harbour Exhibition Centre between April 11 and 13.

Assistant treasurer and minister assisting for deregulation David Bradbury has been considering the recommendations of the Commonwealth Consumer Affairs Advisory Council (CCAAC) since late last year and has indicated he will issue a formal response to the council’s recommendations in April.

If he endorses the CCAAC’s recommendations, it would represent a big step forward for the repair and maintenance industry, which launched its ‘repairer of choice’ campaign in 2009.

The CCAAC has suggested the independent repair industry and franchised dealers and car-makers be given 12 months to reach a voluntary data sharing arrangement.

Failing that, the council suggested the federal government intervene by regulating the industry and forcing car-makers to share vital data and information.

Besides this potential big step forward, the AAAA expo will again be the biggest showcase for the repair and maintenance industry, with the launch of many new products by leading Australian spare parts and high performance manufacturers.

AAAA executive director Stuart Charity said the 2013 expo is the fourth straight expo to be sold out.

“It’s nearly five acres of exhibition space, and there will be 350 exhibitors,” Mr Charity said during Victoria’s Automotive Week.

“We will occupy four halls of the Sydney Exhibition Centre. We take the lion’s share of the whole exhibition area. It’s a showcase of aftermarket capability.”

Entry to the show will be free to all owners, managers and employees in the aftermarket and repair trade.

As ever, the show will provide a central event around which companies and franchise chains will stage a number of their own member-only events.

There will also be a full seminar program offering information on a range of topics.

“We don’t just want it to be a static display, so we are running a whole education campaign in parallel with it,” Mr Charity said.

“We are doing eight seminars, ranging from the latest in lubrication technology to a rundown of the most common technical faults that stump mechanics in the aftermarket.

“In the past, technical developments were primarily focused on the vehicles we serviced and repaired. Today, information technology also impacts the systems we use to help manage our businesses.

“And, perhaps more importantly, digital technology now dictates how we market our businesses and communicate with customers to keep them satisfied and loyal.”

Mr Charity said the expo committee addressed the issue of technology across these key areas and developed an education program to help visitors learn about “new ways of doing things – indeed to learn new ways of thinking about things”.

“These seminars are free to all visitors and the content is focused exclusively on helping you boost your business,” he said, adding that demand was expected to be high and reservations required for seminars.

One of the seminars will be conducted by Mr Charity and minister Bradbury, and is expected to outline the timeline under which the data sharing negotiations will be negotiated.

All the seminars are free of charge, as is entry to the expo.

Mr Charity said that because the expo is staged every two years, there is always a swag of new products launched to the industry by AAAA members.

A highlight will be the launch of the new Davies Craig electric water pump, the lightweight aluminium EWP150, which can pump 150 litres of water a minute.

Davies Craig’s sales and marketing manager John Benson said the EWP150 is the result of continued research and development.

“The EWP150 is compact, weighs just over 1kg and is designed for remote engine fitment across a wide variety of engines,” he said.

The EWP150 will be launched in conjunction with a digital controller, which will allow the pump to run after the engine has been shut down to eliminate heat soak and extend engine life.

In addition, Aznew Injector Services will launch a new diesel injector program at the expo.

Durst Industries will exhibit a range of hand-held component testers, battery charging equipment and the SmartWasher line of parts cleaners.

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