AAPEX 2017 Unveils Avant-garde Systems And Products

By T Murrali:

Over 2,200 exhibiting companies occupying 5,000 plus booths and about 40 educational sessions drew more than 44,000 buyers from across the world to the recently-concluded Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo (AAPEX) 2017at Sands Expo in Las Vegas.
The annual event also attracted over 158,000 automotive aftermarket professionals from nearly 140 countries. The attendees included auto parts retailers, auto parts warehouse distributors, jobbers, automotive service professionals, service chains, automotive dealers, paint and body personnel, and automotive aftermarket industry leaders and innovators.
AAPEX represents the $740 billion global automotive aftermarket industry and is co-owned by the Auto Care Association and the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA), the light vehicle aftermarket division of the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA).
The participants of the expo exhibited several products and services including 3D printing accessories, engine parts, exhaust system, filters, fuel system, gaskets, greases & lubes, hand tools, tyre & wheel accessories, vehicle system tools and equipment.


AAPEX 2017 has introduced several new programmes to show the impact of technology on the automotive aftermarket industry and how businesses can best prepare for the opportunities and challenges ahead. The programmes included the first-ever AAPEX Mobility Park with under-hood training, a scan tool theatre,and an electric vehicle display; the Technology Intersection for a look at technology not yet available in the automotive aftermarket industry. Companies like Schaeffler and Bosch demonstrated their products.
In the first of three keynote sessions at AAPEX 2017, speaker Neal Ganguli, Automotive Supplier Consulting Leader, Deloitte Consulting LLP, focused on the future of mobility and the impact on the automotive aftermarket value chain. “There are disruptive consumer, economic and technology trends that each of you has been dealing with for many years. What is unique right now is that several key ones that drive transformation – consumer preferences, regulatory forces, economics, and technological advancement – are converging, and that has the potential to drive huge transformation,”Ganguli said.
Using two dimensions – vehicle control and vehicle ownership – he identified the future state of mobility as: personally owned, driver driven; shared driver driven; personally owned autonomous; and shared autonomous. “These future states represent the main ways individuals will travel for personal mobility needs,” Ganguli said. He explained that the rise of shared and autonomous will drive down cost-per-mile economics and that these four states will coexist. “Companies need to plan to compete in some or all of them,” he added.
Summing up the impact on the aftermarket value chain, Ganguli outlined the following: parts manufacturers need to consider shift in content and usage cycles, presenting both risks, and opportunities; OEMs are figuring out ways to extend their service footprint to consumers; dealers and independent retailers are trying to reconfigure their value propositions to deal with direct online channels and the rise of “subscription model” services, rather than providing one-time parts/service purchases; consumers have a plethora of choices – it’s all about economics, speed and convenience.


As part of the event the organisers of AAPEX conducted several educational programmes to keep the participants abreast of the global trend and also on the new technologies.
There are several industry-specific macro factors that influence automotive product sales including gasoline pricing, consumer driving patterns, retail pricing and vehicle sales. At this year’s Aftermarket Outlook, NPD’s Director of Industry Analysis, Nathan Shipley, revealed how sales in 2017 are measuring up to expectations. He shared his insights into consumer attitudes that will shape the coming year, and provided his outlook on sales for 2018 and beyond. Insights and analyses are derived from examining a wealth of economic trends, consumer research and product sales data, including the 2018 Consumer Outlook Survey. In its twelfth annual edition, these survey results were unveiled for the first time exclusively to AAPEX attendees. It helped the participants to learn how the macro US retail environment is performing relative to past years; what macro factors will have the greatest influence on 2018 aftermarket sales and which changing consumer attitudes may represent opportunities for growth.

Asian, Other New Markets

The session on ‘Asia and other emerging markets,’ enlightened the attendees with information on the opportunities in Asia, the fastest growing aftermarkets in the world. The session saw discussions, which later overviewed the aftermarket activity in the new Asian markets with a focus on China. Key trends such as US trade activity, Belt & Road Initiative, Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), etc., and their impact on opportunities for automotive aftermarket suppliers were identified.The important principles of success were highlighted to help attendees think through their strategies to participate in these high growth markets.

Trucking Technologies

Beginning December 18 this year, all trucks in the USA will be installed with Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) that connect directly to the engine diagnostic port (J-Bus/CANBUS). The session on Trucking technologies: Threats and Opportunities’ helped the attendees understand how ELDs differ from hard-wire to Bluetooth to cellular pairing technologies on the vehicle, and critical tips for disconnecting the ELD during maintenance.
It enabled the participants to learn new words and definitions for a vehicle data-centric world from automated driving to platooning to remote engine software updating.


Disruptive forces are changing the automotive industry at a pace never seen before. Autonomous driving, new mobility concepts such as ‘sharing’ and ‘ride hailing’ and vehicle connectivity are challenging the traditional car and truck status quo. The session on ‘Megatrends: Connected Cars’ took a closer look at these disruptors and provided an update of automotive megatrends and their impact on the aftermarket. The audience were given insights into the impact of ACES=Autonomous-Connected-Electric-Software on OEMs, suppliers and the aftermarket, and into the opportunities and threats from Advance Driver Assist Systems (ADAS) to autonomous driving.
AAPEX 2017 announced the winners of the New Product Showcase during an awards ceremony. The next edition of AAPEX will be held between October 31 and November 2, 2018.
Several participants utilised AAPEX as a platform to launch and showcase their new products, systems and services. Some of them are listed below.


Aftermarket leader ACDelco is expanding its offerings with more choice in two high-growth areas: Tyre Pressure Monitoring Sensors (TPMS) and new – not rebuilt or remanufactured – brake calipers that will be sold with no core charge. TPMS will fit almost three-quarters of the TPMS-equipped vehicles currently on the road, or more than 108 million cars, trucks and crossovers built since 2006.
Industry research suggests that there are more than 62 million vehicles on the road in the US that may soon need new TPMS sensors as their batteries wear out. “TPMS sensors need to be replaced after five to seven years of service because no battery lasts forever. Our design strategy with this new product line was to deliver a high quality part while reducing stocking requirements and installation time,” David Mestdagh, General Director- Product Development, ACDelco, said.

In a first for ACDelco, the brand is now offering an all-new aftermarket brake caliper available in cast iron and aluminum with no core charge. The cast iron parts are zinc-plated to ward off corrosion. Critical components come pre-lubricated for smooth operation, including the pistons and bleeder screws.


MAHLE Aftermarket Inc had unveiled a new line of its gaskets for high-performance engines. The line initially covers select gaskets for the most popular engines modified for increased output. MAHLE performance will serve as the over-arching brand under which gaskets – and in the near future performance engine parts like piston rings and Clevite engine bearings – will go to market.
The company has also introduced CareMetix cabin air filters, which incorporate S5 broadband technology to protect against harmful and allergenic substances, while even eliminating odors that conventional cabin air filters cannot. CareMetix filters feature five layers of protection to eliminate odor, pollen, soot and fine particulates. The filters are constructed with S5 broadband technology that encompasses a high-performance particulate filter layer, a molecular layer, an engineered activated carbon layer, a bio-functional layer with activated carbon, and a protective layer.


Leading innovator in chemical technology for automotive maintenance and repair, Permatex has debuted its line of Optimum Gasket Makers, a new generation of high performance gasket makers that take sealing performance and reliability to the next-level. As a leader in gasket maker technology, the company has successfully engineered the most advanced RTV silicones currently available to the aftermarket.
Permatex is a leading manufacturer, distributor, and marketer of premium chemical products to the automotive maintenance and repair markets. Since 1909, it has been an acknowledged leader in the development of innovative new products and services for the automotive aftermarket. The company markets a wide range of products under well-known ITW brand names such as Permatex, Fast Orange, Spray Nine, The Right Stuff, Threadlocker Gel Twist, and Grez-Off.

CRP Automotive

Replacement service parts manufacturer CRP Automotive offered a wide range of AAE-branded, precision remanufactured electronic power steering (EPS) racks for popular Ford models, including Explorer, Escape, Focus, and F150. Every remanufactured rack undergoes an eight-step process to ensure that each part meets strict quality guidelines and industry standards.
To ensure the highest performance possible, the power steering racks are disassembled, cleaned, shot-peened, and hardened to restore OE performance and finish. Every rack is fitted with new boots, clamps, bearings, O-rings, and seals. The inner tie rods are re-pressed or replaced. The unit is also lubricated with OE grease to ensure proper operation. In addition to AEE-branded products, CRP Automotive is also dealing with Rein Automotive Parts and Accessories, ContiTech Automotive Belts and Kits, Pentosin Technical Fluids, and AJUSA Engine Parts.


Lumileds, a global lighting solutions company and the exclusive supplier of Philips-branded automotive lighting products, has launched a new initiative to combat fraudulent Xenon HID lighting products. The Philips Xenon HID Anti-Counterfeit Programme is a multi-faceted effort intended to help protect customers against fake Xenon HID bulbs.
Xenon HID lighting has become one of the most counterfeited products in the automotive replacement lighting market. Counterfeit Xenon HID bulbs often deliver poor illumination on the road and excessive glare for oncoming traffic, harming drivers and passengers. Counterfeit bulbs can also severely damage a vehicle’s headlamps or electronics. The Anti-Counterfeit Programme by the company allows consumers, retailers and distributors to quickly and easily establish the authenticity of a Philips Xenon HID product.


Behr Hella Service, the thermal management experts for vehicle air conditioning and engine cooling, has increased the transparency of its portfolio and has introduced a new Premium Line branding. The Premium Line comprises of products produced by Behr, AKG and other manufacturers with OE competence which are offered exclusively by Behr Hella Service in the independent aftermarket. The company has also expanded its Hella Valuefit lighting series, a comprehensive line of affordable lighting for a multitude of vehicle applications. It includes a wide range of light bar configurations and auxiliary lighting. The company also introduced Northern Lights auxiliary lights that incorporates LED RGB technology. It allows the precise change of light colour and its intensity, offering thousands of colour combinations. The generated RGB LED ambient lighting is unique and customisable.

Centric Parts

Centric Parts has introduced a new line of StopTech GCX disc brake rotors that are specially engineered to restore OE performance and provide superior protection from rust and corrosion, even in extremely harsh conditions. The company has also introduced the next generation of disc brake pads – PQ PRO by Posi Quiet. This innovative and advanced friction line has been developed with the professional technician in mind and addresses key service issues that plague many of today’s professional service technicians and their customers, such as brake fade, weak braking response, and excessive noise. Besides, it introduced a new line of TACTICAL Police duty brake pads by StopTech to meet and exceed the challenging performance requirements of the police and law enforcement equipment market. These lab-developed brake pads have been engineered specifically to extended service life and fade-free performance under the most gruelling conditions.


Leading manufacturer of innovative automotive filtration products for the aftermarket, Purolator, announced arrival of its 2017 automotive filter catalogue. Designed for automotive technicians, counter professionals and DIYers it enables them to quickly and easily lookup filter options for all their applications by vehicle year, make and model. The company also exhibited its full offering of oil, air and cabin air filters for the aftermarket.

BBB Industries

Leader in providing new and remanufactured alternators and starters to the automotive, heavy and medium duty truck, industrial, agriculture, small engines, BBB Industries has unveiled its new ‘OE Overhaul’ brand thematic, which is a new way to communicate the company’s remanufacturing process, which painstakingly takes parts from tired and worn to good as new or better. “As an industry remanufacturing leader, we have drawn on 30 years of expertise to create a precision-tuned OE Overhaul process similar to the way new parts are made,” Gerard Yanuzzi, VP Marketing, said.


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