July 1, 2009 marked the 10th anniversary of the Automotive Aftermarket
Industry Association (AAIA), the only automotive aftermarket trade
association that represents the shared interests of manufacturers,
distributors, retailers, service and repair businesses, program groups,
manufacturers’ reps, educators, publishers and other specialized
Looking back on this milestone, AAIA President and CEO Kathleen Schmatz
acknowledged that what the volunteer leaders envisioned and
accomplished for the newly merged groups was no easy task.
“Ten years ago aftermarket volunteer leaders worked hard to merge the
talents and know-how of what was the ‘retail’ side of the business
(APAA) with what was the ‘traditional’ side of the business (ASIA).
‘Twas no small feat,” Schmatz said. “The architects of this ‘coming
together’ knew that they could accomplish more in concert: more member
benefits, more legislative victories, more market research, more
e-commerce solutions, more education, more marketing services and
create a much more responsive association as the industry’s advocate."
While those involved in founding the organization mapped out a specific
game plan, many changes within the automotive aftermarket in the past
decade allowed those plans to expand and evolve, says Schmatz.
So what’s ahead for AAIA? There is much to do, says Schmatz.
“AAIA needs to continue to possess the strength, leadership, resources,
influence and stature to actively advocate for the more vehicle
aftermarket,” Schmatz said. “We have much to do in Washington to
guarantee that legislators and regulators appreciate the intensity of
the industry and our many contributions to the motoring public. We need
to re-double our commitment to our members through leadership,
community and public education. We need to be life-long students of the
industry and market changes to anticipate future requirements for our
members. And we need to always recruit future leaders to all levels of
A timeline of AAIA’s milestones over the past 10 years is featured in the June/July issue of Aftermarket Insider, posted on www.aftermarket.org.