Don't Blink, or You Might Miss Something: AAIW Highlights

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Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week (AAIW) proved to be a great success this year and busier than ever. We, here at National Oil & Lube News found ourselves comparing fitness trackers at the end of each day due to the incredible amount of walking the week entailed.

The event began November 1, as we stepped into the halls of the Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo (AAPEX) and the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA). Rows and rows of booths displayed the industry’s finest innovations alongside the New Products Showcase, which featured close to 2,500 new items.

The AAPEX New Product winners included Blue Sage Software for Pacesetter Plus; ITW Global Brands for Slime Pro-Series Super Duty Inflator; Dupli-Color/VHT for Dupli-Color Custom Wrap Removable Coating, Neon; SBI Smart Brands International (America) Ltd. for Michelin Tri-Light Flashlight Series; Penray Companies Inc., for Catalytic Converter Cleaner 2901; Federal-Mogul Motorparts for Moog Complete Pre-Assembled Steering Linkage; Mahle Service Solutions for SmartACX Mobile Phone App; Wagan Corporation for Fred Light 2.0 and JohnDow Industries for Tire Taxi.

The AAPEX New Packaging winners included Advics North America, Inc. for Copper- Free Ceramic Brake Pad; Factory Motor Parts for Splash Resealable Ice Melt Shaker Bags; ITW Global Brands for Slime Pro-Series; Gold Eagle Co. for Start Your Engines! Fuel System Revitalizer and Gold Eagle Co. for Heet Gas-Line Antifreeze Cap-less Compliant Bottle.

The educational opportunities seemed to be endless, as well, with over 100 sessions to choose from. A few highlights from the education sessions include Terri Sjodin’s presentation on the nine biggest sales presentation mistakes and how to avoid them. A few other standout sessions included a human resources segment designed to help employers handle difficult and unusual situations in the workplace, a marketing strategies bit on making the most of your advertising dollars and an informative discussion on the effects of embedded software and copyright law in the aftermarket parts and service industry. The session on the importance of effectively communicating your message both verbally and visually was a favorite of ours. In the presentation, Carla Johnson stressed the concept that people need to know why what they’re buying is of value.

With so much to do and see, attendees had to keep their heads on a swivel so as not to miss the excitement and the many celebrities in attendance. Shell and actor Sung Kang, best known for his role in the “Fast and Furious” series, celebrated the success of Project Underdog — a program designed to inspire young people to pursue their automotive professional dreams. Kang, along with a few students from Alhambra High School in Alhambra, California, transformed a 1972 Ford Maverick that was on display at the Shell booth. It was truly inspiring to see the passion these students have for their craft. A few other special appearances included Jim and Mike Ring, award-winning custom automotive builders, from Ringbrothers, Chip Foose from “Overhaulin,” Richard Rawlings and Aaron Kaufman from “Gas Monkey Garage” and Richard Petty himself, just to name a few.

AAPEX and SEMA never disappoint and are a fantastic way to close out each year on a high note. These shows are a great way to network and build lasting connections and friendships with other passionate motor heads from around the world. We hope you enjoyed the events as much as we did. Stay tuned next month when we will feature our favorite products from the show.  

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