Real-Time and Relevant Data With JF Champagne

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AIA Canada President JF Champagne explains the significance of the partnership with IHS Markit.

AIA Canada’s partnership with IHS Markit adds new and valuable data resources for the aftermarket sector.

In 2021, AIA Canada announced that it had partnered with IHS Markit to bring accurate research information to its members and the automotive aftermarket here in Canada.

As part of this initiative, the IHS Global Demand Tracker is being made available to AIA Members, allowing access to real-time information related to vehicle sales at a national level.

To gain a little understanding of the significance of this partnership and what it means going forward, Autosphere.ca interviewed AIA Canada President JF Champagne.

AIA Canada and IHS Markit partnership

Autosphere: How did the idea of this partnership come about?

JF Champagne: What we’ve seen through the pandemic, is an increasing need from our members and the community to really get a better understanding of consumer behaviour and how it will evolve in the “new normal,” post-pandemic environment in terms of repair and maintenance of the vehicle.

There is also a second aspect in that that the automotive aftermarket is greatly impacted by kilometres driven and this is another big question facing us post-pandemic.

We need to be asking how much Canadians are going to continue using their vehicles not only for commuting, but other things like vacationing, so that is something else in terms of research we are focused on. In essence, the goal is to look at all aspects of consumer behaviour related to online shopping.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw a lot more people becoming comfortable using e-commerce and of course, there is also the question of how that is going to impact brick and mortar stores, specifically as it relates to the aftermarket.

Thirdly, we’re also focusing on a business count index for every single facility in both the mechanical and collision repair sector in Canada. From this we really want to be able to get a greater understanding of the competitive landscape for each aftermarket sub-sector, so that’s essentially what we’re thinking about in terms of research.

AIA Canada’s strategic partnerships

Can you tell us about some of the strategic partnerships you’ve been able to develop to pursue this type of research?

JFC: If we go back to the 2020 AIA Outlook Study that was conducted with the support of Ernst & Young (EY), this is really a testimony of our approach to continuing building very strategic, and robust strategic partnerships specifically in the areas of research.

We were very pleased with the feedback we got from the Outlook Study, and the partnership with EY really allowed us to raise the bar in terms of the quality of the research.

In the same vein, thinking about those types of partnerships is what led us to work with IHS Markit and the Global Auto Demand Tracker tool we’re able to offer to our members. Here, we are focusing more on a country-level analysis of light vehicle sales which is another significant driver in terms of demand for the automotive aftermarket industry.

Although this partnership has only just begun, we see it growing into another strong and long-lasting relationship. We’ve also been very pleased in being able to identify a U.S.-based research partner that can use big data for mobility— bringing kilometres-driven data to our market here in Canada. We really believe this is the best way you can identify factual information specifically related to kilometres driven.

In summary, we are very happy about this and overall, the strategic partnerships we have been able to build for the future.

Observations about global demand

Are there any particularly interesting observations as it relates to global demand you’d like to share at present?

JFC: Kilometres driven is probably the number one question being asked by many of our members and stakeholders and it really comes down to trying to keep your finger on the pulse of what is going to happen, such as whether people will start commuting again or if many will continue to work from home.

And when we look at vacation, what percentage of Canadians are going to drive versus fly somewhere? These questions regularly come up so we’re really focusing on that aspect. We also have to consider how Canadians are continuing to embrace and expand the use of e-commerce and how COVID-19 has really impacted consumer spending for vehicle servicing and maintenance related to kilometres driven.

What we hear time and again is the need for our members to be able to access real-time data on an ongoing basis. So, we’re going to be working on more and more projects that will enable that with up-to-the-minute data access.

Global Demand Tracker as a gamechanger

Moving forward, how do you see that adding the Global Demand Tracker to AIA’s list of resources serves as a potential gamechanger for aftermarket manufacturers, suppliers, distributors and even service providers?

JFC: We realize that vehicle age and vehicle sales are very important for the market, but so are things like real-time data tools. Traditionally, we would publish our AIA Outlook Study which was 150 pages long and perfect bound.

Moving forward, having online dashboards and dynamic data points is really what’s needed and by partnering with IHS we can use tools like the Global Auto Demand Tracker to extend our data visualization capability and provide added value for our members and the industry.

Final thoughts

Anything else you’d like to discuss?

JFC: As mentioned, we are and will continue working with new research vendors to find innovative methods and practices when it comes to data access and cultivation. Giving our members the ability to access the information they need when they need it is really the cornerstone of what we’re doing.

I’ll finish by saying that we will continue to work on that and please stay posted for our next initiative focused specifically on kilometres driven, which is going to be a major announcement and really designed to drive a lot of value for our members.



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