IAAF conference outlines the path to a prosperous future

The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF) held its annual conference on 8 December – in person for the first time since the pandemic – with the theme of overcoming adversity for a prosperous automotive aftermarket future.

The Federation’s conference, the largest in its history, provided a detailed and in-depth look at the challenges of Brexit, Covid-19 and supply chain issues, as well as the opportunities available to aftermarket businesses for a thriving future.

Hosted by IAAF’s chief executive, Mark Field, this year’s event was once again sponsored by automotive aftermarket specialist, Alliance Automotive Group.

Field kicked off the proceedings by welcoming delegates back to the DoubleTree by Hilton in Milton Keynes and thanking members for the support over the past couple of years as the world – and industry – returns to the ‘new normal’. Field also outlined the changes that have been happening in the Federation, including introducing the IAAF’s new training academy to inspire the next generation, and its efforts with UK AFCAR in lobbying government regarding MOTs and Block Exemption Regulations.

Mark concluded his speech explaining:

“It’s time for the aftermarket to come out of the shadows and promote itself better to attract the best talent and highlight its brilliance. IAAF is embracing change so it can positively impact all members.”

This was all before announcing the first speaker of the day, Neil Pattemore from UK AFCAR & IAAF Technical Director to the stage. Pattemore discussed the changes in the aftermarket, the access available to industry data, as well as giving an insight into legislation affecting the UK automotive aftermarket in a post-Brexit era.

Next up was Matt Cleevely of Cleevely EV, talking attendees through the transition for the sector into electric vehicles (EVs) and how the aftermarket is in a strong position to look after the future of the market.

After a short break, hotly anticipated former SAS Soldier, sniper and paratrooper, Robin Horsfall, delivered the keynote speech, meeting the conference theme of ‘overcoming adversity’ with his life experience – and discussing the importance of good leadership.

Lunch was served after Robin’s powerful talk, and when delegates returned to the conference room, Vicky Pryce, Chief Economic Adviser and a board member at the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) provided an economic update and the effects on the sector.

Quentin Le Hetet from GIPA hit the stage next, offering an informative insight into where the aftermarket is heading in the not-so-distant future, as he presented the findings of the first IAAF Aftermarket Trend Index.

To conclude the informative line up of speakers, members heard from Julia Muir, CEO of Gaia Innovation and Founder of the Automotive 30% Club, who set out how the aftermarket can achieve and support a better gender balance within the automotive industry.

Finally, Field was welcomed back onto the stage to wrap up the conference, delivering his concluding remarks and thanking attendees, speakers, service members and the hotel.

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