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Friday, 31 May 2019 19:30

In Reverse: The 1970s - Trade Associations Become a Driving Force

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Despite the need for a single national association and among new state-level auto body associations popping up, the ABAA said each state association must be strong. Many industry problems must be addressed with state legislators—a job best served by one state-level association as opposed to a national organization or a number of smaller, state-level associations. Among the items to be addressed at the state level are: licensing of shops, licensing of appraisers, certification of technicians and state aid for education for technicians in the auto body industry.


Trade Shows


The California Auto Body Association announced that they will sponsor their second trade show and convention, known as the Western States Autobody Trade Show, at the Sheraton Palace Hotel in San Francisco. Around 6,000 people were expected to attend. Over 3,000 attended the first show held in Los Angeles in 1969. The trade show theme is “Total Involvement.” It was later reported that over 3,000 repairers and other industry people attended the show featuring 80 exhibitors with a number of companies conducting clinics. Starting perhaps in the 1950s and certainly into the 1960s, there were many small local and regional trade shows sponsored by the local auto body associations. They got little attention except in their local market, mainly because there was no national trade media. With the advent of the 1970s and nationwide coverage of the industry, these shows started to attract a larger audience.


In the fall of 1970, the ABAA was getting ready for their fifth annual convention and trade show in Hollywood, Florida. They were expecting to have 125 booths exhibiting. The theme for the show was “Partners in Progress,” pulling together the three main components of the industry: manufacturers, body shops and jobbers. Manufacturers, in this case, refer to those who make auto body equipment. There was no mention of paint manufacturers or OE’s. However, it is not surprising about the OE’s, since they were not on good terms with the collision industry. Parts availability and parts damage was still a problem.


Improved Public Image


Shop owners were also beginning to become more conscious of their image and how they were perceived by the public. In the summer of 1970 at the IGOA convention in Texas, shop owners adopted a five-year plan to improve the image of shops to customers. Much of what was discussed during a five-man panel was not so much the physical condition of the shop, but more about how shop customers are treated.

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