Thursday, 09 November 2017 00:17

First Legislative Summit in Five Years Hosted by Auto Care Association

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 The first day of the 2017 Legislative Summit focused on preparing attendees for the next day's legislative meetings. The first day of the 2017 Legislative Summit focused on preparing attendees for the next day's legislative meetings.

On Oct. 3 and 4, the Auto Care Association stormed Washington, D.C. for its first Legislative Summit in five years. 

David Pinkham, Manager of Government Affairs for the Auto Care Association, shared, "We were incredibly pleased with how the Auto Care Legislative Summit turned out. Eighty industry professionals attended a total of 121 meetings with congressional offices, 36 of which were with the actual members of Congress. The response was very positive. Attendees we spoke with during and after the Legislative Summit found it to be not only educational from a professional standpoint, but rewarding on a personal level. Participating in the public policy process is something everyone should have the chance to experience.

"Those who participated in the Summit were passionate about the issue topics and understood the importance of advocating on behalf of their company and the industry as a whole. The issues we chose to focus on included consumer ownership and access to wirelessly-transmitted vehicle data, protected access to copyrighted vehicle software by service providers and replacement parts manufacturers, and comprehensive tax reform.”

The first day of the Legislative Summit was dedicated to preparing attendees for the next day's legislative meeting, briefing them on the issues. The day also included Bob Woodward's Keynote Address and an overview of NHTSA's autonomous vehicle guidance presented by NHTSA's Association Administrator of Vehicle Safety Research, Nat Beuse.

"While the Auto Care Association has brought members to Capitol Hill numerous times in recent years, this was the first Auto Care Legislative Summit since 2012. With a new administration and numerous industry-specific issues garnering attention in Congress, we felt it was important to bring back a large-scale Capitol Hill event in order to reintroduce legislators to our industry and further engage our membership on the issues," Pinkham stated. "While we hope to grow the total number of participants at future events, the impact our members had during their meetings on Capitol Hill far exceeded our expectations. Not only did our guys meet with more members of Congress than expected, but the issues we discussed happened to be top-of-mind for many offices, as autonomous vehicle legislation, which included an amendment supported by our industry, was being marked up that very same day."

The Auto Care Association held its 2017 Legislative Summit in order to bring attention to issues the industry faces. 

According to Pinkham, "With 4.6 million jobs nationwide and over $380 billion in annual economic impact, we are the largest U.S. industry no one has heard about. When people take their vehicle in for service, they expect to have the right parts installed or repaired at a fair price and in a short amount of time; however, that is only possible if there is an interconnected, competitive vehicle repair market. The issues that concern our industry, including access to vehicle data and software, have to do with preserving that competitive marketplace for the consumer.

"The Auto Care Association is unique in that it represents the entire industry supply chain, from parts manufacturers to wholesale distributors to retailers and service facilities. Our members attend our events because they get exposure to other parts of the business, which in many cases are their customers. And when everyone has the same objective, as was the case with the Legislative Summit, the environment of collaboration and engagement is unmatched."

Although the Auto Care Association has not decided when it will hold its next Legislative Summit, the association does not intend to wait five years again because of the success of this year's event. The association will continue to facilitate issue-specific meetings with smaller groups on Capitol Hill in the meantime. 

For more information on association, visit www.autocare.org.