SEMA eNews Vol. 12, No. 34, August 27, 2009

PRO Delivers Groundbreaking OEM Panel Discussion

  PRO Planning Meeting Panel
  The recent PRO Long Range Planning meeting featured representatives from Ford, GM and Chrysler discussing each OEM's parts and accessories divisions and their roles and relationships with the specialty-equipment industry.

The Professional Restylers Organization (PRO), a SEMA council dedicated to the prosperity of the restyling segment of the specialty-equipment industry, held its annual Long Range Planning (LRP) meeting on June 18–19, in Detroit.
A highlight of the meeting was a panel discussion with seven
representatives from Ford, GM and Chrysler. All of the panelists
represented the OEM parts and accessory divisions, and the discussion
centered on the OEM’s relationship with the aftermarket.

 

On the panel were:

Ford Motor Company

  • Warren Nally, Manager-Aftermarket Support Group
  • Jim Abraham, Licensed Accessories Manager-Vehicle Personalization
  • Kevin Powell, Director-Product & Program Development

GM

  • Jeff Edwards, Director GM Accessories
  • Sandor Piszar, Senior Sales and Marketing Manager GM Accessories

Mopar

  • Tom Dailey, Manager-Accessory Product Planning
  • Doug Johnson, Product Planner, Cross Vehicle and Electronic Accessories

PRO
members in attendance acknowledged the get together as groundbreaking in
establishing relationships between the automakers and the restyling
industry. Each of the automakers have a slightly different approach to
their company’s interaction with the aftermarket. The opportunity to
hear first hand from the people who manage the programs was invaluable.

 

“Having
seven executives from GM, Ford and Chrysler participate in the PRO LRP
this year demonstrates how we all can gain by an open dialogue,” said
Bill North, business development manager, car and light truck division
of Webasto Product North America and a member of the PRO Select Committee.
“The insight gained by industry members who attended this event was
priceless as we all obtained a new understanding of the current dynamic
within the accessory divisions of each car company. I look forward to
an ongoing relationship with these car companies, and they have all
pledged to participate with us again.”

 

The OEM representatives talked openly about how they see themselves fitting into the aftermarket.

 

“This
was the first time I attended a SEMA PRO event. I was thoroughly
impressed with the organization, knowledge and candor of members I was
able to interact with,” said Jim Abraham of Ford Vehicle
Personalization. “Forums like this enable a dialogue that is mutually
beneficial to both the auto manufacturer and the auto aftermarket
companies alike.”

 

PRO
members were quick to discuss the SEMA ProPledge warranty program with
the OEM representatives as an indicator of how dedicated the Restyling
Industry is in pursuit of quality.

 

“As
a veteran restyler, I would say the recent PRO Long Range Planning
Meeting stood out as one of the most productive in recent memory,” said
Joey Johnston of Tops & Trends Inc. and a PRO Select Committee
member. “The ability for PRO members to interact directly with a panel
of senior OE[M] managers from Chrysler, Ford and GM was groundbreaking.
PRO members and the OE[M] panel openly discussed opportunities and
challenges that lie ahead for each. OE[M] panel members welcomed the
new SEMA ProPledge initiative as a step in the right direction, thereby
helping ensure customers have access to quality aftermarket products
and installations.”

 

“As
a representative of the OE[M] vehicle personalization and accessories
world, I see the ProPledge program as a value-add and an impressive
selling feature because it helps to reinforce the quality and
peace-of-mind philosophy that the automotive aftermarket is capable of
delivering,” said Ford’s Jim Abraham.

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