KnowlegeFest Takeaway: Don’t Miss This $1.5 Billion Aftermarket Opportunity

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Steve Witt KnowlegeFest

The VP of Vehicle Technology at SEMA came to KnowledgeFest to tell retailers to enter driver safety or miss out on a $1.5 billion aftermarket opportunity.

John Waraniak of SEMA gave a keynote address at KnowledgeFest challenging dealers to back the biggest growth opportunity for the aftermarket to ensure that their businesses will be around in 5 years.

John Waraniak KnowledgeFest
John Waraniak gives keynote address at KnowledgeFest

Just five Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) categories: forward collision warning systems, lane departure warning systems, blind spot detectors, heads up display and passive park assist have the potential to create $1.5 billion in revenues for the aftermarket over 5 years, according to a SEMA study.

With approximately 4,200 car audio specialty store fronts around the country, that translates to $60 to $70K new business per store, said Mobile Electronics Assn. President Chris Cook.

Of the 270 million cars on the road, 60 million have no ADAS onboard, creating a large opportunity for the aftermarket.

Waraniak was followed on stage by Steve Witt, now of Driver Safety Technology,who was disguised as a crash test dummy to drive home his message.

Steve Witt and Jeff Smith
Steve Witt and Jeff Smith

Almost 60 percent* of the 40,000-plus fatal crashes each year can be mitigated by driver safety technology, he said.

He and other suppliers implored retailers to put driver safety up front in the store and to start calling on small fleets to install the equipment in trucks owned by local electricians, plumbers, etc..

Several suppliers came up to the stage and addressed an audience of over 100 dealers. Shane Wilson at VOXX said his team scouted out stores near KnowledgeFest, held in Long Beach, CA, and found that driver safety was typically in the back corner with a display that has “an old mirror and camera from five years ago and dust all over it.  You have to bring it to the forefront. It’s a huge opportunity,” Wison said.

Jeff Smith of AAMP said he walks into stores still selling woofer boxes stacked to the ceiling and driver safety is displayed as one poster in the store. “We need to slowly migrate our business,” he told retailers.

Al & Ed’s Autosound’s John Haynes, said the retail chain sold $1.3 million in new business last year with Mobileye aftermarket crash warning products.

Even small retailers may benefit from taking responsibility for educating the public to the fact that aftermarket driver safety products can save lives.

Jon Kowanetz, an award winning fabricator and store owner was invited up the stage and  spoke of the satisfaction of selling Mobileye to help a customer stay awake when she drives long shifts at night.  Or a backup camera customer that said he was saved from running over something. “It makes me feel good that we are doing something for our community,” Kowanetz said, adding, “Looking at these statistics is scary to me as having a 7 year old kid that will one day be on the road.  Aside from the money we have a responsibility to show people in the community how to be safer.”

Witt and other stressed the importance of working with small fleets. “That local guy that has 3 tour busses, go talk to him. We just put fifty 4-channel $1,000 DVRs into busses for a local company here.”

“The first thing you ask them,” he continued, “is what’s your driving record. How are your drivers doing? Once you get the drive accident data …you can say, ‘you’ve had 5 collisions.  Ever hear of Mobileye?’”


*92 percent of fatal accidents are preventable and 60 percent of those could be mitigated by driver safety technology.

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