Sarah Bruce
Public Relations / Member Engagement
Email: sarahbruce@ara.bc.ca
Phone: 604-432-7987

Top Ten ARA Highlights of 2019

2019 was a year of change and growth for the Automotive Retailers Association and 2020 is already looking like another exciting year. Let’s take a look at the top ten highlights from 2019:

1. After eight years, over $250,000 dollars in related costs, endless hours, and many lost opportunities regarding the opinion ICBC received from the Competition Bureau, the ARA received closure this year. As a result, moving forward, the ARA and ICBC are working together to find ways to help everybody in industry succeed.

2. As industry faces labour shortages across all divisions, it is more important than ever to invest in education and new talent. This year, the Automotive Retailers Foundation (ARFI) gave away a record-breaking $28,000 in scholarships and bursaries to students pursuing careers in the automotive industry.

ICBC Vice-president Kathy Parslow at Mitchell’s Towing

3. Change is inevitable and with technology advancing as quickly as it is, body shops will need to invest in new skills and equipment to stay relevant. This year the ARA launched a performance group managed by AutoHouse Technologies, BASF, and Color Compass to help shops better measure, monitor, enable, and influence positive change to improve financial outcomes and ensure long-term sustainability.

4. As vehicles become more complex, towing practices have had to evolve as well. In November, Kathy Parslow, ICBC’s vice-president of claims customer and material damage services, spent an afternoon at Mitchell’s Towing in North Vancouver to better understand challenges affecting the towing industry. The ARA looks forward to positive changes for the towing and recovery division in the New Year.

President and CEO Adrian Scovell with Chairman Ron Tremblay and Minister Melanie Mark and her husband.

5. The 2019 ARA AGM in Osoyoos was one of the best yet, with the highest attendance in recent years, the first-ever show and shine, engagement from multiple senior managers from ICBC, and a special guest appearance from Honourable Melanie Mark, ministry of advanced education, skills and training, who spoke passionately about investing in trades as a way to drive the economy.

6. This year, the ARA saw a few changes in management and staff to lead the association into a successful new decade. Veteran executive Adrian Scovell, previously director, group insurance and business development, stepped into the role of president and CEO. Dejla Sabanac brought her experience in the automotive sales market into her new role as licensed motor dealer and auto rental advisor. Sarah Bruce took on coordinating public relations and member engagement in addition to her role as assistant editor/publisher, and Iva Kestrankova joined the ARP team as editorial assistant and receptionist.

7. The ARA hosted its first-ever Women and Diversity in the Automotive Industry event back in June. The event welcomed and engaged everyone in the industry and those looking to get into the industry to promote inclusivity and develop strategies to attract new talent into automotive careers.

ARA’s first-ever Women and Diversity in the Automotive Industry event was a success!

8. The B.C. Auto Recyclers were named division of the year, which gave them a chance to showcase how recycled parts are essential to keeping the entire industry viable. One of their biggest accomplishments of the year was launching the ARA Training Centre of Excellence, which hosts a number of online courses to train and certify automotive dismantlers.

9. With evolving advancements constantly revolutionizing the automotive industry, technology often progresses faster than regulations can keep up. An emerging trend of motorized scooters, bicycles, skateboards, etc. that can surpass speeds of 32Km/h challenge the current Motor Vehicle Act. Thus, the motorcycle and powersports division called a meeting with stakeholders from ICBC, Ministry of Transportation, Vehicle Sales Authority, TransLink, and the BC Association of Chiefs of Police to discuss how to categorize and regulate this new form of transportation.

10. Communicating with stakeholders, government, the general motoring public, and to you, the members has been a priority this year. The ARA appeared in the media a number of times this year—from Global News and CKNW to The Province/Vancouver Sun and Today’s Drive—advocating on behalf of members and industry. That being said, remember, we are your association and only through communication can your voice be heard, so please reach out and let us know what we can better do to help you in 2020 and beyond.

Happy New Year everyone!