The recently launched NexDrive EV service program was the topic of two presentations: A kickoff presentation by Martyn Johns, National Director, NAPA Autopro and Emerging Technologies and one by .John O’Dowd (pictured), vice president of marketing for NAPA Auto Parts Canada, that served to reinforce the positioning of the program.
The recently launched NexDrive program was front and centre at the recent NAPA Autopro Ontario convention.
Held at the Blue Mountain resort in Collingwood, Ont., the event marked the return of the in-person trade show and conference event, the first since 2018.
A trade show event dovetailed with cocktails and dinner on the opening Friday evening, with most activities being held the following Saturday, when presentations and training sessions kicked off.
NAPA Autopro attendees had their first opportunity to get the details of the NexDrive Powered by NAPA program designed to address the coming EV and related mobility opportunity. The service brand was recently launched in a limited release into the Quebec market.
“We’re creating a roadmap here in NAPA that is going to change the aftermarket forever,” said Martyn Johns, National Director, NAPA Autopro and Emerging Technologies.
“The next iteration of the market in EV and electrification is not going to be the same as it is today. Right now, we’ve got a whole lot of noise that’s happening in the marketplace. You have articles, you have podcasts, you have experts trying to explain to us the good, the bad and the ugly about electrification and EV vehicles.”
Adoptions rates are highly regional, said Johns, from as high as one in seven in B.C., to one in 75 in Ontario, but that even then is highly focused on pockets within the Canadian geography.
“We had to create a brand that allowed us to be able to service all next generation vehicles, whether it be electric, plugin hybrid hydrogen fuel cell technology, whatever the new propulsion in the future is going to be, whether it’s electric vehicle or not. We had to stake at a space where Napa was going to lead.”
Johns outlined the history of NexDrive, from its creation by a Genuine Parts Company subsidiary in the Benelux market where EV sales are as high as 40%, to it’s recent launch in Quebec.
“There’s lots of brands in the world in terms of automotive, but there is no global repair brand. NexDrive will be a global world repair brand. This isn’t just about creating a marketing program so we can say we sell EV parts. This is really creating a foundation and an infrastructure that allows you to service EV vehicles and generate value to the consumer at the same time.”
The event also included inspirational presentations by veteran sales trainer Norm Rose, Excel Sales Consulting and Ron Tite, Church + State, covering a variety of topics on leadership and connecting with staff and customers.
The program also included breakouts sessions.
Murray Voth, RPM Training, talked margins, markup and profit with Autopro shop owners with three busy sessions.
Melanie Winter and Sarah Serrano explained the details of the Support Ontario Youth program designed to assist employers and apprentices manage the apprenticeship process, taking much of the administrative load away from employers and helping to ensure continuity for apprentices.
A third breakout sessions provided attendees with details of programs and promotions being offered to NAPA Autopro businesses.
Among the most popular of the general session offerings was the owners panel featuring shop owners Bill Marr, Garrison Auto Service, Cindy Biss, Shawn’s Auto Service, Gerry Lucuyer, Rocktown Automotive, and Dave Halls, Amaranth Auto Service.
Wide ranging discussions about each shop’s development also covered their approach to leadership and connecting with customers and staff and strategies for success. Cindy Biss got a lot of heads nodding in the audience when she explained her approach. “Whoever you are, when you are standing in front of me, you are the most important person in the room.”
While there was certainly ample opportunity learn about the many offerings, those in attendance were simply happy to have the opportunity to meet face to face and catch up after a long break from live events.
The event wrapped up with anniversary recognition for shops—covering several years’ worth of anniversaries—and wrapped with a live band and dancing and conversations that went late into the night.