The Auto International Association (AIA) is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. Founded in 1981, AIA’s dual missions are to champion free and fair trade between the international automotive parts community and the North American aftermarket, and to promote the unique qualities associated with the distribution of parts for import nameplate vehicles.
AIA became a segment of the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA) in 2002. Members include international manufacturers, manufacturers’ representatives, importers, retailers, distributors, wholesalers, trade media, consultants and others committed to serving the import aftermarket.
“I have a special affiliation with AIA beyond the segment connection with AAIA,” said Kathleen Schmatz, AAIA president and CEO. “I was at the original meeting that created AIA on the same day as President Reagan was inaugurated and the American hostages were released in Iran.
“I’ve seen first-hand the steady growth and influence of this group over the past 30 years,” Schmatz said. “Congratulations to all of the members and volunteer leaders who have invested the vision and direction to position AIA as a dynamic force within our association and a leader in the import marketplace.”
“Thirty years ago, AIA was founded to provide a bulwark against government and OEM interests whose goal was to restrict the ability of the aftermarket to provide the best possible products and services to our customers,” said Brian Cohn, president, Multi Parts Supply USA, Inc., and outgoing AIA chairman. “Today, on behalf of more than 800 member companies and with the staunch support of AAIA, we continue to lead the fight for free and fair trade.”
Stephen Bearden, president, H.B. International Marketing Services, Inc. and AIA chairman-elect said, “As I begin my new chairmanship, I want our members to know that we will celebrate this anniversary by dedicating our board of directors to finding new and improved ways to service them in our three key areas: by acting as a watchdog and voice in government affairs; by providing educational opportunities to enhance the skill and knowledge of the import supply chain; and by helping our members do more business together through trade and networking events both live at AAPEX and through upcoming virtual initiatives.”