For 56 consecutive years, Northwood University in Midland, Michigan has been hosting the Northwood University International Auto Show. The show boasts to be one of the largest in North America and is entirely student-run. Annually, the show attracts thousands of guests from all around the country. Nearly every new car manufacturer is represented including Alfa Romeo and Volkswagen. Along with the new car section, there is a large section dedicated to showcasing the Automotive Aftermarket.

This section of the Northwood Auto Show hosts over 20 companies each year. Aftermarket companies work with students to ensure they are well represented, as students learn real-world experience by managing their trade show booths. Tenneco, Base Line Rally, Tuscany, Dorman, Chevy Performance, Stinger Motorsport, QTA, Amsoil, AIT-Trakmotive, HD Detailing, Motorad, Dana, MAHLE, NGK Spark Plugs, Standard Motor Products, Mevotech, Gates, Tire Hyderz, Pronto/Federated Auto Parts, and Liquivinyl were all represented at this year’s show. 

The Northwood Aftermarket Management major is differentiated from other programs, because it applies the context of automotive beyond the textbook with real life application. Students apply knowledge from the classroom and supplement it in a trade show environment, revolving around customer interaction. 

The automotive aftermarket industry has a high demand for students graduating from the Automotive Aftermarket Management program at Northwood University. Graduates of the program make excellent career candidates for the industry, because they graduate with a strong understanding of aftermarket distribution, sales, marketing, and product/category management, as well as industry terminology, channels of distributions and business practices unique to the aftermarket. 

Last fall, the Aftermarket Club pitched an idea to create a “Project Car” to promote the differentiated degree in Automotive Aftermarket Management to Northwood’s Project 100 donor panel. Each semester, Project 100, an alumnus run program, awards a $10,000 grant to a student organization or academic program to enrich Northwood University’s campus. The Aftermarket Club is a student-run organization designed for students who have a passion for the automotive aftermarket industry. This year was significant for the Aftermarket program, as the Northwood University Aftermarket Club Project car was unveiled after nine months of hard work.  

Immediately, students put their business acumen to work to create a budget, timeline and marketing plan. After much deliberation, a BMW E30 was chosen as the project car, and a 1989 BMW 325is was purchased. “While the Aftermarket Management program at Northwood is unique and provides students with knowledge of the business side of the industry, this project would add a hands-on element to the program,” said Collin Mikottis, Automotive Aftermarket Management major and marketing chair of the Aftermarket Club. 

“The aftermarket industry has been very supportive of our program by offering internships, sponsoring students for industry events and now supporting an awareness campaign to bring more young people into the industry. We look forward to strengthening our relationship with aftermarket leaders,” said Donna Wagner, Department Chair, Automotive Aftermarket Management. 

Companies supporting the Aftermarket Club through monetary, and parts and labor donations include: Northwood University Alumni & Friends, NGK Spark Plugs, Kauth & Mayeur, High Definition Detailing, Spectra Premium Industries, ZF Aftermarket US & Canada, Fortune Auto, URO Parts, Powerflex, Autobahn Country Club, Motorcar Parts of America, Dayco, Whiteline, MAHLE, CD Dents, ODYSSEY Batteries, Fremax Brasil, TrakMotive, Jordan Missig Racing, and Safelite AutoGlass.

Students interested in pursuing a career in the automotive industry are encouraged to learn more at


Northwood University is committed to the most personal attention to prepare students for success in their careers and in their communities; it promotes critical thinking skills, personal effectiveness, and the importance of free-enterprise, ethics, individual freedom and personal responsibility.

Private, nonprofit, and accredited, Northwood University specializes in managerial and entrepreneurial education at a full-service, residential campus located in Midland, Michigan. Adult Degree Program centers are located in multiple states and online. The DeVos Graduate School of Management offers MBA and MS degrees with day and evening programming in Michigan and Texas, and online. The Michigan-based Alden B. Dow Center for Creativity and Enterprise provides system-wide expertise in family enterprise, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, and new business development. International education is offered through study abroad and in program centers in Switzerland, China (Changchun and Wuxi), and Sri Lanka. For additional information regarding Northwood University, go to

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