I recently wrote about a commercial I saw that pointed out that the minivan being featured was powered by a gas engine. This commercial is among the earliest signals of the seismic shift coming to the world of personal transportation, one in which electric and autonomous vehicles will eventually overtake the internal combustion engine. 

Aftermarket Intel Editor and Publisher Mark Phillips

Just today, I watched a test run of a new Mercedes all-electric vehicle that features a battery pack capable of more than 400 miles of range. (My current vehicle tells me I get about 360 miles of range after a fill-up at the gas station.) Range or the expected drive distance on a single charge is probably the single biggest determinant, next to cost, for whether someone will buy an electric vehicle.

Lately, some of the biggest companies in the global automotive aftermarket are making big changes in response to the decline of the internal combustion engine. Some may sell off divisions or take other actions to ready themselves. This is normal. The sky is not falling. But the sky is changing colors (metaphorically speaking, of course) and things are going to begin to look different. 

This is a photo of a Tesla Model S taking a curve.

I’ve heard a lot of people saying the talk of the death of the internal combustion engine is premature. I beg to differ. It’s coming, coming more quickly than many people think and we need to deal with that because it’s what the world is demanding and favoring.

In fact, a survey released Wednesday by Adobe Analytics reveals that 40 percent of Americans over the age of 18 are leaning toward buying a self-driving vehicle, Reuters reported. Why? They want to be able to do more in their vehicle than just sit and drive. Half want to be able to enjoy food and drinks (not alcohol, at least I don’t think!). More than 30 percent want to be able to work while the car drives. Thirty percent want to be able to sleep. 

That’s where the automotive aftermarket comes in. Regardless of what is powering a vehicle, or what people want to do in their vehicle, replacement parts will always be needed. Things wear out! 

No one can get parts to an independent repair facility faster than the automotive aftermarket. Period. This is where our great industry shines, among many other places.

We all need to focus on the path the world is taking and work from that. A wise person once said survival favors those who most easily adapt.

Let’s continue to adapt!

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