Executive Interview

Jan. 1, 2020
Sprague is one of a number of industry leaders interviewed by the Advanstar Automotive Group (AAG) News Network at this year's Global Automotive Aftermarket Symposium (GAAS). For more GAAS video interviews, visit www.search-autoparts.com/Videos.
Sprague is one of a number of industry leaders interviewed by the Advanstar Automotive Group (AAG) News Network at this year's Global Automotive Aftermarket Symposium (GAAS). For more GAAS video interviews, visit www.search-autoparts.com/Videos.

Motor Age: What are some of the things our industry can do to help consumers with high gas prices?

Sprague: Some of the things our industry can do to help consumers with high gas prices is educate them on what individuals can do to gain that fuel efficiency back in the used vehicles. We need to do a better job of explaining that as well as explaining to the technicians, what makes a quality part, what is the value of a quality part? Higher cost parts aren't necessarily just higher cost, but they can last longer, they can provide better efficiencies for the vehicle, creating a cost savings for the consumer in the long run.

Motor Age: How do you see the aftermarket changing over the next few years?

Sprague: Over the next three to five years, I envision the aftermarket consolidating, as manufacturers will buy more manufacturers, distributors will buy more distributors. This will lead to more efficiencies in both the manufacturing side and the distribution side. Hopefully, it will also lead to new technology usage, which will make us much more efficient, and adoption of standards that will help everybody get the right part the first time.

Motor Age: What kind of year are you expecting for NGK?

Sprague: The kind of year I'm expecting for NGK is a year of growth. We've been on a growth trend for the last four or five years. I don't foresee it to be as strong a growth as in the past, but I do expect NGK to grow, even though we're in a category that's in decline. As far as the industry goes, I think we'll have a good year because many of the last few years, the industry, we've experienced a lot of underperformed maintenance, and at some point in time, those vehicles have to be maintained. With new car sales being down this year, the used car market will benefit from that, as well as the aftermarket.

Motor Age: What are some challenges the aftermarket faces?

Sprague: The biggest issue I see the aftermarket needing to address is the retention of employees, with the baby boomers getting close to retirement, the talent and the knowledge that they hold has to be communicated downward, mentored downward, so that the leaders coming into those positions will be able to lead their companies, lead this industry better than we know it today.

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