Hot Wheels

With several plants upping production and sales on the rise, 2013 so far is proving buoyant for the auto sector. How can small and mid-sized businesses hitch a ride?

Written by S.VanHeuvelen@rci.rogers.com

Charlie Reid


Charlie Reid & Associates

Kingston, Ont.

“These days, it is very difficult for a small to mid-sized manufacturer to deal directly with an automaker or even a Tier 1 supplier. But there is strong interest among automakers in truly innovative products; think software, widgets and production technology. Just remember that the product- introduction cycle can take years, and that the sector is ruthless—you should have solid IP rights in place before pitching anything. Further down in the tiers, industrial supplies distributors and service providers such as HR and IT consultants are in demand.”

Marc Brazeau

President & CEO

Automotive Industries

Association of Canada, Ottawa

“Telematics represents a big opportunity, and there’s lots of room in the market for new entrants— particularly on the aftermarket side. People want tools that keep them connected while in their vehicle and that allow them to monitor how their vehicles are being used; think of parents who want to track how their kids drive or fleet managers who want more efficient usage. There’s a need for companies to create these technologies, to install and maintain them, and to manage the information gathered.”

Richard Cooper

Senior Vice President



“There is demand for tools that make car-buying more comfortable. One service being offered in the U.S. is test-drive alternatives. Basically, if you want to buy a car, a company arranges a test-drive of a few vehicles in a neutral environment—no need to enter a dealership. That could do very well here. Also, there’s a need for an application that aggregates all the available car-buying information into something that helps a buyer make the best decision. Most auto brokers don’t have their fingers on the pulse, in terms of the kind of data that’s out there today.”

Originally appeared on PROFITguide.com