b'Outperform the Storm.The Volkswagen group regained the position of largest carmanufacturerinworldlastyear,animpressive achievement.Combinedwiththeirdecentpro\x1ft marginsonewouldexpecttheyarealsooneofthe mostvaluablecompaniesinEurope,right? Well,not really, on any given day they rank somewhere around spot 25. Probably you \x1fnd it similarly surprising as I do that by a large margin the most valuable company in Europe is the LVMH group, a conglomerate of the most expensivefashion,champagne,wineandjewelry brands you can buy.While not obvious on \x1frst sight, there seems to be an interestingcorrelationbetweenthemostexclusive consumer brands, market valuations and the European AutomotiveAftermarket.Duringtheworsteconomic downturntwoyearsago,LVMHthrivedenormously and so did the aftermarket. The simple logic is that the well-situatedconsumercontinuesspendingfor desirablegoodsandservicesnomatterwhatthe economic environment looks like, there may even be a desire to compensate for emotional hardship through shopping, as cynical as it may sound.TheVAGgroupunderstandsthatverywelldespite being a mega volume producer in many markets. Their car lines with broadest global recognition, however, are their premium brands of Porsche and Audi. They turned niche luxury and sports car production into respectable volume plays as well. And the intended IPO of Porsche shows,howwelltheyunderstandthatpredictable, recession-proofhigh-endallurecreatesexceptional value, just like LVMH.The lesson here for us in the Aftermarket, I believe, is very simple. Focusing on car makes that are the most desirableandupscaleinthemarketplaceguarantee stableandhigh-valuerepairvolumewitha customer-base that invests into their objects of desire come rain or shine. This allows for building businesses with a strong and stable foundation and allows all of us to strive to become the LVMH of Automotive Repair!Wishing you an enjoyable summer!Yours,Thomas BeerCEO'