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Euro Car Parts expands with French carmakers

Euro Car Parts, a £45m turnover company based in Wembley, London, specialises in supplying niche parts to independent repairers and franchised dealers.

Renowned for its extensive range of German car parts – including BMW, VW and Mercedes-Benz – it expanded the range in February to include French manufacturers Peugeot, Citroen and Renault.

Managing director Sukhpal Singh believes the European market offers the company “immense potential” for expansion. He is eyeing carmakers like Skoda, Seat and Fiat for the next stage in the company's development.

Euro Car Parts opened seven sites this year, taking the network to 23, and is planning more premises to cover open points including Scotland and Wales.

Sukhpal Singh said: “We open sites where they are needed – in areas where German and French manufacturers are strong – so there will be an opportunity to sell more parts.

“We intend to double turnover in the next five years by expanding the product range with other manufacturers and opening more sites.”

Sukhpal Singh, a Ugandan refugee, set up Euro Car Parts in 1978 as a single site parts/accessories shop called Highway Autos. The company was renamed Euro Car Parts in 1984 when it began importing German car parts.

The core customer base is independent workshops, servicing outlets and specialist marque repairers, with some retail business. Euro Car Parts also supplies franchised dealers, particularly when they suffer from supply shortages.

“Dealer groups' initiatives with manufacturers like Ford Rapid Fit and Vauxhall MasterFit means they have an all-makes offer. We are well-placed to support them,” said Sukhpal Singh.

“We also do business with a lot of dealers who suffer from parts availability – if there is a shortage, word quickly gets round the dealer network that we have a supply.”

The company offers a three-tier product range: manufacturer original parts, non-manufacturer-branded original equipment sourced from parts suppliers and non-original parts, which it dubs “alternative quality”.

Neil Curran, Euro Car Parts divisional sales manager, said: “We have solid relationships with manufacturers in Europe – our business has been established on the back of this. As a result, we rarely have problems with original equipment supply.”

Sales had benefited from a “slack attitude” by some dealers' parts departments toward retailing parts to independent businesses, he said. “We have been able to capitalise on this.”

Euro Car Parts went online this year. The website – www.eurocarparts.com – enables trade and retail buyers to access 45,000 parts from the company's 60,000-strong product line. They can pay online, by post or by faxing credit card details.

Marketing manager Chris Barella, a former Finelist manager, said: “The website enables us to have coverage in areas where we currently have no stores.

“It creates awareness and is helping to drive more traffic into our outlets. In June we sold £80,000 worth of parts online.”

The website also contains a recommended list of garages – a request by retail customers – which helps them to increase business.

The Wembley premises stocks £10m worth of products, largely for cars aged three to 12 years old – models that fall outside manufacturers' three-year warranty periods.

“As new models are launched we are already searching for parts ready to supply in the future,” said Mr Barella. “We do supply parts for cars less than three years old, especially for accident repair.”

Euro Car Parts puts its success down to its team of people –many come from a dealer background.

Sukhpal Singh said: “We are in this position because we have a great team of professional people. They have helped grow the business year after year.”

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