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Superfactors set to shape parts sector

Major dealer groups are preparing to reposition themselves as 'superfactors', wholesaling all-makes replacement parts to the aftermarket.

As the industry prepares for the October 1 imposition of new block exemption regulations, an AM/Castrol survey into dealers' future strategy suggests half of the top 20 groups are preparing huge parts sales operations that will directly challenge traditional factors.

The phrase superfactor was coined by Vauxhall aftersales director Paul Daly in a speech at April's AM/Sewells aftermarket conference. He believes there is major potential for a new breed of superfactor selling parts across the market. Other leading industry figures agree. Vicky Gardner of Autopolis says: “Some parts wholesalers will struggle under the new regime. The winners will be national and regional wholesalers, buying groups and franchised dealer parts wholesalers.”

Sewells' aftermarket consultant Chris Oakham, who helped compile the survey, told AM: “Big dealer groups are preparing to attack the parts wholesaling market with some force. Around half are looking at major all-makes spare parts warehouses across the country.” The concept is not new. Last year AM revealed that industry analysts were expecting a new level of superdealer to evolve – groups that buy cars and parts in bulk before redistributing them on to small factors, dealers and garages.

“The advent of superfactors could well be the most important long-term result of block exemption,” said Oakham. “These operations will show that it is the strong who'll gain in the long run, not the weak.”

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