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Franchise sector has growing share of aftermarket parts trade

Independent garage survey responses to the latest Automotive Parts Distribution Trend Index produced by aftermarket analyst Brian Taylor indicates the proportion of parts they said they bought from franchised dealers was an unexpectedly high 27%.

The report's author Brian Taylor said, “I believe these findings have produced a higher figure than many would have expected”.

The report reviewed the reasons why independent garages choose franchised dealers to buy parts rather than use motor factors, and classified them by the type of franchise where buying OE parts is most common. Lack of availability in the aftermarket (perceived or real) proved to be a key reason to purchase parts from franchised dealers – particularly with Asian marques.

But for vehicles assembled by companies based in the UK and Europe/Scandinavia, independent garages still quote 'better quality' parts as the main reason for chosing franchised dealers rather than motor factors. It is also a strong motivator when selecting the source for buying parts for Japanese vehicles. The worry about 'whether a part will fit' was another factor driving independent garages to buy their parts from franchised dealers.

This issue of the report (the sixth) logged a big increase in dealers employing parts representatives. Fifty-six percent of dealers (a higher percentage than motor factors in this report) said they employed one and a further 10 percent or more said they had the benefit of a group representative based at another dealer.

Brian Taylor notes that vehicle assemblers have been pushing hard for trade parts schemes as their internal parts sales per car fall back due higher quality parts lasting longer. These quality improvements (a feature of most aftermarket brands as well as OE brands) have resulted in less warranty work, reduced parts sales linked to servicing and fewer repairs. So the much higher sales representative presence may be signs of new parts sales strategies being put in place at dealerships.

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