RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. The Marketing Executives Council (MEC) of the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA) has just released a Special Report which analyzes the buying influences on the independent repair industry.
The AASA Marketing Executives Council was formed in 2006 to be a collaborative effort in improving the image of the North American supplier base. Since its inception, its members have studied a growing trend among various channel partners offering lower-cost, often lower-performing aftermarket parts in an attempt to offer more competitive pricing and/or improve profit margins. Problems have surfaced with this practice at all levels within the supply chain.
The Council commissioned an independent third party to conduct a series of focus groups to determine the buying influences of repair professionals. Focus group meetings were held in Raleigh, N.C., Chicago, Ill. and Los Angeles, Calif. Nearly 60 participants were recruited from independent repair shops and included shop owners, technicians and/or service advisors.
The Council has issued a new Special Report, “Independent Repair Industry: Focus Group Findings on Buying Influences of Repair Professionals,” which details the findings from these focus groups. The 21-page report includes an Executive Summary of the findings, detailed reports and charts of the focus group discussions and the conclusion which analyzes the long-term implications of the focus group findings for the entire North American aftermarket channel.
The report is available as a free download from the Tomorrow’s Technician Training Center by here.
It also can be downloaded from the AASA Web site (http://members.mema.org/AASA/Core/Orders/category.aspx?catid=8)
The results of the AASA Marketing Executives Council focus study research reveals that most repair professionals put quality above price and refuse to put their reputation at risk by installing inferior quality parts. However, the shop owners and technicians that take the time and care enough to participate in surveys and focus groups generally tend to be those already adhering to best practices.
“The reality is that a large population still buys and installs generic, low-cost and possibly inferior products,” said Steve Handschuh, AASA president and chief operating officer. “But rather than seeing this as a competitive advantage, the quality shops represented in our focus groups expressed concern that lower level shops and the low quality parts they choose may damage the reputation of the entire independent repair community."
"Almost everyone participating in our focus groups had a story about a shop down the road or in the same town that only sells on low price,” he added. “As good business people and concerned channel partners, participants were concerned that these shops were not only ‘bad for business’ but bad for the independent aftermarket in general.”
Unfortunately, when a vehicle owner has a bad experience with an independent repair facility, all too often they lose trust in the entire aftermarket. If left unchecked, the use of low-cost, poor quality auto parts could have a devastating impact on the entire independent automotive aftermarket.
“As this AASA MEC report demonstrates, now is the time for everyone working in the supply chain suppliers, distributors, retailers, jobbers and repair professionals to protect the integrity of the independent automotive aftermarket,” added Jack Cameron, AASA vice president and group executive of the MEC. “Education is needed throughout the channel all the way down to the vehicle owner. This educational effort is the responsibility of everyone in the industry regardless of position in the supply chain.”