Traditional Parts Top the List
Brakes continue to be the most in-demand parts, according to Canadian jobbers.
Rapid advances in automotive technology have added more SKUs to the jobbers’ inventories. Although demand for new parts have gone up, traditional in-demand parts still top the list.
Traditional parts in demand
“The biggest lines are still a lot of our traditional product lines, such as brakes and filtration. They are still going very strong,” says Anthony Salvati, Berco Automotive Supply.
The story stands true for several other jobbers. Since he first opened his business to this date, brakes have always been the top bread-earner for Andrew Jaikaran, owner of Penn Auto Parts.
The story is no different at Ideal Supply in Orangeville. Branch Manager, Allan Wood confirms that brakes and chassis components have always been popular over the years. “Brake and chassis never really stop flowing through the year. The demand kind of just goes through its peaks and valleys but there is always demand for the products,” he says.
Besides brakes, suspension products move the fastest in Lunenburg Auto in Nova Scotia, says Owner Ian Creaser.
Canadian weather and road conditions impact parts demand considerably. “We have high demand for suspension parts because the roads that we drive on in our area are not top quality. Winter causes a lot of potholes and broken road surfaces. This leads to suspension work.” Corrosion from brine, sand and salt used on the roads in Atlantic Canada damage brakes easily, he explains.
Although the harsh Canadian winters have an effect on parts demand, it is not significant enough to push traditional parts into the background according to the jobbers.
This winter there has been a lot of demand for battery and chassis parts, mentions Salvati. “Roads are destroyed with snowplows. We are seeing a high influx of electrical components such as batteries and alternators. Chassis parts will continue ‘til spring as potholes continue to appear.” Once the weather gets warmer, brakes season begins in Salvati’s shop.
Creaser’s battery and alternator sales this year have been good, too. After winter, corrosion of parts pushes up the demand for wheel bearings, brakes and suspension in his shop, especially in March and April. “When people lower their windows in the spring, they hear the noises in their vehicles. That’s when they want to get their car fixed by their service provider,” he explains.
The changes in the automotive industry do reflect in the jobbers’ marketplace to some extent. Demand for exhaust systems have disappeared in Creaser’s shop in the last five years. Engine gaskets do not make a big part of the jobber business anymore. “Now that the engines are built much better, replacement gaskets and engine parts have really declined over the years. The most engine parts you sell are sensors and controls,” he says. In the era of carbureted engines, carburetors and carburetor kits were in good demand. “With all the new sensors coming into cars, and features such as adaptive driving, mirrors and cameras, that possibly will be the new area that we will have to get into,” adds Creaser.
Jaikaran’s shop has seen a significant increase in demand for emissions parts, such as oxygen sensors, since emissions testing was introduced in 1999.
Brakes continue to be the number one wear item—something that’s not likely to change in the foreseeable future. “Unless they come up with a completely different way to stop the car, that is pretty much going to be it for a long time,” notes Salvati. There is a need to diversify in different areas to keep up with the current automotive marketplace, but jobbers cannot forget traditional lines just yet.