Auto Service World
News   June 28, 2023   by Adam Malik

How strong is the aftermarket import sector?

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Import warehouses and import jobbers focusing on foreign nameplate cars and light truck products are seeing significant growth, according to a recent report.

The sector has seen the highest growth rate over the last five years compared to other channels supplying the aftermarket, said Lang Marketing’s Aftermarket iReport Import Aftermarket Channel Roars.

It credited two factors behind the growth: The quick expansion of the foreign nameplate aftermarket and the dominance of large import warehouses that sell directly to shops — especially those that focus on foreign repair —and other end-users.

Growth closed in on 20 per cent from 2017-2022. Even during the pandemic, the import market suffered the storm the best with the smallest percentage sales reduction of the five major distribution channels, Lang said.

Import warehouses are two-step distributors and have pushed out smaller import-focused jobbers, Lang noted.

“The success of import warehouses has been driven by their focus on foreign nameplate products, the vast array of brands they carry (including OE), their sophisticated Internet ordering systems, and the timely delivery they provide,” the report said.

What also makes the import sector so different from the rest is that a dominant share of the channel’s sales consists of OE-supplier brands, foreign brands, and OE brands. According to Lang, domestic brands and private labels make up only a small portion of the import channel’s product sales.

And growth will continue. Lang said it projects that the channel will continue growing at an above-average pace over the next four years, averaging 6 per cent growth from 2023-2026.

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