Auto Service World
News   March 13, 2024   by Adam Malik

The growing problem of parts proliferation

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Parts proliferation is only going to continue to be a growing problem for the automotive aftermarket.

With a large diversity of vehicles in the car parc, the amount of parts needed to repair all of those vehicles is adding up, observed Lang Marketing in a recent report.

The group expects “parts proliferation in the car and light truck aftermarket will soar for the foreseeable future, increasing inventories and the logistical burdens on manufacturers, distributors, retailers and installers.”

These groups will have to inventory, handle and manage a growing assortment of light vehicle products that can be managed quickly to provide timely auto repair without any slowdown to the current consumer experience, Lang said in its report, Aftermarket Parts Proliferation Explodes.

Driving the issue is the growth of foreign nameplates, increasing vehicle age, advancing vehicle technology and electric vehicles.

“As the foreign nameplate population increases, its age mix is also changing,” Lang said. “These factors add to the number and variety of products required for timely car and light truck repair.”

As average vehicle age grows — led by a variety of factors such as shortages and high costs of new vehicles — this extends the vehicle age range for which aftermarket inventories need to supply.

“Anemic new vehicle annual sales and the growth of older vehicles are shifting mileage from newer to older cars and light trucks. This increases the need for older-vehicle parts to remain in inventories for an extended time,” Lang said.

Parts are also increasing thanks to technology being added to vehicles. Smart parts — vehicle components with special sensors and software — will increase dramatically in aftermarket volume over the next few years, Lang pointed out.

EVs are also contributing as parts for these vehicles need to be available, even if they don’t make up a significant portion of the car parc.

“As the EVs in operation increase in age, their need for aftermarket products will increase, adding significantly to parts proliferation,” Lang noted.

Furthermore, these factors “will intensify over the coming years, placing growing demands on the aftermarket supply chain at all levels,” the group added.

All of this will force distributors to find ways to get creative.

“The rapid increase in Parts Proliferation is inspiring a growing array of distribution innovations aimed at solving the ever-increasing challenges presented by parts proliferation,” Lang said.

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