Demand reflects greater market preferences.
With carmakers scrambling to meet fuel consumption standards, is it any surprise that emissions-related auto parts are in huge demand?
“We’re seeing lots of emission control items, solenoid control valves—anything that’s supposed to keep the air clean,” says Allan Wood, Branch Manager, Ideal Supply in Orangeville, Ont.
Another big push that Wood has seen is with LED lighting. “Many OEM vehicles now come with LED lights,” he says. “There’s also demand for conversion kits. People like the look of them and the lower power usage.”
Wood is an electrical distributor, selling electrical charging stations to businesses and consumers. “In the past six months, there has really been an increase,” he says. “Right now it’s about 15%, compared to five years ago, when it might have been 2%.”
Wood’s locations use a program from NAPA called MIC to monitor inventory. “It searches by vehicle registration using geographical postal codes to determine what you should bring in,” Wood explains. “So we plug in the postal codes associated with how many kilometres and it looks at vehicle registries. In my Flesherton store, I might want to have more truck stock, but I don’t need brake pads for Jaguars.”
Wood relies heavily on the software. “If it was purely human intervention, we would miss a lot of things,” he says. “The industry’s changing so fast.” He also relies on his dedicated sales reps to stay on top of trends and find out what’s coming down the road.
He predicts the next push will be with electric vehicles. “It’s still very new, but anything that can save on fuel consumption and make vehicles more efficient, like electronic systems monitoring vehicles.”
Batteries and turbo chargers
For Mike Amberley , Regional Sales Manager for Ontario East, Dedicated Salesforce Group, UAP, it’s batteries that are a leading trend. “Specifically, it’s the AGM type battery, which is designed to handle the multitude of factory installed electronics and plug-in accessory devices that people are using in cars these days,” says Amberley
He says turbochargers are also becoming popular. “Before, they were mostly used in pick-up trucks, but now they’re also being used on passenger cars, SUVs and vans,” explains Amberley. “As the engines get smaller, they require forced air induction to maintain good performance.”
Diesel is growing in popularity, since it’s a cleaner fuel and provides better mileage. “Chevy now makes a Cruze with a diesel,” notes Amberley. “Also, imports like Volkswagen, BMW and Mercedes offer diesel versions. So along with that comes the need for diesel fuel injection.”
With the overall push to reduce mileage, Amberley predicts that there will continue to be an expanded push on any parts that are related to cleaner systems. “Everybody’s very aware of the environment. It’s all about being a better citizen.”
He advises working with suppliers to get information about upcoming market trends and demand for products. “We’re always trying to keep on top of things,” says Amberley. “That’s not just only what’s happening today, but to be prepared for what’s happening tomorrow.
“It’s very hard to keep everything on the shelf. You really need to rely on your supplying jobber.”