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PartsTrader: Industry Parts Supply Chain Holding Strong

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Greg Horn, PartsTrader's chief innovation officer, heard the speculation earlier this Spring, at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Surely, auto industry veterans suggested, automakers shuttering assembly plants would have a detrimental impact on parts availability.

So, he looked at the data, crunched the numbers and ... noticed little discernible difference when it comes to things like parts delivery times.

Through early April, PartsTrader data showed no significant delays in parts or in quote volume per part type (as this chart illustrates). The same could be said for quoted delivery times for parts in its system. Then, earlier this month, Horn noted that the number of parts quoted per job has remained stable for months -- good news for the collision repair industry.

"The number of parts quoted per job is 9.4 per repair job," Horn told FenderBender, "which is within .1 part since January -- so very stable."

"We're starting to see that claims volume is picking up," the PartsTrader executive said. "We've seen ... an uptick in jobs coming through. We're starting to see an increase in order volume."

And, he added, "warehouses are full of parts."

In late April, PartsTrader data also indicated the following numbers that are noteworthy to collision repairers:

The volume of repair estimates uploaded into PartsTrader has stabilized, which the company said indicates that cars are still being repaired. With insurance claims dropping over the last several weeks, that's a positive for the collision repair industry.

The volume of quotes received by repair shops per part has slightly increased. That, PartsTrader noted, indicates the marketplace for parts remains robust and competitive. 

Delivery times remain stable, indicating that repairs shops are receiving parts from suppliers in a timely manner.

​The only main concern Horn has regarding the industry is the fact that 17.1 million units were sold last year, and he expects auto sales to take a significant dip in 2020, which could impact body shops down the line.

"We've taken a pretty big hit," Horn said of vehicle sales. "Carmakers have extended terms, given a lot of payment relief out there. They've delayed new-car payments for 120 days to help lure people in to the new-car showroom. I think we're going to end up this year at maybe 4 million off of last year's pace, so around 13 million units (of) new vehicle sales.

"I think that's going to impact resale values down the road," Horn added. "Because, when you put these steep discounts and long loan terms on vehicles, you really depress the resales. So, two years from now, I think what we'll see is an increase in total-loss frequency..."

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