The Bottom Line: There’s lots in store for 2004

Jan. 1, 2020
Soothsayer, I’m not. But it’s January and if I’m going to make some predictions now is the time. But before I stick my neck out, I’d like to provide you with some guarantees –– our editorial offerings for 2004.

Soothsayer, I’m not. But it’s January and if I’m going to make some predictions now is the time.

But before I stick my neck out, I’d like to provide you with some guarantees –– our editorial offerings for 2004. We’re off to a roaring start with our exclusive Top 100 Report, which ranks the top 50 auto parts chains and highlights 50 prospects for commercial business. Next month we follow up with the industry’s first statistical report on the State of the Industry. We will examine how all the distribution entities (from manufacturers to shop owners) fared last year and how they think (and why they think it) they will do this year. Also, part of this report is an extensive consumer survey that should help you make immediate and long-range business plans.

Scattered over several months will be our “Profit Center Series” that will examine five different ways for you to boost your profits. You may have thought of some of these, or even tried them at one time, but most likely gave up on them because you couldn’t make them work. We will emphasize how to make them profitable without detracting from your core business.

Our monthly “Counter Intelligence” reports continue this year looking at a variety of key product categories, plus we will be running expanded versions of this idea three times in supplement form.

And speaking of supplements, we will be publishing a supplement that we think will be the most comprehensive look yet on the growing and exciting tuner market.

There’s much more, but I did promise you some predictions.

  • AutoZone will continue to push its Pay-On-Scan system, especially in light of its recent stock price problems. However, the system will look a lot different in its final form (i.e., many compromises will be made along the way with major manufacturers). Also, expect other retailers and program groups to follow suit.
  • The aftermarket will be no worse off even if Dana sells most of its aftermarket brands. The brands are so strong customers will continue to support them no matter who owns them.
  • The Right to Repair Act will continue to be stalled simply because it’s too political for Congress to deal with during a Presidential election year.
  • Car dealerships will become even more aggressive in seeking maintenance and repair business. For the moment, they are buoyed by the fact there is no federal OBDII legislation and the Right to Repair Act is stalled. Plus, new car sales profits are skimpy.
  • Small- to medium-sized parts businesses that don’t adopt some form of niche marketing will struggle, if not disappear.

I might be hit or miss on some of my predictions, but I know I’m right on the last one. And as I often do in this column, I want to offer one niche idea that could help some struggling businesses or strengthen healthy ones. Simply set up a referral system with some select repair shops for your retail customers who are shopping for a used car. To identify these customers, post a sign at your counter that you offer a free service to check out used cars they may be considering. Consider this offering as an investment to secure long-term customers who probably will buy parts from you and service from your shop partners when they need them.

If not this practice, choose some service you can call your own. It’s easier to predict how your own business is doing than to worry about external variables.

Have a business question, looking for information or want to give us a suggestion related to our publication? Send us a Letter to the Editor!

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