Repair Shop Newsmaker Q&A: John Fusaro

Jan. 1, 2020
John Fusaro, Jr. is the owner of Dana Automotive Inc. in Nutley, N.J.

John Fusaro, Jr. is the owner of Dana Automotive, Inc., in Nutley, New Jersey.

What do you think about the continuing consolidation of the manufacturing segment of the aftermarket?

"This seems to be a must in order to stay price competitive and still financially profitable at the manufacturing level. I think this is a must that has to happen if you want to survive in this industry."

Do your customers care where parts originate from, or are they simply focused on the bottom line?

"At one time, there was a big issue, but now there has been such globalization of the aftermarket, and quality parts does not always mean 'made in the USA.' Customers are focused on the bottom line, but not at the expense of quality."

Are brands still important in the aftermarket? More or less so? Why?

"Yes, but not for all product lines. At the retail level, it seems to be more of a factor than at the wholesale and installer level. There are many quality unbranded products in the aftermarket to back that up. At the installer level, the consumer is not seeing the box, they are saying, 'Fix my brakes and get me out of here.' So installers aren't selling a brand, they are selling the quality of the product."

What is the number one technology setback you encounter in the aftermarket?

"Cataloging and price sheets. Many people still want to use a catalog, especially when a lot of times the computer doesn't offer accessibility to illustrations. Also, with the implementation of price files, many companies have done away with jobber prices and dealer prices and are putting the responsibility on the jobber and installer to do their own pricing. A lot of people aren't giving you a benchmark anymore. They want to let the market determine the price of a product."

What effect has the economy had on your business?

"This year, a negative effect. In the automotive world, more money for gas has meant less money for repairs. People are fixing cars when broken, but not too much preventative maintenance is being done. When the economy is bad, people don't buy new cars, they are fixing the old ones. But they aren't fixing them until they are broken because of the financial squeeze."

What do you see as the biggest challenge ahead in 2009?

"We need to have a steady cash flow and keep a head up on inventory, have the right products on the shelves. If you don't have what they need, they'll go somewhere else. So it is difficult to manage. We all need to manage a tighter ship with expenses and overhead. It is about dotting your I's and crossing your T's."

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