Motor Vehicle Parts, Used

SIC 5015

Companies in this industry

Industry report:

This industry classification comprises establishments primarily engaged in the distribution of used motor vehicle parts at both the wholesale and retail level. It also includes establishments primarily engaged in dismantling motor vehicles for the purpose of selling parts. Establishments engaged in dismantling motor vehicles for the purpose of selling scrap are classified in SIC 5093: Scrap and Waste Materials.

Recycling of automobiles was the 16th-largest industry in the United States at the end of the first decade of the 2000s, estimated at $25 billion annually. The nation was home to approximately 7,000 vehicle-recycling operations. The distribution of used motor vehicle parts at both the wholesale and retail levels accounted for about 20 percent of business.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 1,916 motor vehicle used part wholesalers operated in 2009. Together these establishments employed 15,864 people who earned a combined payroll of more than $531 million.

States with the highest number of establishments in the used motor vehicle parts industry were Texas, California, and Florida, although multistate chain stores began making headway in the second half of the first decade of the 2000s. For example, Pick-n-Pull, headquartered in Rancho Cordova, California, became one of the largest chains of self-service used auto parts stores, with 47 locations in nine states and three stores in Canada by 2010. By then the company served more than 5 million customers and recycled 350,000 vehicles annually.

Demand for replacement parts became apparent in the early years of the automotive industry. Although manufacturers typically provided parts for their vehicles through franchised distributors, many car makers did not survive the early decades of the twentieth century, thus leaving behind "orphan" vehicles that eventually needed replacement parts that no manufacturer was producing.

Replacement parts became available through two channels. Some companies purchased tracings, drawings, and blueprints for parts from bankrupt manufacturers in order to fabricate replacement parts. Others obtained parts from broken-down vehicles and reconditioned them for resale. As the automotive industry matured and cars became a ubiquitous part of the American landscape, the need for replacement parts continued to grow.

The National Automotive Parts Association (NAPA) was founded in 1925 to meet the growing need for an auto parts distribution system in the United States. The distribution system accommodated more than 422,000 part numbers through Internet sales as well as 6,100 stores serving every state in the nation in the early 2010s. NAPA members supplied new and reconditioned products to repair shops, service stations, fleet operators, automobile dealers, and individual consumers. Another auto parts distributor, CARQUEST Corp., had about 40 distribution centers serving more than 3,400 distributor-owned and independent retail shops in North America, selling its own line of auto parts.

Recyclers of scrapped or wrecked vehicles are the major channel for obtaining used parts, which often cost substantially less than new parts and can be located quickly through communications systems that link auto recycling businesses. Market leaders include Genuine Parts Co. and General Parts Inc. Genuine Parts, based in Atlanta, Georgia, employed 29,500 people in 2010 and was the largest member of NAPA, operating more than 1,000 NAPA Auto Parts stores in more than 40 states and nearly 700 corporate and associate resellers in Canada. It registered sales of $11.2 billion in 2010. Raleigh, North Carolina-based General Parts was a distributor of replacement automotive parts, as well as supplies and tools for foreign and domestic automobiles, trucks, buses, and farm and industrial vehicles. It was the largest member of the CARQUEST network, distributing its products to about 1,400 CARQUEST stores in addition to WORLDPAC import outlets and other auto parts stores across North America. The firm reported revenues of $2.8 billion and 18,000 employees in 2008.

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News and information about Motor Vehicle Parts, Used

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