Replacement parts businesses generally succeed or fail on their ability to offer the right parts at the right place and the right time.
Activant's analysis of aftermarket catalog lookup and parts transaction information for December 2007 indicates that in the disc brake caliper category, having the right parts on hand means bolstering inventories for the 1998 Ford F-150, 2004 F-250 and 2000 Chevrolet Blazer, each of which posted a dramatic rise.
While the 1998 Blazer remains No. 1 in this category, the 1998 F-150 rose from eighth to second overall, and the 2004 F-150 rocketed from 32nd to fifth. (A more detailed analysis of "risers" and "fallers" is available by going online to www.search-autoparts.com).
"My guess is that you're looking at a heavier, harder-working truck that's fitted with a somewhat undersized brake package," an Ohio jobber says regarding the 2004 F-150.
A regional breakout of catalog transactions in the caliper category shows a striking contrast in the type of vehicles, as well as significant spikes in demand covering several applications. For the December 2007 period, the 2000 Nissan Maxima rose 12 positions to No. 1 in the northeastern U.S., followed by the 1995 Ford Taurus (up 10 spots to No. 2) and the 1996 Taurus (up 12 spots to fourth overall) in this category.
Predicting the consumption of alternators requires "black magic," according to one manufacturer, because "many technicians tend to throw alternators into vehicles in order to solve other, harder-to-find electrical problems." Leading the category in December 2007 was the 1995 GMC C&K 1500 pickup, rising from fifth overall in 2006.
Demand shifts were more prevalent in the regional snapshot, where the 2000 Ford Expedition rose from 59th to third place overall, and the 1997 F-150 pickup climbed 12 spots to fourth overall.
Tie rods commonly fail due to normal wear and tear, but they tend to wear out faster in areas prone to bad weather, where vehicles might slide into curbs or hit crater-size potholes. Nationally in December 2007, this category saw moderate movement in demand, with the 2000 Ford Windstar rising three positions to No. 1 and the 1999 Windstar climbing from seventh to third overall.
Where there are "risers" there also must be "fallers." Caliper applications falling out of the top 10 year-to-year in December were the 1993 F100-350, 1999 F-150, and 2000 F-350 Super Duty. The Super Duty dropped from fourth to 23rd position nationally.
In the national alternator snapshot, the 1997 GMC C&K 1500 dropped to No. 11 overall, and the 1989 F100-300 fell six positions to No. 12. Three applications fell dramatically in this category in the western United States: the 2000 Honda Accord (from 10th to 40th), '98 Chevrolet S-10 (sixth to 54th) and the 1999 Toyota Camry (seventh to 59th).
Tie rod applications dropping out of the top 10 nationally and in our snapshot of the southern U.S. didn't surprise one chassis parts manufacturer, who indicated that applications such as the 1999 Ford Escort and Taurus and older Ford and GMC pickups have moved into their next cycle of aftermarket replacement.
Methodology: The Activant Vista market intelligence tool captures point of sale information from a national panel of aftermarket stores. This information is processed and aggregated through Activant's unique statistical methodology on a daily basis before being delivered in reports to Vista subscribers. Collected information includes eCatalog lookups, product availability and sales transactions by vehicle and SKU.
Rod Bayless is the product director for Activant Solutions, Inc. For additional information regarding Activant Vista market data, write to email@example.com. Activant is a leading innovator and the industry standard for information and supply chain technology in the automotive aftermarket.