Independent repair shops have spoken, and quality leads the list as the No. 1 need of their customers.
One third of respondents reported quality, while price and OEM form, fit and function followed closely, with 20 and 18 percent of the response rate, respectively. Brand and warranty rank the least important of customers needs, according to the results of the first-annual Aftermarket Business Independent Repair Shop Study, fielded to technicians in the aftermarket.
Across all 20 product categories surveyed, auto parts retailers — like AutoZone and Advanced Auto Parts — were the preferred supplier for one third of respondents, followed closely with 30 percent of respondents choosing warehouse distributors and 27 percent naming jobbers, according to the results.
Independent repair shops most commonly use between one and four suppliers, and more than 60 percent offer customers a "good, better and best" selection of products in the surveyed categories, the results report.
Almost half — 44 percent — of the shops surveyed reported sales held steady compared to 2008 figures and are expected to do the same throughout 2010. Gross margins remained in line with the previous year's figures for the majority of respondents, but almost 20 percent reported seeing increases between 1 and 3 percent in 2009, and expected the same increase again in 2010.
METHODOLOGY: The Aftermarket Business Indpendent Shop Study was fielded to the readers of sister publication of Motor Age.
Go to the Independent Repair Shop Study results.