TRENDS: Alternative parts gain ground–but not as much as some measures indicate

The non-OEM parts industry continues to chip away at automakers’ collision parts marketshare.
As a percentage of total dollars spent on parts, according to Mitchell International, OEM parts slid from 73.4 percent in the third quarter of 2008 to 68.1 percent in the same period last year – and to just 65.6 percent in the first quarter of this year. Non-OEM parts in that same period rose from 10.2 percent of the dollars spent on parts in 2008 to 14.5 percent in the first three months of 2011.
But the shift is not quite as significant as those statistics makes it seem. Some of that change is based on automakers lowering parts prices, and dealerships matching non-OEM parts pricing. Lower OEM parts pricing allows alternative parts to gain ground in terms of their percentage of a lower total dollar amount spent on parts.
That’s why Mitchell later this fall will begin also reporting the actual average number of each different type of part used per estimate. When measured that way, according to Mitchell’s Greg Horn, alternative part use has remained fairly steady at an average of just above one non-OEM part (and an average of just below one salvage part) per estimate.