Having seen two major program group plays in recent months — Pronto with RPM and Parts Plus with IAPA — it seems as if no one is keeping score; these mergers are being viewed as an accepted reality of today’s business climate. Optimism is abound as the memberships anticipate better pricing, streamlined supply and marketing strategies, along with enhanced technician training sessions.
The industry is calling for clairvoyance, however, when it comes to predicting future activity among the existing programmed groups serving jobbers, warehouse distributors, shops and some retailers. “That’s a good question,” defers Rusty Bishop, CEO of the Federated Auto Parts program group, declining to take a stab at the topic. “I don’t have a crystal ball.”
Industry consultant Jack Creamer had a clear vision of the future when he analyzed the aftermarket in 1981: “I predicted that we’d be down to eight program groups, and that’s about where we’re at right now.” Though our report features 14, there are a key few that have stepped up in terms of size and power.
Click on the link below to download a PDF of the full story reporting the status of the program groups, as well as 14 directory listings with key membership information.