Automotive recyclers are experiencing rapid shifts in everything from their business models to data integrity, inventory acquisition and customer expectations.
“The automotive recycling industry has a rich 76-year history serving a vital role in the world’s recycling efforts,” says Jonathan Morrow, M&M Auto Parts, Fredericksburg, Virginia, and president of the Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA), Manassas, Virginia. “As an industry, we have always endured change, and it has made us better. In my lifetime, I have not experienced a disruption, particularly in the U.S., that has rocked our industry’s core more than the ones being experienced today.”
“The professional automotive recycling industry is being squeezed on all fronts—from OEM repair standards, suppression of scrap prices and too many unlicensed operators,” says Scott Robertson Jr., owner of Robertson’s Auto Salvage, Wareham, Massachusetts, and ARA’s second vice president.
The most critical issue facing the industry is the misconception of its importance and inner workings, which has led to overarching policies that could severely impede business. Educating consumers and industry stakeholders of the critical role that recycled original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts play in today’s automotive repair market has proved difficult, but that is something the ARA is working to change.
Position of strength
OEM repair guidelines and position statements contribute to industry misperception. Directed at mechanical and collision industry repair processes, these documents often outright prohibit the use of genuine OEM recycled auto parts. While the 2015 Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act included a provision requiring car manufacturers to provide automotive recyclers with original equipment (OE) parts data for recalled components, OEMs continue to deny auto recyclers access to that data—even though it is provided to all other related industries.
These two issues combined, as well as a drop-off in interchange numbers, are major obstacles for auto recyclers largely in the U.S. market.
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