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Five major brands compete for import aftermarket

The competitive strength of the brands vary substantially by vehicle nameplates, distribution channels, repair outlet groups, and product categories

Fort Wayne, Ind.—The foreign nameplate aftermarket product volume will increase by more than $22 billion at user-price between 2022 and 2027, with five major types of brands competing, according to the latest Lang Aftermarket iReport

Domestic brands, foreign brands, private labels, OE brands, and OE-supplier brands are competing for the fast-growing foreign nameplate sector that will dominate light vehicle aftermarket product growth between 2022 and 2027. The competitive strength of those five types of brands vary substantially by vehicle nameplates, distribution channels, repair outlet groups, and product categories.

The following are key takeaways from the analysis.

Five Major Brand Types
The hundreds of product brands competing in the U.S., light car and light truck aftermarket can be grouped into five major types: domestic brands, foreign brands, private labels, OE brands, and OE-supplier brands. Competition among those five types of brands will have long-range consequences for many aspects of the foreign nameplate aftermarket.

Foreign Brands
Foreign brands are marketed by foreign companies, some of which manufacture in the U.S. Some repair outlets prefer foreign brands to domestic brands for use on foreign nameplates. Foreign brands often are rated high in quality, fit, and performance.

Private Labels
Private labels are sold exclusively by certain distributors and retailers and often carry their name. Private labels use various sources, including manufacturers of OE, OE-supplier, foreign and domestic brands. Increasingly, private labels are co-branding with OE and OE-supplier products, especially for foreign nameplates.

OE Brands
OE brands carry the vehicle manufacturer’s name (in most cases) and are distributed almost exclusively through vehicle dealers. OE brands are installed in dealer bays and distributed by dealers to independent repair shops and DIYers. However, there is a growing gray market in which OE brands are sold through non-OE aftermarket distribution channels.

OE-Supplier Brands
OE-supplier brands are sold in the aftermarket by manufacturers who provide OE components to automakers. Aftermarket products distributed by OE-suppliers are often identical to those in OE boxes.
Most OE-supplier brands have expanded their coverage beyond the applications they provide for new vehicles. This increases their market and extends the OE mantle to the products they sell but for which they are not OE-suppliers in all cases.

Changing Brand Preferences
Changes in brand strength are underway in the foreign nameplate aftermarket. OE brands face increased competition from independent (non-dealer) brands with repair outlets focusing on foreign nameplates.

However, the overall growth of the foreign nameplate aftermarket is enabling many OE bands to increase their aftermarket sales, offsetting any OE brand share losses in terms of dollar volume.

Types of Brands Building Strength
OE-supplier and foreign brands are increasing their foreign nameplate aftermarket strength. Both are rated highly for quality, fit and performance.

Domestic Brands & Private Labels
Domestic brands hold smaller shares of foreign nameplate volume than domestic nameplate product sales. However, the aging foreign nameplate fleet in the U.S. provides domestic brands with competitive traction since older vehicles tend to migrate from dealers to independent repair shops, which are heavy users of domestic brands.

To capture the growing market of aging foreign nameplates, many domestic brands are integrating OE and OE-supplier parts into their product mix, providing their brands with the types of products that repair outlets often prefer when working on foreign nameplates.

Distribution Impact on Brands
Two-step import warehouses are gaining strength in the foreign nameplate aftermarket on a national and regional basis. Accordingly, they are bolstering the performances of the brands they distribute in the foreign nameplate repair market, especially OE-supplier and foreign brands.

Repair Outlet Impact on Brands
The growing strength of repair specialists and foreign specialists in the fast-growing foreign nameplate aftermarket is influencing the relative growth of the five major types of brands because each of these outlets sells a different mix of brands for foreign nameplates, with OE-supplier brands and

The increasing DIFM strength of dealers is positive for the growth of OE brands in the rapidly expanding foreign nameplate aftermarket.

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