Tell us about your company and the products you offer.
All Import Auto Inc. is a seller of used auto parts based in Fort Worth, Texas. We buy and dismantle vehicles and sell parts to auto repair shops and retail customers.
Auto salvage is a family business and I grew up helping out my father, Ron Sturgeon, in his auto salvage company before I started my own as a junior in high school in 1989. I have always been more comfortable working on foreign cars, so I gradually came to specialize in parts for imports.
By trial and error and by carefully measuring my cost of goods and sales, I figured out that parts for higher-end cars like Mercedes and BMW were the right niche. Higher-end parts now make up about half of our sales.
How does your service work, and how is it different from other providers?
All-Import Auto is different because we specialize in parts for luxury European autos and because of the service that we provide. We have a zero-hassle return policy on all the parts that we sell and we offer warranties on all the parts as well.
Who are your customers? What message would you like to express to them?
We wholesale used parts to repair shops and retail to individuals making their own repairs. We sell to walk-up clients, deliver parts locally to shops around Dallas and Fort Worth and sell lots of used auto parts on Craigslist and eBay to buyers throughout the world.
The marketing messages are not as different as you might think. We want all of our clients to know that we deserve our reputation for excellent service because we will handle any issues that arise. We also want our target customers to know that we are a reliable supplier of good quality used parts.
What channels do you use to sell your services?
We are part of a nationwide network of 550 auto salvage yards that share inventory information. We broker some parts to other salvage yards through this network, although wholesaling to shops and retailing to people fixing their own vehicles is the bulk of our business.
We also subscribe to part locater services like CarPart.com and fill the requests that are profitable from them. Finally, we have a very active program to sell parts on Craigslist and on eBay. This channel is the fastest-growing part of our business.
Looking back over the past five years, how has the parts industry changed and how do you see it changing in the future?
The parts industry has changed dramatically. The arrival of LKQ has significantly increased competition and the cost of buying salvage vehicles. The companies that dispose of salvage vehicles for insurance companies are eager to get as much as they can for cars. They have made it much simpler for anyone to bid at salvage auctions. As a result, prices for salvage vehicles have increased greatly over the last few years.
The Internet has lowered prices by giving consumers the opportunity to buy parts from many more vendors, but it has also made it much easier for smaller and efficiently run salvage operations to bring niche parts that are economical to ship to a global market. I see tremendous opportunities for growth in online sales of used auto parts.
I think that the industry will continue to consolidate and that online sales will become an increasingly important part of the used parts business.
What technologies or additional services do you believe will drive your future success?
I believe strongly in knowing the metrics that drive my business. I can predict the amount of revenue that the parts from a salvaged vehicle will produce and how fast that revenue will come.
I know exactly what it costs me to fill a parts order so I can focus on the requests from parts locators that I can fill profitably.
Because I am selling more parts online, I am very interested in tools to measure and improve my e-commerce results.Technologies that improve my ability to measure All Import Auto’s performance in key metrics will drive our future success.