Call it fraud, deceptive business practices, outright criminal conduct or even international terrorism. They all cost the legitimate auto recycling industry and taxpayers untold millions of dollars every year and lead to deaths and injuries from accidents caused by improperly repaired vehicles or even from vehicles used to deliver improvised explosive devices. Unfortunately, it also casts a shadow on honest, hard working people in the auto recycling business trying hard to make a living in a tough marketplace.
A number of criminal activities were described by Howard Nusbaum, the founder and administrator of the National Salvage Vehicle Reporting Program (NSVRP). The NSVRP is a public interest organization that works with national and international law enforcement to reduce auto theft, fraud and illegal export of vehicles.
The NSVRP board consists of representatives from the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Miami-Dade Police Department, the North American Export Committee and the Association of Auto Theft Investigators as well observers from various government agencies.
“I would go to salvage auctions and see burnt-out or flattened vehicles with clean titles purchased for significant amounts of money. Many were going to criminal groups because they had no commercial value, and were bought for illegal activities,” said Nusbaum. ...read more
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Pulled parts thrive in thrifty times
While many aspects of automotive businesses have stagnated since the economic crisis of late 2008, the good old fashioned practice of going to the junkyard and picking up a used part at a bargain price has not only remained steady, but has grown significantly.
Several reasons for this seem obvious. People have been hesitant to buy new vehicles, and many are doing repairs themselves or opting for their shops to install used parts to save money on both mechanical and body work. In most cases, this saves a lot of money, considering the rising prices of OEM and aftermarket parts. Additionally, there are often difficulties in obtaining parts as vehicles age.
“I’ve been in this business a long time. Self-service auto recycling is not completely recession proof, but our industry really does fairly well during difficult economic times because it creates a situation where people are willing, or have to consider the most economical way of repairing their cars,” said Dudley Smith, a central United States district manager for the LKQ self service division.
LKQ entered the u-pull-it business in 2004. Since then it has rapidly expanded to 34 locations in 14 states and 1 in Quebec. Smith explained how LKQ’s self service business has fared since the 2008 economic crisis, “Our stores are doing well. We have had growth since expanding our footprint nationwide but also within the facilities we already had. More parts are going out the door. The number of new customers buying parts has increased significantly. Our store managers tell us about customers who are brand new and walk in not knowing how the system works and want to know what they have to do.” ...read more