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Things Are Tough All Over

These words have never been truer than they are today. Who would have imagined that Ford would be closing manufacturing plants, doing massive lay-offs and discontinuing car models? Or that Polaroid would have filed for bankruptcy. Even our "recession proof" industry has been severely affected by the downswing in the economy in recent months. Whether you refer to it as a recession, depression or downturn, the results have been dramatic.

Two of the new generation of auto recycling demanufacturing facilities have fallen upon hard times and have ceased operations. Traditionally profitable auto recyclers are cutting back, laying off and scaling down facilities to minimize expenses and maximize profit. The new car manufacturers have discounted, rebated and zero percentaged away most of their profit on new vehicles and still production is the lowest it has been in years. Used car sales are at a twenty-year low and confidence in that industry has also hit an all time low. To quote our Canadian brothers, "Some fun eh?"

I have been reading, analyzing and studying the situation from all possible angles and the answer is always the same, this sucks! Aside from crying and complaining what can be done to make things better?

The problem is not caused or perpetuated by the collision industry, insurance adjusters, auto recyclers, auto repair specialists or suppliers and vendors to any and all of these industries but by a contribution of each. I have heard recyclers blame the repair and collision industry for not using enough of their parts in the repair process. I have heard the collision and repair industry blame the insurance industry for not providing a reasonable mark up of recycled and recyclable parts in writing repair estimates forcing them to write new parts for the repair process thus making the vehicle's repair economically unfeasible. And of course vendors and service providers to all of these people are complaining because their sales are down. Who is to blame? Everyone! What can we do? Plenty!

First and most importantly, we must work together! We are all in related and dependant industries. We rely on each other as customers, suppliers and supporters. We are all integral parts of the automotive repair and supply chain. Without one the others could not succeed profitably. It is high time to forget petty differences and keep our eye on the prize (increased business and profits). Let's not be concerned with what separates us but rather what brings us together.

Gary Wiesner is co-owner of Pro-Auto Recyclers, Williamstown, New Jersey

Visit their website at proautorecyclers.com


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