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Brand recognition key when selling value line product

Lucas Deal May 27, 2014

Over the last decade, OEMs nationwide have invested significant time and resources promoting and expanding their all-makes value line product offerings.

Spurred by an aging vehicle population, the manufacturers identified the aftermarket as an opportunity to reclaim parts and service market share dealers lost as the industry’s trucks fell out of warranty.

Each OEM has approached the market differently.

In each case, the OEMs are offering dealers products that can compete with the prices available through independent aftermarket distribution.

But selling value line all makes parts isn’t a perfect science, says John Blodgett, vice president of marketing at MacKay & Company.

One problem dealers face is most customers are still oblivious value line OEM parts even exist, he says.

Speaking last week at the Global Automotive Aftermarket Symposium in Chicago, Blodgett says MacKay & Co. data indicates less than half of commercial fleets polled are capable of naming the value lines associated with each North American OEM.

He says MacKay’s survey results indicate Fleetrite is the most recognizable brand at 45 percent, with Alliance in second at 35 percent. Buoyed by its introduction in Louisville at MATS, Road Choice pulled in a 17 percent recognition rate and TRP totaled 10 percent recognition.

By comparison, 42 percent of fleets were able to identify Euclid as Meritor’s all makes aftermarket brand.

Blodgett says another interesting result of MacKay’s fleet survey was where fleets choose to buy their all makes products. Nearly one fifth of all fleet responders claimed they have purchased value line OEM brands through independent distribution.

Blodgett says MacKay’s questionnaire did not allow a clarifying follow up to that puzzling result, but notes if 20 percent of fleets claim to be purchasing OEM product from non-OEM stores, it’s safe to say they are unaware of the brand’s true source.

But MacKay & Co.’s research also offered some good news. Poor source recognition does not equal poor acceptance.

Blodgett says more than 60 percent of fleets who recognized value line brands in the MacKay survey are regularly using them in their operation.

The key is just making them aware.

“Most [fleets] say if they know the brand and where it comes from they’ll use it,” Blodgett says.

Lucas Deal is the editor of Truck Parts & Service and Successful Dealer. He can be reached at lucasdeal@randallreilly.com.

You can follow me on twitter at @lddeal85

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