Thirty percent of alternators are supplied by truck dealers. Results of the FLEET OWNER Aftermarket Monitor survey for the past four years indicate that truck dealers were used as a source of alternators by 30% of fleets. They sold 43% of new alternators, 34% of OEM reman'd alternators, and 13% of the local rebuilt alternators.
When we look at alternators purchased by part type, there's a relatively even distribution among the three: 41% are OEM reman'd, 29% are new, and 30% are local rebuilt (see Fig. 2). Jobbers/parts houses, the second most popular source at 23%, show a similar sales pattern, indicating that their sourcing practices are flexible enough to allow a close match between product and demand.
In sharp contrast is the pattern of alternator types sold by truck dealers (see Fig. 1). Since dealers do quite a bit of warranty work, it follows that a relatively high percentage of fleets would buy new alternators from them. At the same time, we would not expect dealers to sell many local rebuilt parts because of the many partnering agreements between truck dealers and component manufacturers. The differences in product type mix between truck dealers and jobbers/parts houses also reflect differences in the type of fleet customers in their respective customer bases, including age of trucks, price sensitivity, and type of operation.
Alternator sales have shown no discernible change in sourcing patterns over the past four years. This stability over time in the channels of distribution is certainly not the case for many other truck parts.
The local rebuilt units sold by local rebuilders, independent garages, and electrical specialists are most likely rebuilt on-site by the sellers. Heavy-duty distributors, jobbers/parts houses, and truck dealers probably purchase the local rebuilt alternators they sell through one of the three sources listed above, often at volume discounts. Although it may seem unusual for local rebuilders to sell new and reman'd alternators, they do. For example, if a rebuilder's customer has a fleet of trucks doing local P&D and a couple of Class 8s used for long hauls to support a distribution center, the fleet may want new alternators on the Class 8s. The local rebuilder would be wise to meet all of this customer's needs with a more inclusive product line, further strengthening the relationship.
The numbers indicating a small market share for manufacturer-direct sourcing may be somewhat misleading because the data represents fleet behavior, and doesn't reflect the number of vehicles per fleet. This is an important distinction for manufacturer-direct sourcing because large fleets (101 or more vehicles) are the heaviest users of this source (5%), versus only about 2% for small and medium fleets.
Therefore, an overall market share of 2.4% (see Fig. 2) for manufacturer direct based on fleet behavior would translate into a higher market share if the data were weighted by the number of vehicles in each fleet. However, this distinction does not adversely impact market share numbers for other sources because they do not show significant differences in fleet sizes.
For more information on FLEET OWNER's Aftermarket Monitor, call Tom Duncan at 914-287-6710.
The following individuals recently received prizes for participating in last month's survey:
David D. Ramsey, Edward Kraemer & Sons Inc., Plain, Wis. Duff Sorensen, North East Trailer Services Inc., Mount Holly, N.J. Larry Stringer, AAA Cooper Transportation, Dothan, Ala.
NOTE: For more information on alternators, see charts that appear on page 106 of FLEET OWNER's May 1997 issue.