Friday, May 13, 2011

I’m From the Internet, “Please, Let Me Help You”

Genuine crash parts is a big business that is getting modernized and opportunized. The digital revolution is not escaping this segment.

It begs a situation summary: A motor vehicle that we feel comfortable driving 80 miles an hour experiences an incident that requires fairly extensive repair. This is fairly common. Another common thing is NHTSA examining safety data and finding out that 20 to 30 vehicles in millions had similar failures. These dozens to millions reach a trigger point and, maybe, millions of vehicles are recalled. This makes the news and people make highly informed different vehicle choices based on statistics that are dozens in millions. Big brother is watching out for them. And, sometimes the statistics are pure garbage -e.g., the spate of sudden acceleration problems we’ve seen since 60 Minutes eviscerated Audi.
OK, both of the situations described above occur simultaneously. I enjoy the irony when consumers behave schizophrenically. They blindly trust their vehicle to a local collision shop and their insurance company and gladly get their car or truck back polished, vacuumed, and cleaned. They assume that it comes back pretty much like new, and assume that all the parts should work like NHTSA checks for. Behind the scenes, they might be getting junk car parts from other crashes that are slathered with Bondo, or cleaned up with a dirty rag. Worse yet, they might be getting knock-off parts that have not been checked out by their manufacturer to see if they can perform to the integrated “machine” standards that NHTSA holds them to. They trust the system to work and that, somewhere, Big Brother is watching out for them. If not Big Brother NHTSA, well, then little brother OEM.

The “system” is evolving. Junk car parts lots have been Wall Streeted by LKQ/Keystone. It’s no longer a bunch of isolated rural eyesores; it’s a “system.” Linking together a dogs breath of junk parts suppliers and non-Genuine parts makers with bump shops, insurance companies, and claims estimators is APU Solutions - go to their website and get educated.

Bottom Line: Our digital world is not just about evolving digital service customers, B2B and B2C solutions, or about third party service reference sources. It is really all about making the market more efficient and knitting systems of new, and old, solutions together. Our consumers are educated by videos, sound bytes, and perfect paragraphs they see on TV and the internet offering seemingly objective sources. They feel safe and are perfectly content to text to a friend about a NHTSA-propelled recall while moving at 80 mph in a car that was repaired with parts pulled out of a wreck that killed more people than the damn recall. This environment is a feeding frenzy for internet companies; hey, all they really want to do is help you.

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