David Clarke, Managing Director of the Autosupplies Group, provides a brief update on how the company endured throughout lockdown, and details the current state of the battery market.
The automotive aftermarket has set a great example during the COVID-19 pandemic, with the supply chain pulling together to ensure key workers can continue to have their cars serviced and maintained safely and securely. As a business, we at the Autosupplies Group have had a positive lockdown experience, as staying open has allowed us to experience an increase in battery sales. Our methods of working have evolved, and it’s important that the industry adapts quickly to these changes in order to progress.
With a significant number of the population working from home for a long period of time, the number of cars in operation decreased substantially throughout lockdown. As modern vehicles now contain many electrical components, this can cause an enormous amount of strain on the battery. This naturally led to an increase in demand for this product category, and we can safely say that they were by far our biggest sellers over the past few months.
Ensuring product on the shelf
The key to every motor factor’s strategy is maintaining stock levels and ensuring that in-demand products are instantly available. When lockdown started, we were beginning to head out of winter and into an unusually warm spring. As batteries are prone to failure in the colder weather, we would normally expect demand for them to drop as we move towards the warmer months.
However, as a team, we sat down together and talked through our stock list, foreseeing potential products that may experience a surge in demand as a direct result of vehicles not moving for long periods of time, and batteries were at the top of our list.
Quality and reliability
Although often overlooked, the battery is a core component and is essential to the smooth running of any vehicle. However, because consumers don’t usually think about it until it fails, it is a distressed purchase.
As there are more electrical demands than ever before on a battery, including stop-start technology, additional lighting and wiper support, as well as air conditioning, heated seats, central locking, electric seats and windows, navigation systems, and various entertainment devices, the battery has to work a lot harder than in times gone by.
This is especially the case when cars are only being used to pop to the local shop, which was particularly the case over the past few months, as the alternators are not able to keep up.
It is therefore essential to forget budget batteries and opt for a battery that is not only fit for purpose, but one that is reliable and will help keep the car running for longer. At Autosupplies, we only work with established, high-quality suppliers, and throughout lockdown, we worked particularly closely with Banner Batteries and Bosch Batteries.
Preparation is key
Over the next few months, we can’t take our finger off the pulse, as winter will be here before we know it, and as cold temperatures or extreme heat can cause electrolytes in batteries to evaporate, resulting in premature failure, it’s important to continue to maintain stock of batteries from high-quality suppliers.
The MOT extension has been the biggest contributor to a decline in business for garages and with this now having ended, demand is expected to peak in autumn. Therefore, it’s essential to remind the customer to carry out basic maintenance to ensure a longer battery life.