In a recent article at auto plus, Laurent Assis-Arantes, president and founder of the software publisher Opisto in France explains that the reuse of auto parts is recognised as an economical alternative to new parts. To which has been added, more recently, an ecological awareness.
Although several brakes have long prevented the development of the re-used parts market, during the last decade it has been considerably structured, with the industrialisation of end-of-life vehicle centres (ELVs), favourable regulations and new means of digitisation.
What are the advantages of reused parts (PRE) for individuals and professionals?
Laurent Assis-Arantes: The main lever for individuals is, of course, economic: a PRE can cost between 50% and 70% less than a new part purchased from the manufacturer, in a garage or online on specialised sites. In addition, we are witnessing a change in mentalities. Consumers are more and more aware of the issues of environmental protection and waste reduction, and want to promote a circular economy: 95% of a vehicle can be recycled! Opting for a PRE is therefore also an ecological gesture.
But for a long time, it was an opaque market and rather difficult to access, which could have a dissuasive effect. Digitisation has succeeded in removing the brakes: thanks to our Opisto software, the ERP stocks dismantled by the end-of-life vehicle centres are computerised and put online on platforms, general or specialised.
Individuals, therefore, have access to a larger catalogue of parts available in real-time throughout the country, the quality of which is controlled, and which they can have delivered to their homes.
Professionals, thanks to PRE, become more competitive. First, they can offer a wider range of products, because, with the digitisation of ELV centres, they have access to parts which are sometimes no longer manufactured by the manufacturer; then, they gain new customers, those who prefer PRE.
The PRE market has been developing significantly for several years. What are the drivers of this growth?
LAA: As we have just explained, the desire to promote reuse has long been hampered by logistical difficulties, a lack of access and apprehensions about quality. Today, it represents around 5% of the repair market and is growing 4 to 5% each year.
It is first of all the regulator who hastened its development, in particular for ecological reasons. The most important text is the PIEC decree of April 2019, according to which professionals are required to inform their customers of the possibility of renovating their vehicle with parts from the circular economy (PIEC). This political will is reinforced by insurance companies and experts, who are increasingly pushing automotive professionals to choose used parts to repair a claim. This is not only a constraint: bodybuilders and mechanics also understand the interest they have in working with PRE.
In addition to this decree, the regulator has also enabled the multiplication of ELV centres: 1,700 centres have prefectural approval, and they treat 1.5 million end-of-life vehicles each year. To optimise their activity, the latter make significant investments to become genuine second-hand spare parts stores. This move upmarket is made possible thanks to a profound modernisation of working methods, including the use of digital tools.
With the Opisto solution, parts are detached, inventoried, traced, checked and photographed, stocks are visible and posted online in real-time on the specialised marketplaces Opisto.fr (individuals) and Opisto.pro (professionals), or on generalists like eBay. On these platforms, the price is displayed, and the parts are deliverable according to current e-commerce standards: shipping from 48 to 72 hours, quality control, package tracking, dispute management, after-sales service. E-commerce offers new sales opportunities, opens the market to the national territory and participates in the evangelisation of the PRE.
With the confinements, travel has drastically slowed down and, with it, the need to have recourse to replacement parts. How does Opisto’s action fit into this particular situation?
LAA: Of course, this has reduced the number of vehicles on the road, and therefore the number processed by the ELV centres. Paradoxically, this did not have a disastrous impact on the PRE market, and in particular on our activity at Opisto. On the supply side, companies have stocks of parts. With regard to repair needs, requests are boosted by the conversion premium and, with the drop in purchasing power linked to the crisis, households favour economic solutions. There is also a clear increase among professionals. In addition, with the confinement, e-commerce has increased, and the centres that work with us have been able to benefit from an increase in their online sales, offsetting the drop in counter traffic.
In addition, this fall we created the “best-guaranteed web price” label, which indicates on our platforms to consumers that they are buying at the right price. Following this launch, in November, our sales increased, and in particular those of the ELV centres which have joined this label.
What are your forecasts for 2021 and, more generally, for the future of the PRE market?
LAA: I think that the activity will continue to develop and that there are still major areas for growth. The second hand, we are convinced, is more and more a mode of consumption, in all fields, whether for economic reasons or by conviction.
As for Opisto’s activity, we have 2 development axes: national and European. On the French market, we wish, in collaboration with the VHU centres, to increase awareness of the opportunities offered by PRE, and to have more parts listed (more than 3 million are already available on our platforms!). Next, we want to expand into Europe and pool European stocks, to give them visibility beyond their national borders.
Source: public press release