Mighty Auto Parts, a Wall Street Journal “Top 25” franchisor and automotive aftermarket parts distributor headquartered in Norcross, Ga., is celebrating 50 successful years in the automotive industry. The privately held company has been supplying original equipment (OE) manufacturer-quality parts, along with training, technology, systems and sales support since founder Dallas “Dick” Wallace began direct-selling parts in 1963, using his VW as a mobile office.
Today, the company helps more than 12,000 auto repair professionals, including new and used car dealers, independent repair shops, tire centers and national quick-service chains, profitably manage and grow an exceedingly complex business, where both technical and operational skills must constantly evolve.
In addition to a wide range of OE underhood and undercar replacement parts, Mighty provides technical training and systems support to help auto service businesses excel in every area of fixed operations. Mighty and its 114 locally owned franchisees provide inventory management based on local vehicles-in-operation data and trends, not national averages, along with customized marketing programs that help create customer satisfaction and retention.
“We started with the simple idea of personalized, direct parts distribution to our nation’s auto service providers 50 years ago, and that philosophy of putting people first hasn’t changed,” said Ken Voelker, president and CEO of Mighty Auto Parts. “In fact, it’s our focus on the human factor that allows Mighty to consistently anticipate and meet the needs of our customers no matter how rapidly our industry changes.”
From a rigorous franchisee screening, approval and training process to a company-wide culture of personal service, Mighty continues to build its growth strategy on its original MTY (Manufacturer To You) name and business model. The company exclusively partners with service providers, instead of competing in retail consumer-direct channels.
Fifty years ago, Mighty’s product line focused on tire repair and ignition products, and its customers were small service stations in the Washington, D.C., and Maryland area. Today, Mighty partners with more than 12,000 automotive service providers across the U.S., supplying the parts and systems needed to keep America’s 239.8 million registered cars and trucks (Source: 2012 Ward’s Auto data) moving. Whether it’s an emergency delivery of wiper blades after hours or introducing tools and information for helping customers understand repair requirements of new technologies, such as Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS), Mighty’s business model continues to be grounded in local, face-to-face service.
Keeping Automotive Service Pros “Wired” to a New Generation of On-the-Go Customers
With the largest vehicle population of any country in the world and longer automotive life spans, the $215.4 billion U.S. automotive aftermarket (Source: 2010 Auto Aftermarket Industry Association data) is big business. It is also more complex with each new model year. From advanced vehicle technology in today’s “connected cars” to on-the-go consumers with less time than ever, service providers face constant change challenges that Mighty helps address with a constantly expanding portfolio of resources, including:
Mobile apps. Smartphones and PDAs are proliferating in repair shops, so Mighty has invested in a new Mighty Interactive Catalog (MIC) app. Technicians and service staff can click, cross-reference and view thousands of parts in a flash, resulting in increased productivity and customer response times.
24/7 resources. Mighty customers have access to around-the-clock tech resources through Tech Central. This exclusive Web portal features access to tech tips written by industry experts, instructive videos, parts application data and technical information.
Tech training. Today’s average 11-year lifecycle of a vehicle means maintenance is more essential than ever. Yet, technology like TPMS (there are 280 million transmitters on the road today, each with an average battery life of 5.8 years) means service pros must educate consumers about the importance of this new generation of replacement parts.
Digital content. Mighty is constantly introducing new online content to help customers increase their know-how. For example, the company just introduced The Pressure Zone, a video that covers the technical basics of and field-tested sales tips for TPMS.
Web-based customer relationship management (CRM). Programs such as the Mighty Online Garage help service professionals build loyalty and retention through personalized customer communications, featuring engaging automotive content and service records.
Fifty Years of Mighty Auto Parts Milestones
1963. Dallas “Dick” Wallace loads up his VW Beetle with tire repair products and goes on the road in Washington, D.C., selling to service stations. His face-to-face approach and direct distribution model, called MTY (Manufacturer To You), is a hit with customers.
1970. Mighty Auto Parts awards its first franchise.
2001. Sales top $100 million.
2005. The first new car dealership, George Waikem Ford, Inc. of Ohio, acquires a Mighty franchise to offer customers additional replacement part choices.
2006. The Wall Street Journal designates Mighty as a “Top 25 Franchise.”
2009. Mighty is acquired by the Gonher Group, a global manufacturer and OE supplier of quality automotive products.
2011. Mighty Oil and Air Filters are chosen as #1 in National Oil & Lube News’ Operators Survey.
2012. Mighty expands globally with a 10-year master distributorship agreement from Petromin Corporation (KSA), the leading oil company in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
2013. Mighty’s 140 employees, 114 franchisees and 12,000+ automotive service partners celebrate five decades of success.