James Guyette of “Aftermarket Business” reported that shipments of U.S. vehicles to overseas buyers, above and beyond direct automaker exports, have reached at least 25,000 to 40,000 vehicles annually.
Buyers are seeking vehicles unavailable in most countries outside the United States, such as large SUVs, restored classic cars, and customized vehicles.
How can aftermarket businesses capitalize on this growing trend?
If you have the resources to expand your business this year, consider one of these possible opportunities:
Help Private Sellers Stand Out
Entrepreneurs across the United States are taking advantage of overseas demand and marketing their vehicles worldwide. One common business model: Purchase repossessed vehicles at auction that are low mileage and not available in countries where U.S. cars are in high demand.
According to Aftermarket Business, these areas include: “Lithuania and the other Baltic States, Latin America, Scandinavia, Korea, Vietnam and the Middle East, especially Israel, which has recently relaxed its import regulations.”
As this business model becomes more and more common, businesspeople are struggling to capture overseas shoppers’ attention. Reach out to resellers in your community and ask them what finishing touches their buyers have most appreciated.
Explore opportunities to work with these resellers to provide the aftermarket parts most desired by their buyers. If you can offer wholesale or near-wholesale pricing to high volume resellers, you will help them stand out while diversifying your own business. Best of all, if your products make a particular impact on buyers, you will create instant overseas demand for your brand specifically.
This could help you develop export relationships now and in the future.
Do It Yourself
If your aftermarket business includes a shop with the resources and equipment to restore and customize cars, it may be well worth considering selling overseas as a sideline. Many aftermarket companies supplement earnings by keeping a few “project cars” on site to provide work for mechanics when business is slow. If you do this, consider exploring overseas sales options.
With a little research on customer preferences outside the United States, you may be able to gear restoration efforts specifically toward buyers in other countries. Because not everyone is willing or able to cope with international shipping, you will be competing against a smaller crowd to sell your restored vehicles. If you are exporting other products already, you can likely negotiate a shipping agreement that will provide a cost advantage when compared to private sellers who pay full price for international shipping.
Watch Out for “Too Good to Be True” Offers
Take great care to avoid scams and fraud when selling overseas. Many auto sales websites recommend that sellers do not consider any offers from outside the United States. This is due to the overwhelming number of criminals attempting to pay for vehicles using fraudulent money orders. Always use a trusted payment method, such as an escrow service.