Car sales hurting, but used car parts business booming

Joey Woodfin doesn’t like to gloat during tough economic times. But he’s in the sort of industry that does well in a down market – selling a essential product for cheaper than anyone else. And business seems to be booming.

Car sales are at their lowest point in decades, and that means consumers are going longer in their current vehicles. So it stands to reason that it’s a good time to be selling replacement parts. And used car parts are cheaper.

Woodfin’s company, EverDrive connects the salvage yards, which have the parts, with the auto parts dealers and end consumers, who need the parts. It’s a green business of sorts, since it requires no new manufacturing.

EverDrive, was started in 2003 and now has 50 employees. It maintains a database of salvage yards which catalog used parts and then ship them direct to the customers, who can order them online or at retail locations such as Pep Boys. The company has an office off Midlothian Turnpike in Chesterfield County.
“Customers are looking to save money. Why not get them the factory part with a warranty for way less?” Woodfin said.

Woodfin would not disclose sales figures, but said that sales through the company’s website have risen five-fold in a year. Partially that’s because the website underwent lots of improvements, he said.

And because EverDrive does not need to borrow money, it can finance an expansion from within. Woodfin said he plans on hiring more than 10 more employees.

The overall auto market is not doing so well. Car dealers are seeing their worst sales figures in decades, and even sales at car part sellers like Advance Auto Parts are flat or down from last year.

That might be in part because EverDrive creates an easy way to purchased used parts, which come with three-year guarantees. Customers need not carry a wrench and a bucket to a salvage yard.

“We can save up to 50% of the new price,” Woodfin said. “It’s the same quality of the manufactured part.”

Woodfin’s family was in the auto salvage business since the Depression and owns Woodfins in Chesterfield.

“It’s not sexy, or swanky, but it’s a fun business.”

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cindy funderburk

we ordered a motor and recieved the wrong moter for a whole different car. Know it’s hell getting our money back. Woodfin has blamed everyone but themselves.. The vin # they gave us for the car the motor came out of doesn’t belong to any car!!! It’s been over four months still no car and no refund. buyer beware