The aftermarket auto parts are parts manufactured or remanufactured, retailing and fitment after the OEM has sold the automobile. This comprises not only the mechanical parts but also chemicals, various fluids, and the like. Another part of the industry is the accessories. Accessories are articles used to enhance the aesthetics, performance, comfort or safety after the sale of the vehicle by the OEM.
AutoZone, founded in 1979 and headquartered in downtown Memphis, currently has more than 6,000 stores. They are the biggest aftermarket retailer of auto parts and accessories.
During their journey, innovative ideas were introduced to improve customer needs and convenience. One such program was Express Parts, or VDP, to help customers get hard to locate parts. Similarly, in 1984, a quality control program was introduced, a first in the auto parts retail trade. Another innovation introduced was Loan-A-Tool, which helped smaller workshops and the Do-it-Yourself hobbyist who could not afford these rarely used but essential tools, gain access to them.
Auto Shack became AutoZone. The year 1989 saw the introduction of a computer-supported inventory management system and a new battery brand called Duralast. In 1991, the company started to register customer guarantees in a computer database, again a first in the industry. The year 1994 saw AutoZone start the use of satellites for inter-store communication. In 1995, the company opened their 1,000th store in Louisville, Kentucky. Duralast, Duralast Gold, and Duralast trademark were launched. The year 1996 marked the arrival of the Internet in the company.
AutoZone also started to acquire software companies and other auto part companies and form partnerships that were synergic to its business. The opening of stores abroad was also commenced by opening one in Mexico. Fortune 500 listed them in 1999.
To reduce inventory costs and to market more products, the company developed a “hub, feeder, and satellite” type of network in 2002. The Duralast brand of tools, with a lifetime warranty, were introduced. The company achieved a major milestone by opening their 5,000th store, which coincided with their expansion into the 49th state, Alaska. In 2017, AutoZone became the largest auto part retailer in the country for the third consecutive year. They touched the 6,000th store mark with 548 being outside the country.
AutoZone offers many concessions and coupons like 20% off on $100 dollar purchase, free shipping on online purchases, an NBA bag with one’s team logo on purchasing five quarts of any motor oil and many more. These deals may vary from shop to shop. Gift cards for values from $100 to $200 dollars redeemable at any of over 4,600 shops all over the country, which is an ideal gift to an auto enthusiast are available. Joining the rewards program, one can get $20 dollars for any five purchases of $20 dollars or more. There are many free services and all these together make preventive maintenance affordable.