Glossary of terms
We've compiled this glossary of automotive terms to educate our members.
Abrasives: Substances used to wear away a surface by friction.
Accessories: Comfort, convenience and safety products not essential to the performance of a vehicle such as audio, security products, floor mats and seat covers.
Additives: Chemicals that are added to the engine, cooling system, air conditioning system or transmission to maintain or enhance performance.
Appearance Products: Chemicals and accessories that enhance the appearance of a vehicle, such as waxes, polishes, protectants and upholstery cleaners.
Auto Electric Segment: Businesses specializing in electrical and lighting products for commercial vehicles.
Auto Care Market Distribution Segment: Companies that provide repair and maintenance products for passenger cars and light trucks.
Auto Care Market: The maintenance, repair, parts, accessories, chemicals and fluids for vehicles after their original sale. This term often refers only to the auto care market for cars and light trucks.
Auto Parts Stores: Establishments where automotive products comprise more than 50 percent of total inventory and where retail sales comprise more than 50 percent of total sales.
Body Shops: Firms whose primary activity is motor vehicle collision repair.
Buying Group: A group of businesses that buy together in large quantities to get discounted prices.
CAFE: Corporate Average Fuel Economy. These standards set requirements on automakers for improving the average fuel economy for new light-duty vehicles.
Captive Jobbers: Jobbers that are owned, in part or in full, by their primary supply warehouse.
Car Dealers: Establishments that primarily sell new or used automobiles. They usually have a service and parts department either on premises or at another location.
Carrier: A person, partnership or corporation engaged in the business of transporting goods.
Category Management: A business discipline where vendors and retailers work together in the management of product categories in order to streamline operations and increase sales.
Chain Stores: Retail establishments, which are part of an organization operating four or more similar types of stores.
Convenience Stores: Compact, self-service retail stores that are open long hours and carry a limited line of brands and sizes, possibly including gasoline. Examples include 7-Eleven and Circle K.
Core: The rebuildable portion of automotive components, such as starters, alternators and carburetors.
Counterman: Salesperson at a retail or jobber outlet responsible for looking up parts and handling customer needs.
Department Stores: Large mass merchandise retail stores, which carry a wide variety of products. Many department stores include automotive service departments. Examples include Sears, JC Penney, Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s.
DIFM: Do-It-For-Me. Refers to when consumers use professionals to perform the maintenance and repair work needed on their vehicles.
DIY: Do-It-Yourself. Refers to when consumers perform the maintenance and repair work needed on their vehicles.
Discount Stores: Retail establishments that meet the requirements of a department store, but have lower cost structures and typically sell at lower prices than conventional department stores.
Distribution Centers (DC): Firms with products distributed primarily to other distributors, most of which are either of common ownership with the DC or substantially related to the DC in the distribution channel.
Drug Stores: Establishments that primarily sell pharmaceutical and other health care products. Many sell a limited or intermediate line of automotive products. Examples include CVS, Walgreens and Eckerd.
Fleet Shops: Vehicle service shops owned by a company not principally engaged in the business of vehicle service but which operate shops for the primary purpose of maintaining their own vehicle fleet.
FOB: Free on Board. Term designating that the purchaser pays freight from the time the shipment is placed aboard a truck or train. Legal title for the goods passed to the buyer at this time and location.
General Repair Garages: Establishments engaged in automotive repair that do not specialize in one facet of repair, such as transmissions or exhausts.
Grocery Stores: Establishments that primarily sell food for home preparation and consumption. Many also sell non-edible grocery items and a limited range of automotive products. Examples include Safeway, Kroger and Ralph’s.
Gross Combination Weight (GCW): The total weight of tractor-trailer combinations, including the trucks, trailers and payload.
Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW): The total weight of the loaded vehicle, including chassis, body and payload.
Hard Parts: Solid engine parts, such as crankshafts, pistons and flywheels.
Hardware Stores: Establishments that sell a variety of basic hardware lines such as tools, paint, glass, housewares, appliances and cutlery. May also sell automotive products. Examples include Ace and True Value.
Headlining: Fabric or vinyl upholstery on the interior of the roof of a vehicle.
Heavy Duty Aftermarket: The portion of the auto care market that deals with the maintenance, repair and auto care market products for commercial, industrial and agricultural vehicles after their original sale.
Heavy Duty Distributors: Firms primarily involved in maintaining and selling an inventory of products specifically intended for the maintenance and repair of Class 3 through Class 8 commercial vehicles.
Heavy Duty Parts: Parts for large commercial trucks and commercial vehicles.
Heavy Duty Vehicles: Vehicles classed by Gross Vehicle Weight as follows:
Class 7: 26,001 - 33,000 lbs. (home fuel, refuse, tow, city transit bus, furniture, medium conventional, cabover)
Class 8: 33,001 lbs. and over (fuel, dump, cement, refrigerated van, intercity tour bus, fire engine, heavy conventional, cabover sleeper)
Home Improvement Centers: Establishments that carry a wide range of home products, such as hardware, lumber, building materials, garden supplies, plumbing and electrical supplies. May also carry automotive products. Examples include Home Depot and Lowe’s.Independent Service Providers: Vehicle service and repair shops that do not have a significant relationship with either vehicle manufacturers or petroleum marketers.
Independent Jobbers: Jobbers that are not owned, in part or in full, by a warehouse.
Independent Truck Repair Facilities: Firms that are primarily involved in the diagnosis, repair, maintenance or accessorization of commercial motor vehicles and have no significant relationship to vehicle manufacturers or to petroleum marketers.
Inventory Turns/Turnover: The number of times inventory is replenished within a particular time, calculated by dividing the cost of goods sold by the average inventory for the period.
Jobbers: Firms that sell more than 50 percent of their products to repair shops and more than 50 percent of their purchases are from distributors.
Jobber/Retailer: Wholesalers who also sell parts, chemicals and accessories to retail customers. Retail sales account for more than 50 percent of a jobber/retailer’s total sales.
Leased Operators: Owner operators that lease themselves and their vehicles to trucking companies.
Light Duty Vehicles: Vehicles classed by Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) as follows:
Class 1: 0 - 6,000 lbs. (passenger car, minivan, utility van, multipurpose/sport utility vehicle, compact and full-size pickup)
Class 2: 6,001 - 10,000 lbs. (minivan, utility van, step van, crew cab pickup, full-size pickup, mini-bus)
Class 3: 10,001 - 14,000 lbs. (mini-bus, walk-in, city delivery)
Manufacturers: Firms that are the principal owners of the brand and trade names of more than 50 percent of the products sold by their companies.
Manufacturers’ Representatives: Independent sales and marketing agencies which represent, by contract, the products of multiple manufacturers in the auto care market.
Markup: The difference between the cost of the merchandise and its initial retail price.
Mass Market: The general public.
Mass Market Retailers: General merchandise retailers including department stores, discount stores, grocery stores, drug stores, hardware stores, variety stores, home centers, warehouse clubs, appliance stores, catalog showrooms, lawn and garden stores. Some use “mass market” to refer to discount stores only.
Medium Duty Vehicles: Vehicles classed by Gross Vehicle Weight as follows:
Class 4: 14,001 - 16,000 lbs. (conventional van, large walk-in, landscaping/utility, city delivery)
Class 5: 16,001 - 19,500 lbs. (large walk-in, city delivery, bucket)
Class 6: 19,501 - 26,000 lbs. (rack, single-axle van, beverage, stake body, school bus)
Mobile Repair Units: Firms primarily involved in the diagnosis, repair or maintenance of motor vehicles and whose activities are predominantly conducted at a site not owned or leased by the firms.
Motor Vehicle Auto Care Market: The entire auto care market, including all products and services for light, medium and heavy duty vehicles after their original sale.
Mobile Tool Distributors: Distribution firms selling primarily tools and equipment with sales activity primarily occurring at the site of the buyer from inventory available on the distributor’s vehicle.
NAICS Codes: North American Industry Classification System codes. The standard statistical classification codes underlying all establishment-based Federal economic statistics classified by industry for the United States, Mexico and Canada.
New Car Dealers: Firms primarily involved in the retailing of new, personal-use motor vehicles, which also provide service for those vehicles after the sale.
NHTSA: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The agency that develops and administers educational, engineering and enforcement programs for safe vehicle use and cost-effective highway travel.
OE: Original Equipment. Parts and components supplied to manufacturers for motor vehicle production.
OEM: Original Equipment Manufacturers. Companies that supply parts and components for the production of motor vehicles.
OSHA: Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The regulatory and enforcement agency for workplace safety and health.
Owner Operator: Someone who owns one or more commercial trucks and personally drives at least one of them. If they own more than one vehicle they are also known as small fleet owners.
Paint, Body & Equipment Specialists (PBES) Segment: Specialists in providing vehicle refinishing products and supplies to the collision repair industry.
Parc: European terminology used to describe the total number of registered vehicles within a certain geographic region.
Performance Products: Products that enhance the speed and handling of a motor vehicle.
Program Group: A group of businesses purchasing, selling and marketing under a common banner.
Quick Lubes: Service establishments specializing in providing fast oil changes. May also offer other automotive services.
Remanufacturer: A rebuilder of motor vehicle engines and hard parts.
Replacement Rates: The percentage of vehicles in operation for which a particular component or service job was purchased during a particular year.
Service Stations: Establishments, which may or may not sell products over the counter, for which gasoline accounts for more than 50 percent of total sales. Examples include BP, Shell and Exxon.
SIC Codes: Standard Industrial Classification codes. The standard statistical classification codes underlying all establishment-based Federal economic statistics classified by industry. Largely replaced by the NAICS Codes system in 1997.
SKU: Stock Keeping Unit. Refers to each single item carried by a retailer. Every color, style and item having its own vendor or vendee number has its own SKU.
Specialty Repair Shops: Establishments specializing in one facet of automotive repair, such as transmission, ignition or exhaust. The outlet’s specialty accounts for more than 50 percent of total sales receipts.
Specialty Stores: Retail outlets, such as auto parts stores, that restrict its appeal to a specific type of merchandise. These outlets generally offer wider assortments in a narrower range than department, discount or variety stores.
Speed Shops: Specialty stores selling high-performance automotive products.
Three-Step Distribution: Traditional auto care market distribution process where products flow from the manufacturer to the warehouse distributor to the jobber to the service outlet.
Tier One Suppliers: Automotive parts manufacturers that supply final equipment directly to vehicle manufacturers. Increasingly, tier one suppliers are becoming producers of major subassemblies and modular components that can be installed into a vehicle as a unit, such as a complete drivetrain.
Tier Two Suppliers: Manufacturers that produce components for Tier One suppliers.
Tier Three Suppliers: Manufacturers that supply raw materials used in the production of components.
Tire Dealers: Stores that generate more than 50 percent of their sales from automotive tires.
Tool and Equipment Segment: Specialists in providing the tools and equipment needed to perform repair and maintenance of motor vehicles.
Transplants: Cars and trucks manufactured in the United States with a foreign nameplate.
Trim Segment: Companies that manufacture or distribute interior and exterior fabrics and the associated hardware and products used in the repair or restoration of motor vehicles, boats and aircrafts.
Trim Shops: Firms involved in the repair or accessorization of products primarily from the trim goods category, such as carpet, vinyl, leather, fabrics, thread and zippers.
Truck Dealers: Firms primarily involved in the retailing of new commercial motor vehicles. These firms also provide service for those vehicles after the sale.
Truck Stops: Firms primarily involved in the distribution of petroleum products and the diagnosis, repair or maintenance of commercially-operated motor vehicles.
Two-Step Distribution: Distribution process where products flow from the manufacturer to the warehouse distributor to the service outlet directly, eliminating the jobber.
Two-Step Warehouse Distributors: Firms that sell more than 50 percent of their products to repair shops and more than 50 percent of their purchases are from manufacturers.
Universal Product Code (UPC): Also known as bar code. Numbers printed on product package that can be electronically scanned for information such as brand, manufacturer and price.
Variety Stores: Establishments that sell a variety of goods at low prices, such as apparel, accessories, gift items, stationery, toiletries, light hardware, toys and candy (e.g., Ben Franklin).
Vehicle Class: A method of grouping vehicles according to their Gross Vehicle Weight. Classes range from 1 to 8. See Light Duty Vehicles, Medium Duty Vehicles and Heavy Duty Vehicles for examples.
Wagon Jobber: A distributor operating trucks stocked with fast-moving parts and tools, usually calling on service stations, garages and car dealers.
Warehouse Clubs: Self-service establishments selling a variety of products, generally in bulk sizes. Membership fees are typically required.
Warehouse Distributors: Firms that sell more than 50 percent of their products to automotive jobbers or retailers.
Wholesaler/Jobber: Firms that sell more than 50 percent of their products to repair shops and more than 50 percent of their purchases are from distributors.