According to a recent report from the Economic Policy Institute, there are currently more than 300 companies in the auto parts market, but only six have been allowed to be sold to consumers.
This means that consumers are largely left out of the auto repair market.
“This is a massive market for auto parts,” Peter Shukman, the EPI’s director of research, said.
“If you think about it, there’s more than $2 trillion worth of consumer goods that are made in this country, but the manufacturers that make these are all controlled by one company.”
Shukman explained that there are many reasons why companies don’t want to sell their products to consumers: they’re afraid of competition, they don’t like having to pay higher prices, and they’re concerned about legal liability.
“There’s a very good argument that the current regulatory environment, especially with respect to the auto dealers, is extremely hostile to this type of product making,” he added.
“It’s very, very difficult to get an approval from the FDA or the CARB, and you’ve got to have a license.
That’s a lot of hassle, and it’s very expensive.
There’s a huge cost for companies to put up with it.”
According to the EPRI report, the number of companies selling to consumers has risen to just over 30.
Of these companies, nine have been licensed for more than a year, and seven have had at least one vehicle sold to the public since 2010.
“This market is really competitive,” Shukam said.