Repuesteros do not know how to pay wages with 25% of sales

The aftermarket began to emerge from isolation. But the revival is so limited that its sales barely represent 25 percent of the previous level, with which doubts grow in the sector as to how they will pay salaries and rents.

The data is provided by José Giordano, president of the Chamber of Entrepreneurs of Automotive and Related Parts of Córdoba (Cerac), a sector that began work last week from the mechanical workshops reopened for maintenance of vehicles authorized to move, in the context of the quarantine by Covid-19.

The summer, the high season of this sector, brought a good level of movement but with a sharp drop in profitability. “The signal is that small businesses do not progress and are managed with little stock, while large businesses advance very slowly,” he says.

Therefore, the quarantine severely affected the pockets of the retailers.

“Today it sells between 20 and 25 percent of the level prior to quarantine, so the sector works at a loss. This month, most did not pay taxes and concentrated on meeting wages; Now, for the grown-ups, the main concern is how to face April’s wages in May and, for small businesses, how to collect for rent, ”he adds.

Cerac gathers 250 associates, but only in Córdoba Capital it is estimated that 900 businesses work between spare parts houses, gomerías and lubricentros; On average, they have between 8 to 10 employees, which means that the sector employs between 7,000 and 9,000 people.

Although there is no official guideline, on the recommendation of the entity, the repuesteros work from 9 to 16, attending only mechanical workshops, not the general public, as another way to collaborate with the logistics of those who care for the containment of the disease and of the allowed activities.

The gomerías and lubricentros, meanwhile, receive a vehicle with a turn and the corresponding circulation permit.

Although there is no clear statistic, the Cerac estimates that the vast majority of businesses did not access subsidized credits for the payment of wages.

“The banks prioritized the repuesteros who were clients of the entity, who had up-to-date folders, good records and with the expectation that they would pay. The small business that is unbanked or that is, but does not have their folders armed because the bank to discount checks, could not access the loans, “he said.

Braked import

Another problem derived from the coronavirus is the brake on the import of spare parts and parts.

Currently, between 80 and 90 percent of the components that circulate in the replacement market are imported. Of this volume, 70 percent is from China and a significant portion of the remaining 30 percent is Asian products reworked in Brazil.

The pandemic slowed down the industry and the export of Chinese products, but also delayed the nationalization of spare parts, which in many cases remain in Customs.

“If it were not for the fact that very little is sold, today there would be a lack of merchandise,” says Giordano.

These products enter the national market with a 10 percent surcharge in prices, compared to the period prior to quarantine, since the importer averages the price of the official dollar and the stock market dollar, which last week exceeded the barrier of the 100 pesos.

“They have made a Solomonic decision because they need to sell and nothing is billed; it will be necessary to see what will happen when they can import and the market reactivates ”, he highlights.