DREAMING BIG AND GROWING FAST
In less than 25 years, Unique Auto Parts has developed from a mechanical workshop specialising in Mercedes Benz to a major player in the car parts space
It began with a dream to build a successful automotive repair workshop specialising in Mercedes Benz vehicles, but passion and dedication drove Unique Auto Parts (UAP) to a thriving parts business in just over two decades.
“The company started in 1995 as a three bay mechanical workshop and we purchased Mercwreck and Volksparts in 1998 and started supplying second-hand parts for Mercedes and VWs in addition to running the workshop,” Unique Auto Parts Owner, Joe Fahad, explains.
“In the early 2000s we purchased OK Imports and branched into importing new parts. Within 12 months we signed an exclusive deal with the JP group (which is still existing to date).”
The need for more space was soon a necessity so the organisation moved and established its head office in its current location in Dandenong. But the rapid growth of the business was far from over.
“In late 2000 we purchased Mr Bug and expanded our offerings to include VW parts. We also became a Capricorn preferred supplier, we started importing products from (German parts manufacturer) Meyle and officially began trading as Unique Auto Parts,” Joe continues.
In 2008, UAP opened its first interstate branch in Slacks Creek, Queensland. This branch was moved to a significantly larger location in 2013 around the same time UAP opened a branch on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria.
“Since then we have added parts to suit more European makes as well as signing exclusive deals to be able to supply parts from Quinton Hazell, Trucktec and Carlube Oil. Other well-known brands we have added to our inventory in recent years are Victor Reinz , Hella, Bosch and SKF,” Joe enthuses.
UAP opened a branch in Heidelberg Victoria in 2014 which services Melbourne’s northern suburbs which was soon followed by a second interstate store in Beckenham WA, which was established in 2018. Now with five stores, the fledgling business employs more than 25 staff members nationally.
UAP’s main product lines include new replacement parts to suit Mercedes Benz, BMW, Volkswagen, Mini, Audi, Seat, Skoda, Peugeot, Renault, Citroen, Porsche and Volvo.
“This will grow to include all European makes comprising of Alfa, Fiat and Range Rover,” Joe says.
“This incorporates a full range of filters, mechanical parts, brake components, suspension and steering components, cooling and exhaust systems, gaskets and seals, electrical, and oils and lubricants.
“Brands in stock include international names such as JP Group, QH, Trucktec, Hella, Bosch, SKF, Victor Reinz, Carlube, and our newest brands BBR and Zimmerman.”
UAP has a customer-first policy and services its growing clientele via its network of warehouses around the country.
“We have a delivery service available for local customers from all five warehouses located in Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth. We also ship freight Australia wide on a daily basis and internationally if required,” Joe explains.
“We supply both trade and retail customers. We also have a large number of Capricorn customers having been Capricorn preferred suppliers for over 12 years.”
Joe says that keeping control of UAP’s own distribution chain is central to the businesses strategy that sets it apart from its competition.
“We have our own fleet of delivery vehicles that come and go from our warehouses continuously which makes our delivery times more flexible. Having our own fleet means we don’t rely on external courier companies and can plan and modify delivery runs as needed. Currently we have 12 delivery vehicles on the road,” Joe explains.
The business really took off when the evaluation was made to become a parts supplier and to move away from vehicle repairs.
“The biggest decision that made the company what it is today was when we decided to devote 100 percent of our energy into sourcing new parts. This decision came about after we ourselves had difficulty sourcing replacement parts within Australia that were not only good quality but at a reasonable price,” Joe says.
“We have travelled all over the world meeting with international suppliers, visiting their warehouses and manufacturing facilities and getting to know them on a more personal level. This is how we know we are only importing the best quality parts.”
It is this first-hand experience that Joe believes gives UAP a major competitive advantage.
“As the owner of the company and a certified Mercedez Benz mechanic, I understand what customers really need having run a workshop before. All our phone staff also come from mechanical backgrounds,” Joe says.
“We have an extensive range of parts for classic air cooled VWs, and classic Porsche models as well as one of the largest ranges for late model and commercial vehicles.”
However, UAP is far from resting on its laurels with a desire to continue to improve the business in every way possible.
“With every shipment that comes in we are constantly growing our range of parts and the aim is to stock everything from the smallest O-ring to major replacement parts. We are also working towards expanding our product lines to include all European makes of passenger and commercial vehicles including Fiat, Alfa Romeo, and Range Rover,” Joe says.
“We are also expanding our range of oil and car care products to include everything needed to keep vehicles looking and running in peak condition. This will include oils and lubricants to suit all models and products to clean and protect both vehicle interiors and exteriors.
“We are also continuously looking for ways to provide better service for our customers.”
UAP is a member of the AAAA and Joe says that the services and information that the Association provides has been a major assistance to the continued growth of the business.
“We like to align ourselves with people who share the same values and we like what AAAA stands for and what it is trying to achieve for the auto industry,” Joe explains.
“We have a place to go for expert advice specific to the auto aftermarket and are always kept up to date with the latest industry information.
“We also benefit from the network opportunities at tradeshows and the chance to advertise in Australian Automotive Aftermarket Magazine.”
For more from Unique Auto Parts, please visit www.uniqueautoparts.com.au