The world of auto parts distributors is wide and varied, partly because so many different types of systems go into the making of a single car. Whether you represent an automobile manufacturer or an auto parts retailer, it's important to know about the largest auto parts distributors in the USA.
This article will cover information about some of the largest distributors to help you make an informed decision when you're seeking an automobile parts maker. There are many things to consider when you're seeking a reputable company, including reputation, distribution network, years in the business, and, of course, which products they make.
How Did We Compile This List?
The research process to write this article was an intensive one. Every auto parts distributor is different; many have long histories. During the making of this article, we asked ourselves questions such as, "Which auto parts distributors have been around longest?" "Which distributors have the greatest global reach?" "Which distributors have the most products and biggest network for distribution?" These are complicated questions. We looked at auto parts distributors one at a time, scouring their websites and product descriptions to understand what these companies were about and what role they played in the industry.
- Keyword search. We started by searching for keywords like "largest auto parts distributors in USA" and "auto parts distributors." This turned up a range of responses, which we had to sort through one at a time.
- Compared and contrasted. We looked at various auto parts distributors, clicked through their websites, and explored their distribution network, products, and more. Some companies make more than automotive products, making the process more complicated. It's hard to compare a company that primarily manufactures automotive products to a company that manufactures everything from automotive products to televisions. We learned that the biggest automotive parts distributors are worth billions of dollars, and these companies are very large, often employing tens or hundreds of thousands of people.
- Researched the biggest names. The largest auto parts distributors in USA are well-known names in the industry but not necessarily well-known household names. Researching the biggest names in the industry involves familiarizing yourself with the whole world of auto parts manufacturing and how various companies relate to one another.
- Selected companies for the list. There were many potential companies to add to the list of largest auto parts distributors in USA. Selecting companies involved finding the biggest names, companies with the biggest networks, most products sold, etc. We went through a careful selection process to ensure that our list was authoritative and reliable.
Largest Auto Parts Distributors in USA
After hours of research, this is the list of the 9 auto parts distributors that topped our list. These companies are the biggest of the big and have the greatest reach across the United States as well as the world. Their products can be found in cars made by the biggest names in the industry.
9. Aisin World Corp. of America
Aisin World Corp. of America is the North American sales headquarters for Aisin Corporation, a company often ranked in the top 10 automotive suppliers in the world.
- Founded: 1965
- Number of Stores: 210 locations
- Key Products and Services: brakes, navigation systems, transmissions, body, chassis, drivetrain, engine-related parts, intelligent parking systems, and electronics
Aisin is a $32 billion company and the largest manufacturer of automatic transmissions in the world. With more than 120,000 employees over 210 consolidated companies, Aisin is a company that leads in the manufacture and sales of brakes, navigation systems, transmissions, engine-related parts, chassis, drivetrain, intelligent parking systems, and electronics. The company is leading the charge in the development of electrical parts and products that can be used in zero-emission automobiles.
8. Panasonic Automotive Systems Co. of America
Panasonic Automotive Systems Co. of America is part of Panasonic, a company started in 1918 to create a variety of different pieces of equipment.
- Founded: 1918
- Key Products and Services: ev batteries, in-vehicle infotainment systems, in-car audio technology, connectivity systems, Toughbook vehicle equipment
Founded over 100 years ago, Panasonic was a company that began by creating a variety of products, including bicycle lamps, radios and televisions. Panasonic is an international group with a global distribution network and over 230,000 employees. They're a well-known name with products in stores around the world and a global distribution network across many industries.
7. Flex-N-Gate Corp.
Flex-N-Gate Corp is a company with 27,000 employees, selling auto parts to a wide range of automakers, including Ford Motor, BMW, Toyota Motor, and Nissan Motor.
- Founded: 1956
- Number of Stores: 7 R & D Locations
- Key Products and Services: Forward and signal lighting, metal assemblies, lighting, mechanical, extensive plastics, and mechanical assemblies
Flex-N-Gate Corp began in 1956 selling aftermarket parts and eventually moved into selling original equipment in 1968. Flex-N-Gate is owned by Shahid Khan, a former Engineering Manager of Flex-N-Gate. Mr. Khan found success making one-piece bumpers for a company he started and was able to make enough money to buy Flex-N-Gate later.
Today, Flex-N-Gate is one of the leading manufacturers and suppliers of assemblies, metal components, and plastic parts in the automotive industry. With 27,000 employees and a number of well-known automakers (Ford Motor, Toyota Motor, Nissan Motor, and BMW) on their list of customers, Flex-N-Gate is the recipient of the 2022 Supplier Quality Excellence Award and the 2022 Supplier of the Year (category of fascias).
6. Lear Corp.
Lear is a Fortune 500 company and global automotive technology leader that creates e-systems and seating systems for vehicles around the world.
- Founded: 1917
- Number of Stores: 253 facilities
- Key Products and Services: Seating and e-systems
Founded more than 100 years ago, Lear Corporation began in 1917 as American Metal Products. Lear serves every major automaker around the world with seating systems and e-systems. They are currently ranked #148 in the list of Fortune 500 companies.
Lear operates in 37 countries and is founded on innovation, sustainability, and operational excellence, aiming to create products that ensure comfort and well-being for consumers. Lear also delivers scalable power management, software, and electronics parts, using the latest cybersecurity measures to ensure protection for customers and a quality product for clients.
5. Robert Bosch
Robert Bosch is a company with 37,000 employees and 12 production sites, producing multimedia and electronics for cars.
- Founded: 1886
- Number of Stores: 12 production sites
- Key Products and Services: electronics, multimedia, steering systems and battery technology
Robert Bosch was founded in 1886 as the “Workshop for Precision Mechanics and Electrical Engineering” in Stuttgart. The company was founded on the idea of social commitment and innovative strength. In 1906, an advertisement for magneto ignition systems in U.S. newspapers generated $1 million worth of orders for the company. This single advertisement doubled orders for the company and eventually led the company to start manufacturing in Springfield, MA. The company has 37,000 employees in North America and 12 local production sites. Robert Bosch makes products for commercial vehicles, off-highway and large engines, two-wheelers, passenger cars and light vehicles.
4. Denso International America Inc.
Denso is a global Fortune 500 company with a varied product portfolio and $47.9 billion in sales.
- Founded: 1949
- Distribution Strategy: Denso is a mega supplier of auto parts with the ability to influence the industry in positive ways. Denso's strategy focuses on using this influence in three key areas: environment, security, and corporate infrastructure.
- Key Products and Services: powertrain control, small motors, electric systems, and telecommunications
The first Denso product ever made was a starter-generator for a chainsaw. Denso's first North American sales office opened in 1966, but today, Denso is a massive distributor with global reach. Denso has made an environmental commitment that includes doing all it can to prevent global warming air pollution and to reduce the use of substances with a negative environmental impact. The company is committed to the preservation of resources and conservation of water resources.
Denso's mission is to enable free and comfortable transportation using safe and secure products. Denso creates powertrain, air conditioning, safety, and cockpit systems for cars. In addition, Denso also supplies parts to the agricultural industry. Denso operates in 35 countries and regions, has 190 consolidated subsidiaries, and employs over 164,000 people.
3. ZF North America Inc.
ZF North America Inc. originally served as a supplier for the airship industry but grew beyond the boundaries of this role by creating tractor and automotive parts.
- Founded: 1915
- Number of Stores: 168 production locations
- Key Products and Services: chassis components, transmissions, steering systems, braking systems, clutches, active and passive safety systems, dampers and driver assist systems
ZF North America Inc. was originally created to serve as a supplier for the building of airships and planes, but as the company grew it began to create supplies for agricultural and passenger vehicles. Today, ZF North America Inc. is a company with reported sales of €43.8 billion and 165,000 employees worldwide.
ZF North America Inc. makes parts for a variety of industries, including automotive, wind power, test systems, rail systems, agricultural industry, marine, construction, trucks, trailers, buses, commercial vehicles, passenger vehicles, and more.
The company boasts a focus on sustainably generated energy for its production plants. The company is also greatly interested in increasing the energy efficiency of its processes. ZF North America Inc. is more focused today on using recycled materials and is also interested in the electrification of a large proportion of its products.
2. Continental Automotive Systems U.S. Inc.
Since 1871, Continental has developed quality mobility products, including tires, brakes, chassis systems, and more.
- Founded: 1871
- Number of stores: 554 locations
- Distribution Strategy: Continental focuses on maintaining sustainable business practices to meet the needs of the consumers that use their products.
- Key Products and Services: Tires, electronic brakes, advanced driver assistance systems, foundation brakes, safety electronics, chassis systems, telematics, injection systems, powertrain electronics, and turbochargers
Continental Automotive Systems began by making tires. While the company eventually started producing other car parts as well, tires remain a big and important part of their work. Continental maintains a global distribution network. One in every three passenger cars in Europe delivered from the factory is fitted with Continental tires. Continental is the leading OE supplier in the European market. The company operates in 61 countries and 554 locations, with 190,000 employees.
Continental focuses on producing sustainable products and services and has many goals to improve company sustainability by 2050. Continental produces products for passenger vehicles, commercial vehicles, trucks and buses, earth moving, material handling, agriculture, motors and bicycles, cars and vans.
1. Magna International Inc.
As a $37 billion company, Magna International Inc. specializes in a range of different automotive parts, including body exteriors, vision technologies, seating systems and complete vehicle engineering.
- Founded: 1957
- Distribution Strategy: 344 manufacturing operations and 104 product development, engineering, and sales centers spanning 29 countries.
- Key Products and Services: body exteriors, vision technologies, seating systems, and complete vehicle engineering
Magna International Inc. began more than 65 years ago with a decentralized culture. By the end of the 1960s, Magna had more than $4 million in sales, but the company began to take shape in the 1970s when they reached $100 million in sales and a rapid growth rate of around 38%. The company saw even more growth in the 80s and reached $1 billion in sales. The company has seen organic growth through acquisitions in the last two decades. Today, the company is a $37 billion company with 181,000 employees.
Magna International's distribution network includes China, South America, Eastern Europe, and India, spanning five continents and 29 countries. The company makes products and systems found in two out of every three vehicles around the world through 2019. They claim to be the only company with expertise in the whole vehicle, and supply 58 Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). They sell supplies for body exteriors, structures, power and vision, seating, and vehicle engineering services. They also contributed to the development of Magna Torrero in 1989.
You can also read:
Written by Benjamin Smith
Read more posts by Benjamin Smith