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NAPA & GPC – A Shared History

For almost a century NAPA and GPC have been tied together, growing and sharing success after success. Want to learn about what makes NAPA products so good? Then take a look at the timeline below and discover the shared history of two of America’s greatest automotive legends.

NAPA Founded

In the 1920’s, America fell in love with the automobile. More and more vehicles began traveling the roads, creating a need for an auto parts distribution system that could keep pace with the demand to keep our automobiles running. NAPA was founded to meet those needs, and has been meeting them ever since.

Genuine Parts Company (GPC) Founded

Genuine Parts Company was founded when Fraser bought a small auto parts store in Atlanta. The store had six employees and capital of $40,000 when he acquired it. From the beginning, Genuine pushed swift, reliable service as a way to outflank the competition. The firm also used its relationship with NAPA, the trade association cofounded by Fraser in 1925. NAPA set standards and sold parts to jobbers.

GPC Goes Public

During the 1930s, company sales went from $339,000 to $3.18 million. In the year of its 20th anniversary in 1948, the company had $20 million in sales. That same year the company went public, selling 150,000 shares of common stock at $11 per share.

The First NAPA Brand Parts are introduced

By the late 1960s, Genuine was a nationwide distributor, supplying 2,500 independent jobbers and owning 33 of the 55 NAPA distribution centres, which then served 4,000 jobbers throughout the United States. The first NAPA brand parts were introduced in 1966 to be distributed through GPC’s ever-growing network.

GPC Expands Into Canada

Expansion outside the United States began in 1972, when Genuine acquired auto parts distributor Corbetts, Ltd., which was based in Calgary, Alberta. Corbetts served more than 100 jobbing stores.

GPC Diversifies Through the Purchase of S.P. Richards

Auto parts were becoming more elaborate and expensive as a result of technology advances and stricter pollution standards. In 1975, attempting to diversify, Genuine picked up a wholesale office supplies firm, S.P. Richards Co.

GPC Expands into Industrial Parts with the Acquisition of Motion Industries

In 1976, under the leadership of CEO Wilton Looney, GPC expanded into the industrial parts business with the acquisition of Motion Industries, Inc. Looney believed that industrial parts would be recession-proof in the same way that auto parts were: during recessions industrial firms would buy replacement parts for existing machinery rather than purchasing new equipment.

GPC Acquires General Automotive Parts Corp.

In 1982 Genuine bought General Automotive Parts Corp. of Dallas in a stock swap valued at about $250 million. General Auto had stores in 12 states in the southwest, north, and central regions of the United States.

EIS, Inc. and UAP Inc. Acquired

Genuine entered a new, and potentially higher growth, line of business through the July 1998 acquisition of EIS, Inc., a distributor of electrical and electronic materials, in a deal valued at about $180 million. In December 1998 Genuine spent about $231 million to buy the 80 percent of Montreal-based UAP Inc. that it did not already own.

Johnson Industries, Inc. Acquired

In January 1999, GPC further expanded its auto parts group by acquiring yet another Atlanta-based firm, Johnson Industries, Inc. With annual revenues of $120 million, Johnson served new-car dealers and owners of large vehicle fleets, such as Federal Express.

GPC Acquires Asia Pacific

Repco and the entire Exego group (consisting of Ashdown-Ingram, Mcleod Accessories and Motospecs) were all acquired by GPC Asia Pacific.

Acquired Alliance Automotive Group and Inenco Group

Acquired Alliance Automotive Group and Inenco Group. Through Alliance Automotive Group, GPC extended its reach across the Atlantic Ocean, into Europe. With Inenco, GPC and Motion Industries greatly enhance their presence in Australia.

Merged EIS into Motion Industries

For nearly the past 20 years, electrical/industrial products distributor EIS Inc. had been operating independently as a subsidiary of Genuine Parts Company, like fellow GPC subsidiary Motion Industries. Now, the two subsidiaries are one. EIS became the Electrical Specialties Group of Motion Industries.

NAPA Products Launch in the UK & France

NAPA was introduced to the UK by AAG. Launched in the latter part of 2019, the initial product included coil springs, shock absorbers, and rotating electrics.