The private brand of ATR has been on the market since the mid-90s. With Cartechnic, ATR and its sales partners offer customers a lower priced alternative to that of existing manufacturers at comparable quality. The Cartechnic products are sold by the ATR distribution partners at home and abroad.
In the start-up phase the range only included radiator and windscreen antifreeze protection. In the course of the past years, the product range was extended by further product groups to more than 600 articles. In addition: Maintenance and service products, engine, transmission, hydraulic and air-conditioning oils, automotive lamps, car care products, wiper blades, starter batteries, paint products and much more. Cartechnic products are used today in many workshops, in specialist shops, at tyre chains and petrol stations and are increasingly in demand.
With 38 shareholders and 275 trading firms in 58 countries and sales by ATR members of over 26,6 billion euros, ATR can look back on half a century of rapid development and can look forward to an equally successful future. The course has been set. As early as the 1950s, a catalog association involving a number of wholesalers existed on the spare parts market in Germany. Leading the way were Matthies in Hamburg and STAHLGRUBER from Munich, which are still part of ATR to this day. In the mid-1960s, oil companies Esso and BP pushed their way onto the market with car accessory shops at service stations, thus creating considerable competition for the established companies on the spare parts market. The established companies therefore decided to pool their resources on the procurement market for car parts, car accessories and workshop equipment by founding a purchasing cooperative to strengthen their market position. And so in 1967, Auto-Teile-Ring GmbH, or ATR for short, was created. The founding members were wholesalers Auto-Steiger in Stuttgart, Matthies in Hamburg, Merkur in Wuppertal and Wessels in Osnabrück, joined soon after by STAHLGRUBER from Munich.
ATR developed into a significant trade cooperation in the 1970s and 1980s. Throughout this time, the ATR partners consistently pursued a philosophy of offering customers a full range of products with original branded parts and garage equipment, and expanding the network of sales locations. With the launch of ATR’s own brand Cartechnic in 1995, it also became possible to offer high-quality products as inexpensive alternatives. At the start of the 1990s, ATR also took its first steps toward internationalization, accepting partners from France and Spain. This led to the vision of international shareholders enjoying equal rights and became a reality in 1999 with the founding of ATR International AG (with ten members from eight countries). ATR International AG is a stock corporation that is not listed on any stock exchange. The wholesalers are shareholders of ATR and have equal rights.
National/international workshop concepts
The ATR association was a pioneer in major developments in the industry such as the electronic parts information system and the resistance to protection of designs. As a result of the structural change on the German spare parts and repair market in the 1990s, the focus was also placed on marketing and sales, thus giving rise to the Meisterhaft workshop concept in 1997. The autoPARTNER and AC AUTO CHECK concepts followed in 2000 and 2001. Over 1,250 professional, expert and competitive concept companies are now under the umbrella of ATR SERVICE GmbH, founded in 2008. The ACC AUTO CHECK CENTER international workshop concept has also been in existence since 2005 and now has over 270 facilities in Rumania, Hungary, Greece, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Portugal and Turkey.
In 2004, just five years after ATR International AG was founded, the network comprised 20 European trading firms from 18 countries (Austria, the Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the UK and Ukraine). The international trade cooperation took a further key step in expanding its market position by developing the IPAS concept. IPAS stands for International Preferred ATR Supplier. ATR used this concept from 2005 onwards to build up a standardized supplier portfolio for the top-selling product groups, thus consolidating the collaboration between the parts dealers and industrial suppliers. Success wasn’t long in coming, as by 2006 ATR already had 28 shareholders with operations and branches in 35 European countries. Sales with IPAS suppliers in particular grew at above-average levels.
ATR International AG developed rapidly in the following years – 2007 saw as the first member to join from overseas – IMC –, in 2009 the first shareholder in the Middle East – Aaron Montecchio – was welcomed, and in 2011 further shareholders opened up the markets in Central and Southern Africa and South America. They were followed by Central Asia, Canada, North Africa, Australia and Southeast Asia. Despite its size, ATR is still an association of strong and equal partners. It is able to consolidate and expand the competitive position of all shareholders through targeted purchasing and marketing strategies. Now the focus is on pressing on with the expansion of services and strengthening ATR partners in the global marketplace. That’s why ATR will continue to constantly set itself new goals, develop, and face the challenges of the industry.