There may be a lot more value in your old jalopy than you realize. Indeed, junk cars are a $4 billion-a-year enterprise in the United States and Canada, with 80 percent of the average 9 million motor vehicles scrapped each year being dismantled by spare-parts dealers.
A comprehensive study of the used-parts industry by Arthur D. Little Inc., in collaboration with the Automobile Dismantlers and Recyclers Association, found that there are more than 11,000 businesses in the United States, plus more than 1,000 in Canada, whose main work is stripping cars and selling used parts.
In 1981, the last year for which records are available, the dismantling companies stripped some 8 million motor vehicles in the US as well as 700,000 in Canada.
The used-parts industry employs about 80,000 people and generates $4 billion in annual sales, according to Richard W. Douglass and Bruce Lane, the Arthur D. Little consultants who conducted the study.
In 1980, they said, the industry grew by about 10 percent.