Founder & Chairman, Auto-Wares Group of Companies
As a third-generation auto parts professional, some might say that motor oil runs through Fred Bunting’s veins. At just 14 years old, Fred got his start at the family automotive aftermarket business, working his way through myriad positions including stocker and unloader to buyer, truck driver and salesperson. While the family business was sold in 1967, Fred’s automotive career was just taking shape. Less than 10 years later, in 1976, he founded Auto-Wares Group of Companies headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
With an unmatched passion for the automotive industry and a long-term growth mindset, Fred has spent the last 47 years building Auto-Wares Group of Companies into a successful enterprise that now owns 13 major automotive aftermarket companies and over 200 retail auto parts stores throughout Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Illinois and Wisconsin. Employing upward of 2,300 staff, Auto-Wares services more than 450 auto parts stores and 36,000 wholesale accounts daily. Through a strategic partnership with Auto Value, Auto-Wares Group of Companies also owns more than 300 Auto Value and Bumper to Bumper storefronts and 700 service centers.
Fred graduated from Ferris State University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a second degree in marketing and retailing. His dedication to the automotive aftermarket industry and educating the next generation of technicians and service leaders has earned him many recognitions over the years, including Northwood University’s Automotive Aftermarket Education Award, Auto Value Man of the Year, Art Fisher Award for Excellence in Education, Mort Schwartz Excellence in Education Award, Master Automotive Aftermarket Professional (MAAP) designation, and the 2016 Automotive Warehouse Distributors Association (AWDA) Jack Creamer Leader of the Year Award.
Beyond Auto-Wares Group of Companies, Fred remains an active leader within the automotive aftermarket industry, serving on the board of directors for the Auto Value and Bumper to Bumper National Program Group, as well as the Automotive Warehouse Distributors Association. Today, Fred and his wife Becky split their time between residences in Michigan and Florida. They have two grown children, Robert Bunting and Tracie Sanford.