ERJ staff report (TB)
Detroit, Michigan - More than half of automotive aftermarket and repair purchases in the U.S. last year were for vehicles eight years old or older, and demand for products and services to keep aging vehicles running is expected to remain strong, according to industry research firm NPD Group Inc.
The U.S. vehicle fleet is getting older - the average age of light vehicles on the country's roads reached a record high of 10.8 years in 2011, according to research firm R.L. Polk & Co. - and the automotive aftermarket and repair industry is benefiting.
Among consumers buying aftermarket products or services, 59 percent reported their purchases were for vehicles eight years old or older and 19 percent reported they were for vehicles 15 years old or older, NPD Group said.
This is a significant increase over the pre-recession distribution of vehicles by age, according to NPD's Car Care Track, which monitors purchase behavior details of auto aftermarket and repair consumers. Before the economic downturn in 2007, only 51 percent of consumers reported buying products or services for vehicles eight years old or older and only 14 percent made purchases for vehicles 15 years old or older.
â€œThe reality is that while new-car sales increased in 2011, they remained well below pre-recession sales rates and as a result, aging vehicles still gained influence in the market,â€ David Portalatin, NPD auto aftermarket analyst, said. â€œEven more robust new car sales would not displace the aging vehicle predominance in a single year.â€
Portalatin said consumers reported that they expect to keep their vehicles another five years on average, which would keep demand strong for aftermarket and repair products and maintain momentum through 2012.
Unit sales of suspension, steering, and application electrical parts had the most growth among products sold, with gains of 6 percent or more in 2011.
From Automotive News via Tire Business (A Crain publication)