An evolving U.S. vehicle fleet is giving way to significant opportunities for the aftermarket, particularly the average age of all light vehicles on the road, which now stands at a record high of 11.4 years, according to global automotive market intelligence firm Polk (www.polk.com).
That average age statistic is based on a review of more than 247 million U.S. car and light truck registrations earlier this year.
Particularly noteworthy are these other key findings:
The average age of light trucks also increased to a record 11.3 years.
The volume of 6- to 11-year-old vehicles is declining, with Polk expecting this segment to shrink by more than 20%.
At the same time, the group of vehicles older than 12 years is on the rise.
With the rebound in new vehicle registrations, Polk is forecasting the total VIO to grow 5% by 2018, to more than 260 million vehicles.
“These are interesting times for the automotive aftermarket,” said Mark Seng, vice president of Polk’s aftermarket practice. “Customers from independent and chain repair shops should be paying close attention to their business plans and making concerted efforts to retain business among the do-it-for-me (DIFM) audience.”
As a service provider to this evolving vehicle fleet, a better understanding of market conditions will help you identify growth opportunities and target business plans for the future. And, as you work to retain customers and gain new ones, here are some things to consider:
With average vehicle age at a record high, so too is unperformed maintenance work that’s ripe for the picking. Don’t miss the opportunity to explain the undeniable link between regular vehicle maintenance and peak-performing vehicles that boost gas mileage and also prevent bigger-ticket repairs down the road.
Sell necessary maintenance services to your customers by first educating them about the benefits of regular vehicle care. One of the main contributors of unperformed maintenance is consumer neglect due to the lack of knowledge about the need for vehicle system checks at specified intervals.
Work on first impressions and your shop’s image. Focus on delivering expert repairs with every service, shop upgrades, marketing efforts and community outreach because first impressions run deep in attracting and keeping good customers.