Aftermarket Poised for Three Percent Annual Growth Through 2014

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Two separate recent research reports show the total automotive aftermarket gaining between 3.1% and 3.8% annually, with much of that growth coming from tires and mechanical parts including suspension, chassis and driveline components.

Good news for the automotive aftermarket: recent market research shows the industry growing between 3%–4% in 2010 and beyond. A preliminary analysis for the Aftermarket Factbook, to be released by the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association in May, shows the industry poised for 3.8% growth in 2010. A separate report from the Freedonia Group predicts the aftermarket (including replacement and hard parts) growing 3.1% annually through 2014, to nearly $72 billion.

Freedonia notes that growth will be stymied somewhat by an expected rebound in new-car sales, pushing older cars—with more upgrade and replacement potential—out of the national fleet. Support for newer, more complex vehicle systems will help stimulate some new growth, however.

Freedonia expects mechanical parts, including chassis, suspension and drivetrain components, to remain the largest aftermarket product category. The fastest growing segment, however, is expected to be electronic parts and components, as cars transform into what Freedonia calls "software-driven devices," although continual OEM improvements on electronic modules and interfaces is likely to slow future upgrades of these products.

Aftermarket tires are also expected to grow with an increase in miles driven compared to 2008 and 2009.

And although repair work in the last decade has increasingly gone to dealers, aided by longer warranties and proprietary diagnostics, the wide closures of OE dealerships creates an opportunity for the smaller and/or independent specialists.

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