Automotive Aftermarket Sees Growth in 2012

The AIAA expects the average age of vehicles will continue to increase. This, coupled with continued growth in miles driven, will fuel the growth in aftermarket business.

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If recent forecasts of the Bethesda, Md.-based Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AIAA, www.aftermarket.org) hold true, 2012’s growth will mirror 2011’s growth of 4.1 percent, says Ron Rossi, AIAA director of market intelligence.

AIAA applied its Channel Forecast Model to predict growth. The model uses the 1997 and 2002 Economic Census data to determine the present—nominal—dollar value of sales at end-user prices for each of 42 automotive aftermarket channels of distribution, as defined by the North American Industry Classification System. Then, the model sums those data.

The model’s results showed positive and negative impacts, Rossi explains. Some positive impacts included nominal gross domestic product (GDP) averaging more than 4.6 percent in 2012; and a steady decline in unemployment. Some negative impacts included rising fuel costs.

The net result of the positive and negative changes is that the U.S. aftermarket should grow by 4.1 percent in 2012, Rossi forecasts. “The market growth from 2011 through 2013 will result in the 2013 total U.S. aftermarket topping $240 billion.

The compound annual growth rate of the total U.S. aftermarket from 2010 through 2014 will be 3.8 percent, highlighting that the industry is well on its way to recovery after the down year of 2009.”

But because vehicles have been engineered to last longer, AIAA believes older vehicle trade-ins will be sold as used cars and remain on the road for years. “We expect the average age of vehicles will continue to increase. This, coupled with continued growth in miles driven, will fuel the growth in aftermarket business,” Rossi predicts.

C. Kenna Amos, ckamosjr@earthlink.net, is an Automation World Contributing Editor.

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