CAFE standards: Will the latest fuel economy guidelines affect any aspect of your aftermarket sales?

Nov 21, 2012

American voters decided on Nov. 6 that President Barrack Obama should occupy the Oval Office for the next four years, confirming that the new Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards will likely go into effect by the 2025 model year without major changes through the end of Obama’s second term in 2016.

President Obama’s supporters expect him to stick to his goal of having 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2015. In addition to proposing to increase a $7,500 tax credit for electric vehicles to as much as $10,000, the Obama administration could also decide to resume lending under the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing loan program, a $25 billion fund for the production of cleaner cars and trucks, as reported by Gabe Nelson of Automotive News.

Fueled by fluctuating gas prices and pressure from administrators, automakers are releasing more electric vehicles, hybrids and cars with low-fuel-economy labels, which are bringing in strong sales.

Luke Tonachel, a senior analyst in the transportation program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, told the New York Times: “This is great news for consumers and the environment. New cars being sold today make up the greenest car fleet ever, and we can look forward to even cleaner cars as fuel-efficiency standards continue to ramp up.”

Ford Motor’s Focus along with its all-new C-MAX Hybrid and Fiesta sales totaled 25,493 vehicles in October, helping Ford achieve its best small-car sales month since 2001 and a 54% year-over-year increase. In addition, Honda Motor Co.’s President Takanobu Ito predicts that the subcompact Fit hatchback will lead a surge in Honda sales over the next four years, stating that the car’s improved fuel efficiency and competitive pricing will drive sales.

Furthermore, car buyers are discovering that bigger isn’t necessarily better. Although small-car sales reached their highest numbers in a decade in September, truck sales lagged. General Motors, Ford, Chrysler Group and Toyota experienced a combined 2.6% year-over-year shortfall in large pickup sales due to decreased fleet volume and sales from a year ago.

As fuel efficiency becomes an increased priority to automakers and small-car sales continue to rise, what changes in aftermarket purchases are you seeing?