The U.S. vehicle fleet population is changing—a shift that gives way to significant opportunities for certain automotive aftermarket segments, according to Polk, an automotive market intelligence firm.
Polk reported that the average age of all light vehicles on the road has reached a record high of 11.4 years old, while the average age of light trucks is 11.3 years. The ages are based on review of more than 247 million U.S. car and light-truck registrations earlier this year.
The volume of 6 to 11-year-old vehicles on the road is declining, while the group of vehicles more than 12 years old is on the rise. The average age of light vehicles was 10 years old in 2007, according to Polk. The increase in average vehicle age creates a potential shift in the aftermarket, so automotive accessory dealers and installers may experience opportunities for growth.
“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 audience, while retailers have a unique and growing opportunity with potential consumers wrenching on their own vehicles.”
Additionally, Polk forecasts that total vehicles in operation (VIO) will grow 5 percent to more than 260 million vehicles by 2018 due to a recent rebound in new-vehicle registrations, according to a new forecast developed by the firm.