More dollars to go on repairs, maintenance in 2010, less on new vehicles

Dec 2, 2009

As fewer consumer purchase new vehicles in 2009 and are expected to do so in 2010, The NPD Group, Port Washington, N.Y., has found that more people are spending more on repairs and maintenance to keep their older vehicles running longer. NPD, a market research company, learned in its recent automotive aftermarket research that more than 90% of consumers say they will do the same amount of maintenance or more in 2010 that they’ve done in 2009.

According to NPD’s recently released “2010 Consumer Outlook Study,” which provides a first glimpse into consumer attitudes and anticipated behaviors for aftermarket spending in the coming year, the key areas where consumers increased vehicle maintenance behavior from 2008 included: started changing oil more often; 18% in 2009 versus 12% in 2008; changing an air filter, 41% in 2009 versus 37% in 2008; using a fuel additive (either to clean or improve gas mileage), 11% in 2009 versus 9% in 2008; using a more premium oil, 11% in 2009 versus 8% in 2008; and purchasing a higher quality brand of gasoline; 4% in 2009 versus 3% in 2008.

When NPD asked consumers about vehicle repair plans for 2010, one out of three (30%) consumers indicated that they are planning to do more vehicle maintenance in 2010. Out of the 70% not doing more, 64% plan to do the same things to maintain their vehicle. Therefore, according to NPD, 94% of consumers are planning to do the same amount of maintenance they have been doing on their vehicle or more next year.

“The conventional wisdom in the auto aftermarket is that it is only a matter of time before sales of replacement parts for these aging cars will begin to provide a lift to total aftermarket spending,” says David Portalatin, industry analyst for NPD’s auto aftermarket unit. “It now appears that consumers are recognizing that they will need to spend more on service and repairs to keep their vehicles on the road longer.”