DIFM Dominates in Europe


Do-it-for-me oil changes and maintenance held the biggest share of Europes car service market in 2009, while rebounding global passenger car sales in 2010 promise a brighter lube market, according to market research firm GIPA.

European car owners are primarily buying DIFM oil changes and maintenance while Russia is traditionally a do-it-yourself oil-change market, Alexander Gruzdev, head of GIPA Russia, told the Engine Oil and Automobile Chemicals 2010 conference in Moscow Nov. 22.

In 2009 France had a 48 percent share of DIY car owners, the biggest in western Europe and unusual for many European countries, he said. The study found that in 2009 only 20 percent of German car owners were in the DIY segment and 80 percent in DIFM. The result for Spain and Italy, similar for each, was 10 percent DIY versus 90 percent DIFM.

The Russian DIY segment in 2009 was much bigger, at about 60 percent, while 30 percent of the countrys car owners were DIFM. The country is known for its DIY culture. In addition it has one more segment which exists only here [in Russia]. We call it choose-it-yourself, Gruzdev noted, adding that this segment consists of car ownerswho took their own motor oil in for use by a car repair shop or oil change service that performs the oil change. No car service in the EU would agree to change a spare part or make a lube change if a customer brings it in the car shop, he remarked, because of concerns about warranty coverage.

The study also found that in 2009 the average number of individual car owners service visits in the European Union was higher than in Russia. Car owners brought their vehicles in for service an average of two times per year in countries such as Spain, Portugal, Italy or Czech Republic. In Germany, France and Great Britain, drivers brought their cars in for service an average of 1.6 times per year. That compared with an average of 1.3 visits annually for car service in Russia.

The average number of car service visits in China and in some South American countries such as Brazil or Argentina in 2009 was much higher, at more than 4.5 per year.

The car sales in some of the worlds biggest automobile markets contracted heavily in 2009 due to the financial crisis, Gruzdev said, though some individual countries saw growth and 2010 brought signs of recovery.

The United States light vehicle sales in 2009 were down 28 percent compared to the year before, with a similar result in Spain, while the United Kingdoms car sales contracted 16 percent in 2009, he said. Gruzdev noted that Russia experienced the hardest blow from the recession, with car sales in 2009 slumping 49 percent compared to the year before.

However, Germanys and Chinas light vehicles sales in 2009 saw growth of 26 and 18 percent, respectively. The German government introduced vast subsidies to the countrys auto industry, including programs similar to the cash-for-clunkers deal in the U.S., he added. The recession didnt impact booming automobile sales in China, the worlds biggest developing economy, Gruzdev said.

Global automobile sales in 2010 have seen recovery, according to GIPA. In the first nine months of 2010, automobile sales in China grew 34 percent, compared to the same period in 2009. Japanese and U.S. light vehicle sales recovered 19 percent and 10 percent, respectively. In the first nine months of 2010, Russias car sales grew by 18 percent compared to the same period in 2009. Over the first three quarters of 2010, global car sales have seen total growth of 13 percent, compared to the same period in 2009.

Ninety-two percent of the European Unions new light vehicles in 2009 replaced older cars in the EUs vehicle fleet, while only 8 percent of new cars actually enlarged its vehicle fleet, according to GIPA.

On the contrary, the Chinese vehicle fleet is very young and there is nothing to [replace] there. Chinese cars are only 3.5 years old on average, and 95 percent of the country new light vehicles enlarged the vehicle fleet in 2009, Gruzdev observed. He also pointed out that in 2009, 39 percent of Russias new cars replaced older ones in the countrys vehicle fleet, while 61 percent of the new cars actually enlarged the countrys vehicle fleet.

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