U.S. Light Vehicle Ages Continue to Rise


The average age of light vehicles in the United States has increased from 9.6 years in 2002 to 11.4 years for 2014, according to data in a new report jointly published by the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association and the Auto Care Association.

However, it may be near a peak, the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association noted about the forecast model. While light vehicles 12 years and older are predicted to increase 25 percent, those aged 5 to 11 years old will decline by 21 percent as the number of vehicles less than 5 years old will grow 32 percent. The rise in the average age of light vehicles continues to drive automotive aftermarket growth, AASA noted.

The forecast model included an appendix with sales history and forecasts by channel. Automotive oil change and lubrication shops topped $5.7 billion in sales for 2014, up 3.6 percent from $5.5 billion in 2013. The channels sales are forecasted to increase 5.2 percent to nearly $6 billion in 2015 and to top $6.7 billion by 2018.

The U.S. market for automotive aftermarket parts and materials is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 3.6 percent through 2018, rising to $284.3 billion in that year, according to the forecast model. Price increases are expected to account for about 80 percent of the growth during 2015 to 2018.

The forecast model demonstrates that despite strong new vehicle sales, moderating gas prices and a slight improvement in miles driven, our industry can expect to see continued steady growth, Kathleen Schmatz, Auto Care Association president and CEO, said in a news release. Why? The average age of vehicles, now up to 11.4 years, is the oldest ever, and the age mix of vehicles continues to favor older vehicles, creating a robust sweet spot for service and repair.

By the close of 2014, the number of vehicles on the road reached 252 million, just topping the pre-recession high of 2009. From 2014 to 2018, the number of vehicles in operation should increase nearly 10 percent to just under 277 million, the forecast concluded.

The forecast model also found that the annual vehicle-distance traveled in the United States had increased back to pre-recession levels at` just over 3 trillion miles. One of the biggest tailwinds the aftermarket is facing is the resurgence in annual vehicle miles traveled, AASA said in the forecast model. After a long stagnation, miles driven is increasing and growing steady again.

Economic and market information firm IHS Automotive conducted the market sizing and forecast on behalf of the two associations. The forecast is based on the U.S. Census Bureaus Economic Census, Industrial Marketing Research and Polk data, and proprietary IHS Automotive economic analysis and forecasting models.

The 2015 Joint Channel Forecast Model is available at the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association web site at http://www.aftermarketsuppliers.org/Industry-Analysis

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