Trend Toward Aging U.S. Vehicles Slows


While the average age of light vehicles in the United States rose 15 percent from 9.9 years in 2007 to 11.4 years in 2014, that trend is expected to slow going forward, rising only to 11.8 years in 2019, according to data in the latest report jointly published by the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association and Automotive Care Association.

While the number of light vehicles 12 years and older are expected to increase 15 percent by 2019, those aged 6 to 11 years old will decline 10 percent, and the number less than 5 years old will grow 24 percent, the associations forecast notes.

The report includes an appendix with sales history and forecasts by channel. Automotive oil change and lubrication shops reached nearly $6 billion in total sales for 2015, up 5.3 percent from $5.7 billion in 2014. The channels sales are forecasted to increase to more than $6.2 billion in 2016 and grow by 18.3 percent to more than 7.1 billion by 2019. Sales in the channel have risen steadily from $4.6 billion in 2009.

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 2019, rising to $296.3 billion in that year, according to the report. That would represent an increase of 15.1 percent from $257.4 billion in 2015.

The forecast model demonstrates that despite strong new vehicle sales, moderating gas prices and improved miles driven are conditions conducive to continued steady growth, Bill Hanvey, Auto Care Association president and CEO, said in a news release. Why? The average age of light vehicles, now up to 11.5 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 end of 2015, more than 260 million vehicles were on the road in the U.S. That figure is expected to grow 1.7 percent annually through 2019, reaching more than 278 million registered vehicles that year.

The report found that the annual distance traveled by all vehicles reached almost 3.2 trillion miles in 2015, up 3.5 percent – the highest annual growth seen in the past 25 years. As with the 2015 report, one of the biggest tailwinds the aftermarket faces is the resurgence in annual vehicle miles traveled. After a long stagnation, miles driven is increasing and growing steadily again, largely due to low gas prices, the association concluded.

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

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