The recession of 2007 and the extremely slow recovery may be hiding an important opportunity for dealers. With the issues of tight credit, mortgage foreclosures, unemployment and high gas prices facing many American consumers, new car sales hit near record lows. Sales of new cars and trucks have only in the past several months begun to improve. As a result the average of vehicles on American roads has reached a record 10.8 years.
The opportunity for dealers is that drivers must keep these older cars in working order. In a significant increase over pre-recession levels, 59% of consumers buying automotive aftermarket products say they are for vehicles of eight years or older with 19% for vehicles 15+ years old, according to a survey by Polk. For the foreseeable future NPD Group believes this trend will continue despite improved new vehicle sales.
Dealers who market to the owners of older vehicles stand to benefit.