Automotive Aftermarket Sees Q3 Downturn but Glass Still Half Full

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The third quarter “Aftermarket Supplier Barometer” survey just released by the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association provides a glass half full, half empty scenario. Market growth has slowed down from the rapid pace seen in the past few years, but the automotive aftermarket is still keeping pace with the general economy. The survey results do show a level of pessimism, but a number of positive factors are at play in the Q3 2012 AASA Barometer that will improve the aftermarket’s future moving forward, according to Steve Handschuh, AASA president and COO.

Nearly 40% of full-service aftermarket manufacturers said the outlook for their business declined last quarter, while only 22% said it improved. However, there are encouraging signs for the future, according to AASA, such as the growth rate of supplier sales into the original equipment service (OES) channel doubling from Q2 2012. There are other market trends to look at. “Vehicle age, a strong market driver, is still at record levels,” Handschuh said. “There also is potential for substantial growth in miles driven – a future tailwind that few analysts take into account in forecasts.”

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