Lang Aftermarket iReport: Domestic nameplate ‘vehicles in operation’ smashed
“The number and share of domestic nameplate light vehicles on U.S. roads are being steadily reduced by two forces: high annual scrappage and low new vehicle sales. Over the past 10 years (2009 to 2019), the number of domestic nameplate vehicles in operation (VIO) has fallen by more than 16 million, as their VIO share shrank by one-fifth.
“Lang Marketing forecasts no letup in the downward spiral of domestic nameplates on U.S. roads over the next five years. This has significant consequences for the domestic nameplate share of light truck aftermarket product volume.”
— Jim Lang, publisher, Lang Aftermarket iReport
Domestic Nameplates Plunge
The number of domestic nameplate light vehicles in the U.S. peaked at 168 million during 2005. Over the next 14 years, their population plunged by more than 24 million. Lang Marketing projects that millions more domestic nameplates will disappear from U.S. roads between now and 2025.
Domestic Nameplates Will Fall Below 50% of VIO
Domestic nameplates fell from nearly 66% of all light vehicles in the U.S. during 2005 to just over 57% in 2015. During 2019, domestic nameplates represented only 51% of cars and light trucks in operation, and their share will fall to 49% over the next two years.
Two Forces Decimate Domestic Nameplate VIO
The domestic light vehicle population in the U.S. is being reduced by the combined forces of their high vehicle scrappage and plunging new vehicle sales share.
Over 70% of Annual Scrappage
Domestic nameplates account for over 70% of all light vehicles currently heading to the salvage yards. This greatly exceeds the domestic nameplate share of new vehicle sales and their percentage of cars and light trucks in operation.
Lang Marketing projects that these annual scrappage trends will continue as domestic nameplates will account for approximately 75% of vehicles 15 years and older during the next five years.
Slumping Domestic Nameplate Sales
Although the new vehicle market set record sales levels between 2016 and 2019 (topping an average of 17.1 million annually), the domestic nameplate volume has continued to struggle as foreign competitors have expanded their new vehicle share.
In 2005, domestic car and light truck sales totaled 9.7 million. Domestic nameplate new car and light truck volume averaged less than 7.7 million from 2016 to 2019, despite the average annual volume in these four years exceeding 2005 levels by nearly 5%.
During this same 15-year span, annual foreign nameplate new car and light truck sales soared by more than 30%.
Sinking Domestic Nameplate Sale Share
The domestic nameplate new car and light truck sales share fell precipitously between 2009 and 2019, from nearly 55% to just over 45%. The implosion of the new vehicle sales share will likely continue as the Big 3 have virtually discontinued producing cars and will rely on light truck models for their sales volume.
By abandoning the passenger car market, domestic nameplate automakers will find it difficult to maintain their overall share of the new vehicle market in the coming years, despite the record-level sales share of new light trucks.
Continued Domestic VIO Decline
Caught between diminishing new vehicle sales and growing annual scrappage, the number of domestic nameplates on U.S. roads will continue their freefall. Although domestic light trucks will maintain a large share in the new vehicle market, their sales will be more than offset by plunging domestic nameplate car sales and growing foreign nameplate volume levels.
Lang Marketing projects that the domestic nameplate VIO will recede further between now and 2025. At the same time, the foreign nameplate population will significantly expand.
Six Major Takeaways
- The population of domestic nameplates on U.S. roads peaked at 168 million during 2005. See the just-released 2021 Lang Aftermarket Annual for a 10-year analysis of the rapidly changing VIO nameplate mix on U.S. roads.
- Two forces are steadily reducing the domestic nameplate VIO: high annual vehicle scrappage and sinking new domestic nameplate sales. There are no signs that domestic nameplate scrappage will abate or that domestic nameplates will reverse the direction of their sliding new sales share.
- During the past 10 years (2009 to 2019), the domestic light vehicle VIO has fallen by more than 16 million as their VIO share plunged by one-fifth. At the same time, the foreign nameplate VIO count has greatly expanded.
- Domestic nameplates currently account for over 70% of all cars and light trucks headed to the scrap yards. Their annual scrappage percent will remain high over the next five years, reinforced by the dominance of domestic nameplates among vehicles 15 years and older.
- Domestic nameplate new sales have continued to struggle, despite a general increase in the new vehicle market. The new vehicle sales strength of domestic nameplate light trucks has been offset by the plunge in domestic nameplate car volume.
- Lang Marketing projects that the number of domestic nameplate cars and light trucks in operation will decline by over 6 million between now and 2025, fueling a significant reduction in their share of aftermarket product sales.