Lang Aftermarket iReport: ‘Dramatic’ surge of foreign nameplates

“A historic shift occurred in the nameplate mix of vehicles in operation (VIO) between 2009 and 2019. The VIO positions of domestic and foreign nameplates have moved in opposite directions. Foreign nameplates have surged in VIO number and share, while the presence of domestic nameplate cars and light trucks has diminished on U.S. roads.

“The dramatic VIO surge of foreign nameplates and the corresponding reduction in the VIO significance of domestic nameplate light vehicles have caused important aftermarket changes and will continue to do so in the future.”

–  Jim Lang, publisher, Lang Aftermarket iReport

Vehicle Growth

The number of light vehicles in the U.S. increased at a miniscule 0.2% average annual pace between 2009 and 2014.

This low VIO growth rate reflected the dramatic impact of the 2008 Great Recession on annual new vehicle volume, which sank nearly 40% between 2007 and 2009. It was another six years before the new vehicle market in the U.S. returned to its pre-recession sales levels.

Domestic Nameplates Decline: 2009 to 2014

Domestic nameplate cars and light trucks on U.S. roads plunged by approximately 15 million between 2009 and 2014, as their annual sales foundered and their share of vehicle scrappage became disproportionately large.

Foreign Nameplate Expansion

As the number of domestic nameplates fell over this five-year span, the foreign nameplate VIO soared by nearly 18 million and generated all of the modest light vehicle growth on U.S. roads from 2009 to 2014.

More VIO Changes: 2015 to 2019

The situation was even more dramatic from 2015 to 2019, as foreign nameplates in operation surged by 28 million, climbing from 106 million cars and light trucks to over 134 million.

This foreign nameplate surge generated nearly 94% of light vehicle population growth on U.S. roads, as the domestic nameplate VIO increased by only 2 million.

10-Year Perspective

The differences between domestic and foreign nameplate vehicle growth between 2009 and 2019 are striking. During these 10 years, the domestic nameplate VIO plunged by an estimated 13 million.

Foreign nameplates, in contrast, surged in VIO strength. The number of foreign nameplate cars and light trucks soared by 45 million between 2009 and 2019.

As a result, foreign nameplates climbed from 35% to an estimated 48% of total VIO between 2009 and 2019, as domestic nameplate vehicles fell from 65% to approximately 52% of light vehicles on U.S. roads.

Aftermarket Implications

This unprecedented shift in the mix of foreign and domestic nameplates in the U.S. has had dramatic consequences for aftermarket product volume by nameplate market segment.

Foreign nameplate aftermarket product use surged at more than a 5.5% average annual pace between 2009 and 2019.

In contrast, the domestic nameplate car and light truck aftermarket product volume recorded very low growth over this 10-year span, increasing at minuscule 0.5% average annual pace.

Six Major Takeaways

  • The populations of foreign and domestic nameplates are moving in opposite directions in the U.S., as the foreign nameplate population is soaring and the share of domestic nameplates is shrinking.
  • Foreign nameplates have increased by approximately 45 million on U.S. roads since 2009, generating a light vehicle population surge from 2015 to 2019.
  • The number of domestic nameplate cars and light trucks plunged by 13 million from 2009 to 2019, falling from 65% of total vehicles in operation to 52%.
  • Foreign nameplates soared from 35% to 48% of VIO share over this 10-year span.
  • This unprecedented shift in the strength of foreign and domestic nameplates in the U.S. has had significant consequences for the mix and volume of aftermarket products and brands sold in the U.S.
  • Foreign nameplate aftermarket product use climbed at more than a 5.5% annual pace between 2009 and 2019 compared to a miniscule 0.5% average annual sales gain recorded by domestic nameplate aftermarket product consumption. This aftermarket product growth disparity between foreign and domestic nameplates will continue in the coming years.

Copyright 2020 by Lang Marketing Resources, Inc.

NOTESpecial thanks to publisher Jim Lang for granting us permission to publish the Lang Aftermarket iReport.