Lang Aftermarket iReport: Light trucks rev up the aftermarket

Jim Lang

“The light truck population on U.S. roads has surged at an unprecedented pace during the past 10 years. From 125 million at mid-year 2009, the number of light trucks topped 159 million by 2019.

“The light truck explosion has generated over 85% of the growth of vehicles in operation (VIO) since 2009. This has resulted in a significant expansion of their aftermarket product sales. Light trucks are the growth engine of the light vehicle aftermarket and they will fuel the aftermarket recovery during 2021 and beyond.”

— Jim Lang, publisher, Lang Aftermarket iReport

Domination of the VIO (Vehicles in Operation)

Light trucks (Pickups, Vans, SUVs, and CUVs) are surging in VIO number and share.

Over the past 10 years (2009 to 2019), the light truck population increased by nearly 30% across the U.S., surging by more than 35 million.

Light trucks have climbed from 49% to more than 55% of total light vehicles on U.S. roads between 2009 and 2019.

Light Truck Aftermarket Product Volume

Light trucks have steadily increased their light vehicle product sales and share from 2014 to 2019.

They generated $63 billion in 2014 aftermarket product sales at user-price, which climbed to $70 billion by 2017. Lang Marketing estimates that light truck aftermarket product sales topped $76 billion last year.

Rising Product Share

Light truck aftermarket product sales expanded by more than one-fifth between 2014 and 2019. They accounted for 62% of light vehicle product volume in 2014 and climbed to 64% of the 2017 market.

By 2019, light trucks captured over 66% of light vehicle aftermarket product sales in the U.S. During the same five years (2014 to 2019), the passenger car aftermarket product share fell from 38% to less than 34%.

Light Truck Product Growth Rate

Light trucks recorded a $14 billion increase in aftermarket product sales at user-price over this five-year span.

Light truck product volume soared at a 3.9% average annual pace between 2014 and 2019. This is over 12 times the annual product growth of cars.

Aftermarket Growth Rate & Growth Share

Light trucks recorded a $7.0 billion gain in vehicle product volume during 2014 to 2017. Another $6.9 billion product gain was generated over the next two years.

Light trucks accounted for 96% all light vehicle aftermarket product expansion between 2014 and 2019, as passenger car product sales climbed by only $0.6 billion at user-price.

Domestic Nameplate Light Trucks

Domestic nameplates dominate light truck VIO on U.S. roads. As a result, light trucks are the mainstay of domestic nameplate aftermarket product sales and have been a major factor offsetting the growth of the surging foreign nameplate aftermarket.

Light Trucks Will Help Power the Aftermarket Recovery

The growing number of light trucks on U.S. roads and their increasing share of vehicle age categories that generate large aftermarket product volume will help the aftermarket to recover from the onslaught of Covid-19, which has reduced 2020 aftermarket product sales.

Light trucks will generate virtually all aftermarket product expansion for the foreseeable future and will be the driving force behind the recovery of aftermarket product sales during 2021 and 2022.

Six Major Takeaways

  • The number of light trucks on U.S. roads has surged, recording nearly a 30% gain in VIO count over the past 10 years. The rocketing population of light trucks coupled with their higher average annual use of aftermarket products per vehicle, compared to passenger cars, will boost the overall size of the aftermarket in the coming years.
  • Light trucks topped $76 billion in aftermarket product volume at use-price last year, up more than one-fifth from 2014. See the 2021 Lang Aftermarket Annual for a 10-year history of the surging light truck aftermarket
  • Light truck aftermarket product share increased from 62% in 2014 to over 66% of the 2019 market. This is an uptick of one-third in the pace of product share growth over the preceding five years.
  • Light truck product volume climbed at a 3.9% average annual pace over the past five years, more than 12 times the annual growth rate of passenger car products.
  • Light trucks generated 96% of light vehicle aftermarket product growth from 2014 to 2019, as cars recorded only a $0.6 billion product gain at user-price.
  • The growing popularity of crossover utility vehicles (CUVs) will drive the continued light truck growth of VIO share and aftermarket product sales. Lang Marketing projects that light trucks will generate approximately 68% of light vehicle aftermarket product sales in 2021.