Lang Aftermarket iReport: Vehicle sales shape the aftermarket
“Car and light truck 2018 sales in the U.S. topped 17 million for the fourth consecutive year, setting a new record for sustained high annual volume.
“Besides increasing in size, the new light vehicle market in the U.S. has changed dramatically in its nameplate mix and types of light vehicles sold. The changing new vehicle market is reshaping the aftermarket.”
– Jim Lang, publisher, Lang Aftermarket iReport
2018 New Vehicle Volume
17.3 million cars and light trucks were sold in the U.S. during 2018, marking an unprecedented four-year span when annual sales topped 17 million each year. More than 69 million cars and light trucks were sold from 2015 through 2018.
Nameplate Sales Mix
Foreign nameplates represented 55% of total light vehicle 2018 volume, marking the seventh consecutive year during which foreign nameplates averaged 55% of car and light truck volume.
Light Truck Sales
Light trucks have continued to expand their new vehicle sales share, accounting for more than two-thirds of 2018 unit volume.
The strength of light trucks differed significantly by nameplate, with light trucks accounting for a much larger share of domestic nameplate sales than they did of foreign nameplate new vehicle volume.
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Big Differences Over Past 10 Years
The 2018 new vehicle U.S. market had substantial differences from 2008 car and light truck volume. These differences include annual new vehicle sales, the shifting domestic and foreign nameplate share, and changes in the mix of car and light truck volume.
The new light vehicle market reached 17.3 million in 2018, over 30% greater volume than the 13.2 million light vehicles sold during 2008, the first year of the Great Recession.
Over the past four years, more than 69 million cars and light trucks have been sold in the U.S. (2015 through 2018), more than 45% greater than total new vehicle volume during 2008 through 2011.
Growing Foreign Nameplate Share
Foreign nameplates accounted for 52% of car and light truck sales during 2008, up substantially from 43% of the 2005 market. From 2012 through 2018, foreign nameplates averaged 55% share of new vehicle volume.
Light Truck Dominance
Light trucks continued to expand their share of the new vehicle market during 2018, representing more than two-thirds of total annual sales, up from 49% of the 2008 market. Light truck unit volume in 2018 soared more than 6 million over 2008, an 80% surge.
These changes in the volume and mix of vehicles sold over the past 10 years (2008 to 2018) have caused important aftermarket changes and will continue to shape the aftermarket in the coming years.
Record new vehicle sales over the past four years have increased the number of cars and light trucks under six years of age, the primary vehicle group on which Dealers focus their service bay activities.
In contrast, record low vehicle volume during 2008 to 2013 has boosted the average age of vehicles as well as the growth of cars and light trucks in age categories over 12 years old.
Foreign Nameplate Mix
The strong foreign nameplate share of new light vehicle volume has created a foreign nameplate majority among the lowest age categories of vehicles (under six years old) as well as age groups constituting the so-called vehicle repair-age sweet-spot (vehicle age groups 6 to 10 years old).
Light Truck Surge
The growing dominance of light trucks in the new vehicle market is boosting Accessory sales, which tend to be concentrated among light trucks rather than passenger cars. Light trucks generally average greater aftermarket annual product volume than cars do.
Positive Aftermarket Forces
Strong annual new vehicle sales and the mix of new vehicles (nameplates and vehicle types) are generally positive factors for present and future aftermarket product volume.
These changes in the new vehicle market will also influence the types of products used (Replacement Parts versus Accessories), where aftermarket DIFM repair is performed, and the brands of products used in the repair of light vehicles.
Six Major Takeaways
- 2018 marked the fourth consecutive year in which new light vehicle volume in the U.S. has topped 17 million units, an unprecedented stretch of record-breaking car and light truck annual sales.
- Foreign nameplates continued to maintain a strong share of new vehicle volume during 2018, as they averaged 55% share of new vehicle sales since 2012.
- There have been substantial changes in the new light vehicle market over the past ten years (2008 through 2018) in three major areas: total annual volume, domestic and foreign nameplate mix, and the relative strength of light trucks and passenger cars in the new sales mix.
- Light trucks have continued to expand their new vehicle market share during 2018, generating approximately 90% of total aftermarket product growth since 2008.
- Record new vehicle sales over the past four years have boosted the number of vehicles under six years old, the primary vehicle age group on which Dealers focus their service activities.
- Soaring annual new vehicle sales and the changing mix of new vehicles (nameplates and vehicle types) are generally positive factors for present and future aftermarket product volume.
Copyright 2019 by Lang Marketing Resources, Inc.
NOTE: Special thanks to publisher Jim Lang for granting us permission to publish the Lang Aftermarket iReport.