Lang: ‘Light trucks’ outdistance passenger cars in aftermarket product use

Jim Lang


“Light trucks average more aftermarket product use than passenger cars on U.S. roads. Last year, light trucks averaged over $160 more per vehicle than passenger cars in aftermarket product volume.

“Light trucks have generated a growing share of the surging new vehicle market over the past ten years. As a result, they represent a growing portion of vehicles in the repair-age sweet-spot (6 to 10 years old), which will help boost aftermarket volume over the next five years (2018 to 2023).”

— Jim Lang, publisher, Lang Aftermarket iReport


NOTE: Light truck or light-duty truck is a U.S. classification for trucks or truck-based vehicles with a gross vehicle weight up to 8,500 pounds and a payload capacity of 4,000 pounds. According to federal regulations, light-duty trucks are “(1) Designed primarily for purposes of transportation of property or is a derivation of such a vehicle, or (2) Designed primarily for transportation of persons and has a capacity of more than 12 persons, or (3) Available with special features enabling off-street or off-highway operation and use.” 


Higher Product Use for Light Trucks

Lang Marketing has tracked differences in aftermarket product volume between light trucks and cars over the past 10 years.

During this time, the annual gap in product use per vehicle has widened between cars and light trucks.

Click here to see Table

$161 Annual Aftermarket Product Gap

The average light truck consumed $459 of aftermarket products during 2013 compared to $475 last year.

In contrast, passenger car aftermarket product volume averaged less than $315 per vehicle during 2018, down from $319 five years earlier.

Light trucks averaged over 50% more annual product volume than the typical passenger car during 2018.

This is significantly higher than the 43% difference 10 years earlier.

Reasons for Volume Differences

There are three major reasons that light trucks average greater annual aftermarket product volume than cars per vehicle.

First, light trucks account for greater Accessory volume per vehicle than passenger cars. This is especially true of pickups and SUVs.

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Second, Replacement Parts for trucks often have a higher average cost than comparable car parts.

Third, light trucks have greater commercial use than passenger cars in the U.S.

Light Trucks Sweet-Spot Share

The repair-age sweet-spot is the age group of vehicles that represents the highest average use of aftermarket products.

Light truck share of the repair-age sweet-spot (6 to 10 years old) has grown significantly over the past 10 years.

Light trucks accounted for 45% of vehicles 6 to 10 years old during 2008, climbing to 48% of the repair-age sweet-spot population at mid-year 2015.

Lang Marketing estimates that light trucks represented 50% of vehicles 6 to 10 years old during 2018. They will soar to an estimated 56% sweet-spot share by 2023.

Growing Light Truck New Sales Share

The share of light trucks in the new vehicle mix slumped for several years following the 2008 Recession. Since then, trucks have regained sales strength and during 2018 they soared to 68% of the new vehicle market.

Strong Sweet-Spot Position

Light trucks will climb to 56% of vehicles 6 to 10 years old over the next five years (2018 to 2023), up from a 50% sweet-spot share during 2018.

Significant Increase in Number

Record-high light vehicle annual sales recorded over the past five years coupled with the increasing share of new vehicle sales represented by light trucks has resulted in a soaring light truck population in the repair-age sweet-spot.

For example, there were an estimated 35 million light trucks 6 to 10 years old during 2008.

The number of light trucks in the repair-age sweet-spot climbed to 40 million by 2013.

Lang Marketing estimates that there will be over 45 million light trucks 6 to 10 years old at mid-year 2023. This will be nearly a 30% sweet-spot surge over 2008.

Aftermarket Impact

The increasing aftermarket product gap per vehicle between cars and light trucks, the growing light truck share of vehicles in the repair-age sweet-spot and the soaring number of vehicles in this age category will provide a strong boost to aftermarket product growth over the next five years.

Six Major Takeaways

  • Light trucks average significantly more annual aftermarket product use per vehicle than passenger cars on U.S. roads.
  • Light trucks represented approximately 45% more aftermarket product use per vehicle than the typical passenger car during 2018.
  • There are three major reasons for differences in annual product use by light trucks versus cars: Accessory purchases, higher average cost of Replacement Parts for light trucks, and greater commercial use of light trucks than passenger cars.
  • Light truck share of the repair-age sweet-spot (6 to 10 years old) has grown significantly over the past ten years, rising from 45% to 50% between 2008 and 2018, with even greater expansion projected between 2018 and 2023.
  • The number of light trucks in the repair-age sweet-spot will soar by nearly 30% between 2008 and 2023.
  • Light trucks will generate virtually all of the aftermarket product growth during 2019 through 2024.

Copyright 2019 by Lang Marketing Resources, Inc.

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

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