Need a dose of good news for your business? Then hear this: The influx of new vehicles in the market will lay the foundation for bountiful aftermarket service and repair opportunities. And, with import vehicle sales continuing an upward climb, there will be a lot more import nameplates on the roads for years to come — music to all of our ears.
The Details. The U.S. auto industry is looking forward to a strong 2015, with vehicle sales likely to top 17 million units, up from 16.92 million in December 2014 and 15.52 million units a year ago, according to AutoData Corp.
A healthier economy, rising consumer confidence and easier access to credit have created ideal market conditions for new vehicle sales.
Imports continued their solid showing at the start of 2014 by accounting for more than 52% of all new vehicle registrations in Q1, up from 51.8% the previous year, according to Experian Automotive.
International nameplate brands also finished last year on a high note, accounting for a whopping 54.6% of December 2014 auto sales (Asian nameplates had a 43.9% U.S. market share and European nameplates had 10.7%), says the American International Automobile Dealers Association (AIADA).
With that number pegged above the 50% mark for several years in a row, import vehicles in operation (VIO) will continue their steady climb north.
With the rebound in new vehicle registrations, total VIO is forecasted to grow 5% to more than 260 million vehicles by 2018, says IHS Automotive.
Further, the average age of all light vehicles on the road is remaining steady at 11.4 years according to IHS Automotive and is expected to increase to 11.7 years in 2019. This points to an abundance of unperformed maintenance work that’s ripe for the picking.
Good News For Your Business. But, you need to get prepared now to service this growing, import-rich and aging vehicle fleet.
• Get up to speed on emerging vehicle technology by acquiring the necessary training, so you can service vehicles with start/stop idle control, active safety systems, electronic stability control, regenerative braking and the like when they reach the aftermarket for service.
• Make sure your techs have the proper tools and equipment to achieve expert, efficient vehicle repairs.
• Better communicate with customers to reinforce your commitment to service excellence and the range of services on imports you offer to ensure loyal, repeat customers.