America’s Aging Vehicle Population is Great News for the Automotive Aftermarket

As we shared in our post a few weeks ago, the average age of a vehicle on the road in the United States has been steadily increasing. In 2019, the average vehicle age is 11.8 years – and this is fantastic news for the automotive aftermarket. Here are four reasons why more older cars on the road is cause for celebration.

Increased Chance of Major Repairs

As older vehicles continue to run, they also continue to accumulate wear and tear. The older a vehicle gets, the greater chance that it will need a major repair at some point. Even the best maintained vehicles could need a significant engine or transmission repair in their lifetimes – and since owners are interested in keeping these older cars on the road, they will be more likely to make these large (and costly) repairs.

Increased Scheduled Maintenance

As vehicles ago, their routine maintenance needs increase as well. While a new vehicle might need just an oil change and tire rotation before it’s ready to leave the shop, a vehicle that’s been around a decade or more is going to need a bit more TLC. This means that even if the vehicles in your shop are the best maintained in the world and never need any major repairs, you’re still going to see an increase in your average order value.

Opportunities to Bundle Services Creatively

A shop owner might reasonably be concerned that owners of older vehicles might not be willing to make all recommended repairs, especially for only cosmetic or nuisance issues. They may elect either to forego them altogether or to perform DIY maintenance, taking business away from the automotive aftermarket. While you may notice this happening in the short-term, as technology continues to advance the opportunities for DIY maintenance will decrease. The key to capitalizing on this will be to make sure that you’re thinking outside the box to package services attractively for customers. You may need to evaluate your pricing structure to keep costs in line with what customers expect to pay to service their older vehicles, but with a little creativity the automotive aftermarket will come out on top.

New Customer Profiles for Automotive Aftermarket

As your shop works on more older vehicles, your team will also deal with more third, fourth, and even fifth owners of these same vehicles. This presents a new challenge but also a new opportunity. Owners who purchased their vehicles third-hand might not be as willing to shell out significant cash for repairs, at least not without building a different kind of relationship with their repair shops. This is a great opportunity for the automotive aftermarket to learn how to connect with and gain the trust of these owners so you can open new avenues for sales.

The Future is Bright

The aging vehicle trend has continued for nearly two decades, and it doesn’t appear that it will reverse itself anytime soon. Now is the time to start taking advantage of these new repair opportunities at your shop. This will likely require some changes to your business model, including some of your vendors and business partners. Speaking of, when was the last time you reviewed your credit card processing? 360 Payments is the leading credit card processor for the automotive aftermarket, and we’re ready to prove it to you. Give us a call at 1-855-360-0360 or drop us a line on our website. We’re excited to hear from you!

PS – Here are the four key trends to watch in the automotive aftermarket in 2020.

PPS – Missed the SEMA Show this year? Check out our recap.

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