Editor’s Note: Interstate Batteries® originally published the following four-part series as a full-length article titled “At Today’s Shops, the Trend Is Up, Up… Up?” in the winter 2011 issue of CURRENT magazine. We’ve edited the 1,600-word piece into more manageable chunks to spread the goodness over a couple days and to prevent screen burn-in on your monitors. You’re welcome. Here’s the last part.
Of the 155 million vehicles sold between 1999 and 2007, just 52 million hit average retirement age in 2012. The remaining 103 million could stretch the car boomer effect out for two more years. The AAIA forecasts general automotive repair shops hitting $41 billion by 2014, the year more than half the “car boomer” generation has passed average retirement.
In a scheduling coincidence, that’s the year forecasters expect U.S. auto sales to recover.
Forecasts from Edmunds, a publication house for the automotive industry, predict U.S. car and light truck sales breaking the 15-million-unit mark in 2014, higher than 2008’s sales figures.
Growth charts for auto sales could look like the incline grade for a driveway. Edmunds analysts expect U.S. auto sales to hit 12.9 million in 2011 and grow slowly from there. Growth in new auto sales is based on the factors that put pre-recession auto sales at 17 million: strong employment numbers and access to credit for car loans.
While auto sales amble to their former levels, repair shops of America can enjoy the new normal for two more years or longer. Thanks to years of high auto sales, the repair customer base grew deeper than ever. Everyone wants to keep their vehicles running as long as possible, relying on 10- to 12-year-old cars to keep them on time to work and away from new car payments.
While the busy culture values fast repairs on a discount, the thing keeping car drivers coming back is the handshake of a trustworthy mechanic.
Youssef Sleiman, a Communications Specialist at Interstate Batteries, still drives his high school car after 14 years of oil changes, kicking tires and prayer.
- At Today’s Shops, the Trend is Up, Up… Up? (blogbattery.com)
- The $36 Billion Business (blogbattery.com)
- The Repair Boom (blogbattery.com)