As auto dealerships battle one of their worst years in recent history, consumers find they must spend money to maintain and repair their older vehicles. A recent Mintel report points out that the median vehicle age in the US was 9.2 years in 2007 and represents a significant increase from 2001 when consumers were driving vehicles with a median age of 8.1 years.

Mintel expects the automotive aftermarket industry to grow from $106.5 billion in 2007 to $120 billion within 5 years.

Auto body shops, auto parts stores, and specialty service providers that install extras like GPS, remote engine starters and sound systems could all benefit by increasing marketing programs to businesses and consumers. While consumers are paying for new exhaust systems or brakes they might be convinced to buy auto ‘toys’ which are perceived as more affordable than buying a new car. The Mintel study also points out that auto repair shops should expect steady business because fewer consumers are capable of do-it-yourself repairs on vehicles with complex computerized systems.

[Source: Mintel release, October, 2008]