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Aftermarket sweet-spot for light trucks keeps growing

Daylight continues to increase between light trucks and passenger cars in the vehicle parc, but by how much and what does that sweet-spot look like?

Fort Wayne, Ind.—The gap between product volumes of light trucks and typical passenger car vehicles have widened over the years. And the gap has only grown in the past 10. That much is clear. But how does that affect the aftermarket — from service and repair to accessories?

For one, light trucks represent an expanding portion of the the repair sweet-spot for vehicles, which will only boost aftermarket sales. Here’s a closer look at this trend with a breakdown of stats and data from Lang Marketing.

$175 Annual Product Gap
• Light trucks averaged $485 of aftermarket products annually during 2017 through 2021. In contrast, passenger cars averaged less than $310 in aftermarket product volume during this five-year span.

• Last year, light trucks averaged over 70 percent more annual product volume than the typical passenger car. This is significantly higher than the 60 percent difference 10 years earlier.

Causes of Product Use Differences
Light trucks average greater annual aftermarket product volume than passenger cars for three major reasons:

• First, accessories represent a greater volume for light trucks than passenger cars. This is especially true for pickups and SUVs, which are the focus of types many aftermarket accessories.

• Second, replacement parts for light trucks often average higher costs than comparable car parts.

• Third, light trucks have greater commercial use than passenger cars, which often leads to their higher product volume per vehicle.

Growing Sweet-Spot Share
The repair-age sweet-spot (vehicle 6 to 10 years old) is the vehicle age group that represents the highest annual use of many aftermarket products. Here’s where light trucks stand:

• Light trucks represented less than 45 percent of vehicles 6 to 10 years old during 2011, climbing to approximately a 48 percent share by 2016.

• Lang Marketing estimates that light trucks accounted for 50 percent of vehicles 6 to 10 years old during 2019. They increased to an estimated 56 percent sweet-spot share by 2021.

Growing Light Truck Sales Share
Light trucks are rapidly expanding their strength in the new vehicle market. In 2011, they represented 53 percent of new vehicle volume. Since 2018, that average share has climbed to more than 73 percent. Last year, light trucks generated 78 percent of the new vehicle market in the U.S.

Future Strength
Light trucks will increase to more than 56 percent of vehicles 6 to 10 years old by 2023, up from a 50 percent repair-age sweet-spot share during 2019.

Increasing Number
• Record-high light vehicle annual sales between 2015 and 2019 coupled with the increasing light truck share of the new vehicle market has rapidly increased the light truck sweet-spot population.

• There were an estimated 24 million light trucks 6 to 10 years old during 2010. 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 50 million light trucks 6 to 10 years old at mid-year 2023, more than double their sweet-spot population in 2010.

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

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