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Record-high odometers to boost ICE aftermarket

Higher odometer readings will be a key factor increasing aftermarket product volume throughout the next 5 years

Fort Wayne, Ind.—By mid-year 2022, the typical light vehicle on U.S. roads averaged approximately 21,000 more odometer miles than 10 years earlier, and odometer readings continue to steadily climb to new levels. The trend is promising for the aftermarket.

“Higher odometer readings boost aftermarket product sales because older vehicles with high accumulated mileage (virtually all ICE models) consume more aftermarket products per mile than cars and light trucks with fewer odometer miles,” states the latest Lang Aftermarket iReport.

With cars and light trucks using more aftermarket products per mile as they increase in age, higher odometer readings will be a key factor increasing aftermarket product volume throughout the next 5 years. Lang also notes that the aftermarket impact of record-high odometer readings will be concentrated among Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) cars and light trucks since they account for virtually all vehicles 10 years and older.

According to the report, three factors are increasing odometers to record-high levels: lower new vehicle sales, the increasing age of light vehicles, and the extended life of cars and light trucks on U.S. roads.

The following are highlights from Lang’s analysis.

Odometer Miles Increase Aftermarket Volume
Not all vehicle miles generate the same aftermarket product volume. Aftermarket product use per mile varies significantly according to a vehicle’s accumulated mileage (odometer reading). For example, a vehicle with 155,000 miles on its odometer will generate more aftermarket product use than one with 25,000 accumulated miles when driven 10,000 miles in a year.

Cars and Light Trucks in Use Longer
Americans are keeping their cars and light trucks longer for three major reasons.

• Interruptions in the OE supply chain since COVID-19 have limited the availability of many new car and light truck models, causing a growing number of Americans to hold on to their vehicles rather than buy a new one.

• New cars and light trucks are reaching prices beyond the means of many Americans. In 10 years, the average price of a new vehicle in the U.S. has climbed by nearly 60%. This has caused many consumers to forego buying a prohibitively expensive new auto and keep what they have or opt to buy a preowned car or light truck.

• Cars and light trucks sold in the U.S. have become substantially more durable over the last several decades. Improved manufacturing techniques and longer-lasting new components have increased the expected life of a vehicle made since the late 1990s by 3-5 years compared to earlier vehicles.

Odometers Roll Higher
Lang states that the average light vehicle in the U.S. at mid-year 2017 had approximately 120,200 miles on its odometer. Accumulated miles on the typical light vehicle increased to around 128,500 at mid-year 2022.

Given the significant increase in odometer mileage over those years, the average vehicle in 2022 generated more aftermarket product volume per mile than in 2017.

Cars and Light Trucks
The average car in the U.S. in 2022 had approximately 7,800 more miles on its odometer than 5 years earlier. The growth in light trucks’ accumulated mileage was greater, climbing an estimated 8,500 miles from 2017 to 2022.

Domestic Nameplates Accumulate Mileage
Accumulated miles on the average domestic nameplate increased by more than 7,300 between 2017 and 2022. The average domestic nameplate in the U.S. topped 136,000 miles on its odometer at mid-year 2022. Domestic nameplates averaged notably more accumulated miles per vehicle than foreign models.

Foreign Nameplates
Foreign nameplates averaged approximately 22,000 fewer accumulated miles during 2017 than their domestic counterparts. By 2022, foreign nameplates’ odometers averaged approximately 120,000 miles.

Domestic Cars Have Higher Odometer Readings
Domestic nameplate cars averaged the highest odometer readings of any light vehicle group in the U.S. By mid-year 2022, domestic nameplate cars pushed their average odometer miles past 155,000, significantly higher than the 128,500 average accumulated miles of all light vehicles.

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