Top 6 Auto Aftermarket Trends Halfway Through 2013

Automobile and truck sales are up this year, so here are the top six auto industry trends and aftermarket trends to watch based on vehicle registrations for the first half of 2013 compared to the same period in 2012.

Total vehicle registrations are up +7.6% over last year, with 7,755,110 total new vehicles registered through June 2013. Here are the automotive trends that are really driving sales growth this year:

One aftermarket trend / automotive trend in 2013 is trucks and SUVs are up from 2012Auto Industry Trend 1: Trucks and SUVs are hot.

New car registrations are up 4.9% but light trucks and SUVs, like this Ford F-150 (right), are helping fuel the growth, with a 10.6% increase over last year. There have been 3,685,254 new light truck registrations through June 2013. SUVs are slightly hotter with an 11% increase over last year. Aftermarket parts and accessory companies in the truck market should be doing well.

Auto Industry Trend 2: Big engines in automobiles and trucks are hot.

Thanks to the healthy increase in light truck and SUV registrations, automobiles and light trucks with bigger engines with a displacement of 5.7 liters or more are up 19.4% from a year ago. Aftermarket companies selling parts for these large V8 or V10 engines, including parts to improve gas mileage, should be doing well right now.

Automotive trend / aftermarket trend: small compact cars are up from 2012Auto Industry Trend 3: Compact cars and lower-priced vehicles are hot.

This is in direct contrast to the first two trends. Probably partially due to the economy, cars and light trucks with a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) under $20,000, like this Nissan Versa (left), are up a whopping 37.5% from 2012! On the other hand, vehicles with an MSRP of $20,000 or more are only up 2%.

So far this year there have been 1.3 million registrations of vehicles with an MSRP under $20,000. These compacts represent just over one third of all new cars being registered. Related to the increase in compact car registrations, vehicles with gas-saving 4 cylinder engines are up 12.3% from last year. It’s possible this could be related to concerns over gas prices.

While low priced cars are hot, high priced cars are not. If we go farther up the economic scale, registrations of new vehicles with an MSRP of $60,000 or greater are down 6.4% from last year.

Auto Industry Trend 4: Pony car performance is not hot.

Bad news for some of the performance crowd, registrations of new Ford Mustangs are down 10.7% and new Chevrolet Camaros are down 14.8% from a year ago. Maybe consumers are waiting for the new 2014 Mustang and 2014 Camaro to arrive at dealers. Aftermarket parts and accessory companies in this market should be ready to react quickly with new products for these vehicles.

Auto Industry Trend 5: Alternative fuels and electric vehicles are hot.

Registrations of new diesel light trucks and SUVs are up 9%, with flex fuel (compatible with E85 or 85% ethanol fuel) trucks and SUVs up 9.9%. And gas/electric hybrid vehicles like the Chevrolet Volt, or electric vehicles like Tesla? Up 28.9%!

Auto Industry Trend 6: Automobile leasing is hot.

Leasing is making a big comeback. About one out of every five new vehicles registered so far in 2013 is a leased vehicle and the total number of leases is up 27% from last year. Aftermarket parts and accessory companies need to look at products that can enhance a vehicle’s performance or looks, but can be removed without damaging the vehicle when the lease term is up.

Where do you think the automotive market is headed? Leave your comments below and if you have any questions on vehicle registration data give us a call.

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