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The Automotive Aftermarket is Growing. What Does Your Brand Need to Know to Reach Audiences Maintaining Older Vehicles? 

Thanks to the events of the past two years, consumers are holding onto their current vehicles longer than before. For the first half of 2022, overall sales in the automotive aftermarket have increased 19% since 2019. This edition of Trend Time looks into all the insights your auto brand needs to reach audiences that plan to keep their cars and trucks for as long as possible.

Meredith Cunningham Published: August 30, 2022

The auto industry has had to adapt to unparalleled changes in the last two years. As a result, auto dealerships are selling more used cars as a lack of inventory and chip shortages are to blame. On top of that, more drivers are keeping their current vehicles for longer than before. In fact, the average age of cars on the road today is 12 years old.  

As road trips and miles traveled increase, these older cars need a little TLC, and owners know that routine maintenance is crucial in keeping their car running and isn’t as expensive as buying a new car when the old one hits the old dusty trail. But where should they turn when they need maintenance, new parts, and the best customer service?   

Here’s what automotive aftermarket brands need to know to reach this audience.  

Automotive Consumer Priorities 

Overall, consumers perceive aftermarket facilities as easier to do business with than going to a dealership for their vehicle’s general maintenance, tire replacement, and oil change services. This perception has greatly affected the growth of these businesses and poses an opportunity for dealers to compete with them.  

J.D. Power’s 2022 U.S. Aftermarket Service Index (ASI) Study found that the top criteria for choosing an aftermarket provider include:  

  • 39% Price of services  
  • 38% Convenience of making an appointment 
  • 33% Ease and speed of using the facility 

Overall, more than half of consumers are satisfied with their aftermarket experiences and the quality of service. 

But that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement. Shops can build on these positive interactions by integrating better communication methods such as text messaging. The ASI study also found that 42% of customers prefer texts reminding them of upcoming appointments or providing a status for in-process work.  

Replacing Parts & Specialty Equipment 

Regardless of how well taken care of a vehicle is, over time, parts will require repair or replacement. The price tag of the replacement, whether big or small, will ultimately depend on the part that needs replacing and the type of vehicle. With fewer parts available, there has been a 20% increase in cost from 2021, according to the Auto Care Association 

The demand for these parts is also high, and as a result, parts production is currently higher than at any other point in time historically. Auto part imports are up 34% in the first nine months of 2021 vs. 2020, and domestic production is nearly 15% higher than pre-pandemic levels. 

But these parts aren’t the only products gaining attention in the aftermarket. Many drivers opt to modify their new or currently owned vehicles with specialty parts – a practice that is growing among outdoor enthusiasts. According to a 2022 Aftermarket Trends study, the top aftermarket specialty parts gaining the most attention are:   

  • Modular Systems: Track rack systems designed for camping, kayaking, and off-roading 
  • Tech-Friendly Equipment such as smartphone-controlled goods  

Though auto modification is a hobby that can be enjoyed at any age, younger consumers are more dynamic and eager consumers of specialty equipment. In fact, 60% of these consumers are under the age of 40, according to the 2021 SEMA Market Report. 

Additionally, Aftermarket Matters finds that approximately 40% of specialty-equipment consumers modify their vehicles within the first three months of acquiring them; that number jumps to 50% within the first six months. 

How will your automotive brand reach this aftermarket audience?  

With all the numbers crunched, it’s clear that getting in front of these consumers at the right time and with the right messaging will put your brand in the pole position. With 64 broadcast stations in 51 markets across the country, TEGNA has a unique ability to reach drivers across Broadcast, OTT Streaming, and digital solutions. Contact #TeamTEGNA today to see how we can accelerate your advertising.  

  • Want to know more about the automotive market? Unlocking the Car Buyer of Today is a new, original research study from TEGNA that dealerships and OEMs can use to gain valuable insight into the mindset of car buyers today and learn how to correctly execute advertising and messaging can enable them to win customers and own their PMA. Click here to download now!

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