The “untapped market” of unperformed and underperformed automotive maintenance represents 27 percent of the total aftermarket potential, according to new research from the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA). However, a bigger concern, the association says, is vehicle safety.
“While customer behavior may affect aftermarket revenues, vehicle safety is the greater concern. Customers who avoid or delay maintaining their vehicles pose a potential safety risk to themselves, their families and everyone traveling on U.S. roads and highways,” said Bill Long, AASA president and chief operating officer. “AASA strongly supports addressing the issue of unperformed/underperformed maintenance through continued consumer education and reasonable, safety-friendly and cost-effective vehicle inspection programs throughout the country.”
Estimated vehicle maintenance that annually goes unperformed or underperformed has been tracked since 1978. AASA’s recently released report, “Unperformed Maintenance,” is based on analysis of a broad spectrum of product groups, including regular maintenance, engine, undercar, cooling and air conditioning. The unperformed maintenance figure is reported in end-consumer dollars spent, including parts and labor.
“In 2012, unperformed and underperformed maintenance in the U.S. totaled $66 billion,” said Paul McCarthy, AASA vice president of industry analysis, planning and member services. “Although unperformed maintenance declined by approximately $1 billion year-over-year, it remained near a record high.”
There is potential good news for future aftermarket growth, McCarthy said. “Stronger economic growth and increased employment could reduce the cyclical component of unperformed maintenance, reducing the total and helping the industry continue to grow.”
However, there is still cause for concern, McCarthy noted. “The less good news, though, is that unperformed maintenance remains high,” he said. “Unperformed maintenance and its consumer safety and vehicle longevity implications will be an ongoing challenge for the aftermarket.”