With fewer consumers purchasing new vehicles and deciding to keep their vehicles on the road longer, consumers reported increased vehicle maintenance behaviors in several areas in 2009, according to The NPD Group, a leading market research company.
Based on NPD’s recent automotive aftermarket research, more than 90 percent of consumers say they will do the same amount of maintenance or more in 2010.
According to NPD’s recently released 2010 Consumer Outlook Study, which provides a first glimpse into consumer attitudes and anticipated behaviors for aftermarket spending in the coming year, the key areas where consumers increased vehicle maintenance behavior from 2008 included: started changing oil more often; 18 percent in 2009 versus 12 percent in 2008; changing an air filter, 41 percent in 2009 versus 37 percent in 2008; using a fuel additive (either to clean or improve gas mileage), 11 percent in 2009 versus 9 percent in 2008; using a more premium oil, 11 percent in 2009 versus 8 percent in 2008; and purchasing a higher quality brand of gasoline; 4 percent in 2009 versus 3 percent in 2008.
When NPD asked consumers about vehicle repair plans for 2010, one out of three (30 percent) consumers indicated that they are planning to do more vehicle maintenance in 2010. Out of the 70 percent not doing more, 64 percent plan to do the same things to maintain their vehicle. Therefore, according to NPD, 94 percent of consumers are planning to do the same amount of maintenance they have been doing on their vehicle or more next year.
“The conventional wisdom in the auto aftermarket is that it is only a matter of time before sales of replacement parts for these aging cars will begin to provide a lift to total aftermarket spending,” said David Portalatin, industry analyst for NPD’s auto aftermarket unit. “It now appears that consumers are recognizing that they will need to spend more on service and repairs to keep their vehicles on the road longer.”