Auto Parts Distribution: What's in the Cards for 2019?

Auto Parts Distribution: What’s in the Cards for 2019?

As we’ve reported in recent months, the business environment looks favorable for the automotive aftermarket, and the news seems to keep getting better.

First of all, happy new year! If you’re reading this, you survived another trip around the sun. To quote Bill Murray in “Caddyshack” (playing the eccentric greenskeeper Carl Spackler): “So I got that going for me … which is nice.”

As we kick off 2019, it’s human nature to think about what could be in the cards for the year ahead. Making predictions is part of our ethos. We make predictions about everything from elections to GDP growth to Oscar winners. We buy Super Bowl squares at work, and we fill out our brackets when March Madness rolls around. And every morning, many of us turn on the local news – or look at a smartphone app – to try to anticipate what the weather will do today.

So, what can we expect to happen in the automotive aftermarket this year? Well, 53 percent of the people who responded to our “2019 Aftermarket Outlook” poll on Counterman.com believe it will be a good year for the aftermarket. Nearly 10 percent believe 2019 will be about the same as 2018. (By many accounts, 2018 was a solid year for the aftermarket). Meanwhile, 23 percent of the poll respondents are expecting a tough year for the automotive aftermarket. (Poll results are as of Jan. 11).

As we’ve reported in recent months, the business environment looks favorable for the automotive aftermarket, and the news seems to keep getting better.

In December, for example, Edmunds forecasted U.S. new light-vehicle sales of 16.9 million units for 2019, compared to expected sales of 17.2 million new vehicles in 2018. With positive economic trends such as low unemployment, high consumer confidence and low gas prices – all boons to the aftermarket – expected to continue in 2019, new-vehicle sales will remain at a historically high level, Edmunds predicts. At the same time, rising interest rates, higher vehicle prices and tighter credit could push many buyers into the used-vehicle market – or drive them out of a purchase completely. That sure seems to paint a positive backdrop for aftermarket distribution.

For a deeper dive into the 2019 aftermarket outlook, check out our annual distribution preview, beginning on Page 14. The section features insights and perspectives from a who’s who of automotive aftermarket leaders, and (spoiler alert) most of them are feeling pretty bullish about the year ahead.

Predictions aside, we wish all of you a successful, happy and safe new year. Let’s make 2019 a great one!

You May Also Like

Will Surging Gas Prices Hurt The Aftermarket?

The jolt to miles driven – a key indicator for the aftermarket – remains to be seen.

Editor's note: This column appears in the June issue of AMN/Counterman.

As of today (June 15), the average price of a gallon of regular gasoline in the United States is $5.01, according to AAA. That’s up from $4.47 a month ago.

Remember the good old days? A year ago (from June 15), the average price of a gallon of regular gas was $3.076 – a great time to fill ‘er up, compared to today.

Online Ordering Isn’t A Fad

Online sales in the automotive aftermarket continue to grow.

What Will the ‘COVID-Era Consumer’ Do in 2022?

The beauty of the automotive aftermarket is that the economic conditions always seem to work in the industry’s favor.

Online Shopping
Right To Repair, Trade Associations And You

In the fight for Right to Repair legislation, aftermarket trade groups can’t do it alone.

Veterans Can Be Heroes Off the Battlefield Too

Veterans bring an incredible amount of value to the civilian workplace, in terms of nontechnical and technical skills.

Veterans and Vehicles
Other Posts
NKC Schools’ Jack Stow A Real Vehicle Care RockStar

This automotive instructor is teaching kids about more than just repairing cars.

The Purge: Flushing & Filling the Coolant

This job isn’t needed as often as it used to be, but it’s still important.

JNPSoft OptiCat Unveils DataLive Product Tracking Tool

New platform aims to automate a manual process, maximizing time and resource allocations.

MEMA Launches At-Home REPAIR Campaign

The next step in the campaign to get the REPAIR Act passed is to get aftermarket suppliers involved.