What does the new year hold? We’re starting 2018 by getting the lowdown on the automotive aftermarket for the year ahead through the eyes and ears of aftermarket leaders.
Here’s our Q&A with NAPA Auto Parts President Dan Askey.
CM: What’s your gut feeling about the outlook for 2018?
DA: We are cautiously optimistic about 2018, especially with the year beginning with lots of cold weather in many parts of the country. In addition, with the spring thaw, we believe there will be undercar sales opportunities from the rough roads that inevitably follow a harsh winter. Right now, batteries, rotating electrical, chemicals and wipers are products in high demand. We believe that once consumers get their vehicles into the shop, the shop will discover other repair opportunities and more work that may need to be performed.
Statistics from the Auto Care Association consistently indicate that more than $60 billion in un-performed maintenance needs to be done. Today’s vehicles often keep running even if there are problems. Many times, the consumer will only bring the vehicle in for repair when there is near-catastrophic failure — the vehicle just doesn’t run or doesn’t stop any longer.
In addition, the owner today does not go to their repair shop as often as in the past due to the higher quality of the vehicle. However, repairs and the parts are more costly than ever before. Really good inspections, that include testing certain systems and fluids can prevent more costly repairs down the road and keep the customer satisfied and coming back.
Editor’s note: This Q&A is part of the “Crystal Ball 2018” aftermarket forecast that appears in the January 2018 issue of Counterman.