September 2, 2003

Dealerships’ share of service business declines

Ottawa, Ontario – The Automotive Industries Association of Canada has published its biennial market research piece on consumer maintenance habits, the 2003 Car Maintenance in Canada Report. The report reveals that while new car dealers continued to be the dominant player in the mechanic installed market, their market share declined from 37.2% in 2001 to 34.0% in 2002. The aftermarket is forecast to grow in dollars by about 1.6% in 2003 and 1.4% in 2004. By 2006, the rate of growth is seen as increasing to 3.3% a year.

Independent repair shops (27.9%) and specialty repair shops (16.2%) remain strong players in the mechanic installed market in Canada. All other channels recorded market share of less than 10.0%. Looking at the various regions, new car dealers were weaker in the Western provinces.

Independent repair shops were more popular in Quebec, as were service stations. Specialty shops were noticeably weak in the Atlantic region and Quebec, while Canadian Tire was most popular in Ontario.

The study also reveals that men are the principal car maintainers in 66.0% of households, a figure that remains constant from statistics in 2000.

The primary vehicle in 62.6% of households was a passenger car, while in 37.4% of the cases it was a light truck. Domestic nameplates accounted for 71.4% of primary vehicles, while imports made up 28.6%.

New to 3 Years old vehicles accounted for 16.8% of all respondents’ vehicles; vehicles 4 to 5 Years old represented 15.4% of the market; and vehicles aged 6 to 7 Years accounted for 12.6%. Vehicles aged 8 to 12 years had a 32.1% share of the market representing the largest category in this segment while those vehicles over 12 Years represented 23.0%.

“The traditional mechanic installed aftermarket typically sees vehicles in the 5 to 12 year old category,” says AIA President Ray Datt. “This report confirms that almost 50 percent of vehicles on the road will now be in that category, which is great news for the future success of the aftermarket.”

The Mechanic Installed (MI) versus Do-It-Yourself (DIY) split can vary widely among different items — the more complex items and procedures being largely MI and the less complex more likely being DIY. The top MI job for 2002 was transmission work, with 91% of transmission work being completed by a mechanic (automotive repair technician). The top DIY job was oil top-ups
(89%), which is not surprising given the relative simplicity of the task.

The 2003 Car Maintenance in Canada Report is a detailed study of the maintenance practices and purchasing behaviour of consumers in the aftermarket. It includes a product analysis for eight different product groups that contain 30 different product areas. This year, the report also includes a look at the structure of the vehicle fleet by vehicle type, origin, and age.

DesRosiers Automotive Consultants Inc. prepared the Report for the Automotive Industries Association of Canada. The study is based on 2,500 telephone interviews completed across Canada and covers maintenance and purchasing patterns during the full calendar year of 2002.

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