February 20, 2007

Mild December weather hurts auto parts and service sector

Toronto, Ontario – While some Canadians were enjoying the mild weather in December and early January, automotive market retailers felt the bitter chill of low sales. According to The NPD Group, a leading provider of business and market information, the mild weather in Canada drove total automotive product sales down by six per cent and auto service sales by 17 per cent.

“Typically, consumers spend time and money in December preparing their vehicles for the peak winter months,” says Jasmine Sachdeva, Senior Automotive Manager at NPD. “However, the milder weather in December turned buying trends upside down with typical spring items, such as car wax and leather cleaner, outstripping sales of common winter products, specifically windshield wiper fluid and wiper blades.”

For example, sales of wiper blades and refills were down 31 per cent and windshield washer fluid fell 31 per cent compared to the same time last year. Conversely, December sales of car wax and car polish increased by a staggering 105 per cent year-over-year.

Consumers also spent less money servicing their cars for the winter months. Scheduled maintenance service was down 13 per cent in December. Canadian car owners also chose to rotate and balance car tires in December instead of replacing them with seasonally appropriate tires, indicating yet again the influence of the weather on auto parts and accessories buying trends. New tires sales were down 10 per cent while tire rotating and balancing (switching the tires from the front to the back and vice versa) increased by close to nine per cent.

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