SAN JOSE, Calif.—Increased vehicle life and the growing popularity of sport-utility vehicles (SUVs) are driving strong demand for replacement brake parts, a recent market study by Frost & Sullivan Inc. revealed.
At the same time, according to the market research firm, a shrinking do-it-yourself segment of the market and the increasing use of less-durable original equipment parts are creating new business opportunities for professional installers.
"Vehicle longevity has reached a new high," said Kavan Mukhtyar, a Frost & Sullivan automotive industry expert, without citing specific figures.
"Vehicle longevity strengthens demand for replacement parts as consumers continue to keep their vehicles longer and drive them farther."
In addition, the increase in sales of SUVs and front-wheel-drive vehicles, combined with the use of less-durable OE parts, is opening new growth opportunities, Mr. Mukhtyar said.
"Today's new vehicles are designed with smaller brakes made of lighter, less-durable materials which results in reduced brake life," he said. "SUVs lay higher demands on braking systems, leading to faster brake wear."
The shrinking DIY segment reflects the increasing complexity of brake systems, he added.
"Professional installers generally opt for four-wheel brake repairs and have a tendency to replace brake components rather than repair them," Mr. Mukhtyar said. "It is common practice to replace wheel cylinders and associated hardware and kits to ensure proper functioning of the brake system."
The new research report, U.S. Brake System Parts Aftermarket, estimated the brake parts industry at slightly more than $2 billion in 1999, and growing to $3 billion by 2006.