CLEVELAND (April 20, 2009) — The growing complexity of medium- and heavy-duty trucks and an anticipated economic resurgence will boost tires and parts demand over the next five years, according to a report by The Freedonia Group Inc.
The Cleveland-based research firm estimates U.S. aftermarket demand for truck parts and components will increase 3.8 percent annually to $17.1 billion in 2013. The growth rate is slower than the previous five years when aftermarket parts demand increased an average 5.6 percent annually, according to Freedonia's “Medium- & Heavy-Duty Truck Aftermarket” study.
Future increased demand will be supported by the aging of the U.S. truck fleet, the growing number of trucks in use and the expected increase in the average number of miles driven as the economy recovers, according to the study.
Other factors include more complex trucks requiring more expensive parts for repairs and maintenance and older truck models needing retrofitting to meet new emissions control and safety standards.
The largest product category in the truck aftermarket will continue to be exterior and structural components, which consists primarily of new and retreaded tires, according to the report. Tires accounted for more than 40 percent of the total medium- and heavy-duty truck aftermarket in 2008, according to Freedonia. The truck tire aftermarket is expected to increase 4 percent annually over the next five years, from $6.0 billion in 2008 to $7.3 billion in 2013, down from an annual growth rate of 7.8 percent between 2003 and 2008.
Growth in the mechanical products segment, which includes engine hard parts and chassis, drive train and suspension parts, is expected to be limited by the long service lives for many of these components. The smaller electrical and electronic components segment is predicted to experience the most rapid demand increase through 2013 due to the rise in electronic content of trucks and stronger emissions control regulations.
Freedonia said tire dealers will continue to dominate the aftermarket for truck parts, acknowledging them as “the critical sales channel for the large tire segment.”
However, the increasing complexity of diagnosis and repair procedures on modern trucks is causing some service providers—such as franchised new truck dealers and branded component supplier service centers—to gain market share since they usually have access to updated diagnostic and technical repair data and special tools.
The study also noted that a shortage of qualified technicians is putting a premium on skilled mechanics, making it more difficult for smaller service providers to attract and retain them.