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Auto Repair: A History


The automotive aftermarket is a pillar of the four-wheeled industry, covering everything from replacement car parts to additions and modifications. As a car owner, you will almost definitely participate in the automotive aftermarket at some point, be it to switch out your tyres or repair some damage after a slight fender bender.


In this article:

A Brief History

As long as cars have been commercially available there has been the automotive aftermarket. Garages and repair shops are essential to the maintenance of motor vehicles, and beyond performing repairs, they will regularly have to replace parts in people’s cars. Replacement parts can be sourced directly from the manufacturers of specific cars, can be general parts that work across various brands and models, or they can be specially made to specs and designs by OEMs (more on them later).

 

Over the years, the automotive aftermarket has grown beyond the confines of the local body shop, as the degree of complexity of automobiles and the skills required to work on them have both increased considerably. This trend is only expected to continue, with developments such as the rise of electric vehicles leading the way.

Changes In The Landscape

Since the dawn of the internet, a lot has changed for the aftermarket auto parts industry, according to Mckinsey. Digital channels have become a primary focus for many organisations, with consumers using internet reviews and other digital information resources to better plan their purchases.

 

This has led to the aftermarket becoming more and more digitally-based, with the market share of the eCommerce sector expected to grow to 30% by 2035. The last two years have also seen a major increase for the eCommerce side of the industry, as the pandemic has reduced physical footfall for businesses the world over.

 

OEMs or Original Equipment Manufacturers are investing more and more into the aftermarket as well, as cars are lasting longer than ever before. In the past, OEMs might only sell to specific manufacturers to be branded in a specific way, but in recent years they’ve started to present their products more independently.

 

Another major facet of change in the automotive aftermarket has been the growing interest in car modification. No longer are aftermarket parts primarily used for repairs and replacements, as now more and more people are using parts to redesign pre-existing cars according to their own preferences.

Growing Aftermarket Trends

In 2022 there are a few trends that will define the automotive aftermarket industry, as dictated by sales. Some of these trends include:

 

  Off-Road/Exploration Accessories: With more consumers answering the call of the wild, the afterparts of their cars are following. Special tyres, wheels, rooftop tents, and side steps are growing in popularity.

  Smart devices: Smartphones have already become integrated into people’s lives, and smart devices for cars are already increasingly popular. Things like AA Smart Breakdown are gaining traction in the UK.

  Overlanding: Much like offroading, this is a growing sector focused on upgrading the car for more rugged capabilities. Functionalities like improved suspension, added storage, and body armour are being sought after more than ever. 

 

As you can see, the automotive aftermarket is an ever-changing entity, and as people’s interests and hobbies change and evolve, so will the car industry and the aftermarket that supports it.

 

For more interesting pieces on automotive transport check out our blog here!