Opinion: A Larger Sweet Spot

Opinion: A Larger Sweet Spot

In the automotive aftermarket, much is written about the service sweet spot being vehicles in the 6- to 10-year old range.

Source: IMR Inc. (www.AutomotiveResearch.com) Continuing Consumer Auto Maintenance Tracking Study. Copyright 2009, IMR Inc. All Rights Reserved. This report and all information contained herein is the property of IMR Inc. Reproduction in whole or in part is prohibited without written permission of IMR Inc. What made Callaway Golf’s Big Bertha and the Prince tennis racket so successful in the marketplace? A larger sweet spot.

The sweet spot is the area on a club, racket, bat, etc., where a ball is most effectively hit. A larger sweet spot allows you to hit the ball with power even when conditions do not allow exact precision or eye-hand coordination is not optimal.
In the automotive aftermarket, much is written about the service sweet spot being vehicles in the 6- to 10-year old range.

According to R.L. Polk, 29% of vehicles in operation, or 71 million vehicles in total, are 6 to 10 years old and nearly the same number are 1 to 5 years old. It makes sense that this 6- to 10-year range is attractive since these vehicles should be past new car warranty and ready for some major service work.

According to IMR Inc.’s Continuing Consumer Auto Maintenance Tracking Study, the following chart shows the average annual service dollars spent by consumers based on the age of the vehicle. This chart clearly supports the attractiveness of the 6- to 10-year range (in yellow), with an average DIFM annual repair/maintenance cost of $889.

But what about the 101 million vehicles in the 11-year-and-older range represented by the green box, with an average DIFM annual repair/maintenance cost of $914? Is this chump change? I don’t think so.

We can’t lose sight of this huge section of the market. With an aging vehicle population, this older segment of vehicles on the road continues to grow year after year. And, with all the technological advancements making cars and trucks of any age more difficult to repair than in the past, the professional independent shop is the “go to” place for service.

If you set your sights on this larger sweet spot, you can’t miss.  

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