OEC Blog

Consumer habits in your favor: How the increase in pre-owned vehicles on the road will impact your parts business and what to do about it

Consumer habits in your favor: How the increase in pre-owned vehicles on the road will impact your parts business and what to do about it

While autonomous cars may be the future, cars of the past are still very much present.According to IHS Markit, the average age of light vehicles in operation has increased (yet again) to 11.6 years. In recent years, ownership of cars has been steadily increasing and has jumped significantly from a decade ago. And in five years, they have predicted that more that 20 million vehicles in operation will be more than 25 years old – or approximately 7% of all cars on the road.And if that wasn’t enough to catch your attention, an AutoMD.com study done this year found a majority of consumers are not only keeping their vehicles longer, but more than half are seeking a pre-owned vehicle when they’re ready to buy. In fact, a staggering 76% want a pre-owned vehicle where over half will seek out a vehicle 2 – 10 years old. Sounds like a win for your colleagues in sales. But where does your parts department come into play?

The biggest purchasing factors

It’s no surprise that price is the biggest decision factor in a vehicle purchase. But what came in second? Longevity: knowing a vehicle will last at least ten years. What this means for you is these customers seeking longer-lasting cars will inevitably need to bring them in for repairs. In fact, a whopping 74% said replacement parts are considered when purchasing a vehicle, and costs of repairs ranked 4th as a purchase influencer.

Opportunities for you as a Parts Manager

Knowing these customers will be seeking repairs means you have an opportunity to make them OE parts patrons. And here are a few simple marketing steps you can take that can reel in those opportunities:

  • Everyone in your dealership should be communicating the same message about OE parts. Provide the sales staff with educational OE parts information they can easily relay to customers during the sales process since repairs are a major factor in vehicle purchases.
  • Educate customers who have already purchased a vehicle from your dealership about the importance of OE parts:
    • Find out who handles the marketing at your dealership. Chances are, this person maintains a current customer database. Create a list of customers with older vehicles that may need repairs soon (This only works if you keep data on when a customer made a purchase).
    • Use this database to create direct mail and emails for your parts department.
    • If customers regularly call you for parts, ask them for their email and mailing address so you can include them on your mailing and e-mail lists.
    • Make use of your dealership social media sites. Chances are, whoever maintains your social sites is looking for content on a daily basis, and you have plenty of useful information to share that customers would want to hear about. On top of that, you can offer specials for your Facebook and Twitter followers using promo codes.
Do nothing, expect nothing

Whatever you do, don’t let this opportunity pass you by. And if you need help, there are always resources that can help you with marketing OE parts (including this blog!). So now my million dollar question is: What are you doing to ensure your dealership is selling OE parts to these customers?