The light vehicle automotive aftermarket industry is expected to grow 4.2 percent in 2006, according to new research from the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA). A detailed analysis of the size of the aftermarket is included in the soon-to-be-released 2006-2007 AASA Automotive Aftermarket Status Report. According to AASA, the value of the light vehicle aftermarket (parts and labour) broke the U.S.$200 billion mark for the first time ever in 2005, finishing at $200.41 billion a 5.2 percent increase from 2004. The jump was the highest the industry has experienced since a 5.6 percent increase in 2000. If you include the $54.5 billion heavy-duty aftermarket (Class 6 through 8), the total U.S. aftermarket is $255 billion a 5.1 percent increase over 2004. AASA estimates that the light vehicle aftermarket will finish 2006 at nearly $209 billion. Growth will continue at a somewhat slower pace and reach $239 billion by the end of the decade. “We expect the aftermarket to only get stronger in the years to come,” said AASA Executive Director Steve Handschuh. “Our industry is vital to keeping the 232 million vehicles on U.S. roads running safely and efficiently and, ultimately, in keeping Americans productive and mobile.” Vehicles more than 10 years old account for the largest share of the dollars spent and provided the largest boost to 2005 overall aftermarket value. This category, along with the 6- to 10-year-old vehicle group, is expected to continue to expand at a stable pace, while new to 5-year-old vehicles are projected to decline in aftermarket volume through to 2010. According to Frank Hampshire, AASA research director, AASA uses a “Survey Cost Method” to calculate the size of the industry. “This method involves multiplying the number of vehicles on the road for each model year, by a survey-derived estimate of service and repair dollars spent on vehicles by model year,” he said. “This method accurately captures the full spectrum of aftermarket activity, but offers limited means of analyzing or estimating expenditures by DIY share or type of product/service.” AASA’s estimates for the light vehicle aftermarket exclude warranty work, collision and accessories, but include fleet maintenance and repair. AASA’s estimates do not include parts for medium and heavy-duty trucks and trailers, off-highway equipment, farm machinery, motorcycles and scooters, snowmobiles, watercrafts, industrial equipment or recreational vehicles In terms of aftermarket components and services, AASA’s size of the aftermarket estimates is restricted to replacement parts and related services and does not include appearance products and services, gasoline, dealer preparation, car audio and entertainment centers, hand tools and service diagnostic equipment and paint and body equipment.