THE AFTERMARKET AND COMMERCIAL SECTOR THRIVING IN THE WAKE OF AN ECONOMIC UPTURN
“In 2016, a positive trend for all automotive aftermarket product families was recorded, with the exception of consumables, which had already experienced an 11,1% contraction in the first semester of the same year”. With these words, Paolo Vasone, aftermarket coordinator of the Anfia Group, highlighted the current positive market trend, which, in the wake of a positive 2014 - considered by many as the real pivotal year, the first which showed signs of recovery after 6 consecutive negative performances due to the recent economic downturn – and a 2015 that gave renewed impulse to the market’s recent growth.
According to the Aftermarket Indicator, in fact, the sector recorded a 3,6% decrease in 2016 compared to the previous year, which boasted a 4,3% growth.
The first negative quarter (-2,8%), was followed by a more stable second quarter (+0,03%), while the second half of the year showed two consecutive quarters with a negative sign, 5% and 6,4% respectively.
These figures, though, are rather misleading: looking at the trend of single product families, electric and electronic components score the highest growth (+4,7%), bouncing back from the 7,4% decrease recorded back in 2015.
Body and interior components followed close behind, up by 2,8% after a positive 2015 (+13,4%), then engine parts, which recorded a 2,5% growth (+9,4% in 2015), while undercar components closed at +1,4% (+4,6% in 2015). Consumables were the only segment to record a decrease, and a double digit one at that, with a 10,7% drop compared to 2015’s positive sign.
Furthermore, if we look at the commercial vehicle segment, results keep on being positive with a 7,9% increase in February, slightly up from January figures.
According to forecasts produced by Unrae’s Center for Studies and Statistics, Unrae being the Association of foreign car manufacturers in Italy, new registrations of commercial vehicles with a GVW of up to 3,5 tons were 13.750, over a 1.000 more compared to the 12.740 recorded during the same period in 2016, which, in turn, had already recorded a 29,4% rise compared to the previous year. The balance of the first two-month period points to a 5,9% increase thanks to 25.800 new registrations, slightly up from the 24.370 units sold in January-February last year.
“As known - says Massimo Nordio, President of Unrae - in the midst of recession, commercial vehicle sales suffered a relentless drop leading to an all-time low in 2013. Following last year’s Government incentives, such as super-amortizations and the Sabatini Law aimed at pushing the purchase of capital goods, the market responded positively speeding up the renewal of circulating vehicles, which prompted a real economic upswing for the whole sector”.
“The extension of such measures – concludes Nordio – is facilitating sales strategies by foreign and local manufacturers alike also during the first months of 2017, and the closing of the first quarter will supply an accurate evaluation of the current year, with a stock of Euro 5 vehicles to be registered before next August 31”.
"Awaiting for new incentives on investments in the road transport sector, which may provide a new thrust to the industry – states Franco Fenoglio, President of Unrae’s Industrial Vehicle Section -, the market is still growing, denouncing a physiological need for new transport vehicles, considering the number of obsolete vehicles still circulating whose management is not only complicated but also economically unattractive, besides their non-compliance with the some of the basic requirements for a sustainable mobility".