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Aftermarket sales will grow nearly 4%

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U.S. motor vehicle aftermarket sales will increase by 3.8% in 2010, according to new Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA) projections.

AAIA officials credit the expected rebound "partly to anticipated pent-up demand for vehicle maintenance and repair by consumers in 2009, when aftermarket industry sales dropped for the first time in more than a decade to a negative 2.4%."

AAIA CEO and President Kathleen Schmatz adds that "the rebound in macroeconomic conditions in the U.S. that began in 2009 is expected to continue and accelerate in 2010 and 2011. Most major economic indicators have already begun to move in a positive direction or will begin to trend that way during the year."

The forecasts are part of the AAIA's "Channel Forecast Model," which is itself part of the preliminary AAIA Atermarket Factbook. The association will release the publication in May.

Among the positive and negative impacts described in the industry analysis are the following.

Positive Impacts:

* Nominal GDP growth should average more than 4.5% annually from 2010 through 2012.

*  Unemployment will peak in the third quarter of 2010 at 10%, then decline steadily to 7.9% by the fourth quarter of 2012.

* Dramatic increases in the savings rate seen in 2009 and 2010 will ease as consumers show growth in consumer spending after a decline in 2009.

* A rebound in the housing market and consumer wealth will further encourage consumer spending.

* Miles driven are expected to increase as the unemployment rate declines.

Negative Impacts:

* Increasing energy costs are helping to constrain disposable income growth.

* Light vehicle sales should approach pre-recession levels of near 16 million units by 2012.

* Total vehicle sales of 35 million from 2008 through 2010 is 30% less than recent pre-recession historical three-year averages, reducing the number of vehicles entering traditional prime repair ages.

For more information on the AAIA's "Channel Forecast Model" and the AAIA Aftermarket Factbook, e-mail Ron Rossi at ron.rossi@aftermarket.org or Fiona Kong at fiona.kong@aftermarket.org, or call (301) 654-6664.

The AAIA's more than 23,000 members and affiliates manufacture, distribute and sell motor vehicle parts, accessories, service, tool, equipment, materials and supplies. Through its membership, AAIA represents more than 100,000 repair shops, parts stores and distribution outlets.

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