Drivers Pick Independent Shops Over Car Dealers

Jan. 16, 2024

Consumers are turning to aftermarket repair shops sooner in the vehicle’s life cycle than before, according to research from IMR Automotive Research

Market research trends show that over the past decade, car dealership service centers are losing preference to aftermarket segments like independent repair shops, tire dealers with service bays, and others. 

“Aftermarket outlets have been increasing in share for vehicle repairs and services in younger model vehicles (new to three years old) over new car dealerships over the last 10 years, mainly due to convenient location and price,” says Barlo Hardin, senior analyst at IMR.  

“While trust in the dealerships has stayed consistent, where we have seen the most growth is in non-warranty part service and repairs. Aftermarket share for domestic and European vehicle maintainers has been growing while Asian vehicle maintainers have been going to new car dealerships more consistently over the last 10 years.” 

IMR research shows that in 2013, 25.6% of consumers went to dealership service centers. A decade later, that figure is down to 20.3%. 

The data also show that car dealerships are losing newer vehicles to the aftermarket. For vehicles zero to three years old, 35.8% of consumers are going to car dealerships. That’s down from a high of more than 50% in 2013. Tire dealers and independent repair shops see 11.1% and 7.2% of repairs, respectively.  

Other aftermarket segments, like quick lube shops, parts retailers, national repair chains, and repair specialists also take up market share, according to IMR’s data. 

IMR Automotive Research is a division of Endeavor Business Intelligence. Founded in 1975, IMR conducts syndicated and proprietary market research studies that focus on the automotive industry including the automotive aftermarket, heavy duty and fleet segments.