In 2009, the UK market for automotive parts and accessories was valued at $22.9 billion. U.S. products accounted for 2.6% of total imports into the UK. The demand for automotive parts and accessories is estimated to reach $24.7 billion in 2013.
As a growing number of UK car owners and operators keep their vehicles longer, on average 6.8 years, a growing older vehicle “parc” (the base of registered vehicles in the UK) means consumers will need more repairs. This trend offers good potential for products related to the repair trade. U.S. exporters should explore opportunities for sales of test and inspection equipment for use in garages. Other best prospects include popular upgrades such as alloy and magnesium wheel sets, replacement parts for brakes, clutches and cooling systems. There has been a shift by consumers towards smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles, and opportunities exist for automotive parts suppliers that supply this sector of the market As with other mature markets, U.S. companies interested in the UK automotive market should focus on finding a local distribution partner experienced in exploiting niche opportunities. The partner can also help navigate a number of EU regulations that impact the UK automotive industry.
Market Demand and Data
The UK automotive parts and accessories market is diverse and comprises two main sectors: original equipment (OE) and the aftermarket. Products range from engines, exhaust systems and car seating, to in-car navigation devices, in-car entertainment systems, car polish and car shampoo. Although figures are not available to differentiate market shares between OE and aftermarket products, in 2009, the overall market in the UK for automotive parts and accessories was valued at $22.9 billion. Imports accounted for 66% of the market, and U.S. products accounted for 2.6%.of total imports.
The UK is one of the ten largest motor-vehicle manufacturers in the world, and one of the five major automotive manufacturing countries in Europe. However because of the economic downturn, vehicle production levels fell to a 25-year low in 2009, declining 30.9% from the previous year and coupled with decreased demand for automotive parts from OE manufacturers. However, the demand for automotive parts and accessories is expected to show recovery and is estimated to reach $24.7 billion in 2013.