Aftermarket (automotive)

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For other uses, see Aftermarket.

The automotive aftermarket is the secondary market of the automotive industry, concerned with the manufacturing, remanufacturing, distribution, retailing, and installation of all vehicle parts, chemicals, equipment, and accessories, after the sale of the automobile by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) to the consumer. The parts, accessories, etc. for sale may or may not be manufactured by the OEM.

The aftermarket encompasses parts for replacement, collision, appearance, and performance, including electric propulsion. The aftermarket provides a wide variety of parts of varying qualities and prices for nearly all vehicle makes and models.

Consumers have the option of repairing their vehicles themselves (the "do-it-yourself" segment) or can take the vehicle to a professional repair facility (the "do-it-for me" segment). The aftermarket helps keep vehicles on the road by providing consumers the choice of where they want their vehicles serviced, maintained, or customized.

Size of the automotive aftermarket[edit]

The United States automotive aftermarket is estimated to be worth $318.2 billion (2013), contributing more than 2.3% to GDP. The aftermarket employs 4.2 million people who work at manufacturers, distributors, retailers and repair shops. [1]

Singapore, which does not have a domestic automobile industry, is an especially important destination for businesses exporting automotive parts and accessories due to its high automobile turnover stemming from the peculiarities of its driving laws. (In short, car owners are legally required to get rid of their cars after ten years of use and Singapore's compensation scheme to offset the registration fee of a new cars has incentivized more frequent turnover.)[2]

High automobile turnover and the preference for new parts means that the market for remanufactured and reconditioned auto parts is very small. Combined with a high demand for "accessories, car-care products, prestige items, and new spare parts" (vehicle owners like to keep their cars in top condition), Singapore's automotive aftermarket is large. In fact, Singapore has become a major automotive components manufacturing base, as several leading multinational corporations (MNCs) have established international procurement offices as well as their Southeast Asia distribution centers.[2]

In Canada, the automotive aftermarket is a C$19.4 billion industry that employs about 420,000 people.[3]

In Australia, the automotive aftermarket industry in 2013 was estimated to generate a AUD$5.2 billion turnover, with 21000 staff, and 1400 manufacturers. [4]

Legal issues[edit]

Automobile manufacturers have attempted to hinder or suppress automotive aftermarket sales by means of copyright or patent infringement litigation. For example, in British Leyland Motor Corp. v Armstrong Patents Co. in the UK, the House of Lords decided in 1986 that Leyland could not claim copyright infringement in order to prevent the aftermarket sale of replacement tailpipes to purchasers of those motor cars.[5]

Aro Mfg. Co. v. Convertible Top Replacement Co. is a 1961 U.S. Supreme Court case in which the Court redefined the U.S. patent law doctrine of repair and reconstruction: "No element, not itself separately patented, that constitutes one of the elements of a combination patent is entitled to patent monopoly, however essential it may be to the patented combination and no matter how costly or difficult replacement may be."[6]

Aftermarket parts outside the automotive industry[edit]

While the term "aftermarket" often refers to automotive parts, it can also refer to any non-OEM spare part,[7] such as laptop batteries.[8]