More than 15,000 car aftermarket outlets across Europe will be forced to close by 2013, research firm Datamonitor has predicted. That’s a decline of 2.5% on 2009 numbers. 
The independent business analyst has stated in a new report that the wave of closures will come amid heightened competition at distribution level and quickening consolidation amongst retailers.
Despite these closures and the wider economic problems affecting the industry, the European light vehicle aftermarket is showing resilience. Industry sales reached EUR193bn in 2009 and will increase by EUR11.1bn (5.7%) to reach EUR204bn by 2013, according to Datamonitor.
Richard Carteau, lead automotive analyst at Datamonitor and report author, believes the increase in value will be fuelled mainly by car parc growth of 6.4% across Europe between 2009-13.
He said: “The growth in aftermarket sales observed at European level masks significant disparities at regional level between the more mature Western European markets, which are experiencing moderate value growth of 4.5% over the period, and the nascent Eastern European region which will continue to witness strong growth of 15.4%.
“The UK, for example, was the last major European economy to come out of recession and has low replacement rates, resulting in its aftermarket value growth prospects being limited over the next four years to 3.9%. Romania, meanwhile, is set to experience 31.7% growth due to optimistic car parc increases and recovering replacement rates.”
With Europe experiencing an average 6.4% increase in car parc over the 2009-13 period, there are huge disparities between countries and double digit growth is forecast for only a handful of markets.
For instance, Turkey is forecast to record a 16.3% increase in car parc over the period, whilst Germany will register a nominal 3.1% growth in comparison.

The Western European markets experiencing the strongest car parc growth are Ireland, Norway and Spain, with 12.2%, 10.5%, and 7.5% respectively. In Eastern Europe by contrast Turkey, Slovakia and the Ukraine, lead with 16.3%, 13.0% and 12.9% growth over the period.