The Australian car parc is changing, with well-publicised trends away from medium and large cars as consumers and businesses vote with their wallets for SUVs and utes

ACA Research says while this obviously impacts the type of vehicle turning up on workshop forecourts, what steps can independent mechanics take to prepare for this evolution?
At an overall level, the Australian car parc increased by almost 1.8 million passenger and light commercial vehicles between 2013 and 2018, taking the total vehicles on road to more than 17.5 million.
Holding true across all states and territories, this highlights the need for a strong independent automotive aftermarket, with dealerships clearly not geared to cater to the more than 35 million service interactions occurring each year.
Looking at the data on vehicle age, ACA Research says we can see that while vehicles aged under five years old remain the single largest group, more than two thirds of the vehicles on road are six or more years old (where many manufacturer warranties expire).
Digging into the data, we can also see that vehicles aged 11 – 15 years old are growing faster than the average, meaning that independent workshops will see a lot of cars manufactured between 2003 and 2007 (as well as those built pre 2003). The main point to take away here is that while we spend a lot of time talking about the ‘workshop of the future’, servicing the vehicles of today remains a key role for independent mechanics.
ACA Research says while we’ve talked a lot about Australian’s ongoing love affair with diesel, the data also highlights this, with almost 1.5m more diesel vehicles on the road compared to 2013.
On the flipside, despite some attempts to save it, LPG is definitely fading, declining by 35 percent over the same period. This again demonstrates that while diesel will become less common in new cars over time (in line with more stringent global emission standards), there will still be four million vehicles requiring ongoing servicing and support.
As a manufacturer, retailer or workshop operator, it will be important to ensure that you have access to the parts, tools and know-how to support and maintain these vehicles into 2020 (and well beyond).
Looking at table two, while our emphasis is logically on the relationship between petrol and diesel, it’s also worth noting the 166 percent growth in electric vehicles.
The numbers remain small, but we’re now seeing a growing level of commitment from government and private sector organisations towards EV infrastructure.
Additionally, 2019 will also see the launch of a wide range of more affordably priced EVs, meaning this will start growing more rapidly over the next few years.
Ultimately, workshops need to ensure they are catering to today’s car parc, while also preparing for the future. Our recently completed study into independent workshops explores this in more detail, drawing out insights around:
– The trends seen by different workshop segments in the type of vehicles being serviced
– The perceived importance of investing in both technology and staff to meet changing car parc needs
– The key services or innovations workshops are introducing to to attract and retain customers
AAAA members can access more information about their local car parc through the postcode tool found in the member section of the website, and ACA Research says it will further explore this theme of building a better automotive business in its session at the 2019 Australian Auto Aftermarket Expo, 4-6 April.
This column was prepared for AAA Magazine by ACA Research, our partners in the AAAA Aftermarket Dashboard, which is delivered to your inbox each quarter.

For more information, visit or contact Ben Selwyn on