Targeting Car Owners, Rather Than Dealers, Could Pay Off

May 21st, 2009 | Category: Industry News

It’s no secret that the new car industry is in the tank these days. For this reason, window film dealers who have aligned themselves with car dealerships are likely feeling the pinch. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of automotive tint jobs to be had. Several recent indicators show that Americans are holding onto their rides these days, which may translate into new tint jobs for old vehicles.

One key indicator includes the first quarter results reported by Advanced Auto Parts. While most automotive-related companies are reporting steep declines in sales, the Roanoke, Va.-based aftermarket parts and accessories dealer is reporting steep increases—a likely indication that car owners are opting to fix their rides, rather than trading in. Total sales for the company’s first quarter increased by a whopping 10.3 percent to $1.68 billion, compared with $1.53 billion in the first quarter of 2008. Advanced also found the capital, amid an economic slowdown, to add 114 new stores over the past 12 months. As if those figures aren’t impressive enough, company officials report that its operating cash flow for the quarter increased 37 percent to $292.7 million from $213.6 million in the first quarter 2008, and its free cash flow for the quarter increased 34 percent to $201.4 million from $150.5 million.

Research conducted by St. Paul, Minn.-based 3M also indicates that American’s are opting to hang onto their rides lately. The company’s second annual “Elbow Grease Economics” study indicates that people now view their cars as valuable assets, worthy of investing time and money into in order to keep them running and looking good.

3M’s study included 1,835 car owners in the U.S. According to the results, more than one third of car owners say they consider their car to be one of their biggest investments. Furthermore, more 34 percent say they feel they have to take better care of their car now, because they can’t afford a new one.

Marketing to and aligning with car owners rather than car dealers may prove to be the most effective plan these days for automotive film dealers. Fifty-five percent of car owners are planning on keeping their cars longer and have no plans to trade in or sell their current car at this time, according to 3M’s study. As for the aftermarket parts industry, Advanced Auto Parts’ stock is looking more and more attractive these days, as more than 80 percent say they are committed to doing the maintenance needed to keep their rides going.

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