This is the first in a multi-part series that looks at the state of the heavy-duty aftermarket that will publish throughout the month of January.
With speeds that would make the tortoise proud, the aftermarket enters 2014 amid a slow and steady upward climb.
Now four full years removed from a recession that devastated the United States’ economy, the aftermarket has rebounded to business levels seen during peak years in 2006 and 2007.
The market isn’t booming, but growth — slow as it may be — appears sustainable, and after years of running lean, aftermarket businesses are starting to operate with wind in their sails again.
The aftermarket has weathered the storm.
So as companies throughout the industry close the books on 2013 and look to the future, they do so with a sense of optimism.
After years of treading water, the aftermarket is moving forward.
“It’s not at a fevered pitch but it’s a good, strong and favorable pace,” says Steve Crowley, president and CEO at VIPAR Heavy Duty.
“It’s not as strong as we had thought it could be earlier,” adds Bill Nolan, president at Power Brake & Spring, “but it’s so much better than it was four or five years ago that it’s hard to complain.”
While 2013 will ultimately go down as a productive one for the aftermarket, the year’s overall success wasn’t a foregone conclusion at the start of the year.
There was doubt in the marketplace as 2012 came to a close.
“I think everyone was really concerned about the condition of the aftermarket at the start of the year,” Crowley says.