• vehicle automotive aftermarket definitionAutomotive aftermarket definition: it is the auto industry’s after-sale market.
  • “Aftermarket” includes vehicle parts, equipment, replacement tires, service repair, collision repair and accessories, sold after the sale of the original vehicle.
  • The aftermarket includes companies in manufacturing, re-manufacturing, distribution, retailing, and installation of replacement vehicle parts, equipment, service repair and automotive accessories.
  • Automotive aftermarket market segments include the type of parts and accessories; do-it-yourself (DIY) vs. do-it-for-me (DIFM); or light, medium or heavy-duty vehicles.

Vehicle aftermarket meaning: What does ‘automotive aftermarket?’ mean?

Aftermarket parts can be OEM replacement parts made by the OEM, or aftermarket including performance and accessories. Click To TweetThe automotive aftermarket definition starts with this: Vehicle parts and accessories may or may not be manufactured by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM).

Automotive aftermarket parts are divided into three categories: OEM replacement parts made by the OEM; aftermarket parts including performance parts for modification; and aftermarket accessories.

OEM replacement parts are vehicle parts manufactured or re-manufactured (or “re-manned”) to replace OEM parts as they wear due to normal wear & tear of a vehicle, or for replacement due to damage. Aftermarket parts can be parts intended to be an alternative to OEM replacement parts, or can be an aftermarket part with different specifications altogether, and can be an add-on part or can be intended to replace an existing part. Accessories are parts made for the vehicle owner’s comfort, convenience or safety, or for customizing the vehicle, and are typically add-on parts. These can be after the original sale of the motor vehicle or they can be accessories installed by the automobile dealer.

What are automotive aftermarket products for cars?

Aftermarket parts for cars are simply parts that do not come from the car’s original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and were not installed by the OEM factory. These parts originate from the aftermarket.

Are aftermarket parts good?

Yes, aftermarket parts are good!

In many cases, automotive aftermarket parts are manufactured to provide additional performance or with features not available from the OEM part. Some aftermarket parts are stronger and designed to last longer than OEM parts. It is also important to know that aftermarket parts do not void the OEM warranty. Learn more about Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act aftermarket parts.

Automotive aftermarket definition by DIY vs. DIFM consumer markets

Consumers who are skilled enough to repair or modify their own vehicles are in the “do-it-yourself” or “DIY” segment of the aftermarket. Some consumers prefer to have parts and accessories installed for them, and take their vehicle to a professional repair or installation facility in the “do-it-for me” or “DIFM” segment. The aftermarket helps keep vehicles on the road by providing consumers the choice of where they want their vehicles serviced, maintained, or customized.The DIY market is approximately 20%, and DIFM market 80%, of the total automotive aftermarket. Click To Tweet

According to the Channel Forecast Model from the Auto Care Association and AASA, the DIY market is approximately 20% of the total market by parts purchases, and the DIFM market is the remaining 80%.

Aftermarket definition by light, medium and heavy duty vehicles

Vehicles are classified into Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) or Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) categories from “none” (the lightest) up to GVW Class 8, which includes the largest semi tractors. Automobiles have a GVW class of “none” or “blank.” Light pickup trucks and SUVs can be in GVW Class 1, 2 or 3. These make up the classification of “light” vehicles.

Medium-duty trucks including larger commercial trucks, moving vans, box trucks, and delivery trucks are usually GVW Class 4, 5 or 6. Heavy-duty trucks include the largest school buses, semi tractors and crane trucks. Medium and heavy-duty trucks are often grouped together.

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) ClassGVWR
GVWR Category DescriptionExamples
(Blank; the lightest vehicles are not included in a GVWR Class)Light duty vehiclePassenger carsCommon passenger cars; no SUVs or CUVs
GVWR Class 1Light duty vehicleMedium pickup trucks, mini vans, SUVs and CUVs under 6,000 lbs. (2,722 kg)Common “quarter ton” pickup trucks, SUVs and crossover CUVs. Examples: GMC Canyon, Chevy Colorado, Ford Ranger.
GVWR Class 2Light duty vehicleMini vans, full-size pickups, step vans or cargo vans 6,001lbs. to 10,000 lbs. (2,722–4,536 kg)Examples: Ram 1500, Ford F-150, Chevy Silverado pickup trucks
GVWR Class 3Medium duty vehicleHeavy-duty “3/4 ton” pickups, box trucks, walk-in commercial vans 10,001 lbs. to 14,000 lbs. (4,536–6,350 kg)Examples: Ram 3500, Ford F-350, GMC Sierra 3500 “3/4 ton” pickups
GVWR Class 4Medium duty vehicleLarge walk-in commercial vans, larger box trucks, city delivery trucks 14,001 lbs. to 16,000 lbs. (6,351–7,257 kg)Examples: Ford E-450 van, Ford F-450, Ram 4500
GVWR Class 5Medium duty vehicleLargest city delivery trucks, largest walk-in commercial vans with double rear axles, bucket utility “cherry picker” trucks 16,000 lbs. to 19,500 lbs. (7,258–8,845 kg)Examples: Ford F-550, GMC 5500, Ram 5500
GVWR Class 6Medium duty vehicleSchool buses, single-axle straight trucks, stake bed trucks, beverage trucks 19,501 lbs. to 26,000 lbs. (8,846–11,793 kg)Examples: Thomas Built Buses, Blue Bird
GVWR Class 7Heavy duty vehicleCity transit buses, smaller semi truck cabs, moving vans, garbage trucks 26,001 lbs. to 33,000 lbs. (11,794–14,969 kg)Examples: GMC C7500, Freightliner
GVWR Class 8Heavy duty vehicleLargest dump trucks, largest semi cabs, semi truck sleeper cabs, cement trucks 33,001 lbs. (14,969 kg) and heavierExamples: Freightliner, International, Mack,

Distribution channels in the aftermarket

automotive aftermarket distribution channels

The automotive aftermarket is characterized by a complex distribution system. Parts and accessories can flow from the manufacturer to the consumer in many different ways.

For most of the time from the early 1900s until the internet grew in the 1990s-2000s, most distribution was known as “two step distribution” as manufacturers sold to warehouse distributors (WDs), that in turn sold to retailers, that in turn sold to consumers.

Today, more parts manufacturers are selling direct to consumer (DTC), primarily over the internet, further altering the traditional channels of distribution.

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  1. Sagar Kadam

    The global automotive aftermarket is currently valued at over USD 800 Bn. It is expected to capture a steady CAGR during the review period (2017-2023). OEMs are finding new opportunities in regions such as Asia Pacific (APAC), Latin America and the Middle East.