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Vehicle Downsizing Helps Sustain North American Cargo Management Aftermarket

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MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA--Oct. 9, 2013: Consumer desire to save on gas costs as well as original equipment manufacturer (OEM) need to comply with strict fuel economy standards is leading to the downsizing of vehicles. As a consequence, this has heightened the demand for cargo management accessories to enhance the carrying capacity of smaller automobiles. The North American cargo aftermarket will continue to grow as established suppliers develop premium product lines and commerce moves to online channels.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, North American Cargo Management Aftermarket, finds that the market earned revenue of $581.2 million in 2012 and estimates this to reach $771.0 million in 2019. The study covers hitch-mounted and roof-mounted units such as receiver hitches, bicycle carriers, snow sport carriers, cargo boxes, cargo trays and water sport carriers, along with light truck toolboxes, trunk-mounted bicycle carriers, bed-mounted bicycle carriers, and soft-sided carriers.

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The de-contenting of cargo management features will provide new opportunities for aftermarket suppliers to sell towing and storage accessories, widening the market's prospects.

"Rebounding light truck sales will support hitch-mounted accessories, while projected growth in compact cars will boost sale volumes of roof-mounted carriers," said Frost & Sullivan Automotive and Transportation Program Leader Stephen Spivey. "Toolboxes will contribute the highest to overall market revenue."

Receiver hitches and roof racks are less likely to be included as standard equipment in new vehicles, broadening the business scope of independent aftermarket and original equipment service channel suppliers. The popularity of new, universal-fit products and premium accessories will add to market income.

However, fluctuating seasonal weather conditions and slow growth in the core customer base of outdoor sports enthusiasts can compound the existing challenges of managing inventories, introducing new products, and finding customers. For instance, the recent warm winters have reduced participation in outdoor sports and recreation, cutting down demand for roof racks, bike racks, ski racks and other such products.

Over the short to medium term, consumers are also likely to limit or eliminate discretionary purchases, such as vehicle accessories, due to the sluggish economy. Building alternate channels to market products and reduce costs is crucial to sustain growth.

"Internet retailers accounted for 4 to 5 percent of total revenue in 2012 and are on track to double their share over the next five to seven years," noted Spivey. " is emerging as a major seller of cargo management accessories, particularly for smaller market participants lacking distribution channels through big retail chains and dealerships."

North American Cargo Management Aftermarket is part of the Automotive & Transportation Growth Partnership Service program. Frost & Sullivan's related research services include: North American and European Tire Pressure Monitoring System Aftermarket; Building Product Awareness, Trial and Loyalty in the North American Automotive Aftermarket through the Development of Internet Apps; North American Market for Carsharing Services; and U.S. Automotive Technicians' Choice for Automotive Tools. All research services included in subscriptions provide detailed market opportunities and industry trends evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants.