Economic Weakness Impacts Auto Body Shops, Service Stations

| About: Pep Boys (PBY)

TickerMine surveyed 50 Macco auto body shops across the U.S and 50 oil and transmission stations like Jiffy Lube's and Pep Boys (NYSE:PBY). The well documented fall in new car sales in might suggest that business would be increasing for the auto maintenance and repair market.

TickerMine found that 50% of Maaco locations contacted reporting that business was down over the past few months, while 44% business had remained steady. Only 6% reported an increase in business levels.  56% of respondents reported that customers were now more likely to pay for major body work at a Maaco location as customers were trying to maintain resale values for their vehicles and wanted to forestall purchasing a new vehicle as long as possible.

In another tip to the economic difficulties facing Maaco clients, it appears that more customers are opting to use insurance for repairs, despite the hit they are likely to take on future insurance premiums which rise as claims are made for damage to cars.

At the big oil change locations like Jiffy Lube, PepBoys and PitStop, TickerMine found that while business had slowed somewhat, the incidence of minor repairs appears to be increasing. 62% of respondents reported seeing an increasing in minor repairs as consumers look to keep their cars running as well and for as long as possible without incurring major expenses. 76% of oil change locations reported seeing increased usage of coupons or promotions for oil changes and other routine maintenance services.  This statistic is supported by our Maaco survey where 66% of those respondents were seeing increased usage of coupons and promotions.

While business appears to be steady or slowing for the automotive care and repair service stations, our surveys suggest that as cars are stretched further into their useful lives, the flow of drivers seeking minor repairs and even major repairs to postpone the purchase of a new vehicle is likely to increase.  TickerMine will be repeating this survey in July and August to track the changes in car owner behavior as the summer and economic malaise continue.