September 2012 Issue
Interior Shop Survey: A Big Drop in Activity
The biggest surprise in our latest survey wasnt which shops soared or soured, but how much less work is happening at all. DIY interiors are also on the rise.
Discretionary spending is one of the first casualties of tougher times, so we expected a drop in responses to our latest survey on interior shops. When you need a new engine, you pony up. But the airplane still flies with threadbare seats and cracked vinyl. You can tough it out. But this mineshaft canary survey surprised us. In 2008, we got 209 responsesnot an overwhelming number, but enough to see some trends and make some solid recommendations. This time we got 132 responses. Thats a 37-percent drop, which is much more significant than weve seen on other surveys past to present. We also noticed a sharp rise in the number of do-it-yourself jobs. In 2008, six percent of the respondents bought kits from Airtex or reported some other DIY interior. This time, 10 percent had bought Airtex interiors, and that number climbs to 16 percent if you lump together those using Airtex kits with several folks who removed parts, brought them to a local auto upholstery shop and then reinstalled them.
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