Click on a thumbnail to see the full-size image
2009 Machine Shop Market Profile
As the debate over bailouts, bankruptcies and generally bad policy concerning the automotive aftermarket continues in Washington, engine builders may well shrug their shoulders and say “welcome to our world.”
By Doug Kaufman
Now that new car dealers and manufacturers are taking it on the chin
because many consumers have apparently decided that “making do is
better than buying new,” there is increased optimism in many segments
of the service sector. For engine builders who have been operating in
a challenging environment for several years now the opportunities to
be both economically and ecologically friendly have never been better,
and some positive signs are emerging.
For more than 20 years, Engine Builder magazine has surveyed the
same machine shop/custom engine rebuilder (CER) population to get a
picture of the scope of this industry. Admittedly, each year we’ve had
to use a slightly smaller lens but the results have continued to be
Because of the decades of data we’ve collected, we believe the
information in this study is the most reliable data available for
tracking trends in the production of engines, cylinder heads and
crankshafts, as well as specific business data.
The data generated for this year’s Machine Shop Market Profile was
collected through survey questionnaires sent to the machine shop/custom
engine rebuilding membership of the AERA. Four different
questionnaires, consisting of four pages each, were developed to obtain
the information contained in our profile.
Each questionnaire was mailed to one-quarter of AERA’s rebuilding
membership, selected on a random-start Nth-name basis. A total of 1,830
appropriate usable outgoing questionnaires were sent out in early
A total of 203 completed questionnaires were returned, resulting in a
return rate of 11%. Analysis of the data was completed by Babcox Market
The survey information reflects data for production year 2008. Part
I of this two-part profile includes data on monthly production of
engine blocks and cylinder heads, broken out by engine size as well as
by gas and diesel configurations, crankshafts, core sourcing, shop
equipment ownership and purchasing, and total production time spent in
specific engine building areas.
As engine technology has improved over the years, this industry has
suffered, and there is no way to recapture the glory of the past
decades in terms of numbers. But opportunities still exist for at least
three reasons: people need their vehicles to run properly, there is
currently no viable alternative to the internal combustion engine and
the competitive fire still burns inside many people, meaning being
bigger, faster and louder than the next guy still matters.
This isn’t meant to imply that the statistics surrounding this
market are markedly better in fact, in many instances declines are
significant. But since we’re looking at data that reflect last year’s
position, there is every reason to believe that changes in the economy
now are already starting to have a positive impact.
To download Part One, click here for the PDF.
To download Part Two, click here for the PDF.