Improved quality and durability are important factors.
Rising new vehicle and soaring used car prices are also responsible for this trend.
Overall vehicle quality has increased dramatically, in some cases, over the last few decades. Vehicles are being driven further today than they were only 20 years ago. This has brought the average age of a car in the US to 12.1 years.
In 2001, the average car or SUV on the road in the US was just shy of 10 years old. At the time, a vehicle could change hands once or twice and be good and done by 100,000 miles. Today, cars are kept “alive” 20% longer, on average, and driven about twice as much, and change hands far more often. Improved vehicle quality and ever-increasing pricing are important contributing factors.
These “better” cars mean they stick around longer. Todd Campau, associate director of aftermarket solutions at HIS, said: “That has extended the life cycle of the vehicle and created value for more buyers up and down the chain. For that second or third or fourth owner, there’s still meat on the bone.”
Mr. Campau adds, as reported by the Wall Street Journal, that Americans are not replacing older vehicles either. They are still very purchasing new ones and increasing the number of vehicles in their family fleets.
This trend does present an opportunity for OEMs, aftermarket accessory providers, and consumables (such as tires) as these vehicles will require maintenance and more other their long life.