Just as the average population of the United States has continued to grow older, the same thing has been happening with the cars we drive. A few years of down new car sales has essentially been reversed, but yet the average age of vehicles on the road continues to increase.
Americans seem intent on keeping their cars running for as long as possible, which is a strategy we can’t argue with, even if we are intoxicated by a mere whiff of new car smell.
According to Polk, which provides market intelligence on the automotive sector, the average age of a passenger car in the United States has increased in age since 2010, from 11 years to 11.1 years old. Light trucks, which include both pickups and SUVs, showed a more sizable gain in age, increasing from 10.1 years to 10.4 years.
Based on Polk’s analysis of national vehicle registration data, the last five years have seen quick increases in average vehicle age. And the average vehicle on U.S. roads is 10.8 years old. But just because the average age of vehicles has increased, that doesn’t mean there isn’t significant economic impact absent new car sales.
Polk believes that as the average age of cars on the road increases, there are plenty of opportunities for those that provide parts and repairs that are needed to keep older vehicles running.
“The increasing age of the vehicle fleet, together with the increasing length of ownership, offers significant business growth opportunity for the automotive aftermarket,” said Mark Seng, global aftermarket practice leader at Polk. “Dealer service departments and independent repair facilities, as well as aftermarket parts suppliers, will see increased business opportunity with customers in need of vehicle service.”