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Old 24th June 2021, 15:30   #1
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USA: Average age of cars at an all-time high of 12.1 years

The average age of cars in the US is said to have increased to an all-time high of 12.1 years. According to a media report, this is the first time the average vehicle age has risen above 12 years.

USA: Average age of cars at an all-time high of 12.1 years-2021cadillacescalade103.jpg

As per the data released by IHS Markit, the average age of cars has been steadily growing over the past 15 years. However, this trend witnessed an accelerated growth amidst the coronavirus pandemic, partly said to be because of the drop in new car sales.

According to the data released, the main reason for the growing average is the increasing prices of new vehicles. Another reason is that vehicle's today are better built, compared to those 20 years ago. If a car lasted for 100,000 miles 20 years ago, today's vehicles, even with multiple owners, are capable of lasting double the distance, if not more.

However, the reports also mention that the increase in average vehicle age doesn't necessarily mean a lesser sales number of new models. The data shows that since cutting down during the financial crisis, customers are adding a second or third vehicle to their households. New car sales have been running at near-record numbers for years, apart from the few months that were affected by the pandemic last year.

Source: WSJ

Link to Team-BHP news

Last edited by RahulNagaraj : 24th June 2021 at 15:31.
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Old 24th June 2021, 16:03   #2
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Re: USA: Average age of cars at an all-time high of 12.1 years

Quote:
Originally Posted by RahulNagaraj View Post
As per the data released by IHS Markit, the average age of cars has been steadily growing over the past 15 years
I always thought that the US market was known to have owners that would keep cars for really long, but it is quite a revelation to see the average age going up.

Quote:
Another reason is that vehicle's today are better built, compared to those 20 years ago. If a car lasted for 100,000 miles 20 years ago, today's vehicles, even with multiple owners, are capable of lasting double the distance, if not more
I think more than vehicles today being technologically better, there is a huge market shift in favour of the more reliable Japanese cars eg. Toyota and Honda, and their luxe brands, that is responsible for this increase in the average age. Such cars, especially the ones built between late 90s and 2012 or so, go on and on even upwards of 4,00,000 miles without much fuss. Post Mar-2020, I've also seen a spurt in resale prices like when a known Mr.X sold his 2018 Kia Optima LX.

Last edited by vigsom : 24th June 2021 at 16:04.
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Old 24th June 2021, 16:13   #3
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Re: USA: Average age of cars at an all-time high of 12.1 years

Here, in India, we are blessed with highly intellectual Lawmakers who have put the age of a Car at 10 / 15 years to prevent Pollution.
Then there are other Legal experts to back the idea, for whom buying newer Cars is just Peanuts. If this should be the criteria, then why periodic Pollution Check Certificates ?
Does the Gearbox, Differential, Seats, Wheels etc. contribute to the Pollution ? Everything must go. The policy should have been Annual Physical Checks to renew the Registration. It is the mileage or the upkeep of the Engine, which is critical to check Pollution. Annual Inspection not only helps keep the Registration, but Insurance and other parameters too.

Retired people with no regular drive are in a dilemma as the Vehicle would age and die out before they may.
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Old 24th June 2021, 16:50   #4
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Re: USA: Average age of cars at an all-time high of 12.1 years

Even I felt that with higher ownership of Classic cars from the yesteryears, the average age of automobiles over there would be higher. Maybe this data is for cars sold after a certain time period. Anyways higher age could only translate to lower sales which could be due to one or many of the following:
  • Covid-19. No one might be in the mood to go and get a new automobile in these times of uncertainty. Besides, 2020 must have seen low running of existing vehicles. Must be stashing away all those dollars below the mattress at the moment.
  • Chip shortage. No point having money to spend when they don't have stock in the showrooms. This one has really hit hard on some manufacturers.
  • Electric future. All the biggies from Ford to GM are on the eve of going electric. Why not wait a big more and get the classics like the F 150 & Hummer in their electric avatars. Also once electric goes mainstream, expect average age to go only higher.
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Old 24th June 2021, 17:38   #5
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Re: USA: Average age of cars at an all-time high of 12.1 years

It is a long-term trend. Sadly, while the prices of cars (& everything else in general) are going up, wages have stagnated. Many families in the US can't afford new cars - and unlike India, almost everybody in the US needs a car.
The only saving grace is that cars are much better built these days.

Last edited by aah78 : 24th June 2021 at 18:36. Reason: Double spacing fixed,
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Old 24th June 2021, 18:44   #6
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Re: USA: Average age of cars at an all-time high of 12.1 years

For heaven's sake somebody show this to NGT. Their average age is 12, here they want to shred cars when they turn 10. I guess our tailpipes are the only ones polluting across the world.
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Old 25th June 2021, 09:24   #7
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Re: USA: Average age of cars at an all-time high of 12.1 years

As someone who keeps his cars for long, such news always brings a smile on my face . My primary car is 8 years old and I plan to keep it for at least 3 - 5 years more.

Reading some more on the topic brought some interesting data forward. Yes, a higher average age does mean a portion of 1st owners are retaining their cars for longer. But what I found really interesting is that, more cars are seeing 3rd, 4th & 5th owners due to longer life. 200000 miles is the new 100000 miles, just like 2-lakh km is the new 1-lakh km in India (related discussion (The 200,000 km hall of fame | Pics & experiences with your 2 lakh km car)).

Today's cars are built too well to dispose off in 4 - 5 years. Those habits were formed in the era of Padminis & Ambassadors which got terribly worn out in 5 years / 75000 km, or basic Maruti 800s & Altos which felt terribly outdated in 5 years. Today's cars are hardly outdated at the 5 year mark. Example: The 1st-gen Creta is still a great car and a match to the 2nd-gen, except in features. The EcoSport is a top class crossover, despite being on sale for 8 years. And an old sedan like the Rapid still has its fans on Team-BHP...it is the most fun-to-drive in its segment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TrackDay View Post
Even I felt that with higher ownership of Classic cars from the yesteryears, the average age of automobiles over there would be higher.
Classic cars overall form a small % of the total number of cars on the road. They aren't significant enough to skew the average age statistic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by batish View Post
For heaven's sake somebody show this to NGT. Their average age is 12, here they want to shred cars when they turn 10.
To NGT's credit:

1. Delhi is among the worst polluted cities in the world.

2. There is a big emissions level difference between a 10-year old Mahindra Bolero Diesel and a 10-year old Ford F150 (both workhorses in their respective countries).
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Old 25th June 2021, 09:59   #8
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Re: USA: Average age of cars at an all-time high of 12.1 years

Another reason could be that some of the features that kept on coming on newer models are now standard in almost all base models (bluetooth/reverse camera/multiple air bags/keyless entry etc). The reason to switch cars for these features made sense. What is getting offered now are the very nice to have and more of driving aids as opposed from usefulness perspective.

My accord lacks BT and reverse camera but that's about it and there isn't any other reason to trade it in.
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Old 25th June 2021, 10:39   #9
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Re: USA: Average age of cars at an all-time high of 12.1 years

This is also the reason why the used cars market in the US is quite in short supply right now and hence, the prices are becoming dear. People have better quality cars which are relatively more efficient, thanks to their driving conditions and the fuel economy, unlike the situation back here at home. Highly unlikely that one would want to just upgrade by selling a car that is perfectly well, up and running and has a long way to go.

Given the prices of new cars are skyrocketing due to many factors, people would just stick to their cars and defer the purchase as much as possible. Those willing to shell out for a new one would definitely look for a long-lasting and highly reliable car to get the best VFM.
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Old 25th June 2021, 10:43   #10
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Re: USA: Average age of cars at an all-time high of 12.1 years

There are many posts praising the improvements in Car manufacturing technology.
No doubts, technology has improved, but the build ? Cars of the bygone era were constructed of thick steel sheets that could bear minor hits, but the modern cars get dents on the roof - the Royal seat of street dogs. The body shudders when driven at speed - probably intentionally done to deter speeding.
There is plenty of Plastic.
I feel due credit must be given to the quality of Roads too
(At least partially, if some members disagree).
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Old 25th June 2021, 11:09   #11
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Re: USA: Average age of cars at an all-time high of 12.1 years

Corona has probably played some role here as well. It has in most western countries. Due to Corona people hold on longer to their existing vehicle as they clock less miles. Also nobody wants to invest in a new car in such uncertain times.

And people who did not own a car before, bought a second hand car too, as they wanted to ensure transportation in these COVID times.

Whereas the new car market has tanked the last 18 months, the second hand market has been booming. There are no cheap cars left, even cars in the 7-14000 euro range are getting snapped up in minutes after being advertised.

Jeroen
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Old 25th June 2021, 14:26   #12
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Re: USA: Average age of cars at an all-time high of 12.1 years

Quote:
Originally Posted by RahulNagaraj View Post
Look at those beauties. If I had one of those I would keep them for a decade too. The garbage we get in this country doesn't merit such loyalty.
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Old 25th June 2021, 21:40   #13
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Re: USA: Average age of cars at an all-time high of 12.1 years

Few factors for such high average car age:

1. Better road infrastructure which means less wear and stress in the cars
2. Poor public transport
3. New car prices are ridiculous. The recent Ford Maverick was a breath of fresh air
4. This may be a long shot can be its own topic of debate - crumbling American middle-class which cannot afford a $600 - 72 months payments
5. Cars are quickly becoming a utility item, just like a mixer, grinder or a beard trimmer. Unfortunate for a country with great car culture. All of a sudden, if you drive a V8, you should have eco-guilt
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Old 25th June 2021, 21:58   #14
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Re: USA: Average age of cars at an all-time high of 12.1 years

Quote:
Originally Posted by Amrik Singh View Post
There are many posts praising the improvements in Car manufacturing technology.
No doubts, technology has improved, but the build ? Cars of the bygone era were constructed of thick steel sheets that could bear minor hits, but the modern cars get dents on the roof - the Royal seat of street dogs. The body shudders when driven at speed - probably intentionally done to deter speeding.
There is plenty of Plastic.
I feel due credit must be given to the quality of Roads too
(At least partially, if some members disagree).
Better build is a perspective. In an accident who do you want to live? The car or the person. If car suffering less damage is important, yes, older cars were better. If the person surviving is a better metric, then modern cars are better. All about perspective
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Old 26th June 2021, 17:14   #15
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Re: USA: Average age of cars at an all-time high of 12.1 years

After reading this I feel even more betrayed that I’ve to scrap my 2013 Ford Figo diesel just in another 2 yrs because the govt thinks it’s too polluting.

Somebody show them this article and then let them compare themselves to USA.

Last edited by ampere : 26th June 2021 at 18:04. Reason: removed non-forum emojis
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