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Cars Getting Long In The Tooth: Average Age Is 11 Years


1936 Used Car Lot Quincy MA

1936 Used Car Lot Quincy MA

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If it seems like there are a lot of old Fords, Chevys, Hondas and Toyotas on the roads today, the fact is that there are. The average age of American vehicles is now 11 years old, according to new research from R. L. Polk.

Polk also says that this figure, which is actually 10.8 years, is an all-time record for vehicle age.

2000 Chevrolet Impala

2000 Chevrolet Impala

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How it breaks out

Passenger cars – showed a slight increase in age since 2010, from 11 years to 11.1 years (at the end of June 2011). So, that would mean 2000 model year cars like the 2000 Chevy Impala or Ford Taurus or Toyota Camry and the like.

2001 Ford Explorer

2001 Ford Explorer

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Light trucks, including pickup trucks and SUVs – showed more of a gain during the same timeframe, from 10.1 to 10.4 years. Maybe that's why there are a growing number of 2001 Ford Explorers, Chevy Tahoes and GMC Suburbans still on the road.

Overall, the average age of the American vehicle has been moving steadily upward since 1995 when it was 8.4 years, but it’s been “quickly” increasing over the past five years.

What’s the reason for the aging of the American vehicle population? Polk’s data points to weak sales in 2008 and 2009. While sales have improved since that two-year dip, especially the strong rebound in sales last year, it hasn’t been in sufficient numbers to correct the situation.

What the future holds

While predicting the future is always an iffy proposition, two things seem reasonably possible, given the Polk findings.

One, there’s good business potential for dealer service facilities and independent repair shops, as well as aftermarket parts suppliers, as consumers seek to extend the life of their vehicle with needed repairs.

Two, the popularity of crossovers and SUVs shows no signs of abating, and may well help end, or at least slow down, the aging rate of American vehicles seen in the market over the past three years.

2013 Ford Fusion

2013 Ford Fusion

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For consumers in the market to replace the old family sedan with a more fuel-efficient model, or need the passenger and cargo space and utility of a crossover, there are many new or redesigned models to check out. These include the all-new 2013 Ford Fusion and Ford Escape, the all-new 2012 Prius C, the redesigned 2012 Toyota Camry and 2012 Honda Pilot, the all-new 2013 Mazda CX-5, and more.

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Comment (1)
  1. The average age of my cars is 14.4 years. My first car, a Ford 1929 Model A was 25 years old when I bought it. It still ran and drove, albeit shakily...however cars nowadays are good for 20 to 30 years with some judicious upkeep. People tend to sell cars that have a lot of life left, just selling for appearances and vanity. A new engine or transmission and some major maintenance can extend the life of a car by 10 years.
     
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