AutoMD study says owners plan to drive cars for 10+ yearsEnlarge Photo
Not so long ago, it was fairly common to purchase a new vehicle every three or four years. Whether that purchase was spurred by fears of an aging vehicle's reliability or a desire for a sparkly new status symbol in the driveway, folks began getting antsy once their odometers crossed the 50,000-mile mark.
These days, things have changed dramatically -- at least according to a new study from AutoMD.com. In fact, the vast majority of car owners now say that they plan to keep their vehicle for ten years or longer.
The study was carried out between March and May of this year. During that time, AutoMD conducted online surveys with nearly 4,000 car owners in the U.S.
And when all the data had been crunched, the study organizers were left with some very interesting findings -- findings in keeping with trends that have emerged in the auto industry during the past several years.
Here are the major points:
Caveats and takeaways
We'd be remiss if we didn't point out that AutoMD is in the business of providing information about automotive repair. While we have no reason to doubt the accuracy of the company's findings on this survey, it's in AutoMD's best interest to stress the importance of regular maintenance and repairs, and this study does just that.
However, AutoMD's findings aren't at all shocking. In fact, earlier this year, Polk revealed that the average age of cars on U.S. roads had hit an all-time high of 10.8 years, which aligns perfectly with AutoMD's data.
Given the average age of vehicles involved in the study, AutoMD's stats on repair preferences are also to be expected. As we learned back in March, owners are much more likely to take their vehicle to a dealer when it's still under warranty. Afterward, independents and chains are the norm. (We were a little surprised to see chain shops perform so poorly here, but that could stem from the way that the question was phrased or other factors.)
Perhaps the biggest takeaway here is the one we mentioned at the top of this article: the auto purchasing cycle is lengthening -- and dramatically so. While that may have started in response to the Great Recession, it's been facilitated by today's vehicles, which score better on metrics of initial quality and reliability than many previous models.
Over time, we may see the purchase cycle wind down again, though we'd be surprised if it ever reached the four-year span that many of us remember from our youth.
What about you? Do these findings match your own feelings about your car and your approach to auto care? Drop us a line, or leave a note in the comments below.