Toyota, Honda, Subaru owners most likely to keep their cars for at least 15 years

January 9, 2019

Not every car buyer adheres to short-term leases to flip into something new every 36 months. A new study shows the brands and cars owners were most likely to keep for at least 15 years, and three Japanese brands came out on top.

Toyota, Honda, and Subaru made up the entire list of cars owners were most likely to keep for 15 years, according to a study from iSeeCars. The organization analyzed over 750,000 used car sales throughout 2018 to see how many vehicles were sold as "original owner" vehicles. The model years sampled are from 1981-2003, to meet the 15-year or more ownership criteria.

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On average, 7.5 percent of car owners keep their vehicles for at least 15 years, but Toyota Highlander owners are 2.5 times more likely to hang onto their vehicles than owners of other models. A whopping 18.5 percent of Highlander owners kept their crossover SUV for the extended period of time. Rounding out the top five are the Toyota Prius (16.2 percent of owners kept the car for 15 years or longer), Toyota Sienna (16.1 percent), Honda Pilot (15.3 percent), and Toyota Tundra (14.1 percent).

The only model to break out Toyota and Honda's hold on the top 15 chart is the Subaru Forester in tenth place with 12.1 percent of owners keeping the compact crossover for 15 years-plus. 

Japanese automakers also round out the top three brands that buyers own for 15 years or more. Toyota, Honda, and Subaru place first, second, and third. Hyundai falls in fourth place, while Nissan takes fifth place.

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It isn't until the study looked at only SUVs that domestic brands cracked into the lists. The GMC Yukon XL and Chevrolet Suburban were the 11th and 12th SUV models owners kept for 15 years-plus, which rounded out the end of the list. Domestic brands also round out the end of the list for pickup trucks, too. Owners of the Toyota Tundra, Tacoma, and Nissan Frontier are far more likely to own their trucks for 15 years or more at 14.1, 13.4, and 10.7 percent, respectively.

The closest model to the Japanese pickups is the Chevrolet Silverado 1500, which 8.7 percent of owners kept for 15 years or more. On average, 7.7 percent of pickup truck owners held onto their workhorses for 15 years-plus.

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