According to a study in the US by leading automotive market intelligence firm Polk, the average age of cars and trucks in operation in the US today is currently some 10.8 years.
Vehicle age has been increasing quite rapidly over the last few years as tough economic times have forced many potential vehicle buyers to hold off on new purchases. Trucks and SUVs in particular, have experienced a faster age rate than passenger cars.
According to Polk statistics, cars showed a bump from 11 to 11.1 years in the period from 2010 to June 2011, while trucks showed an increase from 10.1 to 10.4 years on average.
While the growth in vehicle age might not be seen as necessarily good for auto manufacturers and new car showrooms, on the flipside, it represents more opportunities for aftermarket parts companies, independent garages and dealer service departments, since the longer vehicles are on the road, the more they require servicing and repairs.
“The increasing age of the vehicle fleet, together with the increasing length of ownership, offers significant business growth opportunity for the automotive aftermarket,” declared Mark Seng, global aftermarket practice leader at Polk.
That said, with an improvement in new vehicle sales during 2011, in the coming years, the age rate of vehicles on US roads will likely slow, especially given the current popularity of vehicles such as compacts and mid-size crossovers.