Changing Vehicle Average Age

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"As light vehicle average age skyrocketed in the U.S. between 2006 and 2016, there were significant differences in the rate of age growth between cars versus light trucks and foreign compared to domestic nameplate vehicles." 

"As a result, the age profiles of various groups of vehicles at the beginning of 2016 were different from ten years earlier, with important consequences for aftermarket product volume and growth."

Jim Lang

Smaller Age Gap

The age gap between cars and light trucks narrowed between 2006 and 2016.

There was a 0.5 year age difference between cars and light trucks at the beginning of 2006. This average age gap was reduced to 0.1 years at the beginning of 2016, one-fifth of its size ten years earlier.

 

Age Gap between Cars and Light Trucks

Car average age increased from 10.3 years at the beginning of 2006 to 11.3 years by January 2012.

The age of passenger cars continued to climb, reaching 12.0 years at the beginning of 2016, a record-high level.

 

Domestic Nameplates Soar in Average Age

Domestic nameplate cars and light trucks have significantly higher average ages than their foreign nameplate counterparts.

Domestic nameplate car average age soared 2.2 years between 2006 and 2016, while foreign nameplate cars recorded a smaller average gain of 1.7 years during this same period.

Age change differences were also pronounced among light trucks. Domestic nameplate light truck average age increased 2.1 years between 2006 and 2016, significantly higher than the 1.9 year increase in foreign nameplate light truck average age over these ten years.

 

Aftermarket Impact

The lower average age of light trucks compared to passenger cars is important to aftermarket growth since light trucks average nearly 50% more product volume per vehicle than cars on an annual basis.

 

Six Major Takeaways

  • Light trucks generated the majority of the 2.0 year increase in light vehicle average age in the U.S. from 2006 to 2016.
  • The age difference between cars and light trucks narrowed over the past ten year, from a 0.5 year difference to only a 0.1 year age gap.
  • Passenger car average age reached a record-high 12.0 years at the beginning of 2016, but cars recorded slower age growth than light trucks over the past ten years.
  • Domestic nameplate cars and light trucks have significantly higher average ages than foreign nameplate cars and light trucks.
  • Domestic nameplate light trucks were responsible for nearly 60% of the age-gap increase between domestic and foreign nameplate vehicles.
  • The lower average age of light trucks (compared to cars) means they will comprise a lower share of vehicle scrappage over the next few years, increasing their share of VIO and generally boosting overall light vehicle aftermarket product volume at user-price.

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