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Average Domestic Vehicle Age Reaches All-Time High

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March 9, 2017—Lang Marketing estimates that domestic nameplate cars climbed to a record-high average age of 14.2 years at the beginning of 2017.

Domestic nameplate cars in the U.S. have added 2.3 years to their average age between 2007 and 2017, pushing their average age more than two years above the average age of foreign nameplate cars.

Falling new domestic car sales have been a primary factor driving up their average age, the report stated. Domestic nameplate cars fell from 22 percent of light vehicle sales in the U.S. in 2002 to less than 12 percent last year. Owners of aging domestic cars are becoming increasing price sensitive to the cost of replacement parts and vehicle services, the report claimed. This is influencing the mix of aftermarket brands sold and where aftermarket service is performed.

Domestic cars accounted for 36 percent of light vehicles on U.S. roads in 2002—now it is less than 20 percent of current vehicles in operation.

As domestic nameplate cars grow older, manufacturers, distributors and retailers must continue to maintain inventories of replacement parts for this aging segment of the vehicle fleet, states the report. At the same time, owners of aging domestic nameplate cars are becoming more price sensitive to the cost of replacement parts and vehicle services, affecting the mix of product brands used in the repair and maintenance of domestic cars, as well as the types of automotive repair outlets where this work is performed.

 

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