New Cars, Old Cars Increase in U.S.


Of almost 253 million passenger cars on the road in the United States, the average vehicle age is 11.4 years, an IHS Automotive study found. The survey also found that that scrap rates are down and new vehicle registrations are up, indicating that the largest growth volumes can be found in cars less than 6 and more than 12 years old.

Based on a snapshot of vehicles in operation on Jan. 1, IHS found that almost 252.7 million light vehicles were on the road in the U.S., an increase of over 3.7 million, or 1.5 percent, since July 2013. That’s the largest such increase since 2005, IHS noted.

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Rates for new vehicle registrations overtook the rates for vehicle scrappage for the first time in a decade, IHS found. The number of new registrations was 24 percent higher than the scrappage rate, which was 11.5 million vehicles during the 12-month analysis. This is a significant drop from the record-high of 14 million vehicles scrapped in 2012.

In our history of tracking, we have seen a gradual increase in the average age of vehicles on the road, said Mark Seng, IHS Automotives director of aftermarket solutions, in a press release last week. This year, were seeing somewhat of a plateau in themarket, and expect it to remainover the next few years, without a major change in either direction. We attribute this to a number of factors, including the economy and the increasing quality of todays automobiles.

The analysis found that light trucks reached the same average combined age as passenger cars – marking the first time the average age of the two vehicle types were equal since 1995, when the study was first conducted.

IHS has been seeing a rise in the average age of all passenger vehicles over the past five years, and first saw the average age of 11.4 in the prior years study. IHS forecasts that this average will continue through 2015, and then rise to 11.5 years by 2017 and to 11.7 years by 2019.

IHS Automotive forecasts that the volume of vehicles zero to five years old will increase by 32 percent over the next five years while vehicles in the 6 to 11 year old category will decline by 21 percent, IHS pointed out in the release. Because of improved quality and consumers holding their cars and light trucks longer, vehicles 12-plus years old continue to grow and will increase by 15 percent by 2019.

IHS, based in Englewood, Colo., conducts analysis for more than 165 countries. IHS acquired R. L. Polk & Co. in June 2013, which includes Southfield, Mich.-based Polk and Centreville, Va.-based Carfax. The report, which was done in partnership with Polk, can be purchased at

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