Keep On Truckin': Americans keeping cars (and trucks) longer

James Raia

Keep On Truckin': Americans keeping cars (and trucks) longer 1The median age of cars in the United States in 2007 was 9.2 years, equaling the record “old age” record for active cars, according to the consulting firm R.L. Polk & Co. Based on a survey of 240.9 million cars and light trucks, the report detailed Americans are keeping cars and trucks longer as quality improves and the uncertain economy makes new purchases less appealing.

In 2007, 41.3 percent of all cars were 11 years or older, compared with 40.9 percent the year before.

The median age for trucks and sport utility vehicles rose 4 percent to 7.1 years.

Dave Goebel, a consultant for Polk’s aftermarket team, said those numbers are starting to reflect a surge in truck and SUV purchases in the mid-to late 1990s.

Purchases of new cars fell 3 percent in the U.S. in 2007 as a combination of factors, including high gas prices and the housing crisis, weighed on consumers and led many to put off buying new cars.

The Service Contract Industry Council, a trade group for providers of extended warranties, said it also sees evidence that people are keeping their vehicles longer.

Despite the 3 percent drop in sales last year, there was a 3 percent to 7 percent increase in the number of auto service contracts sold as buyers sought more coverage than the traditional three-year manufacturers’ warranty.

Article Last Updated: February 28, 2008.

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