The average lifespan of cars in the United States continue to get longer and has now hit a record high in recent years. The boost in lifespan of cars offers service providers and part makers continuous work to keep vehicles on the road. According to IHS Markit, the average age of cars and light trucks on the road hit 11.6 years old. The firm deals in collection of vehicle-registration data. They estimate 264 million light vehicles are in operation in the United States. Both figures are up from 2015 and present records. Although it is a slight increase from 11.5 years average from last year's figure, it still represents the current trend.
Analysts suggest the rise in the average lifespan of cars on the road is a result of the financial crisis in 2008. However the rate of increase is slowly due to record high auto sales in recent years. More than 17.5 million vehicles were sold in 2015 and current sales this year are on pace to match that number. The financial crisis forced people to hold onto their older vehicles and repairing them instead of replacing them in order to save money. This lead to a 15 percent increase in average vehicle age in the years subsequently after the crisis. Mark Seng, IHS's director of aftermarket solutions predict average vehicle age will continue to get older as vehicle quality increases. If this is trend, the new-car market in the United States will have peaked as car owners search for alternatives to buying new cars. Fuel concerns and advancement in technology are all factors. He continues to predict that 20 million vehicles on the road in 2021 will be at least a quarter-century old with vehicles aged 16 years or older composing of a total of 30 percent or 81 million units. The main difference is instead of scrapping old cars, they are going to the used car market.
According to AutoZon Inc., with the aging population of vehicles on the road, the DIY (do it yourself) industry for car repairs has grown to a massive $54 billion industry. The demand for replacement parts will continuously rise as vehicles get older. Dealers can now rely on servicing older cars to earn additional income. Body shops and mechanical repair shops are seeing record profits. Seng, also stated that consumers are now interested in semi-automated driver assistance programs and connected features found in new vehicles.