American drivers keep their vehicles longer than ever, Polk study revealed

Article by Christian A., on February 22, 2012

A new survey revealed that U.S. drivers are keeping their new automobiles to nearly six years, which is longer than ever. In the average, people are holding on to their new vehicles for 71.4 months, research firm Polk revealed citing data collected in September 2011. This is an increase of 4.7 months from March.

Both the rate of increase and the length of ownership set records for the study, which the research company first conducted in 2001. The data is a reflection of a growing reliability of new automobiles and the number of people hesitant from buying new vehicles due to the uncertainty of the economy in recent years.

The longer terms of ownership coupled with an automobile fleet already at a record-high age offer more business opportunities for automakers and their dealers, according to worldwide aftermarket practice leader Mark Seng at Polk. He explained that most of the older automobile repairs traditionally go to the independent aftermarket, but this is a chance for automakers to "get in on that as well."

Owners of used cars held on to their automobile for 49.9 months in average. This is also a record, and is an increase from the 47.5 months six months ago. The combined ownership length of automobiles in the U.S. is at a record 57 months as of September. This is an increase of 3.1 months since March, according to Polk.

The research company utilizes registration data for its study. General automobile ownership terms have leaped 23 percent since the financial crisis in the U.S. started in the third quarter of 2008, Polk revealed. In another study from Polk released in January, it has been found out that the average age of light vehicles in the U.S. had reached a record high of 10.8 years last year.

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