Americans are holding onto cars longer, pushing the average age of a vehicle on the country’s road to a record 11 years.
The average age of a car last July was 11.1 years, while the truck average was 10.4, according to automotive research firm Polk.
Unemployment and the economic factors have caused people to put off buying new cars and trucks.
Polk says the average vehicle age has been rising since 2008, but a sales rebound last year is likely to slow the aging rate.
Car companies sold 12.8 million vehicles in the U.S. last year, up from 11.6 million in 2010.
In 2010 the average vehicle on U.S. roads was 10.6 years old, up from 10 years in 2008.
Polk gets its numbers from national car registration data.
Industry expert Jim Henry, said in an article for Forbes Magazine: ‘In a way, the auto industry is a victim of its own success: cars just don’t break down as often or wear out as fast as they used to. People have discovered they really don’t need a new car every three or four years.’
The average trade-in at new-car dealerships is now 6.5 years old, one year older than the average in 2007, according to the Power Information Network, a unit of J.D. Power and Associates.
‘The fact that cars are lasting longer didn’t really sink in at first, because new cars were so cheap, and credit was so easy. American consumers replaced cars far more often than necessary.
‘After all, Baby Boomers and older generations are conditioned to think that cars start to fall apart after four or five years.’ Henry writes.
Polk said there are now 240.5 million cars and trucks on the road in the United States, down from 242.1 million in 2008.