Record average age for vehicles means more pent-up demand

Record average age for vehicles means more pent-up demand

The combined average age of light vehicles on the road in the U.S. has reached a record 11.5 years, according to IHS Automotive. That has two implications for dealers.

First, thereês clearly still pent-up demand for new vehicles. Every month analysts attribute the high auto sales partly to pent-up demand, and the IHS figures show that hasnêt been exhausted.

Second, if the average car is 11.5 years old meaning many are older than that those cars have many service and maintenance needs. IHS says consumers are holding on to their vehicles longer than ever. Thereês no reason why franchised dealerships canêt be the ones to keep those vehicles running well.

Vehicle age has gradually risen over the years because of the increasing quality of autos, says IHS. During the five to six years after the recession, average age increased at about five times its traditional rate as new-car sales plunged. Now that sales are recovering, average vehicle age is starting to plateau.

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