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The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same
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Driving With A Black Sheep
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Study Shows the Median Age of Cars is Up


William Maley
Editor/Reporter - CheersandGears.com
January 18, 2012

According to a report from research firm R.L. Polk & Co, the average of age of a vehicle on the road stands at 10.8 years last July. The report says the average age of passenger vehicles stands at 11.1 years, while for light trucks, it’s 10.4 years.

Polk says the median age of cars has been on the rise for the past 16 years because people are keeping their cars longer due to various reasons. Most recently, the economic downturn has caused many Americans to keep their vehicles even longer, waiting for a better occasion to buy a new car.

Polk says for this year, the average age will still be around the 10 year due to higher unemployment rates. But, Polk also expects the age to level off with sales increases for new cars.

Source: R.L. Polk
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23 Comments

what is this
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I heard this on the radio. I was searching for whatever angle may (or may not) have been there, IE; does anyone feel 10.8 yrs old on average is a bad thing? I don't, yet reporting this has to have some significance for those that do...
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It is news because that is extraordinarily high for the US.
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Yeah- 8.4 in '95, 10.8 now. It's up. Beyond the statistical.... what's the significance?
IOW, what are the (many) causes, and why?
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I still look at a well maintained, reasonable mileage 2002 vehicle as a pretty good vehicle, and would have no issue driving one.
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While I'm a car guy, I have no problem holding on to my soon to be 8 and 9 year old cars....
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Would love to buy a new car (in addition to what I own now) but that's not in the cars for some time. With that said I love my 11 year old car and still get compliments on its condition, I'm not in a huge hurry.
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I have 4 cars and a truck, Olds 98 36 years old, Cadillac de Ville 23 years old, Cadillac Concours 18, years old, Cadillac DTS 2 years old, Ford pickup 30 years old.
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Doing my best to keep it high with my 30 year old car.
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Maybe the reason the median age of cars is so high is that the price of new cars is so high. $30K median price for a new 2012 car? Seriously? Maybe if they were priced at $20K, sales would actually go up and pull that median age down.

I only own a 99 Park Avenue Ultra because I cannot afford something newer (newer LaCrosse? or SRX? or CTS?......). I suspect a LOT of people would agree that a new car, even with a lease, is currently unaffordable given their budgets.
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^ THIS!
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I have to pretty much drive a 10+ year old car. Not much else is comfortable/functional for me.
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Not that I couldn't live with an 18k Cruze....
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I own 2 cars, one being 33 years old and the other 17. I would love to own a brand new car just as much as anyone. I've never personally had the feeling on sitting down in a new car that belonged to me and being the first one to drive it off the lot. As it stands right now, that's not something I can foresee happening anytime soon either. Cars are way too expensive now, and while I am a car guy and have been my entire life, justifying paying nearly 40 grand is something I know I can't do without seriously affecting my life. The reason I say 40 grand is because if I were to buy a new car, it would have to be pretty well optioned and most likely a Challenger R/T, I'm not certain on pricing with the way I would equip it, but I'm sure it's near 40k.
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As much as I enjoy driving the new cars from the manufacturers all the time, driving the Toronado gives me much more enjoyment. Out of all of the test vehicles I've driven, only 4 come to mind as something I would consider for a daily driver. CTS-V coupe, Chevy Volt, the New New VW Beetle Turbo, and the Buick Lacrosse eAssist. However, the cost of those vehicles is rather preventative. The least expensive of the lot, the New New Beetle, was still over $30k.
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Fiesta $17,400
Cruze $19,200
Patriot $25,400
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My 11 (soon to be 12) year old truck just hit 90K miles...driven daily.
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My 12 yr old Jeep ('00 model year, built Nov 99) has 135k, still driven daily...my sister's two Mercs are 20 and 27 years old w/ indeterminate mileage driven often (over 130k and 175k, odometers no worky). But both of us need new cars, sooner or later...
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94 GMC Suburban approaching 300K and people are shocked at how nice it looks. A vehicle can last forever if taken care of.

After all auto's are the worst investment, so they are going to have to really build the right ride for me to bite. :) Course I am considering a fairly new Trailblazer SS with only 36K miles. :) That would become my new ride and the Suburban would be used for pulling only the boats in the summer. :P
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94 GMC Suburban approaching 300K and people are shocked at how nice it looks. A vehicle can last forever if taken care of.

After all auto's are the worst investment, so they are going to have to really build the right ride for me to bite. :) Course I am considering a fairly new Trailblazer SS with only 36K miles. :) That would become my new ride and the Suburban would be used for pulling only the boats in the summer. :P

Thought you had an SRX and Escalade?
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2500HD turned 100K today. Just breaking in. :D
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The only thing running the streets now is Reliable ROPOS 1994 Chevy 1500 ext 332K mi
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In the last few years I've gone from 3 low-mile vehicles purchased new within the decade of 2000-2010, to a single, 17-year old vehicle purchased used that now clocks over 195K. Which sometimes gets parked while my 35-year old wagon takes up daily driver duties.

All of which was due to the complete collapse of demand for the sort of work I do.

You might say that I've done a measure of adjusting.
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