IHS Markit recently published their analysis on how long Americans are holding onto their vehicles. The average according to the firm stands at 11.9 years, the highest amount since they have been tracking this. Also, about one in four vehicles is over sixteen years old. We should note that this data came before COVID-19 started to wreak havoc on the U.S. IHS notes that new cars only made up 6.1 percent of vehicles in operation in 2019, down 0.8 percent when compared to high of 2016. This highlights falling new car sales.
But the question lingering over automakers and analysts is will the pandemic cause sales to fall even further as more people hang on to their vehicles.
"People are going to keep their vehicles because they don't know if they're going to be driving to work in the future, they don't know if they're going to be driving to work anytime soon even. If you're not accumulating the miles, you might keep that vehicle on the road a little longer," said Todd Campau, associate director of aftermarket solutions at IHS Markit.
IHS estimates that new cars in operation could drop to 5% or less in the coming year or so. The firm also expects the age to climb upward in the coming years as owners consider whether or not to spend the hefty amount on a car, when their current vehicle is still quite good.