Vehicles on the road are getting older. As cars grow more durable and more expensive, drivers are holding onto their cars longer than ever before.
IHS Markit finds the average age of a car on U.S. roads rose to 12.1 years in 2021, up from 11.9 years in 2020. In comparison, the average age was 9.6 years in 2002. Further, 25% of the cars on the road in the U S are at least 16 years old.
When drivers hold onto their vehicles, they postpone trips to a dealership to buy new ones. This has industry analysts wondering if rising vehicle prices and ages spell signs of trouble for future new car sales. Though automakers fill vehicles with the latest and greatest tech, analysts fear it may not be enough to entice consumers to buy new cars.
Another impact that may slow the buying process is that more people work at home, and thus have less need for a second vehicle than in the past.
Today, some vehicles on the road have hit the 200,000-mile mark or more. Vastly different from a time when owners did not expect to get over 100,000 miles out of a vehicle.
Car shopping site iSeeCars publishes a list of the longest-lasting vehicles on the road. To make the list, at least 2.5% of the cars with a certain name plate must make it to the 200,000-mile mark. The list includes many vehicles from the same automakers, including SUVs and trucks from Toyota, Honda and General Motors. The Toyota Land Cruiser tops the list with over 16% of Land Cruisers on the road having at least 200,000 miles on the odometer. Another large Toyota SUV, the Sequoia, follows it.
Consumer Reports also publishes a list of 10 cars most likely to make the 200,000-mile mark. Toyotas and Hondas make up the entire list.
Still, analysts report there are owners out there don't want to own a vehicle for 10 years. They prefer having newer, low mileage vehicles. Automakers attract those buyers with new safety systems, better fuel economy. Infotainment features, cameras and sensors.
The rise of the electric vehicle technology is also changing the market. EV technology changes so rapidly that it may be obsolete in a very short time.
Where EVs once had a range of 150 miles, future products will have ranges over 400 miles. Those vehicles with lower ranges are still on the road, and it’s uncertain what their residual value may be. This may make consumers hesitant to buy EVs.
But as tax credits pop up for EVs, it may be enough to entice consumers to buy an EV, analysts say.