The older a car gets, the less likely it will be repaired following a collision, so an aging car fleet is not good news for collision repairers that rely on a steady influx of new, repairable cars.
According to Experian Automotive's Vehicles in Operation (VIO) market analysis for Q1 2012, the age of the more than 245 million vehicles on U.S. roads increased 1.9 percent since Q1 2011 to an average age of 11 years. The analysis found that there were 17.3 million more light-duty vehicles seven years and older on the road in the United States than there were three years ago.
According to the report, 21.5 percent of all light-duty vehicles in the United States are over 15 years old.
Findings from the Canadian Q1 2012 VIO analysis shows that the average age of all light-duty vehicles was 9.6 years, and just 14.7 percent of the 22 million vehicles on the road are over 15 years old.
And a new study by AlixPartners, a global business-advisory firm, suggests that this aging trend may not get much help from new car sales anytime soon. The 2012 AlixPartners Automotive Outlook predicts that there are 5 million fewer potential car-buyers today than five years ago, that U.S. auto sales will be a conservative 14.3 million units this year and that sales in the U.S. and Canada are not likely to exceed 16 million through at least 2015.
AlixPartners suggests that changing demographics may be responsible for up to 15 percent of the lower underlying demand in North America, with about 13 percent of that attributable to less vehicle use (mostly on the part of aging Baby Boomers who simply have less reason to drive) and about 2 percent attributable to a lower tendency to drive on the part of Millennials and other young people that the firm dubs Generation 'N' (as in neutral about driving).
"The American auto industry is about to see the rise of Generation N,"said Mark Wakefield, a director in AlixPartners' Automotive Practice. "This cohort, which is as big as the Baby Boomer cohort and which grew up on the Internet and not so much on cars, could well present the industry with an even greater challenge in the area of reduced fundamental demand."
Another trend predicted by the firm: the shift to smaller vehicles will continue through 2016. Compact cars and small crossovers will be the fastest-growing product segments through 2016, while pickup sales will rise modestly.
Other findings from the Experian analysis showed that light trucks continue to grow and maintain a higher percentage of the total VIO in the U.S. than passenger cars. Light trucks made up 50.8 percent of the total U.S. VIO in Q1 2012, compared with 49.2 percent of passenger cars. Full-sized pickups make up the greatest percentage of VIO, at 14.6 percent overall, with General Motors, Ford, Chrysler and Toyota making up the greatest majority (98.7 percent) of those vehicles.
In Canada, passenger cars made up the greatest majority of VIO at 53.2 percent, and light trucks only encompassed 46.8 percent.
Additional data from the report showed Ford as the most prevalent make on the road in Q1, followed by Chevrolet, Toyota and Honda for both Canada and the United States. At the model level, the U.S. analysis showed that the Ford F-150 had the largest volume on the road, followed by the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry and Chevrolet Silverado.
The largest volume models were Honda Civic, Ford F-150, Toyota Corolla and Dodge Grand Caravan.
Wed, June 27th