Polk: Vehicle Longevity Lengthens, Consumers View Repairs Better Than New Purchase

Polk: Vehicle Longevity Lengthens, Consumers View Repairs Better Than New Purchase

March 03, 2009


SOUTHFIELD, Mich. — Consumers are holding onto their vehicles for longer periods of time these  days, and in light of economic struggles, they may be willing to pay more for repairs so that they don’t have to buy new models, according to recent data from R.L. Polk and Co. 

Essentially, Polk believes that consumers are starting to feel that investing in repair expenses to retain their ride longer may be more affordable than a long-term monthly payment for a new-vehicle purchase. 

“The current economic environment, coupled with high gas prices last spring and summer, have resulted in consumers delaying purchases of vehicles because their discretionary income has fallen,” explained Dave Goebel, solutions consultant for Polk’s aftermarket team.

“Based on the uncertainty of what the future holds, consumers are trying to keep their current vehicles running longer, until their confidence improves,” he added. 

Specifically, the median age of passenger cars in 2008 jumped to 9.4 years, up from 9.2 years in 2007. 

Trucks, meanwhile, climbed from 7.3 years to 7.6 years in longevity. In particular, light trucks were up to 7.5 years, compared with 7.1 years in 2007. 

Moreover, the scrappage rate for all cars and trucks in 2008 was 5.6 percent, versus 5.2 percent the previous year. 

Cars were at a 5.1 percent rate, down from 5.5 percent in 2007. For all trucks, the scrappage rate was 6.3 percent, compared with 4.8 percent a year ago. Light truck scrappage was 6.4 percent, up from 4.9 percent.

“As the fleet of pick-up trucks, SUVs and minivans purchased in the late 1980s and through the 1990s ages, their scrappage rates accelerate,” Goebel added.

For more information, visit www.polk.com.


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