Consumers continuing to hold onto vehicles longer

Polk midyear analysis shows increasing length of ownership of new vehicles


The average length of ownership of new vehicles continues to increase, according to a recent analysis from Polk, the premier provider of automotive information and marketing solutions.

Consumers are now holding onto a new vehicle, on average, for 63.9 months based on second quarter 2010 data, up 4.5 months from the same time last year, the analysis finds.

Length of ownership has risen each quarter since the end of 2008 and serves as an indicator of business opportunities available to the automotive aftermarket, based on the increasing numbers of older vehicles in operation that may need service or parts, and an increasing number of vehicles on the road falling out of warranty.

It also highlights opportunities for manufacturers to consider targeting those consumers that are hanging on to older vehicles as potential customers for new vehicle purchases.

According to Polk, the average length of new vehicle ownership increased an average of 3.7 percent annually prior to the economic and auto industry meltdown in late 2008. Since that time, average length of ownership of new vehicles has increased more than 14 percent, with no signs of slowing down.

“Ownership trends are something our customers watch very closely,” said Eric Papacek, Polk solutions consultant. “Armed with insightful data on these trends, aftermarket and retail customers are able to appropriately plan for levels of service work and parts that may be required based on the increased age of vehicles on the road.”

When considering registrations for used models, average length of ownership also is at a record high - 46.1 months - up from 43.8 months from the same period in 2009.

New and used vehicles combined have an average length of ownership of 52.2 months based on second quarter analysis, according to Polk.

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