The Average Age of Cars on the Road Gets Older

The cars people drive keeps getting older with the average age of vehicles on the road hitting 12.1 years this year.

That represents a great opportunity for repair shops and auto parts sellers, according to market research firm IHS Markit.  The firm attributed the increase in the average age of light vehicles in operation to the lack of vehicle use and new car purchases to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

People held onto auto because they weren’t driving as much. And consumers purchased fewer vehicles because of pandemic-related lockdowns.

The age gain represents a jump of two months from the prior year. But the research firm expects the average age of vehicles to decline in the near future.

“The pandemic-induced rate of increase in average age is expected to be short-lived as 2021 will see a return of new vehicle registrations and increased activity in used registrations as we adapt to post-pandemic norms,” IHS said.

The U.S. car park, or the number of vehicles in operation, stood at 279 vehicles in January, IHS said. That’s down from 281 million in the prior year.

However, “the industry is entering a period of strong growth in the aftermarket sweet spot – those vehicles 6-11 years of age – as record sales years begin moving into that age group over the next 5 years,” IHS said.

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