SOUTHFIELD, Michigan — A new report by IHS Automotive found that Americans are hanging onto their cars longer than ever, as the average age of light vehicles on the road in the United States reached a new all-time high of 11.5 years at the end of 2014.
"As long as we have tracked average age, it has gradually risen over time due to the increasing quality of automobiles," said Mark Seng, global aftermarket practice leader at IHS Automotive in a statement.
He added: "For the five to six years following the recession, however, average age increased about five times its traditional rate, which we attribute to the nearly 40-percent drop in new vehicles sales in 2008-'09. We're now seeing average age begin to plateau and return to its traditional rate of increase as consumers have recovered from the Great Recession and have begun buying new vehicles again."
As of Q1 2015, the average length of ownership for a new vehicle is 77.8 months, an increase of nearly 26 months since Q1 2006," IHS said in a statement. "For used vehicles it is 63 months, an increase of just over 25 months since Q1 2006."
The average age is likely to hit 11.6 years in 2016 but not reach 11.7 until 2018, the report said.
The rate of growth is slowing as compared to 2008-'13 due to the recovery in new vehicle sales.
The report also said the total light vehicles in operation hit a record level of 257,900,000, an increase of 2.1 percent compared to 2013.
Edmunds says: Owners intent on keeping their car or light truck for many years may want to check out the Edmunds' Car Maintenance, Auto Repair and Mechanic Advice page.