Americans Holding onto their cars longer now

Last updated on Feb 21, 2012

Posted on Feb 21, 2012

Impact of a bad economy and job market is seen everywhere. Americans are keeping their vehicles longer and postponing their buying.  Which means that new car sales will be impacted in the coming months.

Americans are holding onto their new vehicles for about six years — 27 percent longer than before the recession — due to the weak economy and better durability of cars and trucks, a study by market analyst Polk found. Although, worldwide, you would probably be able to find something similar happening. Deciding to get a new car is a big purchase for any household so it’s no surprise people are waiting until they need a new car, rather than just wanting one. For people who can’t afford to buy a new car outright when the time comes around, services like Auto Finance Online ( are available to help those who need a cash injection. Additionally, there’s a vast variety of cars now available so people looking to buy a car are spoilt for choice, making the decision process a little harder as there are so many options to consider. When buying brand new vehicles, drivers will be expecting their car to last them a considerable amount of time. For example, the HR-V SUV comes with five years warranty in New Zealand, which is probably similar for most cars. These sort of deals make people hold onto their cars longer because they know they’re covered for at least five years. Cars should be an investment, so people having their cars for a long time should be the norm.  

The findings of the study found the longest average ownership of new cars and trucks since Polk began its study in 2001 by analyzing U.S. vehicle registrations. The Polk study showed that the average length of ownership of new vehicles in the third quarter of 2011 was 71.4 months, up from 66.7 months in the first quarter. Before the downturn in auto sales that began in the third quarter of 2008, owners of new vehicles kept them for about 56 months.

If such actions are limited to the individual consumers that is still fine, but my worry is that this “postponing of important / critical expense” is going to impact critical infrastructure in US as well.  Specifically, in the current election year.  That, could be fatal at times – as we saw in case of levies in Louisiana during Katrina.

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