LAS VEGAS – Nearly a quarter of a billion cars are in operation in the U.S., with large pickups in general and theF-150 in particular giving true meaning to the old catchphrase, “Keep on trucking.”
The F-150 is the highest-volume model still on the road. By model, cars occupy second through fifth place: theAccord, Camry and Honda Civic in that order, says data-cruncher Experian, reporting that 243.5 million light vehicles are in operation.
By segment, fullsize pickups top the list of vehicles still in operation, followed by standard midsize cars, then small economy cars, although “trends recently have been turning away from them,” says James Maguire, senior director-product marketing for Experian’s automotive unit.
More trucks (50.5%) than cars (49.5%) remain in operation, he says at a recent National Remarketing Conference here. The average vehicle age is a record 10.6 years, and one in five is age 15 and older.
Those statistics bolster predictions that pent-up demand will help drive this year’s expected increase in vehicle sales.
How many vehicles on the road are hybrids? Just 0.82%. up from 0.72% a year earlier, despite a lot of publicity and several new offerings.
With more than 18 million vehicles in operation, “orphan brands represent a big factor in the remarketing space,” Maguire says.
More than 6 million Pontiacs are still on the road, along with almost 4 million Mercurys and nearly 3 million Saturns. Oldsmobiles last were sold in 2004, but 2.7 million still are in operation.
An estimated 86.4% of vehicles in operation no longer are covered by a manufacturer-backed warranty.
International-brand models now account for almost 40% of the vehicles in operation, and 535 of current registrations.
Average mileage varies by vehicle type. A 4-year-oldTaurus averages about 60,000 miles (96,000 km), 13,000 (20,800 km) more more than a Accord of the same age, according to Experian.
Dodge’s Ram 3500 runs up the most miles quickly, while the Chevrolet Corvette and Porsche 911 are among the slowest at accumulating mileage.
Length of ownership has changed considerably in recent years.
In 2004, owners kept their new cars an average of 46 months. Five years later, the average approached 70, though it eased back to near 68 in 2011. When bought used, the average owner kept a car for 36.7 months in 2004, increasing to 50.7 by 2009. Today, that figure has dipped to below 47.
Which auto makers inspire the greatest corporate loyalty?tops the list, at 49.6%, with GM second at 48.1%.
Among individual brands, Kia andlead the list when it comes to new cars, but not for used cars.
“New-car loyalty is always stronger than used-car loyalty,” Maguire says.
Also, owners of used Kias and Hyundais have older models, which are deemed less desirable than recent ones that have improved greatly in quality.
Experian data indicates consumers who bought a certified pre-owned vehicle (CPO) through auto makers’ programs tend to eventually purchase a new one of the same make.
“They’re much more likely to buy if the first one was a CPO,” Maguire said. “CPO really does have a positive impact.”