Here’s further proof of the toll the rotten economy is having on consumer spending habits.
In 2011, the average age of a vehicle in the U.S. hit 10.8 years _ a record.
That’s up from 10.6 years for the average car or truck in 2010, and more than two years older than the average U.S. vehicle age back in 1995 when it was 8.4 years.
All is not gloom, however, according to a report from the Associated Press in Huffington Post.
An executive with the automotive research firm Polk said an expected uptick in vehicle sales this year, following last year’s rebound, should at lease slow the increase in the average age of cars and trucks in America.
But, he said, it will take several years of a strong economy to boost sales enough to reverse the trend and cause the average age to decline.
Auto sales reached 12.8 million units last year, hardly the glory days of 2005 when they hit 17 million, and still shy of the 16 million mark that’s considered the industry norm. Still, that was better than the 11.6 million vehicles sold in 2010 and much better than the 10.4 million sold in 2009 _ a 30-year low.
Sales of about 13.7 million vehicles are expected this year.
That increase is a relatively slight one and wouldn’t have much effect on the average age because there are so many vehicles on the road, about 240 million.