Domestic Cars Aren’t Getting Any Younger

We’ve previously talked about recent research from Lang Marketing that illustrates how drivers all across the United States have been keeping their vehicles for significantly longer periods than they did a decade ago. Likely, this is due in large part to longer financing periods being more prevalent now than they were in 2010. We also demonstrated that dealerships’ understanding of that fact presents challenges for independent auto repair shops in competition with dealerships’ service centers, but that the situation also presents opportunities for those independent shops and their customers to benefit!

We’ve received some further information from Lang that highlights another critical reason that the future for auto repair shops may very well be bright. According to additional research by Lang Marketing, there’s more to consider than just the growing ownership periods of new cars; the average domestically-produced car in the U.S. has increased by 2.1 years over the past decade, going from 12.7 years old in 2010, up to 14.8 at the start of 2020.

There may be a few possible explanations for that significant surge, the most significant of which seem to be an overall decrease in new car sales, alongside the increased share of foreign import and transplant (foreign makes/models assembled in American plants) sales in the total number of new car sales. As buyers demonstrate less of a preference for domestic nameplate cars, the average age of domestic cars on the road is naturally bound to increase.

Additionally, as previously mentioned, this could also be a symptom of increased terms of car ownership over the same decade, up to eight years, rather than five. Perhaps cars’ longer period of time with their original owners serves as a fairly predictable boost to the overall lifespan of the car?

Could it also be the case that domestic cars are becoming more reliable and durable, with the capacity to be driven further into their old age than they were a decade ago? If so, is that due in part to car owners growing more proactive in their car care habits?

Lang predicts the trend will continue; they estimate the average domestic car age to reach 15.5 years by 2023, which is good news for repair shops! Older cars on the road mean a greater requirement for maintenance and repair, and they tend to belong to owners who choose to forgo the prestige of dealerships’ service centers, which leaves non-dealership auto repair shops in a favorable position for a growth of new business.

While domestic cars are estimated by Lang’s report to still be approximately 25% older than imported cars, the increased share of new import purchases signals a potential benefit in the long run for foreign specialty shops. If imported cars continue to grab a growing share of total new car sales nationwide in the U.S., then it’s possible that down the road, owners of imported cars will begin to migrate out of dealerships’ service bays, and into those of repair shops specializing in handling various foreign makes. This may already be happening; Lang’s research suggests that with foreign nameplates making up 70% of new car sales over the last decade. With cars 6 years and younger being those that rack up the most miles per year, the need arises for a business solution that can make sure foreign specialty shops can attract new clientele and deal with that increased bay traffic swiftly.

It doesn’t matter if your shop and your technicians are more familiar with vehicles coming from a short way away in Detroit, or from as far as Sendai or Munich. With our CarCure and ShopCure platforms, we’ve developed a system that vouches for your shop’s experience and proficiencies. Rather than simply put your shop on a list as one of many options for the customer to choose from, we make a one-to-one match between shop and customer. CarCure offers the customer unique repair insights into the customer’s specific year/make/model, which allows for more decisive, committed action earlier in the process for both the customer and your shop. By providing technical and diagnostic input to the customer early in the repair booking process, we can reduce the diagnostic bottleneck on your shop’s productivity, helping you get to the repair itself, allowing for more hours of your shop’s workday to be focused on significant repairs, to be performed at a more efficient pace than ever.


Works Cited

Lang Marketing
The Lang Aftermarket iReport
July 15, 2020. Email.

Lang Marketing
The Lang Aftermarket iReport
July 8, 2020. Email.

Lang Marketing
The Lang Aftermarket iReport
June 3, 2020. Email.

National Public Radio
All Things Considered: “The 7-Year Car Loan: Watch Your Wallet”
October 31, 2019. Web.

Autonet Mobile
Getting Older
June 16, 2020. Web.

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