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Tuesday, 15 June 2021 16:02

Average Age of U.S. Cars Reaches All-Time Record of 12.1 Years

Written by Matthew Crisara, Motor1.com
The Honda HR-V tops the list of the most popular used cars during the COVID-19 recovery phase with sales jumping 53.1% from May 2019 to May of this year. Sales from April 2020 to May 2020 also saw a significant increase of 88.8%---the biggest jump of any car in the top 10. The Honda HR-V tops the list of the most popular used cars during the COVID-19 recovery phase with sales jumping 53.1% from May 2019 to May of this year. Sales from April 2020 to May 2020 also saw a significant increase of 88.8%---the biggest jump of any car in the top 10.

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Among many profound lifestyle changes we all endured in 2020, Americans drove quite a lot less and scrapped their old cars more---about 5% of the total U.S. fleet went to the junkyard in 2020.

That move had an unusual effect, though. Here in the States, our transition into pandemic life led to an increase in the average age of our vehicles to a record-setting high of 12.1 years.

 

You’d be led to believe scrapping so many vehicles would lower the average vehicle age. To offer some perspective, 15 million vehicles were scrapped in 2020, while vehicle miles traveled declined by 13%. Sure, discarding such a staggering amount of vehicles would normally lower the average age, but the combination of distance traveled and the chip shortage led to the contrary.

 

Keen readers will know these manufacturing difficulties led to new vehicles skyrocketing in price---if you could even get your hands on one. This meant more people than ever opted to purchase a used car. Even with buyers pivoting towards the used market, pre-owned vehicles weren't immune from similar price hikes.

 

Unfortunately, many automakers are currently struggling with more than just chip shortages. GM recently suspended orders for its 2021 C8 Chevrolet Corvette amidst another parts shortage. Details remain sparse, but we know Chevrolet won’t reach its original production goal for 2021---the aim is to ensure 2022 models will roll out on schedule.

 

Thankfully, vehicle age is forecasted to go back to normal later this year after owners trade in their current set of wheels for a newer model. Until then, the market will remain the oldest it's ever been.

 

We thank Motor1.com for reprint permission.