The fact that people are not changing vehicles as often due to the economic climate is not a surprise to anyone. But, a recent study shows that many vehicle owners are holding on to their cars until they die.
According to a survey conducted by AutoMD.com, the trend of changing or upgrading a vehicle every two or three years is a thing of the past. The online automotive repair source recently published results of a poll of nearly 4,000 respondents and a large percentage said they are keeping their cars 10 years or longer and that will likely be the case when or if the economy recovers fully.
“This significant lengthening of the ownership cycle looks like it’s here to stay,” said Brian Hafer, AutoMD.com’s vice-president of marketing. “And it’s being supported by better made vehicles on the road, more choices for – and information online about – repairing those vehicles, and a more scrupulous focus on service and maintenance.”
It used to be that people would change their personal vehicle every two or three years. That purchasing trend slowed a few years back with the unstable economic climate. The survey, conducted between March and May of 2012, indicates that a vast majority of people polled (78 per cent) plan on holding on to their current vehicle for 10 years or more, possibly until it stops working altogether.
“There is nothing surprising about the economy driving car owners to hold on to their vehicles for longer,” said Hafer, adding that data compiled by AutoMD.com has been showing that trend for the last three years. “What is most compelling is that longer ownership has become an embedded habit for car owners, regardless of what the economy does.”
Over half of the survey respondents said they would not likely return to their past vehicle-purchasing habits despite an upturn in the economy. The poll also indicated that longer vehicle ownership has owners heading for independent mechanics and service shops rather than taking their vehicles to automotive dealerships.
This year’s survey backs the trend indicated in a similar poll conducted by the online company last year. In July 2011, AutoMD.com reported that only 12 per cent of vehicle owners planned on buying a new car in the latter part of the year. Of those who planned to buy a new vehicle (45 per cent) said they were buying “not out of choice, but out of necessity” because their vehicle was not operating properly.
“We are not surprised that car owners continue to hold onto their current vehicles for miles longer than before,” Hafer said. “Our mission, at AutoMD.com, is to help these car owners keep their vehicles running well and safely.”
The website provides information about troubleshooting car problems and giving owners some basic guidelines as to what car repairs should cost. There is also information to help people find a local repair shop and a place to ask auto-repair related questions.