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I Have Three Years Left to Go…

My current car is a 2004 Chevrolet Impala made in Ontario, Canada.  According to this report, it technically is only “middle aged.”

Surveys show that most cars on the road today are 11 years old, not because people can’t afford to replace them in this economy, but because they’ve been built so well (Thanks Japanese quality), that more folks are just driving their cars until they expire on their own.

Today’s car buyers are in it for the long haul. Earlier this year, a report indicated that drivers could be expected to hang onto a new car for an average of six years after purchase, up from four years not long ago. According to a new survey, though, the vast majority of consumers say they now plan on keeping cars for 10 years or more.

The average car on the road is 11 years old, the highest figure ever recorded. The results of a new survey indicate that this average will only increase down the line—and chances are, these old cars will be driven by a single owner for most, if not all of their lifespans.

In the survey, sponsored by AutoMD.com—a car-repair rating site, so the subject matter is somewhat self-serving—78% of drivers say that they plan on keeping their cars for 10 or more years after purchase. The press release announcing the survey results states that “The Three Year Vehicle Purchase Cycle Is Dead,” but I don’t know if such a cycle was ever truly thriving in the mainstream. Aren’t the people who plan on driving a car for just two or three years leasing rather than buying?

Leasing is where I’m thinking of going with my next car, it makes more sense then seeking out a car loan to buy a newer vehicle.  Also, I think this survey pinpoints something else — “Cash for Clunkers” was an absolute failure, especially if the average car on American roads is eleven years old.

Then again, the idea that “Cash for Clunkers” worked only exists inside the Obama White House or maybe at the DNC.  They’re the only ones touting its “success” after all.  Most car dealerships didn’t.

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  • MadisonSpock

    Leasing is the worst way to have a car, period.  You’d be better off buying a used car.  Loans are still there and are at very good rates.

  • Listen to Spock. Eminently Logical. Buy used. I leased for quite a while. At the end, I had nothing to show for it. The dealer didn’t even report the payments to the credit reporters. I had to have them call my bank to verify on time payment history so I could by used back in 05. Not all dealers are like that, of course. Buy a 2 or 3 year old vehicle. I bought new in Jan, and am planning on driving the wheels off it. That could take a while, as it’s a Subaru.  

  • If you have an owned second vehicle, leasing could make sense.

    As for Cash for Clunkers, what it, and emission inspection programs that focus solely on OBD-II vehicles (1996 and newer for gas-powered, 2007 and newer for diesels), did was to create a “donut hole”, where few late-model vehicles exist on the market.