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Good News for Aftermarket Dealers: Vehicles Continue to Age

Current vehicles on road, average vehicle age
Chart: researcher Experian Automotive

SCHAUMBURG, Ill. – In the first quarter of this year, there were 17.3 million more light duty vehicles on U.S. roads than in 2009, according to auto researcher Experian Automotive. That's good news for the automotive aftermarket industry, which consists of franchised chains like Meineke, Midas, Big O' Tires and many more.

There were more than 245 million vehicles on U.S. roads in the first quarter of 2012. According to Experian, the age of vehicles increased 1.9 percent when compared to Q1 2011. The average car age is now 11 years.

That means more opportunity for repairs and to sell parts to the aging car population.

"An increase of later-model vehicles on the road is a positive sign for the industry because it creates growth opportunities in the important aftermarket sector," said Jeffrey Anderson, director of consulting and analytics for Experian Automotive. "With lower scrappage rates, historically large sales of older-model vehicles and an increase in incentives for maintaining vehicle ownership, aftermarket part manufacturers and retailers will see an influx of shoppers looking to extend the life of their vehicle."

The research report showed Ford as the most prevalent make on the road in Q1 at 17 percent, Chevrolet at 15.8, Toyota at 10.4 and Honda at 7.3 percent. The analysis also showed that light trucks in the United States continue to grow and maintain a higher percentage of the total vehicle in operation than passenger cars, 50.1 versus 49.2 percent.

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