A US study showing drivers are keeping their cars for longer than ever has serious ramifications for new car sales figures.

A study conducted by AutoAlert showed that Americans now keep their new cars for an average of 77.8 months (six and a half years). Used car owners keep theirs for 63.0 months, which means that, combined, American car owners go 67.9 months between buying cars.

Those retention rates have grown dramatically since 2006: an increase of 26 months for new car owners and 25 months for used car buyers.
On the bright side

The good news is that 63 per cent of consumers would like to upgrade their cars every three years or less and 75 per cent would be “very likely” or “somewhat likely” to trade in their vehicle today if their monthly payment would remain about the same.

Those numbers present Dealers with an opportunity, provided they can meet that condition of keeping monthly payments the same. Almost half (49 per cent) of respondents were not aware they were able to upgrade their current vehicle before the end of their loan or lease, while 69 per cent said it was important for the Dealer who sold them their vehicle to notify them when it was possible to upgrade without altering their monthly payments.

Add that to the 57 per cent saying they were “very likely” or “somewhat likely” to buy a new car from the Dealership that services their current vehicle, and you see the importance of maintaining a relationship and being proactive in communications.

Why do drivers upgrade? The top motivating factors

  • Better fuel-efficiency: 83 per cent
  • Current vehicle needs too many repairs: 68 per cent
  • Additional safety features: 65 per cent.

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