As Americans seem to be hanging on to their new vehicles longer, three-row SUVs and sports cars are among the autos that spend the most time with their original owners, according to the automotive research firm ISeeCars.com. The company says it combed through records of 15.7 million used vehicles sold by original owners. It then used the ages those cars and trucks were when they were sold to determine average lengths of ownership.
It found that, on average, new-car buyers were holding onto their vehicles for 7.3 years, which is typically a couple years after the car or truck has been paid off via a 60-month loan. ISeeCars.com also broke out this top 10 list of the new vehicles people hang on to for the longest periods of time.
ISeeCars.com looked at the original owner records of cars sold from January 1, 2013 to December 31, 2016 to compile these results. It excluded models that were owned for fewer than five years in order to filter out leases. Models that were in production for fewer than nine of the most recent model years, i.e. 2008–2017, also were excluded.
Over the last few years, the average age of vehicles on U.S. roads has been climbing steadily, while sales of new cars and trucks have simultaneously been hitting all-time highs, although sales appear to be cooling off this year.
The most recent data available from IHS Markit put the average age of light vehicles at 11.6 years, up slightly from the year before but marking a significant, two-year rise from the 2002 average, when IHS began tracking the data.
“[The] quality of new vehicles continues to be a key driver of the rising average vehicle age over time,” Mark Seng, director of global automotive aftermarket practice at IHS Markit, said when the latest data was released. “The recession created an acceleration beyond its traditional rate due to the nearly 40 percent drop in new vehicle sales in 2008–2009. In the last couple of years, however, average age is returning to a more traditional rate of increase.”
The 10 nameplates that owners keep the longest are shown on the ensuing slides. As it turns out, they’re all sports cars, Toyotas, SUVs, or Toyota SUVs.