According to R.L. Polk & Co.’s 2006 vehicle population report, the median age of passenger cars in operation has increased to 9.2 years, a record high, and trucks have increased their median age as well, moving up slightly from last year’s 6.8 years to today’s 6.9 years. “The median age of trucks continues to be lower than cars, due in part to the increased variety of light trucks and SUVs available in the market over the last five years,” explains Mike Gingell, vice president of Polk’s Aftermarket Team.
However, light trucks specifically have seen a greater increase in median age over their regular truck counterparts, going up from 6.6 in 2005 to their present 6.8, an increase of three percent. Gingell explains their increase saying, “The increase in median age for light trucks in 2006 suggests light truck owners are driving their vehicles longer before considering or switching to a car, and we anticipate light trucks to continue making up a larger percentage of the vehicle population.” The percentage of total passenger cars and trucks scrapped in 2006 has increased slightly, going from 4.3 percent in 2005 to 5 percent today, but this number remains a significantly low percentage when compared to the previous 35 years of scrappage data.
As Dave Goebel, a consultant for Polk’s Aftermarket Solutions, explains, “Despite the increase in the scrappage rate for 2006, the percentage of light vehicles in use that were 11 years of age and older increased one percentage point over last year to a new all-time high, representing 35.8 percent of the light vehicle population.” Goebel concludes, “This is more evidence that vehicle engineering and durability continues to improve with each new model year.”The information for R.L Polk & Co.’s vehicle population report is gathered through in-depth analysis of more than 230 million vehicles and is updated every July 1.