Not too many years ago, a driver would often put 75,000 miles on the odometer and then consider trading in the car before it broke down. Today, some models boast 70,000- to 100,000-mile warranties, assuring motorists the autos will last, according to the Detroit News
Piling 200,000 miles on an econobox or even a typical $20,000 sedan may sound unusually optimistic, though market researcher Art Spinella of CNW Marketing/Research in Bandon, Ore., doesn't rule out the notion. In this year's survey of used-vehicle buyers by CNW, a typical used vehicle from 1 to 8 years old rated
95.2 on its quality scorecard. That's up from 88.3 in 1998, and a 48 percent jump from 64.3 in 1990.
Better design and engineering of auto parts, improved assembly operations in the plants and the proliferation of rugged electronic components have lengthened the life span, Spinella said.
"There's been a quantum leap," Spinella said, noting that higher quality translates into longer use of the auto. "They're getting handed
down to the kids or are just being kept without being traded in."
Today, the typical car has been in the same hands for 7.4 years, compared with 5.1 years in 1992, according to the News