Average age of U.S. cars increasing

People are keeping their cars and trucks longer as quality improves and the uncertain U.S. economy makes new purchases less appealing, according to a study released this week by automotive consulting firm R.L. Polk & Co.

Polk said the median age of cars on U.S. roads was 9.2 years in 2007. That ties the previous year's record high. In 2007, 41.3 per cent of all cars were 11 years or older, compared with 40.9 per cent the year before.

The median age for trucks and sport utility vehicles rose four per cent to 7.1 years. Dave Goebel, a consultant for Polk's aftermarket team, said those numbers are starting to reflect a surge in truck and SUV purchases in the mid- to late 1990s.

Goebel said he expects the average age of trucks and SUVs will rise and eventually be on par with cars once the segment stops its tremendous growth and settles into a more stable pattern.

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