Survey finds people holding on to their vehicles longer

(July 23, 2012) CARSON, Calif. — Reports of the death of the two-to-three-year vehicle purchasing cycle have not been exaggerated according to a new survey of nearly 4,000 car owners by

Three in four respondents agreed that buying a vehicle every two to three years is a thing of the past, and 78 percent now say that 10+ years (or until it dies) is the appropriate vehicle lifespan. Most telling is that over half say that a better economy would not change their habit of holding onto their vehicle for longer.

The survey indicates, furthermore, that the longer ownership trend is spurring consumers to seek out independent repair shops over dealership service centers.

The survey results confirmed other industry data showing an aging vehicle fleet on US roads: for the second year in a row, 60 percent of survey respondents say their primary vehicle has over 100K miles. Sixty-six percent plan to drive their primary vehicle for over 150K (or until it dies) and over half plan to rack up 75K more miles than on their previous vehicle.

While the economy continues to be the number one reason for holding on to vehicles, vigilant repair and servicing also ranked highly. And, automakers might want to take note: of those planning to hold onto their vehicles for longer (the majority!), over 50 percent say they will be more influenced by practicality than style when purchasing their next vehicle.

"There is nothing surprising about the economy driving car owners to hold onto their vehicles for longer — our data has been showing this trend for the past three years; but what is most compelling is that longer ownership has become an embedded habit for car owners, regardless of what the economy does," said Brian Hafer, VP of Marketing at

"This significant lengthening of the ownership cycle looks like it is here to stay, and it's being supported by better made vehicles on the road, more choices for – and information online about - repairing those vehicles, and a more scrupulous focus on service and maintenance."