Americans Keep their Cars Longer

Apparently, the global recession is not only affecting the sales of new vehicles but also the sales of second-hand ones as well. Because Americans don't want to deepen in debts any longer they prefer to take good care of their cars and keep them for a longer time, the New York Times has reported.

According to figures released on March 3 by  the research firm R.L. Polk & Company, the median age of the cars driven on roads reached the record of 9.4 years in 2008, up from 9.2 in 2006 and 2007.

“People are hunkering down,” said Dave Goebel, a consultant with R. L. Polk. “There is great uncertainty about what the future holds, so people are going to avoid anything out of pocket.”

A survey of 713 vehicle owners by R. L. Polk found that 64 percent of them were “very likely” or “extremely likely” to keep their vehicles longer and 81 percent said they were going to take better care of their vehicles so they would last longer.

“Consumers are feeling right now that their car does what it is supposed to do,” said Howard Polirer, director of industry relations at, an online automotive classified listing service. “Everyone’s tightening their belts and looking at what they’re spending, and that’s creating this shortage.”

Even drivers who are interested in buying a car tend to look more at second-hand models rather than at new ones. According to a survey made by, 32 percent of consumers thinking of buying a new car had begun looking at used vehicles instead, 5 percentage points higher than last October.

Another survey conducted by J. D. Power & Associates showed that cars like the 2004 Hyundai Elantra, 2003 Toyota Corolla and 2007 Honda Fit were sold in less than 30 days in 2008 as people favor fuel-efficient models that need little maintenance.
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