When German cars reached the ripe age of 8.5 years on average, mentions of “Kubanisierung” (Cubanification) made the rounds. They did not shame customers to put their old cars in the shredder. Then, Germany put a bounty on old cars AND launched its “Abwrackprämie” (cash for clunkers,) The average age of all cars on the road immediately dropped. To 8.3 years. If 8.5 years qualifies as Cubanification, what do you call a country where the average age of all cars on the roads is pushing 11 years?
You call it America.
“The average age of a car or truck in the United States hit a record 10.8 years last year as job security and other economic worries kept many people from making big-ticket purchases such as a new car.”
So says The Associated Press (here fittingly via Northjersey.com.)
The trend towards aging cars is nothing new. Since 1995, the average age of all cars kept creeping up. Coincidentally, in 1995, the average age was smack dab in Cubanification territory: 8.4 years.
The data come from a study performed by the Polk automotive research firm, and it bases on state motorvehicle registration data.
Polk analyst Mark Seng looks at the bright side of the hooptification of America:
“The increasing age of the vehicle fleet, together with the increasing length of ownership, offers significant business growth opportunity for the automotive aftermarket. Dealer service departments and independent repair facilities, as well as aftermarket parts suppliers, will see increased business opportunity with customers in need of vehicle service.”
Polk doesn’t see an immediate end of the aging, but hopes that “the rebound in new vehicle sales in 2011 and for the next couple of years will most likely slow down the aging rate seen in the market over the past three years.”
How could we better illustrate this story than with a choice selection of Murilee Martin’s Down On The Junkyard series. Murilee is a prophet. Let’s age with dignity.