Much like fine wine, we believe there are cars get better with age. Apparently, so does the rest of the U.S. populace, which has pushed the average age of cars and trucks in the States to a record-high 10.8 years.
So what’s making us want these sexy, decadent, decade-old road-going chariots? It’s the economy, stupid.
“The old days of vehicles rusting out after four or five years are gone,” says David Cole, chairman emeritus for the Center for Automotive Research. “Cars are so much better made in order to compete in the market.”
Back in the early 2000s, automakers were peddling upward of 16 million new cars and trucks per year. Last year, they sold 12.4 million vehicles and drove 36 billion fewer miles through the first 11 months of 2011—a 1.4 percent decline from the prior year. OK, so blame high gas prices, too.
Consequently, three-year-old used car prices are up 8 percent in Jan. 2012 over 2011. And because there are more old cars on the road, the service industry—independent and dealership-run repair shops—are experiencing increased business to keep them there. In many situations, it’s actually cheaper to maintain a used car than purchase a new one.
We support the practice of maintaining these high-mileage cougar cars, and we’ll keep supporting it when the economy finally rebounds and car sales pick up to where they used to be. Despite lacking many of today’s cars safety and convenience features, an old car shows you believe in the product you’re driving and that you’re willing to keep a good thing going. You’re into the forbidden fruit of driving a car long past its expiration date because you can’t resist its charms, its rattles and squeaks and odd sounds when you start it up in the morning.
Either that, or it shows you’re just cheap.
Source: Detroit News