If you are in the market for a car, or have been in the last few years, you know that buying or leasing a vehicle these days comes at a steep cost. In fact, new car prices are up 24% since the start of the pandemic. What does that mean? We are holding onto our cars for longer or taking out larger loans to buy something new. The average age of cars on the road is now 12.5 years.
Using data from our MRI database, we looked at the percentage of adults with a car over 10 years old. It is no surprise that people on the coasts favor newer cars, and those living in the center of the country and the northern states are driving an older vehicle. The darkest blue represents over 11% of the adults owning a car more than 10 years old. Throughout the south, Midwest and Pacific Northwest, cars are older than they are in California, Florida and the Northeast. For those looking to franchise automotive repair shops, this data is critical to understand where car maintenance needs exist.
Alternatively, for someone in the market for a new car, leasing can be an attractive option. Using our Behaviors and Attitudes data, we mapped car leasers across the United States. There are of course more people who lease in larger metropolitan areas, but even New York City has a shocking amount of people who lease cars in a city that encourages the use of public transportation. Also, when compared to the last map, you can see the line of older car owners appear as areas where people are not taking out car leases. Car leases typically include maintenance done at the dealership, so heavy leasing areas might not need as many repair shops, but additional car dealerships may be required to satisfy demand.