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Total Number Of Vehicles On U.S. Roads Reaches Highest Level Since 2008

Experian Automotive reports that the number of cars and light trucks on U.S. roads reached 247.90 million in the second quarter of 2013. According to the latest Vehicles in Operation (VIO) market analysis, increased new vehicle sales and lower scrappage rates pushed VIO to the highest point on record since the third quarter of 2008. Additionally, findings showed that the average age of vehicles on the road was 10.9 years in the 2013 second quarter — almost a full year older than was recorded four years ago.

“During the recession, new vehicle sales dropped, causing challenges for aftermarket companies,” said Marty Miller, senior manager for Experian Automotive. “However, the recent uptick in new vehicle sales, combined with more aging vehicles on the road, means these challenges will only be in the short term. As these new vehicles begin to age and enter the prime aftermarket repair years, growth opportunities will rebound.”

Additional data from Experian’s analysis shows that full-sized pickup trucks were the top vehicle segment on the road in the second quarter at 14.9 percent of total VIO. They were followed by standard midrange cars (11.9 percent) and small-economy cars (9.1 percent).

From a regional perspective, when looking at new vehicle registrations, the Midwest and South regions followed a similar trend, as full-sized pickup trucks were the top new vehicle segment at 14.1 percent and 13.5 percent, respectively.

Trends in the West and Northeast regions were drastically different. Full-sized pickup trucks were only the third-ranked new vehicle segment in the West (9.8 percent) and the fifth most popular in the Northeast (7.8 percent). Small-economy cars (12.7 percent) topped the list in the West, while entry-level crossover utility vehicles (14 percent) were the top segment in the Northeast region.

Other findings include:
General Motors had the highest share of VIO at 26.6 percent, followed by Ford (18.9 percent), Toyota (12.6 percent) and Chrysler (12.5 percent).
• Imports had a 51.8-percent share of total new registrations in the first half of 2013 — down from 52.7 percent a year ago.
• General Motors was the top manufacturer for new vehicles in the Midwest (25.1 percent), South (18.9 percent) and Northeast (14.3 percent) regions in the first half of 2013. Toyota had the highest new vehicle market share in the West region (18.2 percent).
• In the second quarter of 2013, more than half (50.9 percent) of VIO were between model years 2000 and 2008.
• The Top 5 vehicle segments in the United States made up 49.9 percent of the VIO market in the 2013 second quarter.

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