Carson, CA – July 7, 2011 – Car owners continue to hold onto their vehicles longer, planning to put more miles on them than in previous years, according to a survey of car owners conducted by AutoMD.com. And, the majority of car owners appear to be resisting changing this, with 58% saying a ‘recovering’ economy has not decreased the number of miles they plan to put on their current vehicle. Meanwhile, nearly 80% plan to put up to or over 50,000 more miles on their current vehicle than they put on their previous vehicle, indicating that extended vehicle ownership is a habit that is taking hold, regardless of any signs of recovery -- and especially as economic challenges continue.
The AutoMD.com survey*, conducted online among over 3,000 car owners to provide a snapshot of car owner intentions about their current vehicles, also reveals that only 12% of survey respondents plan to buy a vehicle in 2011, with nearly half planning to do so only because they have to. Just 6% cite a recovering economy as a chief motivator to purchase. Nor are most of these potential car buyers likely to buy service contracts, with the majority considering them too expensive and 1 in 3 saying they would rather just visit the local repair shop if a problem arises.
2011 Car Owners Adding More Miles to Current Vehicle
2011 economic conditions do not appear to have encouraged consumers to put their current vehicles out to pasture, with nearly 80% planning to drive their vehicle for up to or over 50,000 miles more than their previous vehicle The number of survey respondents planning to put over 50,000 more miles on their current vehicle, versus the mileage they put on their previous vehicle, increased slightly versus last year’s AutoMD.com survey, from 60% to 68%.
The percentage of survey respondents reporting they have over 100K miles on their current vehicle has also increased, by 25% from 2010, with nearly three in five pushing their odometer higher and higher. Meanwhile, 68% of total respondents report that they plan to drive their existing vehicle for over 150K miles or ‘until it dies’, a slight decrease from 2010’s 69%.
Economy Continues to Have a ‘Hold’ on Vehicles
The percentage of people saying that either the economy or cost savings is the most important reason for holding onto their vehicle for more than 100,000 miles has gone up over 20% versus 2010. A majority (58%) report that the ‘recovering’ economy has not caused them to decrease the number of miles they plan to put on their vehicle.
Few Plan to Buy, Half of Those That Do Have No Choice
Only 12% of those surveyed said they planned to purchase a vehicle in 2011, with just 6% of those citing confidence in the economy as the main reason for the purchase. Twenty-one percent reported that a combination of a favorable financing market; ‘great vehicle models’, and an improving economy drove their purchasing plans. But, nearly 1 in 2 (45%) of those planning to purchase a vehicle in 2011 said they are purchasing not out of choice, but necessity, because their vehicle is at the end of its life. Of those that plan to purchase, 39% plan to buy a used vehicle.
Good News for Independent Repair Shops?
Nearly half of those who intend to purchase a vehicle in 2011 do not intend to purchase a service contract, with approximately 56% saying that they are too expensive, preferring either to go to the local independent repair shop if a problem arises (34%) or take their chances on the vehicle (22%). Twenty-six percent of those who do not intend to purchase a service contract say they plan to do most of the repair and maintenance work themselves.
"With better built vehicles able to sustain longer lives on the road, and new access to robust online repair information, we are not surprised that car owners continue to hold onto their current vehicles for miles longer than before, and that many of those who plan to buy a vehicle are opting out of purchasing a service contract and plan to either do their own repairs or visit their local repair shop instead," said Brian Hafer, VP of Marketing for AutoMD.com. "Our mission at AutoMD.com is to help these car owners keep their vehicles running well and safely by empowering them with comprehensive information on the best and most affordable options for repairing their vehicle, including a robust online community of shared knowledge and help finding the best local repair shop for their needs."
* The AutoMD.com Mileage Survey was conducted in Q1 2011 among over 3,000 car owners. The survey represents a snapshot of car owner intentions about their current vehicle. Participants identified themselves as either DIYers (Do It Yourself) or DFMers (Do It For Me), with minimal trend differences between groups.