36% More Consumers Driving Vehicles With Over 100K Miles Than 5 Years Ago / Cost-Savings Big Factor*

Survey shows high mileage vehicles still dominate: 64% report 100K+ miles on their vehicle, 30% report 150K+ Percentage of consumers saying they 'often' feel overcharged for service has dropped, and most of those surveyed show lack of enthusiasm about 'driverless' vehicles

Carson, CA – September 15, 2015 – More and more consumers are driving vehicles with high miles on the odometer today than during the last five years, according to AutoMD.com’s 2015 Vehicle Mileage Survey, which reveals that two in three consumers report driving vehicles with over 100K miles, an increase of 36% since 2010.

This adds further reinforcement to what consumers have been saying in the annual surveys since 2012, that lengthy vehicle ownership is the new normal.  Interestingly, in spite of an economy that has significantly improved since 2010, the 2015 Vehicle Mileage Survey revealed that more consumers today are citing cost-savings as a reason for driving a high mileage vehicle than they did five years ago, although their belief that vigilance with cost and repairs will keep their vehicle running trumps cost-savings as the number one reason for holding onto vehicles for longer.

The survey also revealed a slight downtick in the percent of consumers feeling ‘often’ overcharged by their mechanic and that the vast majority of consumers are interested in using online comparative tools to choose their service center. When asked how they felt about ‘driverless vehicles’ consumers were generally unenthusiastic, with nearly two-thirds worrying about loss of control.

“In the five years that AutoMD.com has been studying the mileage habits of car owners, one thing has remained constant: a strong consumer willingness to get more years out of their vehicles, which should be good news to the repair industry, indicating that more visits to repair shops and service centers and more DIYing are likely in its future,” said AutoMD.com Vice President Tracey Virtue. “We are also encouraged to see that consumers are a little less worried about being overcharged by their mechanic today than at any point in the past five years. We believe that the transparency and convenience of our digital world has played a significant role – and that further innovations, such as being able to compare service shops on ratings, distance, price, and amenities in real time, will bring even greater trust and benefit to our industry.”

The AutoMD.com 2015 Vehicle Mileage Survey was first fielded in 2010. This year, over 3,000 car-owners participated in the online snapshot survey, conducted by AutoMD in June and July of 2015.

 

2015 Vehicle Mileage Survey Highlights:

Vehicle Miles Higher Than Ever: 64% = 100K+

When asked the number of miles on their primary vehicle, 34% reported 100,000 – 150,000 miles, with another 30% reporting that their vehicles had over 150,000 miles.  This is a marked increase from 2010 when less than half (47%) reported having over 100,000 miles on their vehicle.

Vehicle Miles Higher Than Ever – 2015 vs 2010

 

And, consistent with AutoMD mileage surveys over the past three years, the last nail appears to be firmly in the coffin of the two to three year vehicle life cycle: 81% of respondents think the appropriate life span of a vehicle is 10+ years or until the car dies, with 73% saying that the two to three year purchase cycle is thing of the past.

Cost-savings Bigger Factor in 2015 than in 2010, but Repair Vigilance Top Driver

When asked for the primary reason for keeping their vehicle for over 100,000 miles, 42% cited cost-savings, versus 33% who cited economy/cost-saving in 2010. But, the biggest factor in 2015 was the belief that vigilance with repairs and service would keep the car running (ranked second in 2010).

 

If you plan to keep your current primary vehicle for more than 100,000 miles, what's the most important reason why?

 

But will improvements in the economy change all this? One in three consumers who reported holding onto their vehicles longer today than ever before indicated that an improving economy/financial situation would shorten that timeline. However, that percentage has dropped nearly ten percent from a year ago, and two thirds say economic improvements would not shorten the length of time they hold onto their vehicle – further proof that perhaps lengthy vehicle ownership has become embedded in the car culture.

Consumers Feeling (slightly) Less Overcharged

Ten percent fewer consumers reported feeling overcharged ‘often’ when getting their vehicle repaired and maintained today (27%) than in 2011 (37%). But it is not all good news, 52% reported feeling overcharged ‘sometimes’ in 2015 versus 49% in 2011.  

What remains consistent across the years is that being overcharged is not the consumer’s biggest fear, but worry that the mechanic will not fix the vehicle correctly (although being overcharged and fear of unnecessary repairs being done remained significant concerns). And what consumers report spending on average each year on repairs/maintenance on their vehicles has remained almost unchanged since 2010: Over half (52%) report spending over $500 annually.

The Future – Digital Solutions and Driverless Cars

Consumer fears about the price they are charged and the work that is being done appears to have a digital solution that consumers seem willing to embrace: The opportunity to compare local service shops on ratings, distance, price, and amenities online resounded with consumers, with 85% saying they will use or might use such a digital service. 

But, when it comes to the digital future of what consumers will be driving, the makers of ‘driverless’ vehicles will need to do a lot of convincing and educating. Of the consumers surveyed, 42% didn’t know enough about driverless vehicles to comment and, of those who did, a whopping 63% said they did not like the idea of not being in control.

The upshot? Being in control of the repair process through digital tools appears to be a much more embraceable prospect for the consumers surveyed, than a car that drives itself! 

 

* AutoMD.com 2015 Vehicle Mileage Survey