Autos

Nine Cars Americans Keep the Longest

9. Dodge
> Average age when turned in: 6.00 years (tied for 8th highest)
> Change from previous year: 9.2% (10th most)
> Market share: 3.7% (8th highest)
> Average buyer age: 50 years old

Drivers are keeping their Dodges longer than they previously did. The average age of a Dodge that was turned in last month was six years old, up from 5.5 years old in October 2011. Sales of Dodge are also climbing. Chrysler, Dodge’s parent company, sold 40,611 Dodges in October, up from 33,734 in October 2011. Chrysler has been extensively promoting its new Dodge Dart, which went on sale in June and was Dodge’s first compact car since the Neon. Although sales of the Dart were initially hurt because Dodge first shipped out cars with manual transmissions, sales of the Dart picked up by August. Customer retention for Dodge is just 21%, the third-lowest rate of all makes measured and well below the industry average of 49%.

8. Chrysler
> Average age when turned in: 6.00 years (tied for 8th highest)
> Change from previous year: 3.4% (12th least)
> Market share: 2.0% (16th highest)
> Average buyer age: 55 years old

In the past 12 months, Chrysler has sold just over 300,000 cars, trailing other Chrysler Group brands, such as Dodge and Jeep. The average age of a traded-in Chrysler vehicle in October 2012 was six years, up from 5.8 years in October 2011. Chrysler vehicles are, according to J.D. Power and Associates, the least dependable vehicles of any major manufacturer, having the most mechanical problems per vehicles sold. Chrysler tends to skew towards older consumers. The average owner of a Chrysler is 55-years old, the third-oldest among nonluxury makes.

Also Read: Automakers That Will Abandon The U.S.

7. Ford
> Average age when turned in: 6.02 years
> Change from previous year: 2.2% (9th least)
> Market share: 14.9% (the highest)
> Average buyer age: 52 years old

Ford owners hold on to their cars for an average of over six years before trading it in. The make is the nation’s most popular, with a nearly 15% share of the American car market and over 162,000 car sales in October alone. As of September it took dealers an average of just 50 days to sell a Ford, below the industry average of 61 days. Once Ford owners do trade in their models at the dealer, they are more likely than not to get another Ford. In January, J.D. Power and Associates reported Ford had a 60% customer retention rate, tied with Honda Motor Co. Ltd. (NYSE: HMC) for the second highest among all makes behind Hyundai.

6. Infiniti
> Average age when turned in: 6.10 years
> Change from previous year: 7.2% (13th most)
> Market share: 0.8% (13th lowest)
> Average buyer age: 50 years old

The average age of an Infiniti traded in last month was 6.1 years. This was up from 5.7 years for the average Infiniti turned in at the same time last year, when it was ranked ninth oldest. Infiniti sales increased by 27.6% between October 2011 and October 2012. However, Infiniti vehicles are not that popular in the first place — the brand’s market share is just 0.8%. And Infiniti’s 46% customer retention, while far from the worst, is lower than the industry average retention of 49%. The Infiniti FX has the sixth best resale value of any car, according to Kelley Blue Book. The resale value after 36 months is 58% of the original value, while the resale value after 60 months is 44%.