Americans are keeping their cars and light trucks longer than ever before. The primary reasons for that are that today’s light vehicles are safer and more reliable than ever. New cars also cost more than $35,000 on average, and pickups, sport utility vehicles and crossovers can average as much as $10,000 more.
Those facts are what keep the used vehicle market humming. The average age of a car on U.S. roads and highways is around 12 years.
Auto research firm iSeeCars.com analyzed 2018 sales of over 750,000 light vehicles first sold in model years 1981 through 2003. On average, 7.5% of the original owners of cars from those model years still own those cars. Put another way, those owners have kept their cars for at least 15 years.
Vehicles from Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE: TM) dominate the top 15 list, with 10 models that their original owners keep for at least 15 years. Honda scores three models, with Subaru and Acura (Honda’s luxury badge) each placing one car on the list. Here’s the list, along with the percentage of vehicles that owners keep the longest.
- Toyota Highlander SUV: 18.5%
- Toyota Prius Hybrid: 16.2%
- Toyota Sienna Van: 16.1%
- Honda Pilot Crossover: 15.3%
- Toyota Tundra Full-Size Pickup: 14.1%
- Toyota Sequoia SUV: 13.5%
- Toyota Tacoma Mid-Size Pickup: 13.4%
- Honda Odyssey Van: 12.6%
- Honda CR-V Crossover: 12.4%
- Subaru Forester SUV: 12.1%
- Toyota RAV4 Crossover: 12.1%
- Toyota Camry Sedan: 11.5%
- Acura MDX Luxury SUV: 11.4%
- Toyota 4Runner SUV: 11.2%
- Toyota Avalon Sedan: 10.8%
In addition to the eight SUVs and crossovers that make the top 15 list, there are four other similar vehicles that original owners keep longer than average: Hyundai Santa Fe, Kia Sorento, GMC Yukon XL and Chevy Suburban, the latter two from General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM).
Among pickup trucks, the average percentage of owners who keep their vehicles at least 15 years is 7.7%. Eight trucks exceed that average, including the two Toyota trucks that made the top 15 list: Nissan Frontier midsize, Chevy Silverado 1500, GMC Sierra 1500, Ford F-150, Ram 1500, and Ford Ranger. The F-150 and Ranger are from Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F)
Only 5.2% of luxury car owners hold on to their vehicles for at least 15 years. Following the Acura MDX that made the list of the top 15 overall, the Lexus GS 300, the Mercedes-Benz C-class, the Lexus IS 300, and the Mercedes-Benz E-class round out the top five.
Sports cars remain with just 3.6% of their original owners on average for at least 15 years. The Mazda MX-5 Miata tops the list with 6.1% of owners hanging on to the car for at least that long. The Audi TT, Chevy Camaro, BMW M5 and Ford Mustang round out the top five.
On a brand basis, Toyota vehicles are most often kept by their owners for more than 15 years. The overall average is 7.5%, and Toyota’s average is 12.3%. Honda, Subaru, Hyundai and Nissan round out the top five. GMC and Chevrolet are the only two brands to finish in the top 10.
For more details and comments, visit the iSeeCars website.