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Experian Automotive: total number of light vehicles on US roads at highest level since 2008

The number of cars and light trucks on the road in the US reached 247.9 million in Q2 2013, according to Experian Automotive’s latest Vehicles in Operation (VIO) market analysis. Increased new vehicle sales and lower scrappage rates pushed VIO to the highest point on record since Q3 2008. Full-sized pickup trucks were the top vehicle segment on the road in Q2 2013 at 14.9% of total VIO; they were followed by standard midrange cars (11.9%) and small-economy cars (9.1%).

Additionally, findings showed that the average age of vehicles on the road was 10.9 years in Q2 2013, almost a full year older than was recorded in Q2 2009.

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 in each region at 14.1% and 13.5%, respectively.

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

Other findings include:

  • General Motors had the highest share of VIO at 26.6%, followed by Ford (18.9%), Toyota (12.6%) and Chrysler (12.5%).

  • Imports had a 51.8% share of total new registrations in the first half of 2013, down from 52.7% from a year ago.

  • General Motors was the top manufacturer for new vehicles in the Midwest (25.1%), South (18.9%) and Northeast (14.3%) regions in the first half of 2013. Toyota had the highest new vehicle market share in the West region (18.2%).

  • In Q2 2013, more than half (50.9%) of VIO were between model years 2000 and 2008.

  • In Q2 2013, Buick and Volvo were the top brands with the longest average length of ownership at 98 and 92 months, respectively.

  • The top five vehicle segments in the United States made up 49.9% of the VIO market in Q2 2013.



The message is slowly getting through that one does not need 2 and 3 tons trucks to go from point A to point B.

However, all ears are not equally opened.


As the prices of batteries and power electronics come down, one of the Big Two seems likely to buy one of the EREV manufacturers currently buying truck, van and SUV gliders off their assembly line.  That will set the stage for a rapid expansion in the number of EREVs on the market and put them in every-day showrooms instead of just marketing to fleet buyers.

What happens when the pickup meccas of the Midwest and South suddenly start going electric for substantial parts of their driving?  Nothing bad, that's for sure.

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