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Odometers numbers ‘spiral’ for all vehicle types

Increasing value of used cars and light trucks are keeping domestic nameplates on the road longer — and increasing their miles-driven

Fort Wayne, Ind.—In 2021, the typical light vehicle in the U.S. averaged approximately 13,000 more odometer miles than 10 years earlier (2011). And there are significant variations in the odometer mileage levels and gains of four major types of vehicles: foreign and domestic nameplates, and cars versus light trucks.

“This is important for aftermarket product growth since older vehicles (with greater accumulated miles) use more aftermarket products per mile than cars and light trucks with lower odometer readings,” stated the latest Aftermarket iReport.

High odometer readings of domestic vehicles coupled with the greater product use per mile as vehicles increase in age are bolstering the domestic vehicle segment of the aftermarket and keeping it from being reduced at a faster rate than would otherwise occur, given the growing share of foreign nameplates on U.S. roads, according to the analysis.

Additionally, the increasing value of used cars and light trucks are keeping domestic nameplates on the road for a greater number of years and increasing their odometer readings.

The following are the report’s highlights.

All Light Vehicles
At mid-year 2011, the average light vehicle in the U.S. had approximately 129,000 miles on its odometer. The accumulated mileage of the average light vehicle increased to more than 137,000 by 2016, with average odometer readings topping 143,000 miles during 2021.

Cars and Light Trucks
The average car in the U.S. had approximately 14,000 more miles on its odometer during 2021 than 10 years earlier. Light truck odometers rolled up less rapidly, posting an average gain of more than 12,000 miles. The difference between foreign and domestic vehicles in accumulated mileage growth has been even greater.

Domestic Nameplate Accumulated Miles
Between 2011 and 2021, domestic nameplates averaged higher accumulated miles than their foreign counterparts.

The average domestic nameplate had an odometer reading of 145,000 miles in 2016, up 6,000 miles from five years earlier. By 2021, the average domestic nameplate had rolled up more than 151,000 miles on its odometer. Domestic nameplates averaged much higher accumulated mileage per vehicle than foreign nameplates in the U.S. during each of these three years.

Foreign Nameplate Odometers
Foreign nameplates averaged approximately 24,000 fewer odometer miles per vehicle than domestic nameplates during 2011.

These mileage differences continued during 2016, with foreign nameplates averaging 117,000 odometer miles compared to a much higher 145,000 odometer reading for the average domestic nameplate. By 2021, foreign nameplates averaged approximately 31,000 fewer miles on their odometers compared to the accumulated mileage of the average domestic nameplate in the U.S.

Domestic Cars Average the Highest Odometer Readings
Domestic cars have averaged the highest odometer readings of any major vehicle group in the U.S. for a number of years.

During 2011, domestic cars averaged 142,000 odometer miles, much higher than the 129,000 miles for the average light vehicle. Domestic nameplates averaged more than 16,000 more odometer miles in 2016 than the average light vehicle.

By 2021, domestic cars had pushed their average odometer reading to a record high: nearly 20,000 miles greater than the average foreign nameplate car and significantly higher than accumulated miles of all light vehicles.

Differences in Odometer Readings Among Four Major Vehicle Types
As mentioned, domestic cars average the highest average odometer reading among light vehicles across the country, followed by domestic nameplate light trucks.

Over the past 10 years, domestic nameplate odometer readings have soared by more than 25,000 miles, with the majority of this gain stemming from domestic nameplate cars.

Foreign nameplate cars ranked third in overall average odometer readings during 2021, up approximately 13,000 miles over the past 10 years, followed by foreign nameplate light trucks with an average increase of nearly 12,000 odometer miles between 2011 and 2021.

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