The Average Age of Passenger Cars Hits a New High

The Average Age of Passenger Cars in 2023 Climbs to 13.6 Years 

The Average Age of Passenger Cars (public transportation vehicles) has continued to trend higher, as shown in the chart below, reaching 13.6 years in 2023. This is the highest age in the past twenty-seven years, from 11.7 years in 2017 (five years ago) and 11.4 in 2013 (ten years ago). 

Why are Consumers Holding on to Cars Longer? 

To answer that question, the following charts highlight Credit Availability Index and U.S. CPI Motor Vehicle Insurance Average YoY% Change. 

Credit Availability Index on the Decline

The Credit Availability Index from Cox Automotive is illustrated in the chart below. The index is based on general availability of auto credit over time. The Credit Availability Index declined to 93 in January 2024, which is very close to hitting the low of 92.1 in July 2020. For perspective, the peak in the Credit Availability Index, for the time period shown below, was 104.6 in April 2022. 

U.S. CPI Motor Vehicle Insurance Average YoY% Change Hits 20.60%

As we reported in our Monthly Auto Insights post on 2/29/24, Motor Vehicle Insurance Average, as a subcomponent of U.S. CPI, had the largest year-over-year change at 20.60% in January 2024.  

The following two sets of charts highlight Auto Loan delinquencies and the Consumer Confidence Automobiles Index. 

90+ Days Delinquent on Auto Loans Continues to Climb

The Percent of Balances 90+ Days Delinquent on Auto Loans from Q1 2003 to Q4 2023 is outlined in the chart below. The Percent of Balances 90+ Days Delinquent on Auto Loans hit a peak in Q4 2010 at 5.27% and another high of 5.05% in Q1 2020. In Q4 2023, the Percent of Balances 90+ Days Delinquent on Auto Loans was trending higher, reaching 4.17%.

Consumer Confidence Automobiles Index

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Automobiles Index is outlined in the chart below. The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index was 11.40 in February 2024, below the peak in May 2019 at 15.1. For reference, the low was in March 2010 at 3.9. 

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