Small Business

Good News For Auto Shops: Cars Getting Older
Age of U.S. Cars Hits All-Time High

America’s cars are getting older. And that’s good news for both auto supply chains and car dealerships, Phil LeBeau, CNBC Auto Reporter, told Squawk Box.

The days of trading in the Oldsmobile for a new model every two years has gone the way of the, well, the Oldsmobile.

“The average age of a car hit an all-time high in 2011,” he said, citing numbers from Polk, which looks at national vehicle registration data.

The average vehicle has been running for 10.8 years, up from 10.6 years in 2010. If you break it down into cars vs. light trucks, the average age of cars is 11.1 years old, while trucks are a bit younger: 10.4 years old. Altogether, there are now 240.5 million cars and light trucks on the road.

All those older vehicles mean that tires, brakes, mufflers and other parts are wearing out. Not great news for car owners, but, noted LeBeau, “It’s good news for the auto supply stores."

The national auto parts chain O’Reilly Automotive has seen its stock price increase 47.41 percent in the past year.

"It’s good news for dealers as well," said LeBeau. "There’s pent-up demand, and people will be coming into auto dealerships to buy used or new vehicles.”

LeBeau noted that better realiability is one reason cars are staying on the road longer. "It will be another one or two years before new–car sales really take off."