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The Average Car In America Is A 14-Year-Old Toyota Camry

Tmd Average Camry Ts

I love numbers, and this Morning Dump is going to tickle my inner Count as we look at what and why Americans are keeping on the road these days. The average American passenger car is now a record 14 (ha ha ha) years old according to a report. The average vehicle (i.e. not just car) isn’t quite that old, though cars are still aging gracefully.

Here’s another number for you: 25 (ha ha ha). That’s the percentage one group is suggesting in tariffs for American cars sold in China, as a sort of retaliatory measure. And speaking of China, our favorite Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares is back and his view is: If you can’t beat’em, join’em. I mean, why can’t we all just get along?

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

And, finally, Stellantis gets into another fight with the Italian government because it’s a day ending in “y.” How many cars are caught up in this battle? 134 (ha ha ha).

Can you tell me how to get, how to get to The Morning Dump?

[Ed Note: Uh…anyone else wondering what’s with the laugh track? -DT]


Cars Are So Old! (How Old Are They?)

Average vehicle age chart

Cars are so old that if you ask the average car on the road in America what its favorite show is, the answer is: Yellowstone. That’s old. [Ed Note: Wait, hold on. Where’d the laugh track go? Does the audience only laugh at numbers? I’m so confused. -DT].

Every year S&P Global puts out data on the average age of cars, light trucks, and both combined. Last year there were 286 [Ed note: … I just… -DT] million vehicles in operation, or a little less than one for every person. A lot of attention is paid to the topline number, and that’s important. If you look at the purple (combined), you’ll see the average age of the passenger vehicle is 12.6 years, which is two months older than last year.

Some of the reasons for this are obvious. The years 2015-2019 were boom years in the car market with a lot of new vehicles getting sold in the United States. The pandemic meant a shortage of most models and, with less new car inventory, the rate at which new cars entered the market slowed. We’re now getting back to more normalized inventories, but high interest rates and economic uncertainty are keeping new buyers out of the market.

New cars are also quite reliable compared to the past, and full of safety features, meaning it’s not quite as big of a deal to keep a vehicle a little longer.


But there’s a bigger factor in cars being older, which you can see in the bifurcation that happened around 2016-2017 in the chart above. That’s when the SUV/Crossover craze, which was already chugging along, started to factor strongly into the calculations

As S&P points out in their report:

Looking at the mix of the fleet, since 2020, more than 27 million passenger cars exited the US vehicle population, while just over 13 million new passenger cars were registered. At the same time, over 26 million light trucks (including utilities) were scrapped and nearly 45 million were registered.

“Consumers have continued to demonstrate a preference for utility vehicles and manufacturers have adjusted their portfolio accordingly, which continues to reshape the composition of the fleet of vehicles in operation in the market,” said Campau.

As fewer and fewer people buy cars, and as fewer and fewer automakers even sell cars, that thick vein of old Camrys and Civics will continue trudging along forever in the secondhand market, but the original owners are moving onto RAV-4s and HR-Vs.

To justify my headline, the best-selling car in America in 2010 (14 years ago) was the Toyota Camry by a large margin, ahead of the Accord and Civic. I don’t have specific numbers on what is or isn’t in the fleet of 286 million cars out there, but those old Toyotas are everywhere and I don’t see a lot of Fusions from that era.

Chinese Think Tank Wants 25% Tariff On Imported Cars With Big Engines

Mercedes China
Source: MB

The United States has already instituted a 100% tariff on Chinese-built EVs, which is not many cars in the grand scheme of things. While this move makes the Chinese government deeply unhappy, we weren’t the immediate target of expansion for Chinese EV automakers. That would be Europe, where a mix of protectionism and discontent with Chinese foreign policy has the EU considering bigger tariffs on imported Chinese EVs.


If you don’t believe me, China was willing to raise the cost of importing French cognac until France’s President Macron personally intervened.

Now, China has its sights on something bigger according to a report (via Reuters) from one of China’s official government think tanks:

“The suggested tariff rate adjustment for imported gasoline sedans and sport utility vehicles with engines larger than 2.5 liters is not only in line with WTO rules,” Liu of government-affiliated CATARC told the state-controlled newspaper.

He said it would also help balance domestic and international markets and support a policy push towards green and low-carbon development.

The French dodged a bullet here, as that’s clearly aimed at German automakers, who are the main importers of cars with engines bigger than 2.5 liters into China. Think: Porsche Cayennes, Mercedes S-Classes, Audi Q8s, BMW X5s, et cetera.

I enjoy the concept of China claiming that this policy is about the environment and not a threat of retaliation to Germany.

Carlos Tavares: Maybe We Should Just Join Up With China

Devil Lovitz Tavares
Source: SNL

Our favorite auto industry leader, Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares, sat down at the Reuters Events “Automotive Europe” conference in Munich (he’s pictured above answering questions). He had a lot of things to say, including that he expected a bunch of turmoil and job losses from an invasion of cheap Chinese EVs but, at the same time, that tariffs are “a major trap” for those countries.


Why? Inflation, for one, but also that he thinks automakers need to undergo tough restructuring and countries need to face the reality of a reshaped workforce.

“We are not talking about a Darwinian period, we are in it,” Tavares told Reuters.

Here’s what stuck out to me:

The Stellantis-Leapmotor joint venture, the first one between a Western and a Chinese carmaker designed to sell and produce EVs from a Chinese manufacturer outside China, will help the Franco-Italian group expand its global offerings of budget vehicles.

“We will try to be Chinese ourselves, which means instead of being purely defensive vis-à-vis the Chinese offensive, we want to be part of the Chinese offensive,” Tavares said.

That’s a bold move, Carlos. Let’s see if it pays off.

The Leapmotor T03 is a compelling little car and, while we don’t have specific pricing for it yet, it’ll probably be one of the cheapest cars for sale in Europe when it does go on sale this year, depending on tariffs/duties/et cetera.


Italy Seizes 134 Fiat Topolinos Over Tiny Italian Flag

Fiat Tipolino

The ongoing row between Stellantis and Italy is extremely amusing to me. At its core, the issue is that Italy is pissy that the company that was once Fiat (and then Fiat Chrysler) is now more French than Italian. The country wants Stellantis to make Fiats in Italy and Stellantis wants to make money by building cars… probably elsewhere.

Most recently, this blew up when Italy got mad at Alfa Romeo for calling a car not built in Italy the Milano. The response from Stellantis was super catty and the Alfa Romeo CEO openly trolled Italy’s government.

Italy has yet again struck back, this time sending customs police in the port town of Livorno to seize 134 copies of the cute Fiat Topolino. Why? From Italy’s La Repubblica:

The reason for the operation? On the sides they had stickers with the Italian flag, which is why the soldiers of the yellow flames and the officials of the state body challenged Stellantis, the Italian-French company, for the fallacious indication of the origin of the product. It was not “made in Italy”, but manufactured in Morocco and arrived in Tuscany on a freight ship.

My Italian is a little rusty so I relied on Google Translate, which did a great job here I think.


The issue is this little flag right here:

Fiat Italy Sticker

This isn’t an Italian-built car so it doesn’t get an Italian flag. Seems fair to me.

Stellantis resolved the issue by removing the stickers.

What I’m Listening To While Writing TMD


I drove to the 2009 Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago all the way from Houston to see Pavement, LCD Soundsystem, and a few others. In the middle of one of the days, Pitchfork put Beach House on one stage and Washed Out on the other stage at the same time. The Venn diagram of Beach House/Washed out fans was, as my friend Dan pointed out to me, a perfect circle. As if this wasn’t already strange programming, the festival followed up Beach House with freakin’ Lightning Bolt! No one stayed. Everyone bolted to Local Natives because the Venn diagram of Beach House/Lightning Bolt fans is just two circles very far apart.

The Big Question

Do you have a car-car. How old is it?

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Nick Fortes
Nick Fortes
26 days ago

Q3 – 8 years old
GLI – 2 years old

27 days ago

Liftback sedan, 7 years old
Coupe, 17 years old

John Downey
John Downey
27 days ago

9 y.o. Nissan Leaf

Loudsx .
Loudsx .
28 days ago

58 year old ford
54 year old mitsubishi
28 year old nissan
26 year old Lexus
16 year old Mini
1 year old Subaru
1 month old Nissan

22 year old Ford

Last edited 28 days ago by Loudsx .
28 days ago

2 year old Camry

28 days ago

Our current fleet, in order of purchase…

17 year old Cobalt
10 year old Cruze
43 year old Camaro
7 year old Volt
9 year old Camaro

Farty McSprinkles
Farty McSprinkles
28 days ago

I have the Toyota Camry in the picture (color and everything) 2011. It is a great car, 175,000 miles and nicer to drive and quieter than my wife’s 2017 GMC Terrain, but they are both so damn boring. I need a new project car, STAT.

28 days ago

We have a 2009 Lexus GS460 with 220k miles and a 2004 Jeep Liberty with 200K. The Lexus is still used to commute 70 miles a day. The Jeep is rough but the drivetrain and interior are great.

The Lexus will leave one day, but the Jeep will be kept as a snow day beater and for light towing.

Last edited 28 days ago by JohnnyBones
28 days ago

21 year old BMW
5 year old Honda
54 year old Jeep
1 year old truck.

That jeep is really bringing up the average.

Chris Jackson
Chris Jackson
28 days ago

13 year old pickup
11 year old minvan
3 year old SUV

I’m newer than average! (And I should have never sold my 38 year old pickup)

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