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

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

Tmd Average Camry Ts
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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]

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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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Jorge Gonzales
Jorge Gonzales
1 month ago

We have two 2013 Toyotas: a Prius and a Camry. This puts us right at average.

Vetatur Fumare
Vetatur Fumare
1 month ago

Average age of our three-car driveway: 26 years, 8 months. Looking to make that older, too.

Total combined horsepower: 310

Dinklesmith
Dinklesmith
1 month ago

I have a 2017 Chevy Volt, a 2001 Jaguar XK8 and a 2007 Prius that we use for our small business

Last edited 1 month ago by Dinklesmith
DONALD FOLEY
DONALD FOLEY
1 month ago

Mine 2009 Honda CRV (Ox). Hers 2006 Mercury Milan (Millie).

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
1 month ago

Car-cars are 46 and 36 years old.

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
1 month ago

David, you didn’t watch sesame street as a kid?!?

That explains a lot.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=2AoxCkySv34

Aprtur
Aprtur
1 month ago

I was going to say….surely I couldn’t be the only one to figure out what Matt was getting at.

FunkyTrunks
FunkyTrunks
1 month ago

I have a ten-year-old…. Toyota Camry! I just bought it in January, and with 125,000 miles she runs like a champ. I’ll keep her running for a few more years, before buying another 10 year old car I think.

2manybikes
2manybikes
1 month ago

2023 GTI S! Love it!

InvivnI
InvivnI
1 month ago

I wish our customs officials were known as “soldiers of the yellow flames”, that’s… dramatic.

I don’t own a car-car at the moment, which makes me a bit sad. Hope to rectify that soon though as we’re on the lookout for a second car

Our SUV is a 2014 Ford Territory, so it’ll be 10 years old this year.

Manwich Sandwich
Manwich Sandwich
1 month ago

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

Yup… I have a 2008 Honda Fit… which makes it 16 years old…

Matthew ONeill
Matthew ONeill
1 month ago

My sole vehicle is a 2015 F-150, I traded in a perfectly functional 1998 Grand Marquis when I bought it in 2020, and in hind sight should have kept it as a beater to drive to work as everything was still functional on it. I donated the 1983 F-100 to my brother since he still missed his 83 F-150 that Katrina killed. My plan is to keep the truck until the wheels fall off, so far with 130,000 miles it’s been trouble free. Though I do want a Mustang GT, but not the note.

FSDKS
FSDKS
1 month ago

Until last month our family fleet average was 12 years old (2005, 2011, and 2019). Now with the 2011 sold and replaced with a 2021 it’s 9 years old. But then again, in 2022 we had 4 cars and those averaged to be 16 years old. So I guess we’re above average in 2024?

Dodsworth
Dodsworth
1 month ago

A great friend has a 2007 Camry V6 that he bought new. It has 70,000 miles on it. All maintenance done by the dealer. Everybody in the free world wanted to buy it. He gave it to his daughter. We all think the SOB is a great father.

MATTinMKE
MATTinMKE
1 month ago

I daily a 2019 Civic Si, wife has a 2022 Outback. Fun car is a 2005 Cooper S convertible.

So, 2/3 car, 1/3 crossover.

Knowonelse
Knowonelse
1 month ago

Our “fleet” averages to 30.6 years old spread as 60, 57, 32, 4, and 0 years old.

Strangek
Strangek
1 month ago

I’ve got a 7 year old sedan and a 12 year old “light truck.” Looking to replace the “light truck” with another “light truck” this year, then I’ll probably upgrade to an even cooler sedan in a couple years.

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
1 month ago

5 1/2 years. We only drive it about 10,000 KMs per year, so, barring catastrophe, I hope to get a lot more years out of it. It does sort of sting to replace parts because they are old, as opposed to used up, though. Plenty of tread left on those tires, but I expect to see some cracking soon. Oh well. I should probably also consider using fuel stabilizer. LOL

Tinibone
Tinibone
1 month ago

I have two car-cars!!
A 2023 Cupra Born and a 1990 RX7, which puts their average ages just older than the average US car! Very glad we didn’t end up with yet another SUV when buying last year, but NGL we were close to picking up a BYD

Steve Schriefer
Steve Schriefer
1 month ago

2018 C300 45K – never an issue
2016 Yaris – 160K – never an issue
2015 ML350 – 98K – never an issue
2006 Cooper S – 105K – auto went out and swapped to manual – no other issues
1999 Z3 Roadster – 114K – never an issue
1991 Hardbody – 130K – only issue is the HVAC fan only runs on high, part is on order and I’ll replace it on Friday. No other issues.

All are in great shape and lovingly maintained by me. Except the Yaris – it is an appliance and needs to leave the fleet for me to buy a T4 Eurovan.

Nevermind
Nevermind
1 month ago

My current collection, only normal wear replacements:
1976 F-150 100K – never an issue
1986 Defender 127K – never an issue
2004 Mini Cooper 74K – never an issue
2006 Cayenne 195K – never an issue

And the new one?

2022 Bronco 7K – in the shop for 6 straight weeks now, likely going to be several weeks more for multiple recalls and a transmission TSB, absolute garbage

Huja Shaw
Huja Shaw
1 month ago

Driving a 2009 Subaru Outback so I’m pretty average.

EXL500
EXL500
1 month ago

2015 Honda Fit EX, ten years old in June, 79k miles, in terrific shape, and it is going nowhere.

At this rate it will be another decade before it’s at 160k, and that’s not even middle age.

Meanwhile I’m 70 in January, so I expect and hope to have this car as long as I can drive. Then I’ll donate it to Honda if possible.

Max Headbolts
Max Headbolts
1 month ago

My sole vehicle (car) is now old enough to drink, 21! AH AH AH!!!

So I’m definitely helping pull that average down.

No Kids, Just Bikes
No Kids, Just Bikes
1 month ago

2009 GTI – 162k
2007 Vibe – 165k
1983 Merc SL – 189k (but restored)
2000 911 – 80k on new motor, but the tiptronic is unhealthy

2005 Tundra has 180k miles, but you can’t trust those belts.

Larry Brennan
Larry Brennan
1 month ago

Seven year-old Miata. I sincerely hope it lasts a long, long time.

Gubbin
Gubbin
1 month ago

[Woodie Guthrie voice] Let’s go ridin’ in the car-car…

Spouse’s Outback is a car-car, and at 23 is younger than either of our pickups. Fingers crossed, but it’s holding up so far. Need to figure out why its cold-idle is so high before Dear Spouse lurches the automatic transmission to death.

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