June 28, 2005

Canadians keep their vehicles longer, J.D. Power reports

Westlake Village, California – Canadian consumers keep their new vehicles an average of 6.4 years before trading them in for a new model, according to retail transaction data compiled from more than 550 automotive franchises by J.D. Power and Associates Power Information Network (PIN).

PIN trade data from March through May 2005 shows that Canadians drive their new vehicles an average of 116,797 km before trading them in.

“Canadians tend to keep their vehicles significantly longer than U.S. drivers, who keep their vehicles an average of 5.1 years,” said Tom Libby, senior director of industry analysis at the Power Information Network. “But the trends are similar. In both countries, owners of compact cars keep their vehicles longer than drivers of luxury cars or large SUVS, who are more likely to lease for three or four years.”

Drivers of entry-level compact cars, such as the Kia Rio and Hyundai Accent, keep their vehicles an average of 8.6 years, the longest ownership time period of all segments in the industry. They also drive their vehicles further than those in other segments, covering an average 134,470 km.

In contrast, owners of full-size SUVs and heavy-duty pickup trucks have the shortest ownership cycles among the 20 vehicle segments listed, with an average of 4.4 and 4.2 years respectively. Full-size SUVs are driven an average of 109,316 km before trade-in, while heavy-duty full-size pickup trucks travel an average 109,496 km. Premium sports car owners drive their vehicles the shortest distance, at an average 56,364 km.

“One of the challenges the Canadian auto market faces is that most Canadian consumers tend to stay out of the market longer than U.S. consumers,” said Richard Cooper, executive director of J.D. Power and Associates Canadian operations. “By driving their vehicles for a longer period of time, they’re not in shopping as frequently. That slower turnover affects sales across Canada’s new-vehicle market.”

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