September 5, 2006

Lexus and Volkswagen highest in vehicle longevity, analyst says

Richmond Hill, Ontario – Lexus cars and Volkswagen light trucks top the lists in survival rates, according to a report issued by industry analyst Dennis DesRosiers. The report looks at vehicles bought between 11 and 20 years ago, and the percentage that are still on the road today.

The study was conducted by comparing original sales numbers with Polk’s current vehicle-on-the-road data, to determine how many units are still in operation and from there, the percentage of survival rates. “Some 64 per cent of light trucks and 53 per cent of passenger cars survive fifteen years of active ownership,” DesRosiers says. But he warns that, “Older vehicles are, by a large margin, the least fuel efficient and highest polluting road users. The sooner they disappear, the sooner some of our environmental targets will be met. A cursory look at survival rates makes it crystal clear that all levels of government should be focusing on getting older vehicles off the road, rather than the much more difficult goal of persuading consumers to purchase more fuel-efficient vehicles.”

Among passenger cars, Lexus led the list with a 61.60 per cent survival rate, followed by Mercedes-Benz at 44.30 per cent, and Saturn at 41.60 per cent. Cars above the industry average, following those three, were (in order) Infiniti, Acura, BMW, Volvo, Cadillac, Jaguar, Lincoln, Toyota, Honda, Mazda, Saab, Buick, Volkswagen, Chrysler and Nissan. Oldsmobile was below the industry average, at minus 0.10 per cent, followed in descending order by Subaru, Chevrolet, Ford, Pontiac, Audi, Mercury, Eagle, Dodge, Suzuki, Plymouth, Isuzu, Hyundai and finally Lada, at minus 28.70 per cent.

Among light trucks, Volkswagen was highest at 27.80 per cent, followed by Chrysler, Pontiac, Land Rover, Chevrolet, Jeep, Toyota and GMC; below the industry average, in descending order, were Mazda, Dodge, Isuzu, Nissan, Ford, Plymouth, Suzuki, and Lada. All below the industry average were only by a slight margin, with second-last Suzuki at minus 8.70 per cent, but Lada was at minus 37.40 per cent.

DesRosiers warns, however, that the numbers do not necessarily reflect quality, and may be affected by such factors as initial inexpensive prices, which may “write off” a vehicle more easily than an expensive model; exportation of vehicles to the U.S.; and fleet vehicles, which tend to reach high mileage sooner than private vehicles.

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