Lang Aftermarket iReport: Odometers reach record heights


“The average age of cars and light trucks is increasing across the U.S., along with the mileage on their odometers. At mid-year 2019, the typical light vehicle in the U.S. averaged approximately 22,000 more odometer miles than 10 years earlier (2009). The downturn in 2020 vehicle sales has pushed the average age and odometer readings of cars and light trucks to record-high levels.

“This is significant for aftermarket product growth since older vehicles with greater accumulated mileage consume more aftermarket products per mile than cars and light trucks with lower odometer readings.”

— Jim Lang, publisher, Lang Aftermarket iReport


Odometer Miles and Aftermarket Volume

Not all light vehicle miles generate the same aftermarket product volume. Aftermarket product use per mile varies significantly according to a vehicle’s age and, therefore, its accumulated mileage.

For example, a vehicle with 155,000 miles on its odometer will generate more aftermarket product use when driven 12,500 miles in a year than a vehicle with 25,000 accumulated miles.

All Light Vehicles

The average light vehicle in the U.S. at mid-year 2009 had approximately 101,000 miles on its odometer. Accumulated mileage on the average light vehicle increased to approximately 112,000 by 2014, with odometer miles reaching an estimated 123,000 for the average light vehicle in 2019. Lang Marketing projects that the average light vehicle odometer topped 126,000 during 2020.

Given the large increases in odometer mileage over these years, a typical vehicle in 2019 generated more aftermarket product volume than the typical vehicle in 2009 or 2014.

Cars & Light Trucks

The average car in the U.S. during 2019 had approximately 19,000 more miles on its odometer than the average car ten years earlier.

The growth in light truck accumulated mileage was greater, climbing from an estimated 100,000 in 2009 to 125,000 miles by 2019.

Domestic Nameplate Accumulated Mileage

Accumulated miles on the average domestic nameplate increased to 121,000 miles during 2014, up from 116,000 mile five years earlier. By 2019, the average domestic nameplate had 127,000 miles on its odometer.

Domestic nameplates averaged much higher accumulated miles per vehicle than foreign nameplates in the U.S. during 2009 through 2019.

Foreign Nameplates

Foreign nameplates averaged approximately 22,000 fewer accumulated miles per vehicle during 2009 than their domestic counterparts.

By 2019, foreign nameplates averaged 116,000 miles on their odometers compared to a much higher 127,000 accumulated miles on the average domestic light vehicle in the U.S.

Domestic Cars Lead in Odometer Miles

Domestic cars average the highest odometer readings of any light vehicle group in the U.S.

During 2009, domestic cars averaged nearly 124,000 odometer miles, much higher than the 101,000 miles accumulated by the average light vehicle.

By 2019, domestic cars pushed their average odometer miles to over 150,000 miles, significantly higher than 123,000 average accumulated miles for all light vehicles during 2019. This odometer mileage gap widened during 2020.

Six Major Takeaways

  • Not all driving generates the same aftermarket product use per mile since product wear per mile varies significantly by a vehicle’s age and, therefore, its accumulated mileage.
  • Odometer mileage on cars and light trucks is critical for their aftermarket product use since older vehicles with greater accumulated mileage use more aftermarket products per mile than vehicles with fewer odometer miles. See the all-new 2021 Lang Aftermarket Annual for a 10-year analysis of the changing odometer readings.
  • The typical car and light truck in the U.S. in 2009 had approximately 101,000 accumulated miles, with the average light vehicle odometer spinning up to 123,000 miles by 2019. Lang Marketing projects that the average light vehicle odometer topped a record-high 126,000 miles during 2020.
  • Cars averaged more accumulated miles between 2009 and 2019 than light trucks. However, this mileage gap narrowed during this period.
  • Foreign nameplate cars and light truck have significantly lower accumulated mileage than domestic nameplates. Foreign nameplates averaged 116,000 odometer miles in 2019 compared to 127,000 accumulated mileage on the average domestic nameplate.
  • Domestic nameplate cars average the highest odometer readings of any major light vehicle group, topping 150,000 odometer miles in 2019.

Copyright 2021 by Lang Marketing Resources, Inc.

NOTESpecial thanks to publisher Jim Lang for granting us permission to publish the Lang Aftermarket iReport.