Vehicle Average Age Metric is Out of Touch

From Lang iReport

Car Lang Article“Vehicle Average Age is a mainstay of estimating the aftermarket potential of a vehicle population. Despite its wide use, Average Age is out of touch with key aftermarket dynamics and can be misleading. For example, when new vehicle sales surge, Average Age can fall dramatically despite an increase in the number of older cars and light trucks, which are much more important than new vehicles for aftermarket volume.”

“Lang Marketing believes that aftermarket metrics should focus on vehicles of greatest significance to aftermarket product volume: cars and light trucks four years and older, which Lang Marketing calls Aftermarket Vehicles. This requires a new means of defining and calculating vehicle Average Age.”

Aftermarket Vehicle Focus

The concept of Aftermarket Vehicles was explored in a recent Lang iReport, including the impact these vehicles (four years and older) have on aftermarket volume.

Rather than all vehicles in operation, Lang Marketing believes that aftermarket analysis should focus on Aftermarket Vehicles.

These cars and light trucks generate approximately 96% of all light vehicle aftermarket product volume (not including Tires and Accessories).

Aftermarket Vehicle Average Age

A new metric Lang Marketing has termed Aftermarket Vehicle Average Age is a more accurate measure of a VIO’s aftermarket potential: the Average Age of cars and light trucks four years and older.

Statistical Quirks of Average Age

The Average Age of all vehicles is determined by two factors: new vehicle sales and vehicle scrappage.

Aftermarket Vehicle Average Age is a new metric developed by Lang Marketing that focuses on vehicle scrappage and the number of vehicles at least four years old.

By excluding vehicles aged three years and younger, this new metric focuses on the aftermarket potential of a select segment of the vehicle population rather than all light vehicles on the road.

Enhanced Average Age Metrics

The Average Age of all light vehicles in operation stood at 12.7 years at the beginning of January 2022.

Lang Marketing’s Aftermarket Vehicle Average Age is considerably higher due to not including newer cars and light trucks.

Aftermarket Vehicle Average Age in the U.S. was 14.9 years at the beginning of 2022.

Average Age Five-Year History

Using the conventional means of calculation, the Average Age of all vehicles on the road climbed from 12.1 years in 2017 to 12.7 years by 2022.

Lang Marketing’s Aftermarket Vehicle Average Age was not only higher during both years, but it grew at a much faster pace. Aftermarket Vehicle Average Age climbed from 13.7 years in 2017 to 14.9 years at the beginning of 2022.

Metric Differences

The key difference in these two metrics is that the conventional measure of Vehicle Age includes over 47 million vehicles under four years old at the beginning of 2022.

These newer vehicles contribute very little to 2022 aftermarket product volume. This traditional metric also understates the significance of the rapidly growing number of older cars and light trucks (particularly those 12 years and older) on aftermarket volume.

New Vehicle Metrics from Lang Marketing

Lang Marketing will begin developing a series of new aftermarket vehicle metrics that more accurately measure the aftermarket impact of the rapidly changing vehicle population.


A significant advantage of Aftermarket Vehicle Average Age is that it can be predicted up to three years in the future more accurately than the conventional Average Age, which depends on estimates of new vehicle annual sales and annual vehicle scrappage.

Electric Vehicles

Average Age, calculated in the traditional manner, understates the aftermarket impact of older vehicles, particularly Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) cars and light trucks.

Electric Vehicles on the road are concentrated among cars and light trucks under four years old. Using conventional methodology, these vehicles are given the same significance in Average Age calculations as older ICE vehicles.

ICE vehicles and EVs make dramatically different contributions to aftermarket product volume, something that Aftermarket Vehicle Average Age can take into consideration.

New Metrics Needed

Beginning with Aftermarket Vehicle Average Age, Lang Marketing is developing a new set of metrics based on vehicles at least four years old, which will more accurately address the key dynamics of the evolving aftermarket and provide better analysis of a vehicle population’s potential to generate aftermarket product volume.