Back in 2005, only 46% of those queried said they were waiting more than four years to buy a new car, and this year that number rose to 59%; a whopping 13% increase. The survey asks if car buyers are looking to buy in six months to a year, one to two years, two to three years, three to four years, or four or more years, and the numbers are down across the board verses last year. A paltry 1.49% of those surveyed said they were looking to buy in the next year, down 1.05% from last year, and 2.12% as compared to 2005. The number of survey participants looking to buy in the next one to two years has been cut in half to only 5.68%, which doesn't bode well for the short-term future of car sales.
These survey numbers could foreshadow more troubles for the auto industry, and AutoPacific president George Peterson sees this as a long-term issue:
"We'll not be seeing the frequent replacement pattern brought about by strong incentives and financing programs that made it easy and financially reasonable over the last decade for consumers to get into a new car frequently. This may also tell us that consumers will be putting a higher priority on vehicles with a reputation for quality and durability that meets not only their short-term needs, but also their long-term expected needs."As bad as these numbers look, we're guessing that they're more a reflection of the state of the economy than a long-term assessment of the auto industry, although they could also have something to do with improving vehicle reliability and the increasing commonality of longer warranties. Still, AutoPacific's numbers changed drastically from 2008, meaning many that said they would buy a vehicle in a certain time frame only last year have changed their minds a year later. If the economy picks up, we suspect some will change their minds again. If the nation's financial picture remains mired in a depression, though, sales will continue to be slow. Either way, we've got the feeling that the days of 16-17 million annual new car sales in the U.S. are behind us.
Are you planning on keeping your car longer these days? Take our survey (and check out the official press release and chart) after the jump, then drop your fellow reader a line in 'Comments.'
[Source: AutoPacific | Image: George Marks/Getty]