Clunker

A new study by R.L. Polk & Co. finds that more Americans scrapped their old vehicles than bought new ones, even during the height of the Cash for Clunkers program. The study took place over a 15-month period ending last September. During that time, a total of 14.8 million vehicles were scrapped in the U.S., while just 13.6 million new registrations were issued. The report said that U.S. scrap rates had risen to 6.9 percent of the country's total vehicle fleet in October of 2009, compared to 4.3 percent in July of 2005.

The study also finds that the average age for all light trucks and cars on the road today is 10.2 years - much older than before the recession hit. Similarly, owners are keeping their vehicles longer. The Polk research shows that on average, Americans hold onto their vehicles for 49.9 months, compared to 45 months at the same time last year.

R.L. Polk & Co. typically follows scrap trends as an indicator of future vehicle sales, though not over such an extended period of time. As owners send their old hulks out to pasture, they typically fill the empty slots in their driveways with new models.

[Source: Automotive News | Image: Justin Sullivan/Getty]