Nearly six in 10 (59%) Americans say they do not plan to shop for a new car for more than four years, a significant increase over the 46% who said the same thing in 2005, according to a survey by automotive research firm AutoPacific.
At the same time, the number of people intending to replace their vehicle within the next two years also has similarly fallen, and 72% of those surveyed say it will be more than a year before they will be in the market for a new vehicle.
Only 1.5% of respondents indicate they will be shopping for a new vehicle within the next six to 12 months.
The survey illustrates a significant increase in the number of people planning to hold onto their cars and trucks and the? growing hesitation among Americans to invest in a new vehicle, AutoPacific said.
Survey results also support other research that indicates the public is delaying car purchases because it is wary about the current condition of the American automobile industry and the US economy as a whole. A 2008 survey from TNS showed that half of Americans were delaying the purchase of a new car.
The only auto buyers not changing their car-buying habits are those people who replace their cars very quickly. “Rapid replacers don’t seem to be changing their pattern, but people who previously bought a new car every one or two years have significantly scaled back their purchasing, and those who before bought every three to four years are now waiting at least an additional year,” said George Peterson, president of AutoPacific.
Peterson said his firm does not expect to see the frequent auto replacement patterns that had, in recent years, been fueled by strong incentives and financing programs induced consumers to car-switch often.
The findings also suggest that consumers may be putting a higher priority on vehicles with a reputation for quality and durability that meet not only their short-term needs, but also their requirements for the long haul, he added.
About the survey: In April 2009, automotive research firm AutoPacific conducted a national internet survey among car owners. More than 32,000 US respondents contributed to the research.