Would younger cars be better? For Whom?

USAToday reported on January 18 that the average car age at record 10.8 years, a new record.  Actually, the average car age was 11.1 years, and average truck age was 10.4.

The focus of the article, of course, was how projections hope that the improving economy will boost new car sales and bring this average down.

Is this a good thing? The article doesn’t mention any other reasons why people haven’t been buying new cars but the economy.  What if cars are actually being built better than they used to be, and thus are lasting longer?  Or maybe people are taking better care of them?  Perhaps it could even be that people are less interested in the size of the payment that comes with putting next-to-nothing down on a $20,000 car.

No: all the information we get is the average age of cars, and the hope or expectation that a better economy will mean more newer cars.

I’m not sure it’s that easy.

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