There were a total of 22.2 million light vehicles registered for road use in Canada in 2011. That figure compares to 20.2 million registrations in 2007, according to DesRosiers Automotive Consultants – an increase of 9.9% in five years.
Much of that increase is the result of Canadians keeping their vehicles longer.
This trend toward increased vehicle longevity and extended use is expected to continue in the near future, says Dennis DesRosiers – and it will stand to benefit businesses that sell or service older vehicles.
Average vehicle age increasing
Due to the lower scrappage rates and the improved durability of newer vehicles, the average age of a light vehicle in Canada has increased by 0.31 years since 2007 to about 8.6 years in 2011. But that figure is still well short of the 10.8-year average age in the U.S., which is also continuing to grow.
The proportion of vehicles between 8-and-12 years old, relative to the total vehicle fleet, has increased by 11.9 % since 2007 (increasing their share of the overall population by 3.1 percentage points), according to DesRosiers.
And the number of vehicles more than 12 years old increased as well. In fact, the only vehicle age range for which numbers declined was three years and less – reflecting the steep declines in new-vehicle sales in 2009 and 2010.
DesRosiers expects the total light-vehicle count (which excludes medium- and heavy-duty trucks, buses and the like) to increase by another 1.9% by the end of 2012 and is forecasted to keep growing until at least 2020.
Growth not uniform
However, the growth in the vehicle fleet is not geographically uniform.
Although Ontario hosts the greatest number of light vehicles in Canada, its growth rate is "middling," says Des Rosiers, particularly in comparison with Alberta which posted the highest year-over-year provincial increase of 4.8%.
The other Prairie Provinces and Atlantic Canada also displayed above-average growth rates.