Cars scrapped exceeded new car sales in 2009 for the first time since World War II,
Can China replace tha USA? Not if we are not buying Chinese made car parts to fund them, and they tighten credit to cool growth.
Repairers and parts purveyors would be wise to brace for a shrinking national motor pool, according to a study released in January.
Cars scrapped exceeded new car sales in 2009 for the first time since World War II, shrinking the U.S. vehicle fleet from the all-time high of 250 million to 246 million. “It now appears that this new trend of scrappage exceeding sales could continue through at least 2020,” says EPI President Lester R. Brown.
“America’s century-old love affair with the automobile may be coming to an end,” he observes. “The U.S. fleet has apparently peaked and started to decline.”
Last year the 14 million cars scrapped rose above the 10 million new cars sold, reducing the fleet by 4 million, or nearly 2 percent, since 2008’s levels. “While this is widely associated with the recession, it is in fact caused by several converging forces,” Brown reports.
Among the trends keeping sales well below the annual figure of 15 million to 17 million that prevailed from 1994 through 2007 are market saturation, ongoing urbanization, economic uncertainty, oil insecurity, rising gasoline prices, frustration with traffic congestion, mounting concerns about climate change, and a declining interest in cars among young people, according to the study.
Market saturation may be the dominant contributor to the peaking. The U.S. now has 246 million registered motor vehicles and 209 million licensed drivers – nearly five vehicles for every four drivers.