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Study: Americans are keeping cars longer

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Feb. 2, 2011 — U.S. car owners are keeping their vehicles longer than they have in the past, which means more work for the repair industry, according to a recent study from The NPD Group.

The research company’s 2011 Aftermarket Outlook Survey found that 52 percent of consumers plan to keep their car five years or more. Even owners with vehicles 10 years old or older plan to keep them another five years on average.

Most of the people surveyed are expecting repairs or maintenance this year and of those, 61 percent said they would have a professional do the work. That’s a 56-percent increase from a year ago. The remaining 34 percent plans to do their own maintenance and repair work.

Those who plan to do their own work said they would turn to family or friends (57 percent), the vehicle repair manual (46 percent), a mechanic (42 percent), the Internet (42 percent), or store personnel (16 percent) for guidance.

“The new reality is that consumers are keeping their cars longer and those cars will need repairs and maintenance,” said David Portalatin, industry analyst for NPD’s aftermarket unit. “For companies providing professional repair and maintenance work this presents a strong growth opportunity. For companies seeking ways to assist consumers and promote [do-it-yourself] activity, the Internet will be an important tool in 2011.”

The NPD group provides comprehensive consumer and retail information on a wide range of industries. For more information on the company, go to

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