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Cars Are Getting Older: Who’s Buying What?

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Happy birthday, cars: many of the cars you see on the road have some of the longest lifespans ever. The average age of vehicles across different types of models and brands have significantly risen, but who’s buying what?

In the 1980s, a car reportedly lasted an average of around eight years before it was sent to the scrap heap. With new innovations in technology and car designs, however, this age has reached an average of over 11 years old, a never before seen milestone.

According to the newest IHS Automotive Survey, the average car streaming down the highway is an amazing 11.5 years old. Though trucks — including SUVs, pickup trucks, and minivans — don’t live quite as long as a car, both sides of the coin are living longer thanks to improvements in quality and the prevalence of used vehicles on the market.

This translates into increasingly bigger losses for the automotive industry, including dealerships and automakers. On top of that, ride sharing services offer an affordable alternative to car ownership. There are now about 305,100 people working for car rental services, taxis, and ride-sharing companies in the United States.

With so many options, what is the average person driving?

A new study by Priceonomics and CarMax analyzed the data pertaining to the ages of buyers and the types of cars they drive, including style and model.

According to the study, older drivers seem to prefer Cadillac and Buick. Most of these buyers exceed 45 years of age. The average Cadillac buyer settles in at a cozy 47 years old. For the younger crowd, Mazda and Volkswagen are most popular among those around 37 years old.

However, there is still more data to analyze. CarMax sales noted the average sports car buyer is usually young, but this number increases again once a driver turns 45. Meanwhile, trucks have a larger range, appealing to people between the ages of 25 to 50 across the board. Minivan sales peak when an individual is at 35 years old. Outside of that, minivan sales are pretty rare.

Statistically, young drivers are more likely to buy sedans made by foreign automakers, likely because of the lower price. Of course, young drivers are also more likely to get into car accidents. Today, the three most common causes of car accidents are distracted driving, drunk driving, and speeding; moreover, distracted driving is on the rise in the smartphone era.

What’s next for the auto industry?

With millions of cheap, used cars on the market (and many more coming off lease in the next few years), car makers are looking for new ways to sell new cars.

As vehicle innovations continue, however, the new car market may flourish again. GM has begun using 3-D printing to create new, more affordable seat brackets. They have been printing an estimated 30,000 3-D printed prototypes a year through their research and development.

Additionally, cars may even begin to talk. According to Wired, a new start-up company in silicon valley, Drive.ai, is working to establish talking cars using artificial intelligence a la Knight Rider.

This technology would be implemented in self-driving cars. The start-up’s founder, Bijit Halder, hopes to replace human drivers altogether with this innovative technology.

Right now, the start-up offers a small shuttle service with self-driving cars between a stadium and apartment complex. They utilize a human behind the wheel in case the self-driving car experiences any issues on the road.

But that isn’t the only innovation they plan on utilizing in this self-driving, talking car.

The shuttle fans currently employed sport an easy-to-spot orange color, reminiscent of school buses and taxis to help other drivers recognize that it is a self-driving vehicle.

“We want to be cognizant of the context in which you see the car, and be responsive to it,” Halder claims.

‘Additionally, the inside of the car features screens that display the van’s current trajectory in case if you almost miss a turn.

But how will the car talk?

The car plans to display a written message via four panels located on the hood, the back of the car, and above the front wheels.

“If the car comes to a stop to yield to a wary pedestrian, they flash, “Waiting for You,” alongside a graphic of a person in a crosswalk,” Wired explains. According to Halder that isn’t the end of innovation. The start-up has also experimented with animations, colors, and images.

The future of automakers and dealerships are definitely in limbo, but new advancements in technology are certainly making this race a fight to the finish.

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