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1 27th October 13:10
c. e. white
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Default What percentage of 20 year old cars are on the road?


A Toyota commercial they are running in my area claims that 80% of all
Toyota sold in the last 20 years are still on the road. This seemed to
be a very low number to me. What do other think?

I would have thought given Toyota's increase in sales over the last
twenty years they would have had more like 90% of the cars sold in the
last 20 years still on the road. Toyota sales have been increasing
over the last twenty years, so a higher percentage of Toyotas will be
newer models. Since a high percentage of Toyotas are newer vehicles
that are more likely to still be on the road, the overall percentage
of Toyotas sold in the last 20 years will be higher (becasue of the
newer car bias). For GM, the math works the other way. GM sales have
been stagnent or actually declining over the last 20 years, so a
higher percentage of their cars will be older and therefore less
likely to still be on the road. I am sure the 80% number is based on
registrations, so it might be that it over estimates the number
actually in daily use - or under estimates it in cases where cars are
used off road (or illeagally) and not registered.

Does anyone have any actual numbers? I am confident that 100% of the
NEW vehicles I purchased in the last 20 years are still on the road,
but maybe I am an exception.

Here is sort of what I am thinking.....NOT REAL NUMBERS -

For a manufacturer with increasing sales (5% increase per year)

Year Original Percent Total
Sold Sales On road On Road
1990 500000 33% 165000
1991 525000 38% 199500
1992 551250 43% 237038
1993 578813 48% 277830
1994 607753 53% 322109
1995 638141 58% 370122
1996 670048 63% 422130
1997 703550 68% 478414
1998 738728 72% 531884
1999 775664 76% 589505
2000 814447 80% 651558
2001 855170 84% 718343
2002 897928 88% 790177
2003 942825 91% 857970
2004 989966 93% 920668
2005 1039464 96% 997886
2006 1091437 97% 1058694
2007 1146009 98% 1123089
2008 1203310 99% 1191277
2009 1263475 99% 1250840
Total 16532977 80% 13154033

For a manufacturer with slightly decreasing sales (1% decrease per
year), but same percent still on the road:

1990 1263475 33% 416947
1991 1250840 38% 475319
1992 1238332 43% 532483
1993 1225949 48% 588455
1994 1213689 53% 643255
1995 1201552 58% 696900
1996 1189537 63% 749408
1997 1177641 68% 800796
1998 1165865 72% 839423
1999 1154206 76% 877197
2000 1142664 80% 914131
2001 1131238 84% 950240
2002 1119925 88% 985534
2003 1108726 91% 1008941
2004 1097639 93% 1020804
2005 1086662 96% 1043196
2006 1075796 97% 1043522
2007 1065038 98% 1043737
2008 1054387 99% 1043843
2009 1043843 99% 1033405
Total 23007003 73% 16707535

The net is, manufacturers that have similar reliability can have
significantly different percentages of vehicles built in the last 20
years still on the road. Ergo, the Toyota's ad claim is at best
meaningless, at worst deliberately misleading....but then I've always
assumed that the Chevy (or sometimes Dodge) ads that clam their trucks
are the most reliable and longest lasting (based on registration data)
are deliberately misleading. So, I don't think Toyota is being
espeically misleading, but I wonder how many people understand the ad?
I'll bet many people think Toyota is saying 80% of 20 year old Toyotas
are still on the road, instead of 80% of the Toyotas sold in the last
twenty years....isn't marketing wonderful. There is a huge difference
in the two statements.

Ed
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2 27th October 13:11
joesparebedroom
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Default What percentage of 20 year old cars are on the road?


State motor vehicle deparments probably have the data, although it might
need to be massaged in order to make sense of it. If magazines & newspapers
can get the information, you probably can too. That's a big "if", though. It
might cost money.
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3 27th October 13:11
c. e. white
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Default What percentage of 20 year old cars are on the road?


I should have been a little clearer. I am sure RL Polk & Co. has
amassed the registration data for all the US into a huge database. RL
Polk is in the buisness of selling this information. Ads claiming
longevity often reference RL Poolk data as the source of the claim,
but I can't access the raw data without paying for it. I was hoping
there was an open source (i.e. free), possibly a simplified version,
available to the public. Without being to actually see the data, it is
hard to know how to treat the claims based on the data. I once wrote
Chevy and asked about their claim that Chevy makes the longest lasting
most reliable trucks. All they said was that it was based on RL Polk
registration data for a particualr period. Of course without actually
ahving access to the data, I can't see how the claim means anything.
Even worse, even if I had the raw registration data, I doubt it is
meaningful unless you also know how the trucks were actully used. I
always assumed that a higher percentage of Chevy trucks were purchased
by suburban users than was the case for Ford (i.e., more Fords were in
commercial use / farm use / fleet use), and therefore the Chevy trucks
were more liekly to be gently used, better cared for, and used less,
so therefore registration data byear alone would tend to suggest they
lasted longer... which might not really be true for vehicles used in
the same manner by similar populations of users.

I guess the old statement that "Figures don't lie, but liars figure"
sums up the problem with claims made based on RL Polk registration
data. I've always assumed that manufacturers actually have good data,
but that they have no intention of publishing it. No manufactuer
builds perfect vehciles, and if they start putting out the good data,
sooner of later someone is going to demand to see the bad data as
well, and use a lawsuit to pry it out into the open. Better to make
unverifiable claims based on third party information that can be
checked but don't actually prove anything.

I am 100% sure that Toyota is telling the truth when they say 80% of
the Toyotas sold in the last twenty years are still on the road. I am
also certain that it is virtually a meaningless statement, but that it
sounds like it means something important. It is the perfect sort of
marketing claim - true, verifiable, and easily missunderstood to be
more significant than it is. At least that is how I see it.

Ed
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4 27th October 13:11
david
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Posts: 1
Default What percentage of 20 year old cars are on the road?


Here in the UK the Government is trying to get older cars off the road.
If you buy a new car and scrap your present one of 10 years or older they
give you 2000. I think in Europe is 3000 ( in Euros of course.)

--
Regards,
David

FREESAT HD as it is now it is a joke.
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5 27th October 13:11
joesparebedroom
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Posts: 1
Default What percentage of 20 year old cars are on the road?


Write to Polk and ask if anyone (maybe a magazine) has published articles
which answer your questions using that data.

While you're at it, see if they have any data which backs up your bullshit
claims about what types of people buy certain brands of trucks for
particular purposes ("work" versus "just to haul groceries and the dog").
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6 27th October 19:37
ray o
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Posts: 1
Default What percentage of 20 year old cars are on the road?


Automakers generally don't come up with the various statements and claims
made in advertising. More often, it the automakers' ad agencies that come
up with the statements. Of course, auto executives have to approve the ads.
In Toyota's case, I suspect that the ad is a counter to the Detroit 3's ads
citing various sources to show that their vehicles are the longest lasting.
The trend to cite statistics in advertising is probably the result of what
marketing professors have been teaching marketing majors in college.

The "80% of Toyotas sold in the last 20 years are still on the road" implies
that other volume automakers have a lower volume, which could be the result
of the Cash for Clunkers program. Most of the vehicles traded in for the
program were supposed to get less than 18 MPG and be less than 25 years old.
Other than the Land Cruiser, Tundra, and Sequoia, a very high proportion of
Toyotas sold in the last 20 years (probably greater than 80%) did not
qualify for the clunkers program because they got better than 18 MPG. The
Detroit 3's historical sales have been larger vehicles, so they may have had
disproportionate representation in the clunkers traded in, regardless of the
condition of the vehicles. I think something like 700,000 clunkers were
traded in, and if they were mostly Detroit 3 products, then that may have
been enough to sway the statistics in Toyota's favor.
--

Ray O
(correct punctuation to reply)
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7 27th October 19:37
m6onz5a
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Default What percentage of 20 year old cars are on the road?


All of those old cars must be hiding somewhere because I hardly ever
see any old ones on the road.
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8 27th October 19:37
n8n
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Posts: 1
Default What percentage of 20 year old cars are on the road?


Somewhere I remember seeing stats of vehicle survival broken down by
mfgr - although I haven't a clue where I saw it now, and can't be
arsed to look at the moment. IIRC the longest-lived vehicles aren't
necessarily the ones you'd think - e.g. Porsche was near the top of
the list. (of course, I'm contributing to that stat myself, although
I also have a fairly aged F-150 as well.)

nate
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9 27th October 19:37
michael
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Posts: 1
Default What percentage of 20 year old cars are on the road?


You might try digging in the http://www.census.gov website.

Not sure how much this will help you: http://www.census.gov/svsd/www/vius/2002.html

Good luck,

Michael
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10 27th October 19:37
External User
 
Posts: 1
Default What percentage of 20 year old cars are on the road?


You need to read the claim.
80% of vehicles sold over the last 20 years are still on the road.
This could be true even if NO 20 year old Toyotas were still on the
road. There are still a significant number of 1989 Toyotas on the
road, particularly in the south, and California (where the majority
were sold in the beginning)
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