Recent studies by Polk, a firm that specializes in intelligence about the automotive industry, indicate that American consumers are keeping their cars for longer information that could have more than one positive ramification for students currently enrolled in mechanic college.
Why should anyone enrolled in a mechanic program pay attention to this news? Because it could mean an increase in demand for the kind of automotive repair services that they are training to offer people.
The studies conducted by Polk track the age of vehicles currently in operation. The 2012 study found an increase in the age between 2011 as compared with 2010. But this is not the most important piece of information, from the perspective of anyone currently pursuing mechanic courses.
Mechanic college students would perhaps be more interested to know that the age of cars in use has risen very quickly and dramatically over the past five years.
Cars are getting older, and individual owners are owning them longer, meaning that they are more likely to seek the repair services of graduates of mechanic college. The average amount of time that owners hold on to their vehicles, whether new or previously owned, is said to have increased by 23% since 2008. Owners are keeping their new cars and trucks for close to six years, more than 25% longer than before 2008. Many owners are taking advantage of longer-term financing so as to better be able to afford the monthly payments. And, as students may learn in mechanic courses, car use has been falling among specific segments of the population, particularly teens (a phenomenon that some have blamed on social media rather than on such economic concerns as the rising price of gas).
(Not all of this can be attributed to the slowdown. Some research suggests that this generation of vehicles has simply been built to higher, longer lasting standards, perhaps thanks to the ingenuity of former students in mechanic college.)
Consumers are spending less on buying new-to-them vehicles. This likely translates into more money spent on maintenance good news for graduates of mechanic college.
Another piece of information from the same organization that may also be of interest to students in mechanic courses: the total number of cars on the road declined between 2008 and 2011. But some industry observers have suggested that car purchases will soon go up, as consumers replace non-existent or ageing cars, creating more potential repair work for those currently enrolled in a mechanic program. The pent-up demand is expected to drive sales as the economy recovers. And with those new cars will come the need for more repair services.
In conclusion, the economic slowdown has not destroyed the North American car industry Far from it. Rather, it has changed it in such a way as to have possibly even increased demand for graduates of mechanic college.