The 11.5 figure, up from 11.4 last year, comes from IHS Automotive, which analyzed a snapshot of vehicles in operation from January 1, 2015.
“The longer the customer keeps the vehicle, yes, the more likely they will need their windshield replaced,” says Mike Delaney, president of Patriot Auto Glass in Ashburn, Va. “I have customers who replace their windshield on their older vehicle just due to normal road wear, including pitting, scratches, chips, etc. They want to be able to see clearly out of it, as the older one becomes more difficult, especially at night. The glare of headlights can make it dangerous the older and more worn the windshield gets.”
Barry Lintner, owner of Pensacola, Fla.-based Lloyd’s Glass, is seeing more repeat customers due to the aging vehicle population.
“A lot more people, myself included, exemplify the person who says ‘I have a perfectly good vehicle, I’m going to keep it.’ We see a lot more older vehicles on the road and they are in a lot better condition.”
On the other side of the coin, a few AGRR owners say the increase in the average age of vehicles isn’t impacting their businesses.
“We are certainly seeing our customers holding onto their vehicles for a longer amount of time,” says Patrick McKernan, president of American Mobile Glass of N.J. “With an increase in technology and efficiency, this number is of course going to continue to grow. We do not see an increase or decrease in glass repair or replacement depending on the age of the vehicle, or the vehicle’s glass for that matter. Glass holds up very well to the test of time, and unless something strikes it in a way that would penetrate through and cause a crack, it will last more than 20 years with ease and not suffer any loss of structural integrity at all.”
Dennis Farrar, owner of Oesterle Auto Glass & Paint in Parkersburg, W.V., continues to work on a large mix of both older and newer model vehicles.
“We really have not seen that trend [of more older vehicles] with our customer base,” he says. “People are still driving and repairing their cars from the 1990s, as well as customers bringing in their 2015 cars that have caught a rock. One thing we have noticed, though, is that it is harder to get parts (especially tempered) for pre-2001 vehicles than it ever has been.”
What else did IHS discover? Registrations for vehicles in operation has reached the record level of 257.9 million, up more than 5.3 million from the prior year.
“When looking at six- to 11-year-old vehicles in 2015, the group includes just over 81 million cars and light trucks. However, if you extend that range to include up to 13-year-old vehicles, the number is nearly 108 million and gets to nearly 120 million for six to 14 years old,” according to the report.