Canadians replace their cars too early

Top priority is price

December 7, 2012
by Fleet Management staff

From the November-December 2012 Fleet Management print edition

Despite improved fuel economy, safety features and new styles of modern cars, when it comes to buying a new or used vehicle Canadian drivers’ top priority is the price.

However, most Canadians contradict their priorities by spending thousands of dollars replacing their vehicles long before the “best before” date, with 77 percent of those responding to a recent Leger Marketing survey driving vehicles less than 10 years old.

“Many Canadians are robbing themselves by forcing their vehicles into early retirement,” says Freeman Young, president of Krown Rust Control, which sponsored the survey. “With regular maintenance and taking simple preventative steps throughout the life of a vehicle, Canadians can keep more money in their pockets and reduce their environmental impact by keeping their cars on the road and out of the junk yard for a longer period of time.”

According to George Iny, director of the Automobile Protection Association, a non-profit consumer interest organization, automotive depreciation can cost a consumer an average of $2,000 a year over the life of their vehicle. Depreciation costs are two to three times that amount in the first years of ownership. Iny says extending the life of your vehicle with regular maintenance is the best way to maintain its value and reduce insurance costs.

According to the survey, Canadians’ top priorities when purchasing a new or used vehicle are:

  1. Price
  2. Fuel efficiency
  3. Safety
  4. Style/make
  5. Resale value
  6. Environmental impact

The results show that most Canadians, regardless of which region they’re from, are driving vehicles less than 10 years old:

  1. Quebec: 81%
  2. Ontario: 81%
  3. Alberta: 75%
  4. Atlantic Canada: 73%
  5. British Columbia: 69%
  6. Manitoba/Saskatchewan: 69%

The survey was completed online between August 13 and August 16, 2012 using Leger Marketing’s online panel, LegerWeb, with a sample of 1,260 Canadians who own, lease or finance a vehicle. A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of +/- 2.76%, 19 times out of 20.