Driving lesson

What Americans Drive: In-use Vehicles, Used Vehicle Exports, Electric Vehicles, and Tips for Motor Geeks

No, these used vehicle exports are not all destined for Mexico. On the contrary.

By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET.

According to Experian’s quarterly report today, based on registration data.

The net gain of 1.6 million vehicles in circulation over the 12-month period is the result of:

  • Added: 13.5 million new vehicles registered – compared to around 17 million or more in a decent year, when supply chains were functional and vehicle production was not hampered by chip shortages .
  • Removed: 11.9 million vehicles were taken out of service, either by being salvaged; or by being exported to other countries. More on used vehicle exports in a moment.

Exports of used vehicles from the United States to the rest of the world.

According to the Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration, 933,435 used vehicles were exported to other countries in calendar year 2021, after exports plummeted in 2020. In data going back to 2008, the record was set in 2019, with exports of nearly 1 million used vehicles:

No, they’re not all going to Mexico. On the contrary.

Mexico has become an automobile manufacturing powerhouse. Some of the vehicles are built for export to the United States and other countries. Other vehicles – often cheaper models with fewer features – are built for sale in Mexico. These new vehicles built in Mexico for Mexico are fueling the used vehicle market in Mexico.

U.S. used vehicle exports to Mexico have declined over the years, dropping from their peak in 2014 of 110,000 vehicles to 66,800 vehicles in 2021, now accounting for just 7% of total used vehicle exports ( red line in the graph below).

Among the top 10 destination countries in 2021 for US used vehicle exports is Germany, where muscle cars are present, but only a tiny bit, compared to the country’s huge market. . But other countries on the list have small used-vehicle markets — like the Dominican Republic or Lithuania — and U.S. exports play a bigger role in their local markets:

Used vehicle exports, top 10 destinations
United Arab Emirates 109,715
Nigeria 108,014
Ukraine 106,489
Georgia 69,602
Mexico 66,848
Dominican Rep. 38 121
Oman 33 123
Guatemala 29 209
Lithuania 29,030
Germany 28,517

These are the top 10 destination countries for US used vehicle exports in 2021, and how those exports have fared in previous years.

The United Arab Emirates (upper black line) was one of the main destinations for American used vehicles during these years. Oman (yellow line) has come out of nowhere to become the seventh largest destination in the last five years:

Vehicles in operation by car manufacturer:

Of the 284.4 vehicles on the road, 21.6% were GM vehicles in Q2, similar to the previous year. Ford’s share fell to 16.3% (from 16.4% the previous year). Toyota’s share rose to 14.6% (from 14.5% the previous year).

Tesla, which has only begun mass-producing vehicles in recent years, still does not have enough vehicles on the road in the United States to appear in this table with its own nameplate and is included in ” Other Manufacturers”.

Battery electric vehicles (EV).

In terms of new vehicle sales, electric vehicles are the only segment growing by leaps and bounds with huge percentage growth rates, even though ICE vehicle sales have been declining.

In California, where Teslas are made, electric vehicle sales accounted for 15% of total new vehicle sales in the first half of 2022, down from 9.5% in 2021 and 6.2% in 2020.

And now that Teslas are also made in Texas, it will be interesting to see how sales pan out there.

But electric vehicles are a recent development. In total, there are only 1.8 million electric vehicles in circulation, for a still tiny share of 0.63% of the 284.4 million vehicles in circulation. It will take many years of massive sales growth before electric vehicles make up a significant share of the total fleet on the road.

Vehicle segments in operation.

Of the 284.4 million vehicles on the road, full-size vans alone held the largest share at 16.3%, followed by midsize cars – the mainstay of rental fleets – with a 14.1 share. %. Overall, of all VIOs:

  • Passenger cars: 37.2%
  • SUVs, compact SUVs and crossovers: 36.1%
  • Light trucks: 26.7%

For motor enthusiasts.

From VIO to internal combustion engine:

  • Naturally aspirated: 81.6%
  • Turbocharged (including multiple turbos), supercharged and “other”: 18.4%

Cylinder market share:

  • 4 cylinders: 42.6%
  • 6 cylinders: 33.8%
  • 8 cylinders: 20.9%
  • Rest: 2.7%. Vehicles with V-16, W-16, V-12, V-10, 5-cylinder and 3-cylinder engines. Also some classics with 2 cylinder engines including Trabi, Citroen 2CV and Fiat 500 (not sure how many of these are ‘allowed’).

Average age of vehicles in circulation.

The average age of all cars and light trucks on the road in 2022 hit a new high of 12.2 years, according to separate data, which I discussed in May when they were released.

Miles traveled.

Total miles traveled, according to the Federal Highway Administration, increased only slightly from 2019 levels, following the 2020 plunge and subsequent recovery. This includes all motor vehicle traffic, including commercial trucks and delivery vehicles. The chart shows the 12-month moving average to eliminate large seasonal variations.

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