I think for some people, Rob, cars will always be a status symbol are special to them in some way--they will always want a certain type of car and think it's important to show everyone what kind of car that is. For the rest of us, we're just happy to have wheels! ;)
Not sure why cars are not quite the status symbol they used to be. and perhaps I'm mistaken. But it seems to me people are turning to other symbols of status -- fashion, homes, schools, electronics. For some, cars ae clearly still status symbols, but it just doesn't seem as widespread as it was when I was a kid.
That's really interesting, Rob, why is that so? In my experience, I do have an example in which it's true. I had a new Hundai Excel once that didn't last two years before the engine blew up, but then I had a used Mitsubishi Gallant that I got a good seven or eight years out of. So perhaps there is some truth to this statement.
Nadine, thanks for the reminder about more rapid changes in car styles. I hadn't really noticed how much more slowly they change now because I buy new so infrequently, and because I don't care much about looks.
I wouldn't expect the average age to decline but we're already seeing a rebound in the number of vehicles produced. I don't think there is any question that cars are more reliable than in the past, and that has contributed to drivers sticking with a particular car longer.
My current Land-Rover 110 diesel is 30 years old, the one before, a Discovery, rusted away in 15, the one before that was built in 1958 and is still running around in the US. So the basic truck lasts longer than the car, is simpler to maintain and as it saves multiple 'new' builds is greener overall!
However as I'm now aging and my wife wants greater comfort, a newer, quieter more comfortable vehicle is now required.
At this year's MD&M West show, lots of material suppliers are talking about new formulations for wearables and things that stick to the skin, whether it's adhesives, wound dressings, skin patches and other drug delivery devices, or medical electronics.
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