What Americans Are Driving: Vehicles in Operation, Used-Vehicle Exports, EVs, and Stuff for Engine Geeks

No, not all used vehicle exports are going to Mexico. opposite of this.

By wolf richter For wolf street,

The number of highway-legal light-duty vehicles in operation (VIO) in the US increased 0.6%, or 1.6 million vehicles, to 284.4 million vehicles at the end of the second quarter, up 0.6% year-over-year. Today’s Quarterly Report from Experiment, based on registration data.

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

  • ADDED: 13.5 million new vehicles registered — down from about 17 million or more during a good year, when supply chains were functional and vehicle production was not affected by chip shortages.
  • Removed: 11.9 million vehicles were taken out of operation, either salvaged; or being exported to other countries. More about the export of used vehicles shortly.

Used Vehicle Exports from the US to the Rest of the World,

according to the Department of Commerce international trade administrationAfter a decline in exports in 2020, 933,435 used vehicles were exported to other countries in calendar year 2021.

No, they are not all going to Mexico. opposite of this.

Mexico has become an auto-manufacturing powerhouse. Some vehicles are built for export to the US and other countries. Other vehicles – often lower-priced models with fewer features – are built for sale in Mexico. These new vehicles made in Mexico for Mexico are feeding the used vehicle market in Mexico.

US exports of used vehicles to Mexico have declined over the years, from their heyday of 110,000 vehicles in 2014 to 66,800 vehicles in 2021, now accounting for only 7% of total used vehicle exports (red line in the chart below).

Germany is among the top 10 destination countries for US used vehicle exports in 2021, where muscle cars have a presence, but are only a tiny one compared to the country’s vast market. But other countries on the list have smaller used vehicle markets – like the Dominican Republic or Lithuania – and US 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 representative. 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 fared in prior years.

The United Arab Emirates (top black line) has been one of the major destinations for US used vehicles over the years. Oman (yellow line) came out of nowhere to turn into the seventh largest destination in the last five years:

Vehicles in operation by automaker:

Of the 284.4 vehicles in operation, 21.6% were GM vehicles as of the second quarter, the same as last year. Ford’s share fell to 16.3% (from 16.4% in the prior year). Toyota’s stake increased to 14.6% (from 14.5% in the prior year).

Tesla, which began mass-producing vehicles in the past few years, still does not have enough vehicles on the road in the US to be included in this table with its own nameplate and among “other manufacturers”.

Battery-electric vehicles (EVs).

In terms of new vehicle sales, EV is a segment that is growing in leaps and bounds with huge percentage growth rates, even as sales of ICE vehicles decline.

In California, where Teslas are built, EV sales will account for 15% of total new vehicle sales in the first half of 2022, rising to 9.5% in 2021 and 6.2% in 2020.

And now that Tesla is building in Texas as well, it’ll be interesting to see how sales fare there.

But EVs are a recent development. Overall, there are only 1.8 million EVs on the road, for a still-modest share of 0.63% of the 284.4 million vehicles in operation. It will take several years of massive sales growth before EVs make up a significant portion of the total fleet on the road.

Sections of vehicles in operation.

Of the 284.4 million vehicles in operation, full-size pickups alone had the largest share at 16.3%, followed by mid-size cars — the mainstay of rental fleets — with a 14.1% share. Overall, all VIOs:

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

for engine geeks,

VIO’s with internal combustion engine:

  • Naturally Aspirated: 81.6%
  • Turbo-charged (including multiple turbos), supercharged and “other”: 18.4%

Cylinder Market Share:

  • 4-cylinder: 42.6%
  • 6-cylinder: 33.8%
  • 8-cylinder: 20.9%
  • Balance: 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 the Trabi, Citroën 2CV, and Fiat 500 (not sure how many of those are “highway legal”).

Average age of vehicles in operation.

According to separate figures, the average age of all cars and light trucks in operation in 2022 will reach a new record of 12.2 years. which I discussed in May when it came out,

miles driven,

Total miles driven, according to the Federal Highway Administration, were slightly above 2019 levels after a decline and subsequent recovery in 2020. This includes all motor vehicle traffic, including commercial trucks and delivery vehicles. The chart shows a 12-month moving average to eliminate large seasonal variations.

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