Average age of cars starting to level off, after years of rapid rise

Average age of an Irish car now sits at 8.83-years

The average age of the Irish national car fleet is starting to level off, having spent a long period since 2008 heading towards a record-breaking 10-years-old.

When new car sales fell through the floor following the onset of the recession and the banking crisis, the average age of Ireland's two-million cars was rapidly rising, and was seen to be heading to double-digits without much pause.

However, according to Cartell.ie, the increase in average age from January 2014 to January 2015 has been the lowest since 2001. In that time, the average age went up by a mere 11 days. It's clear from this that the increases in new car sales last year and in the early part of this year are already having a significant statistical effect, and the private vehicle fleet age has now stabilised at 8.83-years.

Jeff Aherne, director of Cartell.ie said that “these results are interesting. We’ve seen an ageing private fleet year-upon-year since the record year for new car sales in 2000 when credit was widely available in the market and the economy was in good shape. Now, for the first time since that period, we are witnessing a levelling off.


"There comes a natural point when the age of the fleet must level off, as motor vehicles cannot last forever, and, increased new car sales, combined with up-cycling of vehicles in the used market, may have brought us to that point.

“The news that the age of fleet has levelled off is a further sign that the vehicle industry is returning to normality. The result may have been sparked by a combination of events: new car sales are advancing after years of lost ground; and owners of older vehicles in the fleet may have held them for as long as possible before now up-cycling.”

The age of the vehicle fleet had been a serious concern, not least because it was felt that many drivers were skimping on maintenance of key safety items such as brakes, steering and lights. Recent research indicating that younger drivers in older vehicles were at particular risk of death and injury also raised alarms.

The work of bringing the average vehicle age down to a more manageable level is not yet done though. The 8.83-year figure is strictly for private cars.

When other vehicle types are included in the calculations, the figure bounces back up to a more worrying 9.39-years.

Neil Briscoe

Neil Briscoe

Neil Briscoe, a contributor to The Irish Times, specialises in motoring