Pace of change drives a shorter shelf-life
ANALYSIS of new car model introductions over the past three decades by CAP shows shorter “shelf-life” for today’s new vehicles.
Known in the industry as “lifecycle”, the period between replacement model introductions or significant facelifts has shrunk from around 10 years in the 1970s and 80s to three to four years today.
CAP new car expert David Saville attributes much of the impetus behind shortening lifecycles to the influence of far eastern manufacturers, who adopted a policy of refreshing their offerings more rapidly than the competition, as they worked hard to crack European markets.
Another major influence is tougher emissions standards, with manufacturers constantly working to meet changing European rules. Motorists themselves also contribute to the need for change as they increasingly choose cars that will cost them less in CO2-related taxes.
David Saville said: “A model that had an acceptable level of CO2 emissions three years ago is now totally out of step with the latest requirements. Often, the changes to car design which are aimed at reducing emissions involve altering the shell of the car, to reduce weight or improve aerodynamics, as well as introducing more efficient engines.”
He argues that while motorists benefit from additional choices, they also pay for the shorter shelf-life.
He said: “On the face of it the new car consumer really benefits by always having a choice of bang up-to-date models to choose from. But this can also have a negative effect because most buyers have a car that they need to dispose of.”