Motorists now change their car more often than they switch their mattress or even their mobile phone, suggests new research.
The length of time motorists keep a car has plummeted from around five years to two years or less, reveal latest figures.
The data produced by automotive experts, cap hpi, shows that some car makers now see average returns of vehicles in 24 months, and there is evidence of a growing number of 18-month leases in the market.
Mattresses should be changed every seven or eight years to ensure a good and healthy night’s sleep, according to chiropractors, while mobile phone contracts are on average between 18 and 24 months.
Expert say car manufacturers are managing volumes in the used market by varying contract lengths by model and remarketing channels.
Philip Nothard, retail and consumer specialist at cap hpi, said: “What we are seeing is the ‘iphonification’ of the car industry as consumers increasingly pay to drive rather than pay to own their vehicles.
“It’s the same model as the mobile phone industry where people are comfortable paying a monthly fee - only they are now doing this with their vehicles as well as their mobiles.”
He said the growth of personal contract purchase (PCP) and other finance options is having a “profound” effect on the car industry.
Personal Contract Hire (PCH) is also increasing, as motorists increasingly look towards usership rather than ownership.
Around four out five new car sales (80 per cent) are now on finance, according to estimates by cap hpi.
Mr Nothard added: “Not so long ago it was fairly common for motorists to have their cars for a minimum of five years or longer, but that has now changed dramatically and dropped to just two years for millions of motorists.
“After buying a house, the car was usually the biggest outlay for most consumers but now they are far more likely to change their car more often than their mattress.
“Consumer demand remains strong in the used car market and there are lots of used bargains waiting to be snapped up.
“As PCP becomes more popular and accessible in the used market, motor dealers expect its use to double in the future so we’re going to see people changing their cars with increasing regularity.”