Saturday, November 23, 2013

Vehicle Age Statistics

What is the average vehicle age for an overland prepared vehicle?  My requirement was to find out what the average Land Rover and Toyota vehicle age is, the generation of vehicle, plus facts like the newest vehicle, and the oldest.
In this blog post I analyse trans-Africa trips, listed on The Africa Overland Network, which departed in 2010 through to 2014 (departing next year).

Currently, The Africa Overland Network, has 791 websites listed - all based on independent trans-continental overland travel. I visited each and every website listed from 2010 to 2014 to find out what year their vehicle was built - that totaled a whopping 324 websites and took hours to complete.  Only half the websites actually listed the age of the vehicle, which left me with 161 websites, of which 134 were trans-Africa trips.

I included the vehicle type and the number of trips per year using that specific brand.  Interestingly, over the last five years, Toyota is the preferred vehicle of choice for those websites listed on The Africa Overland Network (Africa only).  Read more on the 20102011 & 2012 vehicle statistics.
I excluded other vehicle types (Nissan, Mitsubishi, Motorbikes, Quads etc) but did include trucks, campervans and the one Range Rover.

My spreadsheet started to get very detailed as I listed each website, the trip start date,  the continent, vehicle type, vehicle year and finally the age of the vehicle.
I had to make a few assumptions, like the month the vehicle was built.  All vehicles, in my stats, were built in January of the year and the calculation based on the trip start date minus the year built.  This equaled the number of days which was averaged to years. i.e. =(trip_start-vehicle_built)=days/365=years

The vehicle ages:

The average vehicle age, per departing year is as follows:

I was surprised that the average age of Toyota's were older (18 years old) compared to the average age of Land Rover (15 years old).  Trucks are always older, as these vehicles are generally Unimogs and old Mercedes Benz ex military vehicles.

I expanded on the year to confirm which generation of Toyota and Land Rover where being used.
Land Rover vehicles had two very specific years: 1996 and 1997.  These years represent the midpoint of the well known Land Rover 300Tdi engine, a 2.5l turbo diesel.  Toyota's average age was spread across the 1990's and represented the robust Land Cruiser 80-series with its 4.2l diesel (and turbo diesel) engine.

Toyota outnumbered LR in the 1980's with more overlanders preferring the Land Cruiser 60-Series rather than the utilitarian LR Series III.  Currently no trips list vehicles that were built after 2010.

The year gaps, specifically with Land Rover, often match up to a vehicle change.  i.e. around 1999/2000 Land Rover introduced the Td5 engine and again in 2007, the Puma engine was released for Defenders.

Why older vehicles?  My thinking is that there are a number of reasons for the older vehicles:
Purchase price is clearly a factor, including the fact that quite often overland vehicles are fully prepped for travel
Mechanical robustness vs the unwarranted reputation of vehicle ECUs.
Reputation as tried & tested.

In closing, I was pleasantly surprised that the Land Cruiser 80-Series is clearly the preferred Toyota option and that the LR Defender 300Tdi is recognised as a good choice.  I will continue to monitor vehicle age over the next few years to see if average age of the vehicles continue to get older or if overlanders start opting for newer vehicles.

Any thoughts or comments?  Was the average vehicle age a surprise?

Additional Reading:
Trans-Africa Statistics:
Overland & Vehicle Forum Statistics: