Looking ahead, IHS forecasts that average age is likely to hit 11.6 years in 2016 but not reach 11.7 until 2018. The rate of growth is slowing as compared to 2008-2013 due to the recovery in new vehicle sales. IHS Automotive has expected this and has been preparing customers and industry leaders in the aftermarket to respond to this slowdown in growth.The number of vehicles scrapped in 2014 declined slightly from 2013, with just over 11 million light vehicles scrapped during the 12-month timeframe analyzed by IHS Automotive, or 4.4 percent of the fleet. In comparison, a record high of more than 14 million vehicles were scrapped in 2012. Dynamics of Fleet Age and Mix on Aftermarket Repair Opportunities The drop and recovery of new vehicle sales since the U.S. economic recession has also had a significant impact on the various age segments of the overall fleet, which is important to business planners in the aftermarket and service industries as they manage inventories of parts required and plan for sales and service activity accordingly. Based on the growth of new vehicle registrations in the past few years as the U.S. auto industry has rebounded, IHS Automotive analysis found that the volume of vehicles 0-5 years old will increase by 24 percent over the next five years, while vehicles in the six- to 11-year-old category will decline by 11 percent. Because of improved quality and consumers holding their cars and light trucks longer, vehicles 12-plus years old continue to grow and will increase 15 percent by 2020. "While the decline in volumes of vehicles six to 11 years old appears to indicate that the aftermarket "sweet spot" - those model years driving the majority of aftermarket repair opportunities - is shrinking," Seng said. "I believe we need to begin thinking about that 'sweet spot' differently. Now that the average age is 11.5 years, the key repair opportunities must include vehicles older than 11 years, which hasn't been considered by many in the marketplace up to now."