Experian is one of those nosy, unaccountable, totally opaque credit reporting companies that knows what your credit score is and what you were thinking about the last time you masturbated and the current contents of your stomach, and they’ll sell that information to whoever has the cash. [They’re probably most famous for a number of recent high profile data breaches that exposed the private data of millions who never signed up to do business with them. —ED]
I don’t really know much about them, but I do know they do automotive research, and I also know that their Q3 2021 Vehicles In Operation (VIO) chart has been popping up online, and it’s full of some interesting and unexpected details.
Here’s the chart:
The small print on there says this table is a quarterly feature in Automotive News. Thanks, AN.
I’m sure there are plenty of people interested in the top three brands registered in America (Ford at 43,216,100, Chevy at 39,815,092, then Toyota at 35,187,246) but I’m not so interested in that. I can look around and tell you that there are Fords, Chevys, and Toyotas all over the damn place.
What interests me is stuff like this: there are 195 Renaults still registered! Actually, let’s see what the total number of registered French-built cars in America is according to this chart:
So, there’s 630 Peugeots still on the road, and then 195 Renaults—probably Alliances, Le Cars, some Fuegos, and a few Dauphines and R4s and other charming old weirdos. So, according to this, there’s, what, 825?
This actually shows a bit of a problem with this chart, because I know for a fact there are other French-built cars not counted here. Where are the Citroëns? I know there’s a bunch in America still, partially because I drove by this house in my town just this past weekend:
There are a number of brands that I’m sure have significant numbers in America not listed here. Packards, for example—there’s plenty of old dudes who restore those. Studebakers, Hudsons, Nashes, Ramblers, all those. I think this chart may just include cars that were for sale in America from the ‘80s on? Let’s go with that.
Also, I think all of these other brands were rounded up in the “other” category, which, at 235,044, is a pretty significant number. In fact, there are more Others on the road than Hummers (215,445).
Anyway, even with that caveat, there’s still lots of surprises here. Here’s one of the biggest surprises, for me:
There are 3,135 Opels still registered in America? Holy shit. I mean, I know of a couple people with Opel GTs and I think when I lived in LA I saw the rare Manta or something, but over three thousand? Wow. Where are all these Opels hiding?
Here’s another odd one to think about:
So, there are 9,602 Eagles on the road still, and only 97 Lancias? I mean, Lancias were never exactly common, but they do seem like the kind of cars people might try to keep and restore. More than, say, Eagles.
I’m also surprised there are only 141 Triumphs registered, according to this— I always thought of old Triumphs as a sort of staple of the collector car community.
At the other extreme, 208,430 Isuzus? Holy crap. I used to have an Isuzu pickup, so I know they’re pretty tough, but they haven’t been sold in America for about a dozen years.
I think my favorite comparison might be this:
Yes, America is a land of Yugos more than Bugattis, by a factor of almost three. And if you combined the horsepower of every Yugo in America, it would equal about 25 Bugattis.
Also, over a thousand Merkurs are still around? I bet a decent percentage of those owners are reading this right now.
This chart is pretty fascinating, at least at the margins. I encourage everyone to pore over it and marvel that there are still a few more Saturns than Teslas in America, and there’s about twice the number of Pontiacs as Teslas.
If you see other surprising things, shove it in the comments so we can all wonder along with you!