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Like people, cars are migrating in interesting ways

Vehicles don't stay in their home state like one might expect. Some interesting facts revealed by Swapalease.


In 2010 the US Census was taken and some states were found to have gained population, and some lost residents. It is easy to guess why this might happen. States like Nevada and Florida are warm and are inviting to retirees, which are an ever growing part of the population. Swapalease has done a study of where vehicles are heading and has some answers on why.

Florida is a very interesting case. Census data shows a very steep increase in Florida’s population that began long ago and has been steadily increasing since the 1960s. In the last census the trend was confirmed with double digit increases in Florida’s population. Concurrently, Florida is one of the states that Swapalease found is losing vehicles at the highest rate. How and why could this be? Florida’s 24.1% decline in cars is attributed by Swapalease to cars there being sought after because the climate preserves the vehicles. By comparison, the New England states such as Massachusetts have a 46% increase in the number of vehicles. The author did not have to work hard to confirm this trend. One year ago when shopping for a vehicle that was in short supply due to the Asian Tsunamis and for other reasons, he found a sport-convertible for sale in Naples Florida. The vehicle was shipped back to Massachusetts. After the deal was complete the dealership that actually owned the vehicle was found to be in Rhode Island. The vehicle had been placed in Florida to be used as a winter car by the dealership’s owner and was going unused, so it was advertised for sale in New England. Here in Massachusetts car wash companies place giant billboards by the highway that say “Salt Eats Cars.” That is certainly not helping to convince shoppers to look to the snowbelt for a gently used car. There may be some truth to the billboards as well. Perhaps the salt-eaten cars really do go to the crusher that much quicker than sunny states like California

One of the most interesting facts uncovered by Swapalease was the top state for vehicles entering is none other than Michigan! 280% more vehicles came into the state than left. This would seem to be the classic “Bringing coal to Newcastle” trend. Scot Hall, Executive Vice President of said in a press release “…states high on the list such as Michigan speak to the extremely low in-state inventory levels in the marketplace.”

Regional events such as Hurricane Sandy also have a notable impact. Hall went on in his statement to point out that “The import numbers for New Jersey and New York could grow significantly in the near term, as vehicle inventory from other regions are brought in to satisfy replacement demand from vehicles destroyed by Hurricane Sandy.” New Jersey and New York were already numbers two and three on the highest import rate for vehicles in the US, and they will likely top Michigan in the coming year.
The states with the most cars exiting are Illinois, Maryland, and Texas.

photo courtesy of US Census.