Daily News Briefs: June 28, 2012

Experian Automotive reported Wednesday that U.S. roadways have 17.3 million more cars and trucks that are 7 years or older than there were three years ago. The average vehicle in America is now 11 years old, up from 10.8 years old a year ago. (We reported the latter figure last January from Polk Automotive, but Experian's numbers match.) The most common makes on the road are Ford, Chevrolet, Toyota and Honda, and the most common models are the Ford F-150, Honda Accord, Toyota Camry and Chevrolet Silverado. In total, U.S. roads have slightly more light trucks (50.8%) than passenger cars (49.2%). Hybrids and electric vehicles represent less than 1% of all cars on the road, and nearly 80% of all cars are 15 years old or newer, Experian says. While it's good to see such cars chugging along, the safety implications are a concern. Go back 11 years to the 2001 model year and most cars lacked side airbags. Electronic stability systems, now required, were unavailable on 80% of new models in 2001, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. In fact, IIHS says the majority of cars didn't adopt the feature as standard until 2007.

In other news:

  • Kenya-based Mobius Motors is developing a $6,000 SUV for Africans that can transport up to eight people on- and off-road, Mashable reports.
  • National Electric Vehicle Sweden, an Asian investment group that bought a bankrupt Saab this month, is looking to lift a provision that prohibits using Saab's name and logo, according to Automotive News.
  • A story in Reuters calls Alfa Romeo's planned return to the U.S. market "one of the biggest challenges of the Fiat-Chrysler partnership." Alfa's first car here will be the Porsche Boxster-fighting 4C.
  • Shanghai Automotive Industries Corp. opened a 30,000-square-foot operations center in the northern suburbs of Detroit, Automotive News reports. It comes as SAIC, with whom GM has a joint venture, expands its North American roots.

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