American Marketer


Porsche, Mercedes-Benz dominate luxury space in vehicles kept longest

May 25, 2017

Porsche's Boxster tops the list


Automakers Porsche, Mercedes-Benz and Audi are proving to be the luxury brands that dominate in terms of longevity and customer loyalty.

The Porsche Boxster, Mercedes-Benz SLK, Chevrolet Corvette and Audi TT have topped the list created by of the vehicles kept for the longest time by customers. These are the top sports cars on the list that have proved their value in terms of longevity in function and upkeep for customers.

"Sporty cars and SUVs dominate the list of the cars people keep the longest," said Phong Ly, CEO of, Boston. "One of the reasons why drivers hold onto these particular models the longest before selling them may be their unique features.

"The first-ranked Land Cruiser has a very niche buyer who’s looking for rugged, off-road capability, but also luxury features," he said. "With competitors like Land Rover’s Range Rover and the Mercedes-Benz G-Class, it’s the least expensive option when comparably equipped.

"The sports cars like the Porsche Boxster, Chevy Corvette and Audi TT all have a timeless look that makes them instantly recognizable on the road. As a result, older models of these cars don't look outdated. The SUVs on the list are vehicles that tend to log high miles and take a beating. Parents who keep these cars longer probably aren’t ready to replace them until their kids get older and they know their new car won’t get destroyed." looked at more than 15.7 million used cars sold by their original owners between Jan. 1, 2013 and Dec. 31, 2016.

Buying and selling
The report shows that sales of vehicles in the United States do not have correlation to longevity in terms of time kept. The top sellers in the U.S. market are not featured as part of the top vehicles held onto by consumers.

Passenger cars are sold on average 7.2 years after the initial purchase date.

Mercedes-Benz's SL-Class is the sixth on the top 10 of longest held-onto vehicles, but second when the list is narrowed down to passenger cars. Affluent consumers look to the SL-Class to stand out.

2017 Mercedes SL Roadster

The Porsche Boxster tops the list of passenger vehicles customers keep for the longest.

Pickup trucks are showing as being held onto a little bit longer than most, with an average sell time of 7.5 years. The average is 7.3 years.

Mercedes pickup truck concept

However, no pickup trucks broke the top 10 vehicles held onto the longest.

Additional insight
Despite the Mercedes SLK ranking as a top vehicle in terms of longevity, the Mercedes brand and BMW both topped another list from research firm iSeeCars that shows consumers resell these brands’ vehicles within under a year the most, but its reasoning bodes well for the manufacturers instead of being damaging.

The BMW 3 series and 5 series topped the list as the vehicles most resold as used within the first year of manufacturing, just ahead of the Mercedes C-Class. While this may seem like a bad characteristic, it is more likely to be beneficial to the brands, as they often provide incentives to trade in (see more).

Mercedes-Benz has often looked to marketing to encourage consumers to stick with its brand, whether that means trading in for a better model or keeping a beloved vehicle. The brand recently put a new spin on cliché advice with its “Grow Up” campaign that features five of its vehicles in five different narratives.

Each story under the Grow Up moniker features a narrative that plays off an age-old line of advice that many consumers will recognize and related to concept of growing up. The featurettes incorporate Mercedes vehicles into the story, keeping an underlining presence as part of the film, but without a full-blown advertisement (see more).

"Most of the vehicles on the list target wealthier buyers with higher disposable income,"'s Mr. Ly said.

"All the SUVs are high-priced large seven-seater vehicles while the sports cars on the list like the Porsche Boxster, Audi TT and Mercedes SLK are often bought by people interested in a second car and are usually not driven as frequently," he said.