While many car companies court young buyers, a recent report from TrueCar.com reveals that Scion and Mitsubishi are most successful. According to TrueCar.com's analysis, more than 20 percent of Scion and Mitsubishi buyers are members of the 18- to 27-year-old "Generation Y" demographic, nearly double the rate of any other car brand.
Scion tops TrueCar.com's list of the brand with the youngest buyers, with more than 21 percent of its buyers hailing from "Gen Y,'' followed by Mitsubishi at around 20 percent. Mazda is a distant third is with around 11 percent, followed by Nissan and Volkswagen.
So why are Scion and Mitsubishi so far ahead? One reason is advertising: Both brands pitch their vehicles in youth-oriented magazines, TV shows and rock concerts. Cost is also a factor too - Scion and Mitsubishi vehicles tend to be less expensive, and both brands offer attractive financing, giving younger buyers a better chance of driving off in a new car.
But there's another, less obvious reason Gen-Y buyers are drawn to these particular cars: customization. According to TrueCar.com, the top three model choices among young buyers are the Scion tC, Mitsubishi Lancer and Honda Civic Si - each of which offer a wide array of factory-backed aftermarket parts, from superchargers to body kits. Fostering such individualization leads young people to gravitate en masse.
Generation Y buyers want vehicles that look distinct and can be tailored to their individual tastes, said Kristen Andersson, an automotive analyst at TrueCar.com. Buyers from this generation are also looking for vehicles that have the technology features they are accustomed to built into the vehicle at an affordable price.
We agree - and while TrueCar.com's study was limited to 2009 and 2010 models, we can't help but wonder whether new inexpensive trendy models, like the Ford Fiesta and Focus and Chevrolet Sonic and Cruze, will help boost the popularity of those automakers among younger buyers. But for now, Scion and Mitsubishi have the Gen-Y market ''pwned.''