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At 32 and Younger, 'Gen Y' Determines the Future of the Auto Industry

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author photo by Autotrader November 2010

A recent automotive study revealed that 2010 Gen Y buyers’ (born between 1978 and 2000) were buying more cars from Toyota, followed by Honda, Ford and Chevrolet. Most notably, the study showed that for 2010, Hyundai (# 6) and Kia (# 8) replaced Mazda and Jeep in their respective spots from last year.

Entitled “The Generation Y Opportunity,” the report is culled form an annual survey of over 42,000 new car and light truck buyers in the United States and is created by the AutoPacific research company. The study revealed that in many ways, Generation Y is following in the footsteps of their Baby Boomer parents. However, the Y culture, that cares more about staying connected than vehicles and transportation, has unique needs that will affect the future of the automotive industry.

“The fact that Generation Y has a bigger footprint in brands like Hyundai and Kia than in past years means these brands are definitely doing something right to gain Gen Y’s attention. AutoPacific focuses our analysis on the future and that’s where these data start to get interesting,” says AutoPacific President George Peterson.

He relates that, as Gen Y matures and gains more spending power, they seem to focus on more historically reliable and aspirational brands like Honda, Toyota, BMW and Ford.

Yet, when AutoPacific asked the same Gen Y new vehicle owners what brands they would consider for their next set of wheels, Honda topped the list followed by Toyota, BMW, Ford and Nissan. Hyundai rated number 20 and Kia 25, behind Audi, Dodge and Volvo.

Additionally, AutoPacific confirms that Buick, a baby boomer favorite, could very well be a future preference for Gen Y. The brand took the biggest jump in the groups’ consideration. From 2009 to 2010 it catapulted from the 39th position to the 28th spot.

Peterson confirms, “Generation Y spans a large segment of consumers that includes high school students, college students, career starters, young married couples, young families and more. As Gen Y continues to mature, their penetration of the new car market will be instrumental in shaping the products available in the future.”

Top 10 Vehicle Brands Purchased by Gen Y

   1. Toyota
  2. Honda
  3. Ford
  4. Chevrolet
  5. Nissan
  6. Hyundai
  7. Volkswagen
  8. Kia
  9. Dodge
10. Subaru

Top 10 Future Brand Consideration by Gen Y

  1. Honda
  2. Toyota
  3. BMW
  4. Ford
  5. Nissan
  6. Chevrolet
  7. Acura
  8. Audi
  9. Lexus
  10. Volkswagen
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At 32 and Younger, 'Gen Y' Determines the Future of the Auto Industry - Autotrader