It’s no secret that the youth demographic is highly coveted among auto manufacturers: in recent years, automakers have catered many of their offerings to young buyers by tweaking engines for high fuel efficiency, offering endless customizations and stuffing models with the latest technology. But a new study alleges the youth market is declaring a winner in the fight for young money: foreign brands.
A new study issued by TrueCar.com, which looked at buying habits between 2009 and 2010, found that only one of the twenty cars with the highest percentage of under-27 buyers was built by an American manufacturer. That model — the Ford Focus coupe — found 19.3% of its buyers belonged to what TrueCarcalls “Generation Y.”
TrueCar drew the inference that teens and twenty-somethings have largely left the domestic market in search of cars with greater customization and distinct looks. Examples cited include both Scion TC (with 37.1% of buyers from Gen Y) and the Honda Civic Si (at 23.4%) as sterling examples of that, and their assertions seem true: three of the twenty models come with factory-installed turbos (e.g. Volkswagen GTI and GLI, and the Hyundai Genesis Coupe), and all can come with Bluetooth and/or iPod connectivity.
It might be more important to note, however, that what all twenty cars have in common is that they’re economic models. All 20 sell for under $25,000 (the most expensive, the Volkswagen Jetta GLI, sold for $24,635) and have four-cylinder engines, which could mean a lower up-front cost and lower costs over time for fuel.
But there’s one hangup: TrueCar’s data reflects cars sold until 2010, and domestic manufacturers have since found some success with stylish small cars of their own. As we heard earlier this week, the Chevrolet Cruze managed to outsell the Toyota Camry last month, and both the Ford Focus and Fiesta have strong youth followings (thanks in no small part to massive social media marketing campaigns).
We don’t know what the demographics on these models look like quite yet, so we’ll ask our “Generation Y” readers this: are you more likely to go domestic or foreign?