Generation Y consumers are critical to automakers, since the 18- to 27-year-old demographic helps to set trends and advance technology. The latest Buick model hay have an onboard hard drive and iPod integration, but that’s only because the technology was developed for other GM models more age-appropriate to Generation Y. Automakers also want to land customers for life, and lead-in brands (like Scion) or cars (like the Kia Forte) are critical to this strategy.
TrueCar recently published a study of Generation Y's auto buying habits, and the results clearly show that Gen Y customers want cars that can be personalized. TrueCar Automotive Analyst Kristen Andersson summed up their buying habits by saying, "Generation Y buyers want vehicles that look distinct and can be tailored to their individual tastes. 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."
In terms of brands, Gen Y buys more Scions than any other make, followed closely by Mitsubishi. Mazda comes up in third place, but on a percentage basis they sell half as many cars to Gen Y as Scion. The other makes in the top ten, in order, are Nissan, Volkswagen, Kia, Hyundai, Honda, Toyota and Subaru.
That’s not nearly as telling as the top ten vehicles purchased by Generation Y, or the price paid for each. Below is a pictorial guide to the most popular cars of Gen Y, along with the average percent discount from MSRP paid for each.