What Cars Are Generation Y Consumers Buying?

July 7, 2011

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.

2011 Scion tC

2011 Scion tC

1. Scion tC, average discount of 0.3 percent from MSRP

 

2011 Mitsubishi Lancer ES

2011 Mitsubishi Lancer ES

2. Mitsubishi Lancer, average discount of 8.2 percent from MSRP

 

2012 Honda Civic Si Coupe

2012 Honda Civic Si Coupe

 

3. Honda Civic Si, average discount of 1.7 percent from MSRP

 

2010 Toyota Yaris

2010 Toyota Yaris

4. Toyota Yaris Sedan, average discount of 3.7 percent from MSRP

 

2010 Ford Focus

2010 Ford Focus

5. Ford Focus Coupe, average discount of 13.4 percent from MSRP (Note: this discount is for the previous generation Focus, not the new-for-2011 version)

 

2011 Scion xD Release Series 3.0

2011 Scion xD Release Series 3.0

6. Scion xD, average discount of 0.7 percent from MSRP


2009 Volkswagen GLI

2009 Volkswagen GLI

7. Volkswagen GLI, average discount of 2.9 percent from MSRP

 

2012 Subaru Impreza

2012 Subaru Impreza

8. Subaru Impreza, average discount of 2.2 percent from MSRP

 

2011 Kia Forte 5-Door

2011 Kia Forte 5-Door

9. Kia Forte, average discount of 8.9 percent from MSRP

 

2011 Toyota Corolla

2011 Toyota Corolla

10. Toyota Corolla, average discount of 5.6 percent from MSRP

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