How old do you think the average new car buyer in America is? Go on, take a guess. Based on all of the ridiculous advertising strategies you see lately, you might think that the average new car buyer was a hip, trendy, Generation Y hoopy frood, wearing his beanie to buy organic, fair-trade coffee at the Park Slope Starbucks. (Confession: I went to the Park Slope Starbucks daily during the New York Auto Show this year. Parking was surprisingly easy.)
But no! According to the NADA, the average new car buyer is 51.7 years old, and earns about $80,000 per year. In comparison, the average age of Americans is 36.8 years, and the median income is roughly $50,000. In other words, Baby Boomers are buying all of the new cars right now. There are all sorts of people on the Internet who will tell you why this is a horrible comment on today’s bleak economic landscape (oh, here’s one), but I’m here to tell you that the future of new car sales could be changed with just a bit of clever marketing.
Back in September, I attended the launch of the Chevrolet Sonic for another outlet. Despite GM’s insistence that the Sonic was being marketed at “millenials”, I was the sole member of the press that fit that demographic. Despite the cheesy, ham-handed attempt at being in touch with the demographic (a parking garage festooned with contrived, faux-urban graffiti, for example), the Sonic left a favorable impression. It is an honest, practical, fun to drive car that is affordable for young people – well, some of them.
When I was younger, I never thought I’d ever say “I don’t understand young people these days”. But sure enough, the other day I said the exact phrase when a friend’s daughter was explaining why X-Factor (American Idol) is the greatest show on TV. Maybe I won’t understand music matters (I think Golden Earring and Mike and the Mechanics is trendy) but at least I’ll know what young people find fashionable in the car world. Erm…not quite… (Read More…)