The Truth About Cars » Gen Y The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sun, 13 Jul 2014 22:36:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Gen Y Generation Why: J.D. Power’s Top Ten Gen Y Vehicles For 2012 Thu, 21 Feb 2013 17:35:00 +0000

Until the research arm of TTAC gets more funding, we’ll have to rely on data from third-parties like J.D. Power. The venerable outfit recently compiled a list of the Top 10 cars with the highest percentage of Gen Y buyers. The results aren’t entirely surprising.

J.D. Power’s definition of Generation Y consists of buyers aged 16-35. Rather than the penniless youngsters mostly covered in this series, their study also takes into account older members of this cohort who are earning much more, with stable career prospects – maybe even families. No surprise then that four door cars, whether sedans or hatchbacks, tend to dominate the list. Of the 10 cars, only one was a domestic and only one came from a luxury brand. The rest were from mainstream imports, with 6 of the 10 from Japanese brands and 3 from the Germans. No Korean cars cracked the list, which at first glance seems surprising. But we’ve heard through the grapevine that Hyundai products, even the Veloster, tend to skew older.  Also missing was Honda, something that would have been unthinkable not too long ago, though Acura was well represented.

10. Acura TSX 

Percent of 2012 buyers in Gen Y:  34.3

Year-over-year change in Gen Y buyers: +0.7%

Comment: The bright spot of Acura’s car lineup. Just premium enough to look successful, but also sensible. Does not have the negative connotations that come with certain luxury brands.

9. Dodge Charger

Percent of 2012 buyers in Gen Y: 34.7

Year-over-year change in Gen Y buyers: 0.9%

Comment: The lone domestic. Notice there are no Ford hatches here. It looks like a brawny, masculine car…perfect for those who need a family sedan but can’t bear the thought of a CamCord.

8. VW Golf

Percent of 2012 buyers in Gen Y: 34.7

Year-over-year change in Gen Y buyers: 1.6%

Comment: The “premium” choice for C-segment cars. Not a surprise. The TDI is lumped in with the Golf.

7. VW Jetta

Percent of 2012 buyers in Gen Y: 35.2

Year-over-year change in Gen Y buyers: 33.9%

Comment: Not a surprise. VW badge has cachet, the price is right.

6. Subaru Impreza

Percent of 2012 buyers in Gen Y: 37.4

Year-over-year change in Gen Y buyers: -7.1%

Comment: Subaru is a bit of a quirky choice but a darling of the winter sports crowd and those who grew up on Gran Turismo.

5. Mazda3

Percent of 2012 buyers in Gen Y: 40.2

Year-over-year change in Gen Y buyers: -2.3%

Comment: A good sign for Mazda. The 3 is also seen as a bit of a step up from the usual choices, and Mazda can only benefit from a younger customer base.

4. Acura ILX

Percent of 2012 buyers in Gen Y: 40.2

Year-over-year change in Gen Y buyers: N/A

Comment: I was wrong here. I panned it for being a silly product with no appeal. These figures don’t tell the whole sales story, but they do tell something.


Percent of 2012 buyers in Gen Y: 44.5

Year-over-year change in Gen Y buyers: -0.8%

Comment: Ask any car guy or girl what they’d buy for under $30k and there’s a good chance it’s a GTI. No surprise here.

2. Mitsubishi Lancer

Percent of 2012 buyers in Gen Y: 48.6

Year-over-year change in Gen Y buyers: 5%

Comment: The Ralliart and EVO are lumped in with Lancer, but it may also have something to do with Mitsubishi’s financing deals. This car is a dog.

1. Scion tC

Percent of 2012 buyers in Gen Y: 50.2

Year-over-year change in Gen Y buyers: -0.4%

Comment: The FR-S gets all the hype, but the tC is top dog. Maybe things will change next year?

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NAIAS: Chevrolet’s Concepts, From The Eyes Of Gen Y Wed, 11 Jan 2012 03:00:13 +0000

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.

Although I have a full-time gig with salary and benefits, I am in the distinct minority among my peer group. Most of us should have had a relatively trouble-free path to maintaining the middle class (or upper-middle class) lifestyles we were born into. All of us have some form of post-secondary education or have a learnt a trade, but few of us have stable, full-time jobs. Most of my friends who graduated from good schools with 4-year degrees are stuck working contract jobs with no benefits and little promise of stability.I would need both hands to count the number of friends who have been let go this year. Many are stuck working unpaid internships in the hopes that it may lead to a contract gig. Renting overpriced apartments in gentrified neighborhoods seems to be the future. Tight credit, low wages and high real estate prices in urban centers makes home ownership seem as distant as winning the Powerball.

If rent and rising food prices weren’t enough, gas, insurance and parking are just added expenses on top of the rising cost of living. In short, buying any is just not on the radar for a lot of people in my demographic. Chevrolet seems hell bent on becoming the brand of choice for Gen Y, and their new concepts, given the silly monikers of Code 130R and Tru 140S (which look more like inebriated SMS typos than vehicle names) are their latest salvo.

Chevrolet said that they consulted with countless members of Gen Y to find out what they want in a car. Although various outlets have taken Chevy to task for not creating a diesel, 6-speed manual turbocharged rear drive compact that gets 50 mpg, looks like an Audi R8 and costs $10,000, these concepts are probably a step in the right direction. They are efficient and although they may not be particularly fast, they are unique looking in an attractive way, rather than in a bizarre, Hyundai Veloster manner. The concepts may look derivative or even silly to us, but to the average consumer in their 20′s, they don’t look like a subcompact hatch or (worse) a bell-shaped subcompact sedan, and this is a victory in itself.

Don’t let web pundits fool you either; most young people don’t give a rats ass about speed beyond if it feels quick when judging by the seat of their pants – gas is expensive, street racing carries much stiffer penalties than the post WWII boomer days, and if anyone really wants a performance car, they’ll probably buy something used. It’s not that the car has to drive poorly, just that 0-60 times and lateral g’s are way down the list for a lot of people who haven’t been actively following the development process of the Scion FR-S (read: 99% of the population).

Despite all of GM’s efforts, the big problems for the future remain structural. More and more young people don’t even have their driver’s licenses (speaking anecdotally this seems to be a female trend. My girlfriend and many of her friends don’t have their drivers licenses. The boyfriends do the driving), and the precarious economic situation of young people, combined with the allure of a used car from a prestigious brand makes the idea of a new car less and less appealing.

At this point, you’re probably looking to see what my conclusion is regarding Gen Y, the future of Chevrolet as a brand and where cars will be going. Honestly, I don’t have one. I’ve been alive for a shorter period of time than many of you have had driver’s licenses, and there are too many external factors that will determine the above. If gas prices go up, or we approach Spainish levels of youth unemployment – or both – then Chevrolet’s problems are going to be far greater than “how can we get young people to identify with our brand.”  If I knew the answer to these, I’d probably be off somewhere else making a lot more money and doing a lot more societal good. As it is, I am but a mere automotive blogger, with a loyal and intelligent readership, a 15 year old Mazda and a rewarding job that offers a steady income. I am blessed, even if the prospect of owning my first new car seems very far off.

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The Kids Are All…Boring? Thu, 11 Nov 2010 11:11:34 +0000

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…

USA Today reports that Auto Pacific has conducted a survey to find out what car brands Generation Y likes. Generation Y is defined as those born around 1983. So, I bet you’re expecting a brand like Subaru to be number one, right? Nope. They came tenth. So if Subaru is number 10, what car brand do youngish people like the most?

Toyota. That’s right. Young people look for reliability and vanilla designs in the cars they buy. But I bet you think that was a fluke? Well, guess who came in at number 2? Honda. I give up trying to understand the youth of today. Honorable mentions were given Hyundai and Kia who jumped to places 6 and 8, respectively. They helped knock brands like Mazda and Jeep out of the top ten. Two brands you would have expected to be high on this list. “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,” said George Peterson, president of AutoPacific. The top ten of Gen Y brands go like this:

1. Toyota.

2. Honda.

3. Ford.

4. Chevrolet.

5. Nissan.

6. Hyundai.

7. Volkswagen.

8. Kia.

9. Dodge.

10. Subaru.

Did you notice something? Where is Scion, Toyota’s supposed “Youth” brand, on that list…?

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