Generation Why: JD Power Says Gen Y Now Buying More Cars Than Gen X

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler

Generation Y has just edged out Generation X in the new car market. A study by J.D. Power shows that, year-to-date, Gen Y buyers (defined as being born in 1977-1994) are buying 26 percent of new vehicles, versus Gen X (1965-1976), which bought 24 percent of new vehicles in the same period.

While Gen X’s share of new vehicle purchases has stayed flat from 2013, Gen Y’s share has increased by 3 percent. Boomers (born from 1946-1964) still make up the biggest demographic, at 38 percent of new car sales, but that’s down 2 percent from 2013.

Compact cars are said to be the most popular Gen Y segment, making up 20 percent of their purchases. That’s compared to compact SUVs for Gen X, which makes up 15 percent of their own car selections.

For all the talk of how the Millenial generation is turning its back on cars, it appears that things aren’t quite panning out that way. Rising incomes, changing priorities and growing families mean that the car will become something that is both more attainable and increasingly necessary to meet their needs. Quite a change from the “kids hate cars” rhetoric of the past few years. But we’ve known for a while that money, not ideology, has been what’s stopped young people from owning cars.

Derek Kreindler
Derek Kreindler

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  • Tankinbeans Tankinbeans on Aug 01, 2014

    Today I was listening to a program on the radio and somehow they got into a generational discussion. I forgot the topic exactly, but they were talking about the generation immdeiately following Generation Y (or millenials, or whatever stupid label we have on our heads). You want to know what the newest generation, 1995-present is called? It's very original, and took many focus groups to come up with. They are Generation Z (perhaps short for Zombie?). I imagine the next generation will be, having run out of phoenetic letters, will be Alpha.

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    • 95_SC 95_SC on Aug 02, 2014

      @pragmatic Hmm...Could Lincoln capatilize on this by building a Mark X?

  • TW5 TW5 on Aug 01, 2014

    At least Gen Y is buying smaller cars. I read a depressing article the other day from UMTRI. Air travel is now twice as efficient as the passenger car market. In other words, it's more efficient to lift a 200-ton airplane 7-miles high than it is to drive your vehicle from home to work. That's a sad commentary on the state of automotive engineering and consumer decision-making.

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    • Drzhivago138 Drzhivago138 on Aug 02, 2014

      @mkirk Let's took a helluva lot of thrust to get them out of Earth's gravity well, but since then, they've been running purely on the slingshot effect, with outstanding results. I'm pretty sure they've got the record for "farthest distance achieved with no onboard fuel".

  • Hybridkiller Hybridkiller on Aug 02, 2014

    I'm coining a new demographic classification - Generation Oversteer - that would be anyone old enough to remember when American-made cars were all rwd (Olds Toronado notwithstanding).

    • Krhodes1 Krhodes1 on Aug 02, 2014

      The overwhelming majority of foreign cars were RWD too! I like this, being a '69 model myself.

  • 95_SC 95_SC on Aug 02, 2014

    I thought the introduction of New Coke was the point of demarcation? That was in the 80's sometime.

    • Drzhivago138 Drzhivago138 on Aug 02, 2014

      "It tastes like a party in my mouth and only the people who taste bad were invited."