By on January 27, 2015

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Over the past weekend, you’ve probably seen the summaries of press releases interspersed with some topical discussion reports of an MTV study on millennials’ attitudes towards cars on outlets from USA Today to Jalopnik to even MTV’s own website. Well, I was present at the press conference where MTV executives presented the results and was left with much more to write about, from how the survey was conducted to the recommendations that were presented to both manufacturers and dealers about how to court millennial customers.

First off, this study involved 3,610 millennials ranging from the ages of 18-34, 400 Generation Xers, and 403 baby boomers. A large amount of those people took online surveys for the project. To generate some of the qualitative information, like what millennials wanted out of a car and the buying experience, the study used focus groups, one-on-one interviews, virtual travelogues, car-creation groups, deal-alongs, as well as expert and car dealer interviews. However, the qualitative part of the study only involved 58 millennials in 3 markets, which were San Francisco, Cleveland, and Fort Lee, New Jersey.

Maureen Healy, the Vice President of Research for MTV, started the presentation by focusing on the “myths” about millennials and driving and promptly dispelling them. She noted that 80% of millennials get around by car most often and actually cover more ground than baby boomers and Generation Xers, due to millennials’ greater amount of spare time. As for the belief that millennials have little interest in getting a license and prefer other forms of transport, Healy pointed to the restrictive driving laws for people ages 15-21, such as restricted driving hours and the amount of people allowed in the car.

There were also some surprising (for those who thought millennials didn’t like cars) statistics generated in this survey. For instance, 70 percent of millennials enjoyed driving vs. 58 percent of boomers and 66 percent of Generation Xers. The study also found that 76 percent of millennials would rather give up social media for a day rather than their car while 72 percent would give up texting for a week rather than their car for the same period of time.

After contradicting the myths, Berj Kazanjian, the Senior Vice President for Ad Sales Research for MTV, began the second part of the presentation by focus on the profile of the millennial. He said that millennials want more than other generations and want it faster, and put pressure on themselves to be a full adult by the age of 30. She emphasized that millennials were driven to make their mark and establish their independence, and that the car was important in attaining those goals.

Emphasized over and over during the presentation was that millennials were the generation who received a trophy for just showing up and taking part. That observation was expressed in terms of the complaints millennials had about the buying process and what they wanted from a car.

They wanted the buying process to be more transparent, with fair pricing and a breakdown of costs upfront. Millennials also wanted the car-buying process to be much faster to feel empowered by the buying process. The study also found the need to celebrate a good deal by sharing it on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media. To a lesser extent, the MTV survey showed that millennials wanted to have greater customization options, like customized trim bits, decals, and floor mats.

Millennials surveyed also wanted a rewards program that gave them points towards accessories whenever they had their cars serviced at the dealership. For instance, in exchange for bringing the car into the dealership for two services, they wanted to redeem those credits for floor mats, customized headrests, trim bits, and other accessories. (Remember the bit about millennials getting the trophy for just showing up.)

Towards the end of the presentation, Kazanjian described how auto companies should structure their ads. It was recommended that ads targeting millennials needed to have smart humor, a good story, needed to show professional and accomplished 20-somethings, and the ad needed to recognize [millennials’] “ambition and passion.” He stated that millennials were cynical about advertising and that ads needed to get the emotion right.

Now, the Q+A session during this conference was livelier than the other press sessions I attended during the convention. The two people giving the answers during the session were Berj Kazanjian and Maureen Healy, the. Here’s the round-up of answers given to the press during the Q+A:

  • Regarding electric cars and alternative fuel vehicles, the presenters said their survey showed millennials felt those vehicles were not ready for today, and are not a viable long-term solution. Millennials also didn’t think they were completely environmentally friendly taking into account how the batteries are developed.
  • When asked about what advice they would give to salespeople about selling to millennials, they said the salesperson has to be open and honest, needs to know millennials don’t buy into certain processes (for example, seeing the manager for more than ten minutes while leaving the customer alone at the desk), and needs to treat the millennial customer like the most special person at the dealership.
  • The study did not interview salespeople who dealt with the millennial subjects in the survey, so we unfortunately don’t have an idea of what they thought of the customer in front of them and the reasoning behind why the customer was treated as he or she was. Instead, the presenters referenced interviews with salespeople independent of the people car shopping in the research study.
  • Dealership salespeople were interviewed about millennials’ buying habits. Dealers found them very prepared and likely to share the news of the deal they got on social media sites like Facebook.
  • Millennials prefer to buy rather than lease. However, if they did consider leasing, they would want to part of a program where they could switch to a different car every year. (The program was pitched as Mustang for one year, Fusion during the next year, as long as they’re the same model year as when they signed the lease papers.)
  • The study focused mainly on new car purchases, not used cars.
  • Parental involvement in the car purchase is important to note as well. Stories about parents calling up their kids’ professors regarding grades and calling bosses about their kids’ work problems were mentioned.

It must be mentioned that the presenters noted than millennials represent $1 trillion worth of spending and took pains to demonstrate that the age group was up for grabs, since no automaker was among the top 10 millennial brands. Additionally, the study focused only on new cars, not used cars which would be more attainable for millennials. And it should be said that the survey also noted the components that needed to be embedded in an ad for millennials. So it’s entirely possible MTV may be trying to court automotive advertising revenue for its TV channel and websites.

But the findings are still interesting, considering many of them had to do with areas where the dealer franchise is involved, rather than the manufacturer, such as the buying process and getting the car serviced, things which MTV would have little control over. Furthermore, some of the numbers reported, like how 75 percent of millennials agree “they couldn’t live without their current car” vs. 62 percent of baby boomers and 73 percent of Generation Xers provides some commentary fodder on attitudes towards cars between age groups, regardless of new car purchase habits.

Overall, the MTV study debunked many preconceived notions about millennials’ attitude towards cars. Other than disproving the statements that millennials don’t drive, don’t care about getting their driver’s license, prefer taking public transit or bicycling to driving, don’t like cars, and would rather have their smartphones and computers rather than a car, the report shows that the general public attitude towards millennials and cars is wrong and does represent a new car-buying generation. Any reports to the contrary are grossly misinformed.

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129 Comments on “NADA Conference 2015: Here’s the Background Behind That MTV Study on Millennials and Cars...”


  • avatar
    sirwired

    “Emphasized over and over during the presentation was that millennials were the generation who received a trophy for just showing up and taking part. That observation was expressed in terms of the complaints millennials had about the buying process and what they wanted from a car.”

    Wait a minute… because Millenials have noticed the car buying process is horrible (just like no generation alive enjoys the process), that equates to emphasizing their supposed tendency to all feel like Speshul Snowflakes?

    And I don’t see how a rewards program for having the car serviced at the dealership is any different from, say, frequent flier miles or hotel points.

    I’m pretty sure every generation we developed language has complained about the younger generation being entitled, spoiled, good-for-nothings.

    • 0 avatar

      What’s wrong with the buying process? The industry will retail around 14 million new vehicles this year. If you want to change it, feel free to open a new car store and show us how it should be done. You’ll make millions! But don’t be a Millennial and just complain about it. Do something. You can use the system to your advantage. The key to a successful selling system is not whether or not consumers like it or not. They key is, “does it work?” Consumers are never going to like a “game” where they might lose. They would prefer to be guaranteed a win, or at least the perception of a win. When they buy an Apple gadget they feel like they won, or at least didn’t lose. If the FTC would allow, the auto industry would be glad to arrange such a system. But Apple owns all of its own outlets and can control pricing. There isn’t enough capital available for auto OEMs to own their own sales outlets. Besides, they lack the know how to run them.

      If consumers don’t like the retail auto market, but it still “works” it is unlikely to change. The purpose of selling cars is to make a profit doing it. Consumers are going to be resistant to that. I know I am. But I’ll go in and buy something and not negotiate the price when I feel I have no other option. I like the idea of shopping on line so I can quickly and conveniently find the “best price.” But I also understand that gadgets, shoes, clothing, etc. aren’t big ticket items where trade ins with negative equity have to be taken and complex financing details worked out.

      If you have a beef about the auto market you might want to take it up with the FTC. They don’t do surveys to find out if consumers like the process or not. Dealers and OEMs would be happy to get together to fix prices so everyone pays the same. Saturn was able to do that because of their unique franchise agreement. How did that work out? Ford was able to do it in select markets around the turn of the century. How did that work out? Anyone want to try it again?

      I was also in the room for the MTV presentation. They made it clear that Millennials wanted “fairness.” They don’t want to think anyone got a better price than they did. They think it is unfair for someone to pay more than someone else for the same car UNLESS they are the one getting the better deal.

      RE: “I’m pretty sure every generation we developed language has complained about the younger generation being entitled, spoiled, good-for-nothings.”

      True words!!!!

      • 0 avatar
        nickoo

        Are you kidding? Tesla tried that and was banned in several states and pending legislation in others to block them. The entrenched special interests protect the status quo. Also just spouting off out of touch boomer platitudes of go do it if you can do better ignores economic realities..sure if I had millions of dollars in start up capital there’s a lot of untapped markets I would be developing right now.

        • 0 avatar
          energetik9

          I agree. The only people defending the current system, work in the current system. It’s antiquated, secretive, and frustrating. Going to the dealership for a car rates right up there with dental surgery for many people. I’d bet the BBB receives plenty of complaints every year regarding Automotive dealerships. Tesla is the only company I see attempting to change the system and I’m pretty sure that state dealer associations are the ones filing the lawsuits to stop it. It makes me want to root for Tesla for this reason alone.

        • 0 avatar
          Sigivald

          “Dealers” are what those laws protect.

          They don’t give any advantage to “crappy dealers with bad customer experience” over “good dealers who are a pleasure to work with”, is the thing.

          There’s a whole lot of the latter, for all the talk about the former.

          (I agree that dealer monopoly laws are *bad* and should be removed, but they’re not really the point about the “car buying experience” as such.

          Nobody but Tesla, manufacturer-wise, seems to *want* to do direct sales.)

      • 0 avatar
        sirwired

        All I am saying is that complaining about the customer-hostile car-buying process is not, in any way, unique to millenials or their purported inflated self-esteem. People have been complaining about lousy car salesmen since well before all these millenials were born. (And, in many cases, before their parents were born.)

      • 0 avatar
        JK43123

        So the industry sold 14 million vehicles. What does that prove? People have to buy them. Hospitals are busy but no one wants to be there. Most car buying transactions are big on selling but poor on product support and customer care. Everything has to make a profit, but grocery stores and other retail don’t screw people in general.

        John

      • 0 avatar
        ellomdian

        As a Gen-Y (call me a Millennial and I may stab you…) I had the opportunity to purchase my first from-a-dealership car 14 months ago. I had been shopping for ~6 mos (I wanted something pretty specific) and despite spending most of my time drinking coffee in high-end showrooms, the purchase experience from the point that I said, post-test drive “I would like to discuss a purchase” to the point that I signed my name 6-7 times and got to leave with my car was awful. The fact that I had experienced the same thing 6 mos before when shopping with my mom for her new car was even more compelling – I had just assumed that was because we were at a mid-range dealer. Both times had the following in common:

        1. It took almost 90 mins from the point I was presented with a loan offer that I was happy with to the point that I got keys. There was no discussion, no decisions, just paperwork and dealer bullshit.

        2. The number of times I had to answer the same questions to the sales guy, the manager, and the finance guy was horrible. There should be better communication between groups at the dealer.

        3. PAPERWORK. Streamline your fucking workflows, and consolidate paperwork in a logical and expedient manner. Print everything off at once, in order, digitize forms where you can so that you can collapse the paperwork. I’ve signed 6 figure project documentation that was less tedious than buying a 30k car…

        4. If I’m looking at a specific car, said when I showed up that I was interested in a specific car, qualify for a car, and you just can’t sell it to me for some reason, just tell me! I sat in a dealership for almost an hour before they realized that they had sold back a pre-owned car almost a week before. Train your sales staff to recognize ‘informed’ buyers – you are much more likely to make a sale if you just sit back and let me do all the work.

      • 0 avatar
        dtremit

        “If you want to change it, feel free to open a new car store and show us how it should be done.”

        Great idea!

        Except I can’t do it if another dealer already has a franchise for the area.
        And if I’m a manufacturer of the product, I probably couldn’t do it all. Chrysler tried in LA and got sued into oblivion. (Every manufacturer wishes they could sell direct, but they don’t dare say so out loud.)
        And I can’t do it online. Or across state lines.

        If auto dealers actually thought that their current model could survive for fifteen minutes without legal protections, they would never have bothered suing and lobbying against Tesla.

      • 0 avatar
        healthy skeptic

        @ruggles

        What’s wrong with the buying process is that most people find it incredibly unpleasant, and it’s a little hard to swallow your explanation of “I’m sorry, but that’s just how it has to be” when dealers across America have locked in the current system through various state laws. Why don’t we remove those laws and find out if you’re right?

      • 0 avatar
        smowe

        “The key to a successful selling system is not whether or not consumers like it or not.”

        This is a disagreeable statement in more than one way.

    • 0 avatar
      harshciygar

      I have yet to read a single study that I felt “got” me as a Millennial.

      Like, we get that we got trophies for showing up. Nobody really thinks they “earned” a participation award. But it did make us all feel like we were a part of something, together.

      Buying a car makes you feel like an outsider. The dealer has all the knowledge and all the cards. We want to feel like a part of the process, and I don’t know why any other generation before us hasn’t felt the same.

      • 0 avatar
        strafer

        You can’t be “part of the process” by just showing up.
        Sure we all want to be part of the process, but we know it takes more than just walking into a dealership.
        Getting a good deal is a learning process, a skill that you learn.
        If you don’t want to put the time and effort to be good at it, then you’ll keep getting worse deal than others.

        • 0 avatar
          319583076

          This. Exactly. I had a supervisor that showed me a “how to work with millenials” training booklet.

          The gist of it was that millenials are great at knocking down the dominos provided that someone else sets them up and then gives explicit instructions on which domino to knock over first and in precisely what manner.

          *Everyone* is successful in that situation. The problem is that reality is never that situation. Most of my work is essentially, “We got a problem, figure it out and fix it before you go home!” Sometimes, the person handing off the problem suggests what the problem is or might be. They are usually wrong.

          I agree with strafer 100%. Getting a reasonable deal when buying a car is a skill that requires you to earn it by working for it.

          The slam against millenials and the participation awards is that millenials have expectations about how everything should be once they show up to knock over that first domino. Woe unto anyone trying to get through life with that attitude.

          • 0 avatar
            psarhjinian

            “The gist of it was that millenials are great at knocking down the dominos provided that someone else sets them up and then gives explicit instructions on which domino to knock over first and in precisely what manner.”

            This isn’t really a millenials-only trait; having worked helpdesk, I’ve seen this mindset from the tail end of the Greatest Generation to (as of 2005) twentysomethings just entering the workforce.

            Not that there aren’t generationally definitive characteristics, but I don’t find millenials any more entitled than Boomers are, though it will be interesting to see if that keeps up). I note that they’re developing Gen-X levels ennui and occasional nihilism as they age, just as you’d expect.

          • 0 avatar
            319583076

            I agree with you that this isn’t new to millenials. But, this was the first time I’d seen “training” materials promoting kowtowing to this sort of expectation.

          • 0 avatar
            dtremit

            “Getting a reasonable deal when buying a car is a skill that requires you to earn it by working for it.”

            But why should it be? What possible justification is there for needing to be a shrewd negotiator to not get screwed when buying a consumer product that everyone needs every few years?

            No other industry works this way, and for a reason.

        • 0 avatar
          ellomdian

          The problem with that theory is that it’s pre-internet logic.

          I can get the best ‘deal’ in about 2 minutes on everything from Toilet Paper to 5 figure stereo components. I can comparison shop multiple sources, read reviews, make a decision, and have the damn thing on it’s way to my door in less than half an hour.

          The weight of most purchasing effort has been shifted to the producer, not the consumer, and for the most part it’s been a good thing. The fact that the Car and housing industries are major outliers says more about the unneeded bullshit than the ‘learning process.’

          Not to mention it’s akin to the insistence that being able to fix your own car makes you somehow more worthy as a person – if it floats your boat, great! But nothing is more annoying, embarrassing, and anachronistic than Grand-da trying to negotiate the price on a new computer at Best Buy…

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “We want to feel like a part of the process, and I don’t know why any other generation before us hasn’t felt the same.”

        I have no idea what that means.

        • 0 avatar

          My gen-y daughter just purchased a car from Car-Max, WTF was my reply, you just paid $3k above market. She did not care, to her the dealership experience is so bad it is worth it. I can suffer all the BS dealerships give me for $3k, but seemingly at least one gen-y cannot.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        That’s because via the magic of the Internet, we’re the first generation where most of the population can KNOW what all the cards are. In 1960, you went on word of mouth, dealer reputation, and brand loyalty you inherited from your parents.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Don’t forget, there is a price for everyone. If you are willing to dicker, chances are good you’ll end up paying what you want to pay.

          But many in the younger generation don’t want to haggle and many don’t want the responsibility of owning a car unless there simply is no other way to get around their need for transportation.

          Owning a car is expensive!

      • 0 avatar
        S2k Chris

        I felt this one “got me” (though I barely qualify as a millenial as I was born in ’82). Millenials use the internet, research a product before showing up, then when they do show up they want to buy it and GTFO. My most recent car purchase was my easiest one ever (email the internet sales guy and agree on price going in) and it still took 1:45, which is too long. I paid the exact price on the dealer’s price list (which was a discount I had bounced of TrueCar and the owner’s forums so I knew it was a good fair price) and we shook on it in the first 2 minutes after the test drive. We also had no trade in. It still took about 90 minutes to go through everything and actually seal the deal, mostly waiting for the Finance guy. It seems like it could go quicker.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          This right here is where many dealers need to bone up. Mostly through laziness and disorganization, very little is done with any urgence on the sales side, and it’s often sloppy.

          I make a lot of car deals on behalf of people, (I know, it’s hard to believe, but people will pay a middle man to not have to deal with this sh1t…value adding blah blah). I sometimes make deals with dealers in far off places because they have a very particular vehicle. I do everything to make sure everything is completely set before delivery day so it goes smoothly. It never fails, there’s always something that ends up holding things up because they screwed it up.

          The last one was a pickup where they were to add and program a factory style trailer brake controller as part of the deal. Looking over the vehicle, it was installed, but didn’t work. The dummies didn’t program it. It was a Saturday and their service department wasn’t open, so no one to program it. “Get me the scan tool, I’ll do it”. Nope, tools locked up. $100 gas card later I was on my way plus they paid the bill for the programming at a local dealer.

          On the plus side, the dealmaking with them over e-mail was OK. I only had to knock down $300 worth of added dealer fees once the actual contract arrived. Protip; dealing over e-mail is great to dispel any “I didn’t say that” type situations at signing time.

        • 0 avatar
          Sigivald

          As things go, that’s hardly a Horrible Process for spending 20+k dollars, though…

          (To clarify, that’s a reply to S2k Chris…)

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Wow, I never realized I was a closet millennial, because I want the same things they do. (except for the trophy for showing-up, that’s dumb)

    So, boomers, millennials and gen-Xers are like all people who have basically the same hopes, dreams and desires. Imagine that

    • 0 avatar
      sirwired

      Yes, apparently because you want honesty in the sales process at the dealership and perhaps wanted to make something of yourself at a young age, that somehow equates to a stereotypical millenial “participation trophy”. (Is that actually a new thing, or just something grouchy old farts like to bring up repeatedly?) I guess you were at the vanguard of a horribly entitled life!

      Sounds like somebody had a stereotypical axe to grind against “kids these days”…

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        Did I forget the “/sarcasm” or did you?

        What I meant that as a boomer growing-up the name they called the divide was a “generation gap” that miraculously disappeared as we moved through life. Now they call it “millennials”, “gen-Xers or “Ys”. Same story different era. What I’m saying is what this study basically shows, it’s BS. It’s just young people moving through life and a few older folks that don’t understand (or remember) why young people don’t know what old people know.

        Guess what? When millennials grow old they’ll be equally perplexed by whatever generation is preparing to replace them. The cycle of life continues

      • 0 avatar
        duffman13

        It’s brought up by the old farts who bought us the participation trophies, and then bitched about is being used to getting them.

    • 0 avatar

      RE: “So, boomers, millennials and gen-Xers are like all people who have basically the same hopes, dreams and desires. Imagine that”

      You nailed it. I was sitting there in the front row of the MTV presentation thinking the same thing. The human nature of people hasn’t changed a bit. We Boomers were a self absorbed spoiled bunch of brats in our late teens and twenties. We thought we were going to change the world because of our numbers. Will, our numbers have been dwarfed by the Millennials and they have the same growing up process to go through as my generation did. For some reason, they think all of the new technology belongs to their generation, something that escapes me.

      But there are some things the MTV team brought up that are most certainly true. Millennials are having children later in life. There is nothing that will change your lifestyle like children. A young urban couple who get along without a car now finds a need for one with day car, school, soccer practice, etc.

      But there is a HUGE difference between urban life and life in the countryside.

    • 0 avatar
      Monty

      I had to laugh at the behaviours attributed to millennials – because it’s my 50 something year old wife described to a “t”.

      I used to listen to my parents complain about the next generation. Then it was my generation complaining about the next one. Now I’m hearing generations X and Y complain about the millenials. The more things change…

    • 0 avatar
      healthy skeptic

      Gotta agree with Lie2me here. Reading the MTV description of millenial’s car buying preferences, I thought to myself “that pretty much describes everybody.” Who *does* like waiting around while the sales guy goes and talks to the manager, for instance?

  • avatar
    319583076

    Berj Kazanjian, there’s a name you can *trust*.

  • avatar
    JohnnyFirebird

    I was showing a 2006 Jetta 2.5 to a 17 year old last year. He asked if it had an USB / AUX in and I said no, but he could, you know, make mix CDs.

    “Oh, that’s more of a “your generation” thing,” he replied.

    yeeeeeouuuch.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Well, he was right you know?

    • 0 avatar
      Preludacris

      I’m 25 and I would rather install an aftermarket stereo than listen to my music on CD.

      For people who don’t have the basic skills or experience to do that, it’s not such a big leap to just… buy a different car.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        Sh1t, my loaded 2015 model doesn’t even have a CD player, no option either. The CD player in 2015 is like a tape deck in the dash of a 2005 Buick. You can still get them here and there, but it’s mostly an old person option.

        • 0 avatar
          319583076

          When I bought my ’01 Miata in ’10, it had dual tape deck and CD, I listened to several old tapes that I still had.

          In high school, a friend of mine had an older car with an 8-track and he had a cassette to 8-track adapter. Around the same time, early adopters had portable CD players that used cassette adapters to play over the car stereo. No one seemed to have positive experiences with the locally-transmitted CD to FM option.

      • 0 avatar

        Its not that big of a deal to add USB player capability to an existing auto sound system. I’ve had a gadget hookup to do that for almost ten years.

      • 0 avatar
        duffman13

        The day of the easily replaceable DIN or Double-DIN stereo has gone by the wayside though. Newer stuff is so integrated into dash panels that any sort of replacement requires ridiculous and ugly looking trim panels for the most part, and won’t look good or remotely factory.

        2005-2010 is the worst offender here; most stuff after 2010 has some kind of auxiliary input or Bluetooth streaming, and most stuff pre-2005 still has the old style head units.

        • 0 avatar
          matador

          According to Crutchf|eld, a 2006 Jetta will support aftermarket head units pretty easily.

          Heck, even my $25 el-cheapo radio is better than the stock Ford setup.

        • 0 avatar
          dtremit

          The aftermarket industry is actually catching up surprisingly well — right down to developing panels with replacement HVAC controls for a lot of models.

          The bigger issue is that often the touch screen in the dash is now tied into *everything,* so if you replace the radio you lose the ability to set the clock or your backup camera even though it’s on a separate screen.

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        Or “take it to the car audio place and wait an hour and $200″…

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      I listened to mix CDs in my ’02 Tribute (which was made in that magical time when cars had both tape decks and CD drives) until I found an aux-jack-to-tape-deck while digging around in my father’s 1982 vintage JC Penney stereo cabinet. Now I get to listen to my own music like everyone else!

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      Hah! I had two cars with minidisc players. (I still own one of them.) For what they were–better than CDs or tapes, especially for use in a car, but not as good as USB–they’re a great product.

    • 0 avatar
      tekdemon

      Even in 2006 most millenials would have wanted to be able to plug in their iPods. In college my fellow car owners would buy adapters to run aux ins into the CD changer ports of their headunits. I did the same thing later on and now I’ve added a bluetooth adapter that sends to my adapter so my 12 year old car can stream bluetooth audio.

      Anyways, if people are complaining about the lack of an aux or USB you should consider offering these adapters at your dealership, though they only work on vehicles that had another input that was unused on the head unit like a CD changer input.

      I wouldn’t buy a car without the ability to easily add aux in to the stock head unit though and I’m 31

  • avatar
    grinchsmate

    “needs to treat the millennial customer like the most special person at the dealership.”

    Well not the most special just more special than the dick in the awful suit across from them.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Back in my day, (I’ve waited my whole life to say that) we treated every customer ” like the most special person at the dealership” that’s how cars got sold

      Full disclosure, I’m not a car salesman but the above sentence sounds like common sense to me

      • 0 avatar

        You nailed it again!

      • 0 avatar
        cwallace

        As long as you only have one customer at a time, that works great.

        I was in a global management meeting for a company that made oilfield equipment a few years ago, and all the regional sales heads were going through slides about their strategies. One of them got up and said, straight-faced, that his region’s strategy was to “treat every customer like their best customer.” He smiled and paused, so we could all let that little bit of wisdom soak in.

        The president of the group immediately said from the front row “THAT’S your plan? So what if one of your salesman is talking to a customer, and his phone rings? Then what? Or if two customers need the same slot in a repair shop? Sit the &%#*! down.”

        From then on, saying that someone was “treating every customer like his best customer” was code for “he has no idea what he’s doing.”

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          “oilfield equipment”

          That douche is now looking for a job and with that attitude won’t find one and I’m glad

          He was wrong

          • 0 avatar
            cwallace

            Nah, he made more money than you and me and probably several more of us put together, and retired happy not too long ago.

            Because in that case, as in most, not adjusting your service to your customers is bad business. If you have a customer who pays in 30 days, and one who pays in 180 days, are they both your “best” customer? Are the one who knows what he needs, and the one who needs tons of hand-holding from Engineering both your “best” customer? No.

            If you want another “best customer” maxim, how about “I treated all my customers like my best customers at my business…. until it drove me out of business.”

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        Of course it’s common sense, but the real challenge is how do you make them feel special? Not everyone appreciates the same acts of attention.

  • avatar
    nickoo

    Gen X called, from 1993, they want their music TV back. But seriously, this study, as much as it pains me to admit, as some of the points doesn’t paint my generation in the best light, is more spot on than most of them that I have seen that claim we don’t like cars. Millenials are a no bs mindset, just be up front and direct as we’ve done our research on the net already. More info on millennial finances and ability to buy a new car is needed, as we are mostly not in a position to afford them. The criticisms I have of the study is that we’re the participation trophy generation or that our mommy and daddy need to call the dealership. I’m not going to buy a car from someone who insults me right out of the gate, I’m a 32 year old man, Iraq vet and earned advanced degrees, without mommy and daddy holding my hand, and many of my peers share similar life experiences.

    • 0 avatar

      Yes, the “research” paints with a broad brush, as most research does.

      There is a raging debate in the auto business about the new consumer having more information that previous less tech generations had. I would say there is a HUGE difference between having a lot of information and actually “knowing” or understanding it. Consumer auto info these days is like drinking through a fire hose. In days gone buy a consumer could get the same available information but they had to go to the news stand to buy a book. They could also go to their bank or credit union to get the info. But here is the KEY POINT. Things were MUCH more simple to understand. There was MUCH LESS complexity. In those days, a consumer took delivery of a car for more than the dealer had to pay off at the floor plan bank. Not so these days. Much more of the dealer’s profit today is obscured as “dealer trunk money.” Most consumers take delivery of their new vehicle and the dealer has to pay off more at the bank than he collected from the buyer. Over the years the over invoice markup in new vehicles has been trimmed dramatically.

      Is anyone here cynical enough to think that might have been by design? Bottom Line: Auto OEMs know their dealers have to make ROI. It doesn’t do the brand any good to have dealers going out of business.

      The auto retail world has changed. It used to be we’d lead with MSRP. Now, many dealers lead with “invoice.”

      What does it tell you when you can buy a RAM truck and get $9200. worth of rebates and incentives?

      • 0 avatar
        nickoo

        It tells me what I suspect to already be true, that in the west, the middle and working class is broke and had been since the 60s/early 70s, while financial games and debt have been used to keep up the facade. The only thing that can fix things at this point is deflation, which the banking cartel will never allow.

    • 0 avatar
      duffman13

      As a millennial who just bought a car recently I’m getting a kick.

      You’re spot-on about the buying process and information availability, there are an infinite number of resources out there to use now, especially with new cars. For a new car, you can walk in and offer invoice minus incentives and probably $3-500 into holdback or so and get that every time, and know what your price is going to be before you even show up.

      For used it’s not so easy, and never has been, and this is what most millenials probably have a problem with. not everyone wants to drive a Spark or a Versa.

      I came in with printouts from KBB, Edmunds, and a smattering of listings from cars.com when we bought ours because it was the only one with the option package and color we wanted in a 3 hour radius. I got within $500 of the price I wanted, so I ended up happy. That’s a rounding error on a 5 year loan. I did well, but I’m on this site. I am the one percent who really knows where to look and goes in informed.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    I doubt that Generation Y’s elders were fans of an opaque sales process and aggressive salesmen.

    As for rewards points, everybody likes free stuff or the perception of free stuff. The local supermarket does it, but I would hope not to spend as much time at a dealership as I would at the grocery store.

  • avatar
    omer333

    I don’t know, grocery stores give you points for discounts on a future purchase, credit cards give you points for discounts on purchases, why not get points for every time use got your maintenance at the dealer/dealer group/whatever you got points to be used towards discounts on parts or service?

    We all know the dealers make all the money in the parts/service side, why not make it so a guy (or gal) who buys a Chevy Spark at the local Chevy dealer will get incentives to keep coming back?

    I mean, the Dodge dealership I bough my Dart from gives me 10% off parts if I get stuff done through them.

    • 0 avatar
      duffman13

      Our local Mazda dealer keeps sending us service coupons too. The price is the same as a quick-lube place or other garage, so why not leave it with them for a half-day?

      • 0 avatar
        omer333

        I’d rather not go to the quick-lube places. I took my Mustang to one many years ago because I didn’t have the time or space to do my own oil change, when it became time for the next oil change, I had the time and space to do it on my own. They tightened the oil pan drain plug with a wrench, so it took some convincing for me to get it off.

      • 0 avatar
        dtremit

        Because I don’t have a half day to sit there!

        When I lived in Detroit in the late ’90s, nearly every dealer was introducing an express oil change lane; you might wait for the guy ahead of you, but you wouldn’t wait long.

        Somehow, almost no dealers in Boston have gotten that memo, nearly twenty years later.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        My local Mazda dealership offers a rewards program. For each dollar you spend on parts/service, they’ll either give you 5% towards service/parts or 10% towards a car purchase.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      They on average make about half their money in parts and service, but that’s growing every day. More and more dealers are putting service “out front” right next to sales. It’s funny how many dealers are still in operation that treat anyone that didn’t buy their car at the dealer like crap in the service department. The opportunity is there to make so much more in service, yet this is an oft neglected part of the business.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      “why not get points for every time use got your maintenance at the dealer/dealer group/whatever you got points to be used towards discounts on parts or service?”

      Ford does that.

      It’s not a selling point for me, but it’s nice (I guess) that the $3000 dollars worth of work my F250 needed for failed coils* got me a $300 credit for service.

      (* Four bad coils, led to clogged cats and a carbon-filled engine before it threw a code.

      Replace both cats, all 8 coils, all 8 plugs. And half the plugs broke getting them out [old 2-part plugs]. At least THAT will never happen again, since they’re one-part plugs on the replacements.

      Ah, well. The price of buying used; I never knew that minute hesitation from a stop wasn’t just normal/a worn mount/etc…)

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    “and put pressure on themselves to be a full adult by the age of 30.”

    I should hope so, because that’s plenty of damn time to take to be an adult.

    “greater customization options, like customized trim bits, decals, and floor mats.”

    Yes, I want a special Diamond Edition something, with special trim logos. And also model logos which vary like on JDM vehicles.

    “For instance, in exchange for bringing the car into the dealership for two services, they wanted to redeem those credits for floor mats, customized headrests, trim bits, and other accessories.”

    No, that’s stupid. Custom headrests are tacky. Custom bits come from time of purchase, not added later.

    “(The program was pitched as Mustang for one year, Fusion during the next year, as long as they’re the same model year as when they signed the lease papers.)”

    An interesting idea, a lease conversion program. Not something I would do personally, but I can see finicky young people changing up their 323IsportX-drive GranCoupe often.

    “Stories about parents calling up their kids’ professors regarding grades and calling bosses about their kids’ work problems were mentioned.”

    Pathetic, and my parents would laugh in my face if I asked them to call my boss for me. Grow up.

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      Eh, depends on what’s meant by that idea of “being an adult.” I mean, I’m 29, and on one hand, I’m married, employed, and own a mortgage (my wife even possesses multiple degrees at our age). On the other hand, we’re not sure if we’re established enough to be ready for kids (recognizing that there is a biological time limit for that), we have plenty of unmarried friends, and some fields pretty much require a doctorate at this point, meaning you’re in your late 20s before you’re even out in the workforce.

      Not like we all have the option to be married in the suburbs with a couple kids pumped out before we can rent a car without surcharge anymore.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Adult is the following (to me):

        -Done with whatever education you’re doing (for at least the present 5 year span).

        -Live on your own, at least nice apartment if not condo/house.

        -Have decent car.

        -Have adult full-time job.

        Marriage optional, childrens optional!

        • 0 avatar
          319583076

          Why do you need to qualify someone according to how “nice” you think their home and car are?

          An adult in my world is someone who takes responsibility for their decisions and actions. I don’t particularly care how they choose to alot their resources w/r/t homes and cars.

          • 0 avatar
            Preludacris

            Thanks very much Mr. Burger with Numbers!

            I live in a basement suite (not my parents’) so I can pay off student loans I took on by my choice while I drive an old car I deliberately chose to a job where I use knowledge I earned in my expensive studies… these facts all stand FOR of my adulthood, not against it.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            It’s why I said my view. Take that as you will.

          • 0 avatar
            redav

            “An adult in my world is someone who takes responsibility for their decisions and actions.”

            I agree and would add someone who can (and does) take care of themselves.

        • 0 avatar
          Maymar

          Yeah, I’ve got enough friends who have some semblance of shit together who don’t have a car (some don’t even have their license) – not worth the expense.

          And for over a year after getting married, my wife and I still had a roommate, for the sake of putting together a down payment together quicker.

          But, as others have helped prove, adulthood is a fluid concept, there’s not a generation putting pressure on themselves to hit your markets of full adulthood by any particular age.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          That seems like the vision of an adult from a kid’s point of view.

          You forgot:

          – Owns a Countach

          – Bangs Heather Locklear

          – Stays up as late as they want

          – Watches Beavis and Butthead and mom can’t stop them

          I’m still working on the first 2.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      I think Dodge recently offered a lease swap program. Lease a 2014 Challenger or Charger, and trade it in on a new ’15 when they became available. Haven’t heard much else about it.

      • 0 avatar
        dtremit

        It was a weird program — a one year lease followed by a three-year, I think. You could switch between cars, but had to keep roughly the same MSRP. And there was a fairly hefty amount due at signing on the first lease as an incentive to keep you from walking away after that first year.

  • avatar
    ajla

    What if the car salesperson is a millennial? Will I get a better deal if I bring a trophy along? Will they have their mother call me if I negotiate too much?

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Your scenario does not fit within our testing parameters, go away

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      All you have to do is act sure of yourself, and it scares most millennials away. You’d be surprised what you can get away with when dealing millennial – millennial if you speak with confidence.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        Millennials are timid little forest creatures? WTF?

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Lol, they’re loud and complain, but won’t do much to back it up. Cept call mom. And this is the ones who have it together before age 30. Which is about 50%* I’d say.

          *A Mid-West observation. Higher percentage surely in large cities.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        What are you saying Corey, if I act the part of a badass I can walk all over these people?

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Bingo bango. I seem to intimidate other millennials often. And it’s not like I’m big and scary.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Self-confidence is not a new concept and it really shouldn’t scare anybody, but should covey that you don’t like to be messed with

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            It’s certainly an old concept. But these 20’s aged people no can handle.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            BOO!

            Did I scare you? lol

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            You’ll be getting a text from my MOM shortly! :(

          • 0 avatar
            319583076

            But you’ve got an old-school tough-guy name. It’s a lot harder to intimidate when your name is Hayden, or Payden, or Jayden, or Carter.

            This is why if I have a son, his name will be “Thor”.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            No, not your mom, sorry kid, didn’t mean it

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            “This is why if I have a son, his name will be “Thor”

            Why not name him Sue, that’ll toughen him up?

            (Old Johnny Cash song)

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I just think of Corey as a trendy 80s name. But better than these modern names like you mentioned. Or Tanner, Caleb, Bryce, Talon, etc.

            I would name my son Usury. Easier to get the lunch monies.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            It was, Corey Feldman comes to mind, he was such a cute kid

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            Funny story, when I was shopping for the Verano, and I decided to order from my salesguy of choice, the other dealership’s (this dealer had the Verano T to test drive but was all together crap for their customer service) sales manager (this guy was a piece of work from the start) called and emailed me to tell me that he was “very disappointing in me for screwing over the young salesman (about 22 y.o.) who had done so much work on my behalf.”

            Thanks Dad! yeesh.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Payden? This is a name?

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            LOL

            That kid has a hard road ahead as a salesman if he can’t handle losing a Verano lease.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @Corey

            Better to get wise on keeping T levels up, then we can walk all over them AND have their women.

            http://www.reddit.com/r/Supplements/comments/2rf8ea/men_any_good_supplements_for_libidosexual/

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I shall avoid reading that at work, ha.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Reddit is forbidden?

            Additional: Some guys were also saying Beta Alanine is “da shiznitz” but I haven’t bought any yet.

            http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/your-expert-guide-to-beta-alanine.html

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            That Maca sounds like it will have you doing the men on the way to the women, yikes!

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @Lie2Me

            So people say, I find Boron to be quite effective without the same intense effects described by maca powder.

          • 0 avatar
            nickoo

            I use beta alinine, among other supplements, (and hit the gym hard). Beware, it will make you itch like you won’t believe as it attaches to nerve endings, especially around the ears.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            “I just think of Corey as a trendy 80s name. But better than these modern names like you mentioned. Or Tanner, Caleb, Bryce, Talon, etc.”

            My kid’s name is Paxton. No, not after Bill. Although that would be awesome too.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Where did you get Paxton then? That’s a boy name, right?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @nickoo

            Thanks for the info.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            “Where did you get Paxton then?”

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paxton_Automotive

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            You named your kid after a supercharger? Now *THAT’S* a gearhead

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            “You named your kid after a supercharger? Now *THAT’S* a gearhead”

            The wife wouldn’t go for Vortech. He certainly lives up to the name, though.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Yeah, “Blower” probably would have been pretty bad as well

  • avatar

    The biggest problem here? Expanding the definition of millennials to include those of us born in the early 80s.

    I’m 32 and definitely identify as GenX, not to mention am in a very different place in life than those in their early-to-mid 20s.

  • avatar
    superchan7

    I thought about how everyone could buy cars at MSRP, then see if they still feel “left out” of the sales process. But it’s still possible that dealers can add in bogus fees to increase profit per unit.

    So how about this: Sales tax is transparent–if you can’t calculate this you shouldn’t be buying a car. Registration fees are somewhat less obvious, so some work can be done there to improve customer visibility.

    Dealer profit is baked into the MSRP. Everything else is bogus, and every dollar saved from MSRP is up to the customer.

    Tesla can still sell at fixed prices and compete with “negotiable prices”. All they need to do is price their cars competitively.

    • 0 avatar
      dtremit

      “Sales tax is transparent” — well, mostly. If you’re buying a new car with a cash downpayment, then yes. When you start to factor in trades (handled differently in different states) and leasing, then not so much.

      But it’s not *variable* — so I’m not sure it would matter.

      Honestly, one thing that would help is a standard form — something like the HUD-1 for house purchases. All the numbers would be on the page in a clear, consistent format.

  • avatar
    Russycle

    “Other than disproving the statements that millennials don’t drive, don’t care about getting their driver’s license, prefer taking public transit or bicycling to driving, don’t like cars, and would rather have their smartphones and computers rather than a car,”
    Wow, those are some impressive straw men they knocked down. One might conclude that millenials aren’t complete idiots and they’ve noticed that you pretty much need a car to go anywhere in most of the US that isn’t NY City.

    Much more interesting would be how things are trending compared to previous generations when they were the same age. Sure, boomers like to drive less than millenials. I’m a boomer, and I enjoyed driving a lot more when I was in my 20s. I suspect I’m not alone.

    Of course millenials will buy cars. Will they buy them in numbers comparable to previous generations? I don’t know, and I’m not sure MTV does either.

    • 0 avatar
      nickoo

      Probably not until mid 30s if ever. The student loan payment is gen y’s car payment. Then their is the ridiculous costs of housing in any area with good jobs that is a more pressing concern, then thoughts of starting a family for many for others its saving for retirement, healthcare costs , etc.

      New cars are a terrible use of financial resources. Especially for a generation that’s broke.

  • avatar
    redliner

    In my millennial opinion, this is utter bull crap.

    I don’t care about “rewards programs,” I don’t need branded personalized floor mats, and I don’t need the salesman to give me creepy bro-love vibes because he wants to treat me like I’m his special-special.

    What I DO want is a car that is reliable, inexpensive to operate/insure, and that is at least mildly entertaining to drive and look at. I want to be treated with a basic level of respect at the dealer. That’s it. It’s not rocket science.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    I have no idea what that Powerpoint Slide even means. It looks like someone in China copy-and-pasted something into Google Translate and regurgitated it.

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