• May 18, 2006
Will the Toyota Yaris, Honda Fit and the upcoming Nissan Versa join the Buick Le Sabre and even the Toyota Camry as "Grandparent's Most Favorite Ride?" That's what analysts think about the new wave of subcompacts arriving in America. According to John Wolkonowicz, automakers are once again making the mistake that younger buyers' primary concern is cost. "This is not a meek generation. They (Generation Y) want you to see them arrive," says the Global Insight analyst. "A car is like clothing."
Other analysts agree with Wolkonowicz's statement, saying while some Gen Y buyers will purchase vehicles based on cost, they'll abandon them as soon as they can afford something more "interesting" like a Cadillac Escalade, Lincoln Navigator, or Hummer H2. The analysts are a bit perplexed, since sales of MINIs and Scions illustrate Gen Y's priority: good-looking, "cool" cars that evoke emotions. Of course, those brands have a fair percentage of elderly buyers themselves. Automakers can be forgiven, though, since it takes three to five years for them to bring a new vehicle to production, during which Gen Y likely changes its mind about a dozen times. Damn video game generation.

There is a trend of younger drivers coveting more classic vehicles, and it would be interesting to read analysts' views on that phenomenon, as well. Perhaps there are some readers out there who were born in the '80s that can testify to the allure of a good classic.

Related:
Will the American market's new small cars resonate with young buyers?
Gen Y gets automakers' attention

[Source: Chicago Tribune via South Coast Today]


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  • 67 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      there's a very easy answer here. people like cool cars.

      i'm born in '82. i have a '67 volvo 1800 i'm restoring. why because it's cool. its also cheap and practical, within the realm of similar cars. the fact that it's a 'classic' is a factor, but not as big as coolness and relative practicality. i also have an '82 cressida with an '89 supra turbo motor. it isn't pretty (well, to most anyway, i like her), but it goes like stink and is totally unsuspecting. it's kaiser sose. it's cool. and cheap. and pretty damned practical (room for 5, lots of trunk space, 27mpg).

      moral of the story? people like cool. people like cheap (price, not product). people like practical. when you got more money to blow, sure, you buy up. but blowing money on cars isn't what everyone's into. just make cool cars, people.
      • 8 Years Ago
      "Perhaps there are some readers out there who were born in the '80s that can testify to the allure of a good classic."

      12/04/1981 here, and a classic cars are sweet, not for me but sweet.
      • 8 Years Ago
      if you have to get the rpm's up, then only enthusiasts will want them -assuming an manual trannsmission is purchased- because most people, especially women, don't want to have to have to work that hard while they are on their way to school or to the grocery store. then again, the appeal to enthusuasts is also unlikely, since there are better more powerful "hi-rev" options available.
      • 8 Years Ago
      #52 mike: Those cars can blow my car's doors off. You've just gotta actually get the RPMs up.

      I have 52 horsepower. 'Nuff said.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Are there really enough Gen Y buyers to buy new cars? when I was young, a brand new car was not in the cards. Or do guilty mommy and daddy in 2006 have to buy their kids new cars?

      It's always funny to see gramps driving around in his xB.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Born 3/1981. To parrot some of what others have said...

      We will buy exactly what we want to buy from the sampling of vehicles we are aware of.

      Advertising succeeds in making us aware of a product; it cannot successfully make us want it.

      That is all advertising is good for. They show it to us, and we are responsible for liking it or disliking it according to the tastes we've acquired. I am certainly not going to be susceptible a commercial that tells me what young people like, when I know that it was scripted by a team of people ten to twenty years older than me.

      Editorials aside, I myself am a fan of sleepers. Love an understated performance oriented vehicle. My first car was a 1984 Audi 5000 CS Turbo. Big sedan, hauled ass. Funny enough, my current car is a 1994 Ford Taurus SHO, which, for those of you who aren't aware of the history, is the high-performance version of a car that was a design copycat (the exterior, at least) of my old Audi. I keep coming back to the same classic shape of a large sedan with an athletic stance. A 6 second or better 0-60 helps too.
      • 8 Years Ago
      12-17-87 Here!!
      I just like cars in general, I plan on getting a Mazda3 for my first car as it fulfills all my interests while not costing too much, but of course that isn't to say that's my dream car; 1987 Porsche 911Turbo Cabriolet...
      The automakers should note that to most drivers our age, our wants are as follows:
      1)Style
      2)Versatility
      3)Price
      Price is important, but it isn't always the deciding factor...
      • 8 Years Ago
      elements, xb's, whatever you call them are something a lesbian or gay (or a meathead north of the border) would drive. just plain uuuuuuuuuugly! or some poor white trash who needs one for delivering pizza. '60 chevy impala ragtop. now that's a classic!
      • 8 Years Ago
      > while some Gen Y buyers will purchase vehicles based on cost, they'll abandon them as soon as they can afford something more "interesting" like a Cadillac Escalade, Lincoln Navigator, or Hummer H2

      If that's the case, there are huge differences between American and Canadian Gen Yers. Those three vehicles are probably the last things a young person on this side of the border. They scream crassness, wastefulness and zilch regard for the planet. Who knows - maybe we just have fewer young pimps up here.
      • 8 Years Ago
      7/24/82 here. I personally like older cars over new cars beacause they're more pure. There are no really great sports cars made for mass market consumption any more. Sure there are a handful of good ones, but nothing like the cars of the 60s-90s. Some of my major gripes with modern cars are weight, babysitting devices (stability control, AWD, et cetra), and over styling.

      For an example of those that have got it right here's some cars from my personal short list. S13 240sx, SW20 MR2, Miata, FD3S RX-7, 240Z, 510, E30 M3, 190E Evo II.

      UK specialty shops still have the idea and make the only modern cars I still lust after. Keep your damned STi and give me just about anything TVR. I hope Smolenski does right by them.
      • 8 Years Ago
      born 84
      from my point of view, marketing campaigns that target me fall into two catagories
      1)trying to convince me your product is cool
      2)telling me that your product is available
      the first type does not work at all to people from my generation. we are exposed 24/7 since the day we were born. we know to not trust comercials. this contrasts with commercials in the 50s and 60s which basically consisted of a bunch of people all excited about the new ford falcon. the comercials contain no information and all seem to be a variation of the same theme, this is cool and if you buy it by extension you will be cool too. this doesnt work on our generation because three dozen kinds of soda or video game or car or whatever all claim to do that and they have all cancled each other out.

      we know what we want in cars before we walk into a dealership and telling us that we should buy your car instead of the one that costs less because its cool is wasted advertising dollars. what does work is to tell us about your product, if it happens to be close to what we happen to think is cool then we will buy it, if not at least you got your name out there and you can try to catch me with your next product.

      marketing types seem to be trying to peg us down by saying that young people like technology and small cars ect. but that is a gross overgeneralization. we all want something different. the range of taste for cars in gen y is just as big as it was for everyone else. just make your product stand out and make it known and those who like it will buy it.

      personaly i want a simple lightweight rwd 2 seat sports car that is not a convertable (those are for girls). noone sells anything close to that car so i bought a used ford. maybe in a few years.
      • 8 Years Ago
      7/5/1980
      $50K per year.
      05 Honda Civic VP, I drive close to 35,000 miles a year, needed something cheap that would always work and with good gas milage...

      Next car Audi A3...
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