Sure, every age demographic is important to marketing and sales teams in the automotive industry. But automakers would love nothing more than to grab hold of a young person and instill brand loyalty at an early age.

Which manufacturers are actually doing that? According to a study conducted by TrueCar.com, car shoppers aged between 18 and 27 years old are flocking to Scion, Mitsubishi and Mazda.

Referred to as Generation Y, this group represents a vital segment of the car-shopping public. If a brand can grab you here, it has a strong chance of grabbing you again down the road. In 2009 and 2010, Scion was able to capture 21.2 percent of the Gen Y car buyers. Mitsubishi was close behind with 20.3 percent of that market, and Mazda was third with 10.7 percent. Surprisingly, Bugatti failed to make the list.

TrueCar.com also took a look at the specific models that appeal to this young segment of shoppers. The Scion tC, Mitsubishi Lancer and Honda Civic Si nabbed the top three spots for sales in the previous two years. Generation Y clearly has a thing for imports, and you can dig deeper into TrueCar's findings by reading the full press release posted after the jump.
Show full PR text
Youthful Car Brands Dominate Generation Y Buyers

Scion, Mitsubishi and Mazda Top List of Brands; Scion tC, Mitsubishi Lancer and Honda Civic Si Are Top Vehicles


SANTA MONICA, Calif., July 6, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Generation Y, the 18-27 age range that represents the newest demographic of car buyers chose car brands Scion, Mitsubishi and Mazda in the highest percentage, according to a new study by TrueCar.com, the authority on new car pricing and trends. The study reviewed the purchasing behavior of more than four million car buyers from 2009 and 2010.

"Generation Y buyers are very important to automakers because they help set trends from popularizing social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter or technologies such as the iPhone and iPod," said Jesse Toprak, Vice President of Trends and Analysis at TrueCar.com. "It's also important for an automaker to get a young buyer into their vehicle from the beginning in hopes of continued loyalty to the brand."

The top brands for Generation Y buyers (ages 19-27) in 2009 and 2010 were:

Top Brands for Gen Y Buyers (Age 18-27) in 2009 and 2010

Rank | Brands | Percentage of Gen Y Buyers
1 Scion 21.2%
2 Mitsubishi 20.3%
3 Mazda 10.7%
4 Nissan 9.8%
5 Volkswagen 9.6%
6 Kia 9.1%
7 Hyundai 8.6%
8 Honda 8.0%
9 Toyota 7.6%
10 Subaru 7.3%

Digging further into the data, TrueCar.com was able to compile a list of the top models by Generation Y buyers purchased in 2009 and 2010, by percentage of buyers aged 18-27. Topping the list of models were models that offer the most amount of customization, such as the Scion tC, Mitsubishi Lancer and Honda Civic Si.

"Generation Y buyers want vehicles that look distinct and can be tailored to their individual tastes," said Kristen Andersson, Automotive Analyst for TrueCar.com. "Buyers from this generation are also looking for vehicles that have the technology features they are accustomed to built into the vehicle at an affordable price."

The top models for Generation Y buyers (ages 19-27) in 2009 and 2010 and the current percentage discount from MSRP are:

Top Models for Generation Y Buyers (Age 18-27) in 2009 and 2010 and Current Discount Percentage

Rank | Make/Model | MSRP (Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price) | Average Paid* | Percentage Discount from MSRP**

1 Scion tC $18,995 $18,994 0.3%
2 Mitsubishi Lancer $20,670 $18,975 8.2%
3 Honda Civic Si $22,975 $22,588 1.7%
4 Toyota Yaris Sedan $13,915 $13,405 3.7%
5 Ford Focus Coupe $17,365 $15,040 13.4%
6 Scion xD $15,830 $15,719 0.7%
7 Volkswagen GLI $25,365 $24,635 2.9%
8 Subaru Impreza $19,220 $18,805 2.2%
9 Kia Forte $15,690 $14,289 8.9%
10 Toyota Corolla $16,660 $15,731 5.6%
*Average paid is the estimated average transaction price of a vehicle after incentives.
** Percent Discount from MSRP is rounded to the nearest tenth

TrueCar.com's Best Local Price tool, provides shoppers the Lowest Certified Price, a "no-haggle" upfront price from nearly 5,000 participating dealers.

For more information on the top brands and models for Generation Y buyers in 2009 and 2010, please visit blog.truecar.com.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 75 Comments
      Ross
      • 3 Years Ago
      Being 25 and a single guy, I guess I'm the center of the demographic. I have a Pontiac G8 GT. Love it. I wish it were smaller (interestingly enough just read Bob Lutz's "Car Guys vs. Bean Counters" and ihesays that they were reluctant to cut Pontiac because it had the highest % of Gen Y buyers and they were planning a smaller 3-series fighter...which I would've bought in a heartbeat). However, in making a list of cars that interest me in general are the Mazda 3, 12' Ford Focus, VW GTI, Volvo C30, Audi A4. I don't need/want a huge vehicle. I want it good-looking, practical (hatchback a +), quick, relatively affordable, and packed with premium features.
        WhoMeWhere
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Ross
        It would have been nice if the G8 and a smaller 3 series fighter could have lived. But I would lean towards the G8 being an import of sorts. Even if GM owns Holden, the G8 is still a Holden. An amazing car either way.
      Jazzor
      • 3 Years Ago
      24 year old with a 2011 Lancer Evolution here... Wait, that doesn't apply... ok... I had a Lancer Ralliart back in 09 if that helps... the new gen Lancer is a pretty neat car, all it needs is a more refined interior kind of like what Mitsu did with the Outty Sport... and lol @ "I didn't know Mitsu still sold cars in America?"... It's overused people, seriously.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Jazzor
        [blocked]
      SheldonRoss
      • 3 Years Ago
      27, and I just bought a Mazdaspeed3. No particular love for Mazda, it was just the best bang for buck I could find. I hate big cars, and I enjoy driving. The only downside is that it's only FWD, would've preferred AWD. Actually wanted an EVO, but the speed was 25k, and couldn't find an EVO for less than 34k.
        Jazzor
        • 3 Years Ago
        @SheldonRoss
        crap!... You should've looked more... I got mine at RC Hill Mitsubishi (Orlando FL) for 32k with SSS Package... the Base GSR goes for 30k... The speed3 is really nice anyway, love it... the wife almost got one in silver but she doesn't like driving manual that much... she went out there and saw the new Elantra 6spd Limited and fell in love lol... its a nice car with sunroof/leather and nav... for 20k
      Carlos
      • 3 Years Ago
      My 1st car back in 09 when I was 19 was a lancer. It's a great car love the style the way it drives. Great warranty.
      WhoMeWhere
      • 3 Years Ago
      Considering the fact that we grew up with K-cars and Fords and Chevy's that left all of their guts on the road around 100K, this trend should not come as a surprise to anyone. Even those of us with a love of American made cars still have a tendency to lean towards imports
      chickenflauta
      • 3 Years Ago
      That's funny. I'm 23, and I don't have a single friend with a car from these brands. Frankly, all of my friends and I want GTI's... I'm surprised to see the tC perform so well in this test. I haven't seen a single new tC on the road, and I can't imagine it's living up to sales projections. I had assumed it was a sales dud.
        chickenflauta
        • 3 Years Ago
        @chickenflauta
        I wonder if the results are slightly skewed by the fact that during the time period of sales data (2009 and 2010), the only major car release targeted at Gen Y buyers was the Scion tC. I'd be curious to see how this list changes with new/redesigned cars getting a lot of attention like the Jetta, Cruise, Fiesta, Focus, Elantra. Not to mention the updated Civic and soon-to-be-unveiled Corolla. This segment is tight and we're fickle buyers!
          chickenflauta
          • 3 Years Ago
          @chickenflauta
          One last point... TrueCar is also defining "Top Brand" as PERCENTAGE of Gen Y buyers. Scion sales are comparatively extremely low and all 3 models target Gen Y. Is it really fair to compare that to brands like Honda or Nissan, which have full lineups across all segments and sell far more volume? I would actually argue that Scion is not doing that well if it's only putting 20% of its cars into this age group...
          chickenflauta
          • 3 Years Ago
          @chickenflauta
          My mistake. You are correct, Zoom!
      ChaosphereIX
      • 3 Years Ago
      as top gear just proved in their latest episode, buying a cheaper new car is just rediculous...I will never, ever buy a brand new car. For the same price you pay for a brand new Focus [30k] you could get an excellent used 2008-2009 Audi A4, A3, or many, many other cars that blow the Focus / TC out of the water in every conceivable way - and they still have years left on their warranties, and are better made. I am 27 and will never ever consider a new car, especially a washing-machine Tc with no soul. I really dont understand why people buy new cars, knowing they will depreciate the most in the first few years...
        Ross
        • 3 Years Ago
        @ChaosphereIX
        To be honest, I would never spend my money on a used Audi or BMW. Why? Because maintenance is much higher and they have spottier reliability. Most people I know that buy Audi's and BMW's brand new have stuff go haywire on them quite frequently. I can't fathom having to pay for those repairs out of warranty. Even items like brakes/tires/general maint. is more expensive. I don't want to pay a note on a 3 year old car for 4 years when I can get a brand new car with a warranty. Heck, that BMW/Audi would be 7/8 years old by the time it's paid for.
        MechE
        • 3 Years Ago
        @ChaosphereIX
        I share the same point of view, I bought a used premium sedan with 6500 miles for thousands less than new. However, some people just prefer a brand new car. They want it flawless and dont like the unknown of who owned it before them and how it was treated. They also dont like the risk of a wrecked car or the chances of needing immediate repair/maintenance. And while you can get good used car warranties or certified, some people do it for the new car warranty. Also, new cars generally have lower interest rates and definitely carry better incentives. Put all that together and there are cases where a new car might actually make sense.
        nardvark
        • 3 Years Ago
        @ChaosphereIX
        If you keep the car for more than 6-7 years, it makes no difference. If you want a different car every few years, you should definitely buy used. We've done both, and frankly the ownership cost is pretty similar. Nobody does work on a used car before they sell it, so there's always $500-1000 of work to do after buying it (or $200-400 or so if you do it yourself). I don't mind doing my own car work, and I like having a different car more often, so I buy used. My wife just wants the same car all the time and doesn't drive the car too hard, so hers was bought new and has only required one $70 part out of warranty in 6+ years (still on the original brakes after 70k miles). She appreciates that no one elses' butt has every spoiled her seat fabric. Lastly, your comparison is obviously screwed up. A ~$24k Focus has content comparable to the $30k+ Audi, and the $25k+ Focus has more content. Only difference is that it's slower, plus badge-bragging rights.
          Bruce Lee
          • 3 Years Ago
          @nardvark
          Depends, some cars are good values used since they have horrible depreciation but the problem is that this is often because the cars are unreliable or have high upkeep costs (like those Audis), whereas some cars are terrible used values. A used 1 year old Prius for example costs basically the same as a new Prius so it makes zero sense to buy that car used, whereas it makes a lot of sense to buy it new since the depreciation is almost zilch.
        Polly Prissy Pants
        • 3 Years Ago
        @ChaosphereIX
        After having bought a brand new 5 Series BMW back in 2000 I'd never own one used or out of warranty. If you're not a certified mechanic, buying one out of warranty as a daily driver is just plain crazy. If you do, the day will come when you're sitting on the bus, looking longingly out the window at the guy driving the new Focus while your 5 year old Ultimate Driving Machine is in the shop yet again, all the while wondering if you can make it through another night of Spaghetti Os and Ritz crackers for dinner.
        P
        • 3 Years Ago
        @ChaosphereIX
        You are a bona fide fool who obviously didn't watch the end of that segment: Buying a high-end used car, you will a) pay a higher interest rate on your loan, b) get BURIED ALIVE the first time anything breaks and c) enjoy insurance rates massively higher than the norm. By 27 you should know this.
        oRenj9
        • 3 Years Ago
        @ChaosphereIX
        And pay for the repair bill on an Audi? No thanks. There's a reason that Audis depreciate so much compared to Lexus and the like: the are unreliable and expensive to repair. Plus, the A4 handles like crap next to a Mazda3. The tC may not be an awesome car, but it is damn reliable, good looking and can be had for well under 20k. These are all traits that Gen Yers appreciate, this explains their strong sales and low depreciation.
        Lankysean
        • 3 Years Ago
        @ChaosphereIX
        Didn't topgear also say that if you buy a used "high end sports" car like that you'd, likely, be bankrupt in 2 years because of repairs? Keep in mind, not all warranties are transferable and are also very easy to void. You gotta steer clear of anything modified since even little modifications, like a cold air intake or HID kit, will almost always void the remainder of a warranty. As for why people buy new cars, part of it (at least for me) is that I know I'm getting exactly what I want and it's never been abused. I had a really hard time finding the exact used car I wanted and even then it ended up costing more then the new car I bought... then again they where completely different cars.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      Keven Fitzpatrick
      • 3 Years Ago
      what does a scion, mitsubishi and mazda all have in common? less than stellar build quality, cheap flimbsy interiors, and am unrefined driving experience. just facts. rate my comment down cowards.
        Jonathan
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Keven Fitzpatrick
        It seems like everyone on these blogs hate everything. What affordable car/brand is good then?
        Yeah
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Keven Fitzpatrick
        you, clearly, don't know the facts and you spell your first name weird. scion is number one in quality, dependability, and reliability. check your facts son. cool fact = scion has NEVER had a recall.
        H797H
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Keven Fitzpatrick
        You need to really own each of these brands to understand the build quality of them. I have owned a Mitsu, my brother a Mazda, and I now own a Scion and they all hold up awesomely. I owned a Ford and of course it's engine went. To expand on Jonathan's question, explain what car company you support that has above average points in every category and still can be purchased fairly well equipped for under 20K?
      fetchme1029
      • 3 Years Ago
      Why the tC is so appealing i'll never know. It's dull as dishwater. The lancer is the only one that has ANYTHING going for it in my mind. The rally pedigree put it on my radar when i was younger. And, a civic is a civic is a civic. *yawn*
        • 3 Years Ago
        @fetchme1029
        [blocked]
        nardvark
        • 3 Years Ago
        @fetchme1029
        The tC LOOKS good. From what I understand, it doesn't drive particularly well, but for 25-year olds moving up from their old family jalopy, it probably feels fantastic. Remember, none of these buyers are coming from a 3-series, most of us endured a decade of driving an old, rusty POS so any newish car is going to seem great.
          SPONGEZILLA
          • 3 Years Ago
          @nardvark
          I don't know that it drives that bad... can't drive any worse than mine (more power) and I love it? Might not be as tossable/flingable as a Honda Fit Sport but it's a category up, heavier and it rides quite a bit better than the Fit (harsh). Yeah it's not a Mustang GT or Camaro SS... but let's face it, you're not going to get a Mustang GT or Camaro SS for $17k new. ---> Gen-Y <--- Unless they created a startup and are banking big $, don't expect them dropping coin on the GT or SS or WRX or Evo *NEW*. Could get a Camaro RS or V6 'stang maybe... I also love the fact that the reliability is there. As someone that owned GM products in the past (2 Chevy's of my own, mom has had 2 Buick's, 2 Pontiacs, 3 Chevy's between her and my dad) with their decontented parts selections leading to engineered-in job security for mechanics everywhere... I have been more than happy with the switch to a Toyota product. My dad's old Chevy Beretta GT needed a new tranny at 15k miles (electronics went), his old Caprice from the 70's had one at 50k (and they replaced it with one designed for a Chevette, *under recall*). Yeah... that's 30-40 years ago, but the reality is... things didn't change much at GM up until the last 3-5 years really. My old Corsica left me stranded more than once because of the injector coil packs shorting out. Even my aunt's Traverse, the driver's seat broke within 3 days of ownership! LoL It has to be one of the cheapest parts designs I've ever seen, using a nylon plastic clip to locate the metal seat adjustment actuator. The rod bent (mind you... she's a 50+ year old grandmother of 5'2" tall bending this rod) and popped out of the chintzy clip. I fixed it for her... but the reality is, I shouldn't have had to on a brand new car. That's been an ongoing GM issue for eons and what finally (GM family) sent me elsewhere. I considered the Cobalt initially... sitting in one changed my mind. Is the tC a Alfa Romeo in terms of sportiness? Definitely not. Then again... can you get an Alfa here today brand new? Can you justify a purchase in a brand where spotty reliability has been a huge concern? I couldn't. For as much as we all want vehicles with character... we also have to live with the things day to day and most that have character... also have their share of issues seemingly. It's a means to get us to and from work first, and something to enjoy second for most of the buying population. If I was buying used for a project car... then maybe, but... for my primary mode of transit, it's gotta get from A to B without turning into a shoulder-strapped (as in, side of the road shoulder) drama queen and do it with good mileage, no fuss, and have the amenities to get the job done. Even VW, for as much as I have always liked the Jetta GLI's and VW GTI's... don't exactly have a modern reputation for being quality. One of my co-workers had a GLI, ate through alternators worse than my mom's old Grand Am and Phoenix did.
        SPONGEZILLA
        • 3 Years Ago
        @fetchme1029
        There's not that many B and C segment cars that are that much more exciting that fit into the buying demographic with regard to "new cars." I own an '07 in Flint Mica and it's a competent machine with the cars in it's class. Yeah, maybe the interior on the tC isn't exactly Lexus-level... but neither is much of the cars in this class. There wasn't a 2 door coupe that offered a better interior/exterior styling with as many standard features in '07. If the Si didn't have the stupid 2-tier dash and I could've gotten it with a DSG (Hellllllooo Honda) I'd have considered it ahead of the tC but otherwise... in a family where nobody drives a manual nor wants to, it'd been more of a headache had I opted for it. I have to admit, the only thing on the '11 I like is the grade of interior plastics is a step up and I like the transmission upgrade and added power (can never have enough)... but I still prefer the exterior and interior design of my '07 which had a sporty grace vs. the homely attempt at trying to make it look butch. I always wonder what people mean about something being "dull", ever since I've bought the car, I've had at least 10 people ask me what it was and want to see inside. My old cars never had that effect. The first week I had it I literally was chased down at work by a co-worker who was car shopping and wanted to check it out. Slapping a flat roof and butt ugly tail on the new car haven't done anything to make it anymore appealing. The only way to make the new car look halfway decent is to go all out on the graphics and body kit/wheels. If the FR-S was out it'd be a non-sequitir because it looks legions better than the new tC and it looks poised to be the best small coupe on the market for the $. If I was to be buying a small coupe now, I'd most definitely be primed for the launch. The Genesis coupe is another fine example that came later and would probably win out over the '11 tC. The sweet spot for the market they're all targeting is in the $17-25k range. If you want sporty... you're looking at the "Smiling at me" Mazda 3 (ugly as sin), the Civic (more boring than before, less spirited, and still with the 2-bin gauges), the Cruze (not sporty looking... yet), the Focus (if the newer '07 Euro Focus were here in '07 I wouldn't have bought the tC, and I'd most definitely shop the new one ahead of the current tC), the Fiesta (a bit lower rent, still not bad), the Fit (love my parent's Sport... a bit thrashy on sound and not exactly luxurious but... it's a blast to flog, almost go kart-like), Mazda 2 (dull) & Chevy Sonic (shrug). I like the Mini and GTI but... $$$ w/ a few options. Those that keep pushing the Evo and WRX STi as alternatives need to check themselves. Unless you're buying used, you're talking about a $10k+ difference in costs. While some are okay with buying used... some are a bit more skittish on the proposition. I specifically bought new because I didn't want to buy someone else's problem
        Nick Allain
        • 3 Years Ago
        @fetchme1029
        I own one (2007). I fit the demographic. It's a reliable piece of garbage. You can flog it all day long (and you have to) and it still gets 27MPG. It cheap as hell - squeaky and annoying but find to drive on back roads. It's a car of contradictions. I want to get rid of it but can't find anything short of a miata that would be better for my weird long commute (half backwoods, half highway & city).
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      z28ssx
      • 3 Years Ago
      I didn't think Mitsubishi even sold cars in the USA anymore.
        EquinsuOcha
        • 3 Years Ago
        @z28ssx
        I didn't think this lame ass joke was still being used anymore.
        Rambo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @z28ssx
        Actually they do lol, Mitsubishi is some what popular where I live so I see new ones all the time
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