When it comes to car-shopping propensity among younger drivers, look at the numbers, then look closer at the reasons behind them.

Generation Y, or those born after the late 1970s, account for about a quarter of those shopping for new small cars, up from 16 percent in 2008, according to a study released by GfK Automotive. The bigger news, though, is that fuel economy isn't what they're most interested in.

In fact, GfK Automotive says, Gen Y buyers prioritize excitement, looks, and driving fun over fuel economy when it comes to reasons to buy a small car. This is an interesting change from their elders. For example, Baby Boomers, who account for about a third of all small car shoppers, prioritized fuel economy over driving excitement, though were still very bullish on small car looks. And Generation X – those following the Baby Boomers – put an even greater emphasis on fuel economy than the Boomers do. Interesting, no? We've got a summary of the report over on GfK Automotive's site.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 27 Comments
      Yoshi
      • 9 Hours Ago
      As a "young" car buyer myself (1/4 of a century), I prioritize a balance of performance and economy. However, looking toward the future as I age into my 30s I do not want to be limited by a small car. What I am looking for these days is a crossover that gets better economy than my '03 Mustang while not losing all of the giddy-up. Trying to find a crossover with adequate power/utility and reasonable economy (While not looking entirely like something I'd haul kids to soccer practice in) is fairly difficult. I've pretty much settled on waiting for the 2014 Forester redesign, although I'm not sure if I'll opt for the 2.5 or the turbo 2.0. Hopefully 2013 brings us even further innovation in the crossover segment... such as a 2.5L gas engine or turbo diesel in the CX-5 :)
      lasertekk
      • 9 Hours Ago
      Perhaps, subconsciouly, they know that small car equates to high MPG anyway. It's treated as a given.
      Rick
      • 9 Hours Ago
      LOL we have up to 50% unemployment in the youth in the EU the rest that are lucky to have a job work in low paid public sector jobs. What dictates what youngsters actually buy in the real world is what big car makers like Ford & GM are fleet dumping in the Hertz & Avis that fits their very insurance expensive limited budget which will probably be a Vauxhall Corsa, Chevy Spark or a Ford Fiesta in the real world. Nothing has changed when l was young l wanted 68 Bullet 390 Mustang fastbacks, Capri RS3100s, Chevy Bel Airs, Corvette Stingrays, Escort Mk1 RS1600's, Lotus Cortina's,66 Mini Coopers, Shelby Cobra's, 50's Chevy & Ford pick-up trucks but what actually brought was 850cc Mini Minor, 1100cc Mk1 Escorts & 1600 Mk1 Capri's as thats all l could afford to insure to start with. If the only choice of going green today is an totally anodyne ultra boring dull very expensive Prius or Leaf , why the hell would the ever be interested in green cars, no wonder millions are now using the bus, tube, train in London or turning to cycling on mass or using their cash strapped parents high MPG free taxi service boring dull anodyne ex Hertz or Avis ex fleet rental car. I would say its fair to say that the fast majority of under 35s have no desire to ever own a car in their lifetime in the UK despite they say they would buy Ferrari's & Porsche if only their Burger flipping Walmart shelf stacking jobs stretched to a big flash red sports car insurance costs. Tesla Roadster, Via Motors E-Rev Trucks, and new Stang coming to Europe, VW Bulli Camper EV, and cycling are the only vehicles that appeal to me looking to the future, the Teslar roadster is far to expensive, and as a parent l still have a 32 year old daughter and her friends to taxi around so thats out. A VW Bulli Camper EV look s a sure purchase for the wife, and l am looking to see if hapless GM can finally get their act together and get a RHD "NOT a!!" LHD Via Motors 100 MPG/40 on Electric Silverado light duty pick-up truck that a useful real swiss army knife, if not l will by a new Stang from Ford & cycle a lot more to work rather than just a weekends. Nobody under 35 really owns cars in London, they are more into going out having a good time socially, see putting money into cars as dead money. Expensive Leaf EV boredom on 4 wheels will never catch on, maybe the stunning retro Fiat 500 EV could create some desire, but with EV sales in the UK of just 30 sale in August, even the parents are not one bit interest in buying total boredom on 4 wheels i.e. Nissan Leaf, it is fair to say.
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 9 Hours Ago
      Not many young people are buying miatas. I don't see a lot of them on the road. I've been in 3 different states in the past 2 years and have seen the compact kia/hyundai/honda stuff driven by the younger folks, all which have excellent fuel economy. sirvix, i don't know where you live, but i think you probably don't have the right idea about what the youth are buying these days.
      sirvixisvexed
      • 9 Hours Ago
      I thought the Mini mileages were close to Miata mileages, I stand corrected on that after checking Mini's site; my post should be using the Miata as the example instead. The point still stands that there are 4cyls with not-so-great mileage, and that young car buyers should care more about MPG than whatever size of car is "in"; small being the current "chic".
      American Refugee
      • 9 Hours Ago
      Taste preferences or no, I know of no one here in Amsterdam under the age of 30 who even owns a car.
        Rick
        • 9 Hours Ago
        @American Refugee
        Not many in London either, even the our Prime Minister David Cameron & Mayor of London Boris Johnston cycle into work every day (Oooops there l go again l have upset Dave Mart again). No bullet proof limo's in are required in London just some bicycle clips for our leaders in our austere times. Young Londoners buy cars LOL, where did you here that on Fox News. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vFNNDdI036s&feature=related
          Nick
          • 9 Hours Ago
          @Rick
          I'd love to buy a Stealth Electric Bomber...they're about $10,000 but very quick. Sadly, in Hong Kong electric bikes are illegal!
      Spec
      • 9 Hours Ago
      Of course they are not interested in fuel economy. That only comes when you see gas prices rise over time and realize how much money you are burning up at the gas pump.
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 9 Hours Ago
        @Spec
        Boiling a frog, Spec... boiling a frog :)
        Ryan
        • 9 Hours Ago
        @Spec
        When they are using Mom & Dad's money to buy gas, they won't care. When they have to work 1-3 hours a day to buy gas to get to work and around town, then they might start noticing the 'high' mpg cars. There are also young car 'potential' buyers who won't buy a new car that gets 60 mpg because it is too low. 100 mpg would be a good starting point to look at new cars, and if it would be able to be driven most days without gas, then it would make sense to me.
          • 9 Hours Ago
          @Ryan
          I am 32, european and with on my second own car. My first was an '08 Impreza STI, because I always wanted to have a "toy" car. I have fuelled it enough so that last month I bought a Leaf and sold the "toy". None of the gas liters neither the kWh were paid by my parents. I really do not understand why people do not drive more CNG vehicles /LPG (if they have not enough money for a EV or the range is not enough). Anyway, the most of the people are not too bright...
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 9 Hours Ago
      I have hypermiled many cars. I have owned about 12 cars so far. Sorry, but you are wrong. The mini cooper, even the turbo model, gets excellent fuel economy on the highway and in the city relative to how much power it puts out. The miata is not great, but that car is an exception ( it has poor fuel economy relative to it's weight/aerodynamic footprint and engine displacement ). It is not fair to compare an economy car with someone standing on the pedal with a SUV being driven normally. Drive the SUV the same way and you will see fuel economy in the single digits. Most people do not constantly drive their cars "spiritedly". They use them to go back and forth to work. They drive +/- 15 mph of the speed limit.
      Rick
      • 9 Hours Ago
      Love the bit IN THE LINK Intenders to buy They’re placing a high priority on things like "fun-to-drive". Fun to drive = RWD and not a dull as ditchwater FWD anodyne Leaf or Prius, maybe a Tesla Roadster that no youngster can afford in the real world. GM and Ford only sell crap FWD "No fun to drive" cars in Europe no wonder they are losing billions $$$ in Europe, can't get youngsters onboard with buying cars they are so dull and boring. GM & Ford only make cars in Europe to fleet dump in big batches at a big loses at Avis & Hertz fleet rentals.
      Amir Dawood
      • 9 Hours Ago
      i love to drive in mini car ummmma :P http://thecheapestnewcar.com
      sirvixisvexed
      • 9 Hours Ago
      @2wm With NEW cars in 2012 it's almost all true that all of the 4cyls best the 6cyls which almost all best the 8cyls, but not every young car buyer is looking at a new car. Basically, there are 20 years worth of cars on the road, and there are plenty of V4's from the 2000s that real worlded around the same fuel economy numbers as V6's. I just knew people back then with small cars that thought averaging 30 MPG was good, and would talk about how that's what they got and how it was so efficient, and the V6 midsize I had the whole time averaged the same 30. Not all 4cyl's and especially not all small cars should just be knee-jerk "oh it's efficient!"
      Rick
      • 9 Hours Ago
      Maybe what they need is mass producers to start producing more high profit yielding cars like the RWD MX-5 and cars like the fun to drive RWD BMW 3 Series Efficient Dynamic 320 D that returns up to 80 MPG that has the best handling in the business, with top class residual values, and got voted What Cars 2012 GREEN CAR OF THE YEAR last week, rather than making boring dull cars high volume no profits for Avis & Hertz fleet car markets if they want to get youngsters interested in buying cars ever again. What Cars newly crowned of the year 2012 http://www.whatcar.com/greenawards
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