A few weeks ago Autoblog brought you a story about how America's aging population is changing automobile design. On the heels of that report, a Reuters article suggests that such efforts aren't just being exacted at a product level, they're altering the way vehicles are sold as well. And with consumers over the age of 50 brandishing some $1.7 trillion dollars of buying power, the stakes on the retail end of the buying equation could hardly be higher.

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In order to effectively cater to older consumers, consulting house Deloitte & Touche USA's research indicates that it's traditional marketing approaches are superannuated, not the customers themselves. For instance, according to the firm's findings, fully one-third of consumers aged 55-to-61 prefer to exercise their consumer joneses via the internet. What's more, according to survey findings, they own an average of 5.9 'high-tech gadgets' like MP3 players, cell phones, and digital cameras.

D&T singled out the Ford Motor Company for its innovation among car manufacturers in this arena. The automaker's age-simulation suit (which helps designers interact with their products through elderly eyes) was among the first of its kind.

Other changes that may aid dealers seeking the Almighty Superannuated Dollar include easier-to-navigate websites with larger 'buttons', easier access facilities with better lighting and ambient noise control, and senior discounts.

Perhaps this new, hip senior paradigm also explains why so many pensioners are surrendering to the left-field charms of vehicles like the Honda Element and Scion xB.

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