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Studies: Millennial Generation’s Interest in Vehicles Rising

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Aug. 26, 2013—Contrary to the overall industry perception, two recent studies suggest that drivers in the Millennial Generation are indeed looking to become vehicle owners, though their attitudes and purchasing power differ greatly to generations prior. 

Just five years ago, people ages 18–34 accounted for more than 14 percent of the U.S. new car market, according to studies by the Polk automotive research firm. That number saw a significant drop during the recession, as the younger generation (ages 16–19) put off buying cars and getting their driver's licenses as more recent high school graduates went to college or experienced unemployment rates three times higher than the national average.

But in an interview with the Associated Press, Anthony Pratt, vice president of Americas forecasting for Polk, said he is confident that young people will start to buy cars in big numbers again, and recent data collected by Polk backs that up. In 2011, people ages 18–34 accounted for 10.5 percent of the U.S. new car market. In 2012, that number jumped to 12.3 percent.

A new study by confirms that although some of their attitudes differ from previous generations, Millennials are still interested in cars.

According to the study, it is true that younger drivers are delaying getting their driver’s licenses more than older generations—but it is not due to a lack of a need to drive or interest in driving.

According to, Millennials (characterized as being between the ages of 18 and 34) are attracted to luxury brands that mirror the image they have for themselves: stylish, sophisticated and innovative. When it came to overall brand fit, Millennials surveyed said that, in order, Audi, Honda, Mercedes, Toyota, BMW and Chevrolet were most reflective of their personalities.

Though the younger generation depends heavily on research when buying a car, they rely more on word-of-mouth and more likely to be first introduced to a car by family or a friend. They are open to spending a larger amount of time browsing the dealership lot but put off talking to a salesman longer.

Growing up in time when import brands have a strong presence in the market, Millennials put less importance on American-made products and are more likely to consider import brands when making a purchase decision.

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