Study: Millennials opt for cool in used cars – USA TODAY
Millennials are showing spunk when it comes to their choice of used cars, a study released Wednesday shows.
Instead of buying humdrum used Honda Civics or Ford Focuses, Millennials are showing surprising interest in cool or iconic models that Detroit and foreign automakers have long since left behind, the new study shows. Six of the 10 vehicle models with the highest proportion of Millennial buyers are no longer made.
For instance, the study by auto-buying site Edmunds.com lists the Dodge Magnum, a station wagon reinvented as a cool performance car, as having the highest percentage of Millennial buyers when bought as a used car. Chrysler Group, now Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, killed the model during the recession.
“We’re constantly seeing younger guys picking them up used,” says Tom Gifford of Garden Grove, Calif., who has been active in a Magnum club and who still treasures his 2005 Magnum in “Midnight Blue” as one of his proudest possessions. “It’s a very unique car.”
Then there is the Pontiac Aztek, the little General Motors crossover with body cladding and a weird front end that repeatedly had it showing up on lists of ugliest cars ever. It’s in sixth place on the list. Since having become the preferred daily driver of Walter White, the lead character played by Bryan Cranston on AMC’s hit Breaking Bad series, it’s cool again.
The study looked at what kinds of used cars from the 2005 model year to present day were bought by those ages 18 to 34 — the Millennials who are the current darlings of marketers for everything from dish soap to tablet computers. The study was based on registration data from January to June provided by research firm Polk.
With everything from hulking SUVs like Dodge Durango to fun cars like Volkswagen’s sporty but discontinued R32 in the Top 10, the list “reflects a diversity of the needs of the Millennial buyer,” says Jeremy Acevedo, an analyst for Edmunds.com.
It shows Millennials’ practical sides, with young families needing the space of a Durango, Aztek or the No. 2 Chrysler Pacifica, a crossover produced in the mid-2000s. These used cars are cheap. “Price tag is critical for this group of buyers,” he says.
But it also shows their playful side. Many of the models on the list have an “ironic charm now but are not going to win any beauty contests.”
The lesson for automakers looking to lure Millennials into new vehicles is to go for the unexpected and understand that “traditional styling may not be the way to go.”
Here are the Top 10 used cars by share of sales to Millennials based on sales from January to June, and the percentage of their sales that went to Millennials. An asterisk denotes the model is no longer made.
1. Dodge Magnum*, 27.6%
2. Chrysler Pacifica*, 27.3%
3. Subaru WRX, 26.4%
4. Chevrolet TrailBlazer*, 25.9%
5. Volkswagen R32*, 25.7%
6. Pontiac Aztek*, 25.5%
7. Nissan GT-R, 25.4%
8. Saturn Outlook*, 25.3%
9. Dodge Durango, 24.8%
10. Lexus IS-F, 24.7%
Source: Edmunds.com based on Polk registration data.