How American Car Manufacturers are Targeting Young People

How American Car Manufacturers are Targeting Young People

A recent trend has come to light over the past twenty years: the number of American households that don’t own a vehicle has doubled. It is currently approaching 1 in 10 households. As of last year, the number of carless households reached 9.3%. There are a number of causes responsible for this decline in automobile purchases, including more urbanization among American youth and driving alternatives. So how are car manufacturers getting young people to make an automotive investment?

  • Selling to Younger Folks Without Debt: Due to a number of different financial factors, young people are avoiding loans and borrowing altogether. Whether it’s from an accumulation of student debt, or the increased restrictions on who might be a creditworthy applicant, saving for big purchases such as vehicles instead of borrowing has been a more viable option for the younger generation.
  • Pushing New Vehicles in Non-Urban Areas: With the rise of car-sharing and improved public transportation infrastructure, many young Americans don’t have a need to own a car if they live in a moderately large city or other community where biking might be more intuitive than driving. So car companies have begun targeting younger households in suburbs or rural locations, as they are more likely to commute or get around town via automobile rather than public transportation.
  • Shifting Focus to Car-Sharing Services and Fleets: Small businesses are starting to boom and for many, a mass quantity of fleet vehicles might be more necessary in the future than individual vehicle ownership for a household. As car-sharing services were mentioned before, auto manufacturers will likely start selling new vehicles to these services rather than young people in urban environments, as they would be more likely to use such a service.
  • Programs Supporting College Grads: Vehicle companies are also starting to target youth who are enrolled in higher education because they are generally free of debt (with the exception of those with student loans) and might be looking to purchase a car post-graduation. Many manufacturers provide graduate programs that include financing vehicles to young people with little or no credit, and zero down payments.

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