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2014 U.S. Automotive Media and Marketing Report Results

By: Jeff Youngs, 1/28/2014
Consumers 25 years old and younger are steadily becoming a greater proportion of total retail vehicle purchasers--a trend that's been ongoing since 2009. Moreover, image, personalization, and enjoyment of the driving experience are especially important to this age group, according to the recently released J.D. Power 2014 U.S. Automotive Media and Marketing ReportSM--Winter.

Among young vehicle drivers who purchase a new vehicle, 33% say they "completely agree" that they like their vehicle to stand out from the crowd, while just 20% of new-vehicle drivers across all age groups say the same. Additionally, 27% of young drivers say they "completely agree" that they want to equip their vehicle with options and features to personalize it, compared with 20% of all new-vehicle drivers, while 19% "completely agree" that others can tell a lot about them by their vehicle, compared with 10% of all new-vehicle drivers.

Younger drivers are also more likely to consider a vehicle's performance, with 22% of those 25-and-younger saying they "completely agree" that they like to drive on challenging roadways with hills and curves (compared with 13% overall), and 41% saying they prefer a vehicle with responsive handling and powerful acceleration, compared with the industry average of 36%. Displaying a pride of ownership, 29% of younger new-vehicle drivers say that they wash and wax their vehicle themselves, compared with the industry average of 24%.

According to the Power Information Network (PIN) from J.D. Power, young new-vehicle buyers are responsible for more than 6% of all new-vehicle acquisitions. Additionally, lease penetration has risen dramatically, to 23% in 2014, compared with 13% in 2009. Moreover, and perhaps expectedly, younger vehicle buyers finance their purchases over a slightly longer term than the national average--68 months, compared with 65 months for the entire sample.

According to Arianne Walker, senior director, automotive media & marketing at J.D. Power, these attitudes and sentiments of young drivers about their vehicles have increased by an average of 6 percentage points in 2014 since 2009, reinforcing the fact that young drivers really do have an interest in new vehicles and are emotionally connected to the vehicle they purchase.

"There is a lot of discussion today about many young consumers not having the resources, interest, or even passion to own a new vehicle," said Walker. "However, this age group really is passionate about vehicle ownership, their driving experience, and the image associated with the vehicle they buy. Not only do they enjoy driving, but they also see their vehicle as a reflection of their identity. They want to personalize their vehicle with options and features, and tend to view it as an extension of their personality."

The Automotive Media and Marketing Report, which has been conducted since 1987, provides a comprehensive strategic perspective on the factors that influence new-vehicle purchases, as well as attitudinal, lifestyle, recreational, and media consumption behaviors. The 2014 U.S. Automotive Media and Marketing Report--Winter is based on a nationwide survey of 32,612 principal drivers of recently purchased or leased new vehicles.

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