It has become common currency in recent times to classify Generation Y as uniformly disinterested in or even hostile to driving. However, GfK’s recent study on their attitudes and motivations reveals a much less simplistic picture, with 74% of the 18 – 34 age group appearing in the more tech-savvy and car focused segments.
IN-CAR TECHNOLOGY NEEDS TO MAKE A MOVE
At GfK we believe that advanced and emerging in-car technology is key to attracting Generation Y. Manufacturers pack more and more into their vehicles, largely at the high end in expensive luxury models. These are not the cars bought by 18 – 34 year olds, but are frequently chosen by older consumers who are slower to adopt technological innovations. To attract younger buyers and maximise acceptance of new technology, it would be wise to introduce it in small and medium segment cars, where the most receptive audience can afford, access and adopt it. Interestingly, within the budgetary constraints set by their lower incomes, Generation Y buyers are quite willing to pay more for the benefits of cutting edge in-car technology.
PASSENGERS IN THE DRIVING SEAT
One driver of Generation Y behaviour is the amount of time that they spend as passengers. This is time that they enjoy and involves bringing mobile electronics along for the ride. Entertainment and communication on the move are important priorities, so their transport needs to deliver seamless connectivity with technology that enables comfort and convenience.
THE MORAL OF THE STORY
It’s very misleading to treat Generation Y as a unanimous body of anti-drivers. The facts suggest a more layered and complicated relationship with the car, connected closely with technology and its availability at the right price points. For manufacturers the message seems clear: introduce the innovations that younger drivers are ready and willing to adopt in small and medium sized cars that they can afford. Penetration into such high volume segments will increase the cost-effectiveness of technological development, because makers will be able to spread the cost across higher unit sales.
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