While younger consumers are struggling to gain a foothold in today’s competitive and still-weak economy, they have been putting off major life purchases – especially autos. At the same time, older drivers, those over age 65, are continuing to buy cars and make up a larger share of the car-buying market.  New research shows that the average age of car buyers these days is 55. However 25% of new car buyers were over the age of 65 last year. Older drivers have definite preferences about auto features, though. Savvy auto marketers can begin promoting these features to appeal to older consumers.

Currently, the 65+ group of consumers largely prefers traditional U.S. made vehicles. Top brands for this group include Buick, Lincoln, Cadillac and Chrysler.

Here are the type of auto features that work best for older drivers according to research from the University of Florida’s National Older Driver Research and Training Center and AAA:

 

  • Low-door thresholds and power seats make it easier for older consumers to exit and enter vehicles.
  • Tilt and telescoping steering wheels allow consumers with upper body limitations to be more comfortable.
  • Larger mirrors can help consumers with limited range of motion easily see what is around them and prevent blind spots.
  • Extended visors can reduce glare.
  • Keyless entry, power mirrors and large dashboard controls can compensate for the reduced fine motor skills that older consumers often experience.

Both manufacturers and retailers are likely to promote automotive features that are friendly and accommodating to senior drivers as this age group continues to grow.

[Source: Moeller, Philip. Older Buyers a Growing Market for Automakers. Finance.Yahoo.com. 18 Feb. 2011. Web. 13 Mar. 2011]