Gen Y Consumers in the Market for Affordable, Technology-​Enabled Cars

While young consumers view car ownership as less important for mobility than previous generations, they are, nonetheless, excited about affordable, technology-​enabled vehicles – especially hybrid electric cars.  According to preliminary results from a soon-​to-​be-​released report from Deloitte, over half (61%) of Gen Y consumers expect to buy or lease a car within the next three years.   Almost a quarter (23%) expect to purchase or lease in the next 12 months – and a mere 8% do not expect to ever purchase or lease a vehicle. greencar

Among Gen Y consumers who do not currently own or lease a vehicle, cost seems to be the main barrier – with most (80%) saying it is because they cannot afford it and three quarters citing high operational and maintenance costs. In addition, 67% said their lifestyle needs are met by walking or public transportation, while 40% said their lifestyle needs are met by car borrowing and car sharing.


Most Gen Y consumers – whether they currently own a vehicle or not – demonstrate a clear affinity for cars and trucks with alternative powertrains. More than half (59%) think they will be driving an alternative engine vehicle five years from now, with more than a quarter (27%) naming hybrid electrics as their single most preferred type of alternative engine – far ahead of plug-​in hybrids (8%), all-​battery electric vehicles (7%), and fuel-​cell vehicles (4%). What is more, they would like the government to help defray the higher costs of alternative powertrains, with 58% saying they would support government programs that reward consumers for choosing alternative/​high-​efficiency engines.

"Gen Y consumers across the board also want safety technology, especially features that mitigate the risks of distracted driving," says Masa Hasegawa, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP. "Almost three quarters (72%) want technology that recognizes the presence of other vehicles on the road and 63% want technology that lets them know when they have exceeded the speed limit."

Plus, more than half (56%) want technology that entertains them while they are driving and 57% wish it were easier to customize a vehicle's technology after purchase or lease. And more than half would like to connect their smart phone to use all its applications from the vehicle's dashboard interface.


Deloitte's soon-​to-​be-​released report indicates that Gen Y consumers bring an open mind to the car-​buying process, taking their customer experience cues from outside the industry. They expect their automotive shopping experience to be similar to their retail and technology experiences.

Forty-​one percent of Gen Y consumers have a positive attitude towards automotive dealers – an almost two-​to-​one margin over other generations, which top out at 22% on average. And 40% of Gen Y consumers say the salesperson at the dealership has a major or significant impact on their vehicle purchase, well above the 27% of consumers from other generations saying so. Further, 53% of Gen Y consumers feel that auto manufacturer websites have a major or significant impact on their vehicle purchase, compared to only 35% of other demographics.

[Source:  Research conducted by Deloitte.  16 Jan. 2014.  Web.  17 Jan. 2014.]