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William Maley

Industry News: Younger Buyers Heading Towards American and Korean Automakers

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By William Maley

Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com

March 25, 2013

For a time, young buyers that wanted a vehicle ventured towards the Japanese brand since they offered the features and content they were looking for. Now the tide is changing with younger buyers going towards American and Korean brands.

Bloomberg gathered data from Edmunds and R.L. Polk which showed American automakers increased their share of retail registrations by 1.9% with 18 to 24 year olds and 1.5% with 25 to 34 year olds since 2008. Korean automakers saw the largest jump in retail registrations with a 6.8% increase in 18 to 24 year olds and 5.1% increase in 25 to 34 year olds.

Japanese automakers have been taking brunt of the loss with a drop of 9.8% in 18 to 24 year old group and a 7.7% drop in the 25 to 34 year old group. Japanese automakers still dominate the 35 and under crowd with 43% percent of sales going to them.

So what are the American and Korean automaker doing to claw some of these sales? Building vehicles that appeal to young buyers.

"U.S. automakers have burst onto the scene in recent years with small, fuel-efficient and affordable cars that really appeal to a young set of buyers," said Jessica Caldwell, an analyst with Edmunds.

Source: Bloomberg

William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

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Makes sense, both the US and the Korean automakers are offering stylish, tech-laden small cars that don't feel like penalty boxes. I mean look at the Corolla. Can you even get Navigation that thing? Not to mention it couldn't possibly be more boring to look at. Then there's the Civic which is better now after its emergency refresh, but it's still no style or tech leader. The Sentra is ugly and has no tech features, and the Mazda3, while fun to drive and efficient, isn't pretty by any stretch of the imagination and also has a Spartan interior.

Then you compare that with the Focus, Dart, Cruze, Elantra and new Forte and its easy to see why. Let's not even get started with the subcompacts.

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While I prefer the updated Civic Coupe over the Elantra coupe, seeing it reminds me GM should have an option for the "econo" coupe shoppers.

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Usually you get a decent bead on where shoppers are at at the auto show each year. Toyota and even Honda, and the other Japanese brands really are seeing a graying clientele.

It's almost chicken or egg. Are the cars the duds, or the customers?

Japan auto industry is still sort of stuck on itself in many ways.

The current Corolla is an embarrassment.

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Makes sense, both the US and the Korean automakers are offering stylish, tech-laden small cars that don't feel like penalty boxes. I mean look at the Corolla.

I'd add that the preconceived notions held against Detroit and Korea have faded, too. People our age typically have no memory of the Hyundai Pony or the Excel. Nor is there an absolute bias against American products, which is unlike the attitude of their parents.

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Interesting since I like both....

Wife really likes the Soul....and I've noticed they are holding up much better here up north than they used to....salt used to eat them alive up here.

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Japan has an aging population with a minority of youth and this is truly affecting their ability to build exciting dynamic auto's compared to the youth, tech heavy future of Korea and the revitalization of the US market. I see the Japan brands having a few more years of stagnation before they wake up or have to merge. I still do not see Mazda or Mitsubishi as stand alone car companies in 5 yrs or even here. We have not see the finish of the consolidation yet.

With Europe at the start of what will be a long recession, we will see more companies disappear.

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