Carmakers Misjudge the Youth Market

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Over the weekend, the New York Times ran a piece on how grossly automakers have misjudged the market for their most expressly youth-oriented vehicles. According to sales figures, we're more likely to see Garden Club members than club kids behind their high-angle windshields. In Honda's case, the actual age of Element buyers is nearly 16 years older than the company expected. For Toyota, buyers of its Matrix — a concerted attempt to pull the average age of its buyers down from the half-century mark — are around 48.

The piece included a chart of data from CNW Marketing Research that indicates the car brands do 16-to-24-year-olds think are "least stodgy." It's not surprising to see Scion and VW topping that list, and Lincoln, Oldsmobile and Buick at the bottom. But we were surprised to see Honda/Acura, Mitsubishi and BMW in the solidly stodgy range. Also, among GM's least stodgy are the Saturn, and "Pontiac's Trucks," which could mean the Aztec or the Montana (highly doubtful), or it could mean a weird perception issue GM would do well to address.

The Car Is for Kids, but Gramps Is Driving [The New York Times]