Older generations often play the blame game when it comes to millennials “killing” industries, but Generations Y and Z may be giving new life to the sedan. According to a recent study commissioned by Nissan, younger drivers are more likely to invest in a sedan than older drivers.
Nissan surveyed a group of Americans between the ages of 18 and 65. The group was comprised of both car owners and non-owners.
According to the survey, 78% of respondents who don’t own a sedan said they would consider buying one. Younger drivers were especially interested in the vehicle model.
Of younger millennials and older Gen Z-ers between the ages of 18 and 34, up to 86% said they’d be willing to consider buying a sedan. About 81% of older millennials and Gen X-ers between the ages of 35 and 50 said they would also consider buying a sedan when they’re in the market for a new vehicle.
Hedges and Company reports that it’s older, wealthier baby boomers that are buying the majority of new vehicles. In 2017, over 79 million cars were sold worldwide and up to 62% of new vehicles are currently sold to baby boomers.
What’s more, of the 237 existing car models offered in the U.S. automotive market in 2017, many of the recommended models for seniors were crossovers.
Domestic automakers such as Ford, General Motors, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles have gradually been turning away from sedan production. Fiat recently began focusing its product line on trucks and SUVs. However, Nissan has chosen to stick with sedan production.
In 2018, Nissan redid its Altima midsize car and refreshed its Maxima 4-door. Just recently, the company unveiled its upgraded 2020 Versa subcompact.
“We see great opportunity in the sedan segment, which is why we’re continuing to launch all-new and refreshed products,” said Rob Warren, the director and chief marketing manager of Nissan North America.
“Sedans are still extremely popular with our customers,” said Warren, “so as our competitors exit the category, they’re creating even more prospects for Nissan.”
Compared to their parents’ generation, Generations Y and Z have lower incomes and have higher amounts of student loan debt. They’re also more likely to have fewer children and to live in larger cities, which can be difficult to drive in when you have a large vehicle.
However, Nissan says younger generations’ preference for sedans over SUVs and other crossovers has less to do with finances and more to do with preference. Nissan suggests that millennials and Generation Z simply don’t want to drive the same vehicles that their parents drive.
This may not be completely true. Younger generations may want smaller vehicles to drive them in high-traffic areas because there are 6 million car accidents on U.S. roads every year. But they still value storage space in their cars.
That said, while millennials and Generation Z may prefer sedans, it may not be recommended that Nissan and other automakers make their vehicles too much smaller. For instance, Fiat Chrysler only recently invested $4 billion into its Michigan Jeep factories to make up for its lost revenue as interest in the small, compact car continues to drop.
“What we’re hearing from younger buyers is that they appreciate the features, versatility, fuel economy and value in our sedans,” said Warren. “Sedan design has also come a long way, as these traditional 4-door cars shed their generic look, add more technology and take on a more aggressive, stylish profile.”
“As sedans become more exciting to look at and to drive, younger buyers are putting sedans at the top of their consideration list,” said Warren.
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