Older Drivers, Car Buying and Automotive Technology


More older buyers

“The big news is that over the past five years there has been tremendous growth in the proportion of new car buyers over the age of 55,” said Jeremy Acevedo of Edmunds.com, the firm of automotive market research. “It went from 33% to 42% of sales. This is a critical segment for automakers.

Mature drivers are also going against popular beliefs about their fondness for rides, speeding up purchases of funky vans, utility vehicles and compacts once designed for college students.

“You can no longer categorize the type of cars you expect them to gravitate towards,” says Chris Sutton, senior director of market research at JD Power and Associates.

Researchers at the University of Michigan said last year that baby boomers were increasingly likely to buy a new vehicle, even as new car purchases slipped among the younger age groups. People aged 55 to 64 represent the “maximum likelihood” of buying a new car, analysts say, and their purchasing power is robust: Acevedo noted that the top 10 models chosen by buyers over 55 years sell for an average of $ 29,253 – 5.1 percent more than the average of $ 27,831 of the top 10 sellers overall.

Small SUVs, pickup trucks and compact sedans are hot growth areas for the age group, according to Edmunds.

“This generation truly sees automobiles not just as a freedom, but as an expression of who they are and who they are,” says Bob Zeinstra, national director of advertising and strategic planning for Toyota Motor Sales USA. “For them, cars are not just a utility machine. They are part of who they are.

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Deana N. Guinn

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