Dodge, Land Rover, Lamborghini draw youngest new-vehicle buyers, IHS report says

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Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly characterized the change in age of the average new-vehicle buyer for Lexus, Jeep, Jaguar and Lincoln between 2011 and 2013.

Dodge attracted the youngest U.S. buyers among nonluxury brands in 2013, with nearly 15 percent of its new-vehicle customers age 25 to 34, a report by IHS Automotive says.

On the luxury and exotic side, Land Rover and Lamborghini buyers were the youngest, with an average age of 47.9 years.

The Dodge nameplates with the youngest new-vehicle customers were the Durango large crossover, with an average buyer age of 45.6 years, and the Charger large sedan, at 46.8 years, IHS said on Monday. Overall, the average Dodge buyer was 48.6 years old, a drop from 49.8 in 2011.

After Dodge, the nonluxury brands with the youngest new-vehicle buyers, on average, were Scion (49.1 years), Mazda (49.1), Mitsubishi (49.1) and Jeep (49.6).

Dodge’s play for performance-oriented consumers is paying dividends by attracting younger buyers, said Tom Libby, a solutions consultant for IHS Automotive’s Loyalty Practice.

“The Charger and the Challenger are both positioned as very much performance-oriented products. Those will tend to appeal to a younger buyer,” Libby said in an interview.

Getting older

He said Dodge is starting to generate sales volumes with the Dart compact that it didn’t get with the Dart’s predecessor, the Caliber compact.

"The Dart is in one of those segments where because of its relatively low price, it’s going to appeal to younger buyers.”

The data are based on 7.8 million personal registrations for new vehicles in 2013, as tracked by R.L. Polk. The 2011 data were based on 6.8 million personal registrations.

Other nonluxury brands attracting younger new-vehicle buyers, on average, than in 2011 include Chrysler, whose average buyer dropped in age to 54.7 in 2013 from 56 in 2011, and Ford, whose average buyer dropped in age to 52.2 in 2013 from 52.7 in 2011.

While those brands attracted younger buyers, there was an industrywide uptick in the age of the average new-vehicle customer, which rose slightly to 51.8 years in 2013 from 51.7 in 2011, IHS said. In 2009, the average new-vehicle buyer was 50.9.

Buick, with an average buyer age of 60.3, has the oldest average buyer among 22 nonluxury brands included in the report. The GM brand, which has made a push to attract younger consumers recently with commercials featuring NFL quarterback Peyton Manning and NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal, is the only nonluxury brand with an average new-vehicle buyer age 60 or older in 2013 and 2011.

The Buick buyer’s average age was unchanged from 2011 to 2013.

Results take time

Libby it said it takes time for brands looking for younger buyers to see meaningful results.

The challenge for Buick, he said, is that the brand has a lot of older buyers on the road that potential younger buyers see.

"It really requires time and sticking with your product portfolio and message. They have made strides in their product portfolio with the Verano and the Encore and also the Enclave," Libby said. "They’ve certainly brought out products that should appeal to younger buyers."

After Buick, the nonluxury brands with the oldest new-vehicle customers, on average, are Smart (55.3 years), Chrysler (54.7), Chevrolet (52.4) and Subaru (52.4).

Among luxury and exotic brands, Lotus and Aston Martin had the biggest jump in the average age of their new-vehicle buyers between 2011 and 2013, while Tesla and Infiniti experienced the biggest drop in the average age of their new-vehicle buyers.

Lincoln still had the oldest new-vehicle buyers among the 22 luxury and exotic brands in the report, with an average age of 61 in 2013, unchanged from 2011.

 

You can reach Vince Bond Jr. at vbond@crain.com. -- Follow Vince on Twitter


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