Twenty-one-year-old Olivia Nevels of Allen, Texas, is a fledging freelance filmmaker who was recently back in the market after totaling her second car, a Ford Fusion. The sedan’s ability to quickly connect with 911 had her leaning toward another Fusion, but the idea of owning a truck was also appealing.
Nevels’ online research led her to Dallas Lease Returns, where Anthony Zegarelli directed her to a 2016 Toyota Corolla after some basic salesmanship clued him into her personality and career goals. She liked the sedan’s Bluetooth-capable audio system and backup camera. What she really appreciated, however, is how Zegarelli got to know her while walking her through each step on the road to a sale.
“He showed me the specs. I had a test-drive and found out the Eco model gets about 30 miles per gallon, which I like,” she says. It wasn’t a done deal, however, as Nevels went home to conduct more research on the Corolla before returning to Dallas Lease Return to pull the trigger.
What sounds like the typical car sale is anything but, as mixed in are shopping behaviors of a generation that has been particularly difficult for marketers to characterize. Born after 1996, Generation Z is entering the workforce in the tens of millions while wielding roughly $3 trillion in purchasing power. In a market that is seeing demand for new vehicles waiver, car shoppers like Nevels are a welcome site for dealers looking to keep the metal moving over the curb.
The challenge, however, is finding the vehicles that suit the taste of a pragmatic and frugal demographic that once viewed vehicle ownership as not important, postponed right-of-passage moments like obtaining a driver’s license, and is thought to be responsible for giving birth to the current autonomous technology trend. In fact, getting around using ride-hailing services like Lyft fit their college lifestyles just fine, but the need to own a vehicle grows the more this demographic — at 67 million strong — enters the workforce.