People born after the year 1995, the so-called Gen Z, make up more than a quarter of the U.S. population, and nearly 1/3 of them are of legal driving age. This, apparently, is having a noticeable impact on the industry.
Despite being fans of new technologies such as ride-sharing, 92% of them either own or plan to own a vehicle, based on a study by KBB/Autotrader from 2016. As for what type of vehicle that might be, a very great number go for a subcompact SUV/crossover.
“Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, Millennials – everybody wants their SUV, and Gen Z is no different,” stated Ford U.S. sales analyst, Erich Merkle. “As more new small SUVs like the Ford EcoSport become available, you’ll see the subcompact SUV segment continue to climb as a popular new car of choice for first-time buyers.”
It was only four years ago that 18 to 24-year olds in the U.S. purchased 8,121 subcompact cars, as opposed to just 443 subcompact SUVs. Last year, the same age group bought 3,981 subcompact cars and 2,840 subcompact SUVs – that’s a massive 541% rise.
“I’d never heard of EcoSport, but I loved it the minute I saw it,” said 19-year old Kelly Oswald, one of the first EcoSport owners in the U.S. “I went in looking to buy a used car. I didn’t expect there to be an affordable option to buy a new car.”
Another interesting statistic shows that, in 2017, 11.3% of 18 to 24-year olds who purchased a new SUV went for a subcompact. Five years ago, that percentage was just 2%.
This trend is still going strong, so it should come to no surprise that subcompact SUVs are projected to surpass normal cars next year among members of the Gen-Z. Well, given ever increasing offerings, it wouldn’t surprise us if SUVs in total equal, or even best, passenger car sales overall. Perhaps Ford was on to something when it decided to axe most passenger cars from its U.S. lineup…