Ford Says Gen-Z Buyers Are Responsible For Subcompact SUV Boom

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…


    Ok, I know that 8 second attention span is a joke but given how glued people are to their phones these days and can’t pay attention for shit, I’m inclined to believe that might be partially if not mostly true. Also, I’m not sure about “everyone” wanting their SUV as Erich Merkle has stated.

    • Raul

      What about their intelligence? Has their intelligence increased or decrease then the previous gen due to the phones and technology.

      • LWOAP

        I don’t know and I don’t want to know otherwise I may be tempted to drown my despair in booze.

      • LeStori

        Think these are the people walking along and falling into water displays in Shopping Malls.

        • Raul

          LOL TRUE

  • Auto

    Don’t worry, I’m Gen Z and I hate crossovers.

    • Honda NSX-R

      I’m Gen Z and I hate these sub-compact crossovers too

    • LWOAP

      I’m a millennial yet I lie about it constantly because I don’t like being associated with the others.

    • Dennis Scipio

      Yay, I’m Gen Z and I like both crossovers and sedans.

  • Leconte Dave

    Throw the whole generation away

    • Six_Tymes


    • Raul

      Generation Z are the lost generation. LOL

      • Auf Wiedersehen

        Well, at least the “last” generation. I mean what’s next? AA?

        • Loquacious Borborygmus

          I think we’re onto emojis next…

  • xDRAN0x

    Ford should stfu and provide me with my Explorer ST ASAP

    • LWOAP

      They’re working on it.

  • atomicbri

    I find it rich that this comes from Ford, trying to justify their killing of sedans in their brand is all I see here.

    • Six_Tymes

      because they don’t know what they are doing right? they are lost and have no idea who their buyers are, and so the justification of plans for “killing sedans” should not be considered?

      Time will tell if it was a bold move or not.

      • atomicbri

        With the new CEO they may not know what they are doing by killing the sedans. The Fusion sold 209,623 in 2017. The Edge which is based off the Fusion sold in 2017 142,603. I don’t see how getting rid of the Fusion will make sales go up for the Edge. And they claim research and design costs they can save, yet in China and Europe the Fusion will soldier on and get a replacement. So to me it seems more of a test that they are doing in the US market, which like you said time will tell if it is a bold move or not.

  • Raul

    What’s after Generation z? The end

    • Loquacious Borborygmus

      Star Trek: The next ….

    • LWOAP

      Human race goes extinct?

    • smartacus

      clones and telomere repair

  • Dennis Scipio

    Wow, Ford is pretty much Public Enemy No 1 in the automotive industry.

  • brn

    I call BS on these kinds of claims.

    Generation Z is a small percentage of the car buying public. Gen Z doesn’t have the financial capacity to buy new cars.

    • Jay

      Your right but at the same time these things are pretty inexpensive.

      • atomicbri

        Actually that EcoSport can go up as high as $29,000 in Titanium AWD configuration. Which seems crazy.

        • Jay

          Referring to the base price but even at 25k its not even worth that much.

          • smartacus

            Even the base price stripper is a 6 year old design and a bad deal.

        • smartacus

          exactly, most will be optioned; making them way too expensive

    • Status

      Caveat: Some of Gen Z does have money, and those that do want status symbols. Sedans aren’t status symbols.

    • smartacus

      nailed it

  • Auf Wiedersehen

    Thanks “Gen Z”

  • B Cuz

    Are you saying almost all Gen Z is Zombie 🧟‍♀️ for technology? Say it ain’t so!
    If they have to do more than push a few key strokes they ,loose interest.
    They will grow out of it like every other generation had to. SUV/ CUV s are versatile for every one.
    Mini UTEs save fuel ⛽️ which drives demand up. Thanks

  • DMax

    I couldn’t care less about the loss of appliance sedans. Just please Ford, lighten up and bring the new ST twins and new RS here. The new Focus alltrac or whatever is coming here, surely the ST can make the leap over the Atlantic as well. There won’t be much profit to be made in them, but at least you’ll keep your enthusiast fan base happy.

  • smartacus

    What you are witnessing is the implosion of FORD

    They are still fearfully controlled by the ghost of
    Mark Finkelman Fields from beyond his career’s grave.

    His “Way Forward” campaign successfully shut down
    seven vehicle assembly plants and seven parts factories;

    Getting rid of Hertz Rent-A-Car, Mercury, Jaguar, Land Rover,
    Aston Martin, and partnerships with Volvo, Mazda, and Mahindra.

    • smartacus

      Next up on the chopping block is Mustang

  • erly5

    This is Ford trying to give credence to their decision to cease selling saloons and hatchbacks in the US.

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