Thursday, September 24, 2009

USA Today: Boxy cars sell to older folks

The hip Kia Soul. The funky Nissan Cube. The Scion xB and the Honda Element. They're all square, all squarely aimed at the youth market, and all missing it.

According to an article in USA Today, boxy vehicles are appealing to older demographics.

Average age of a Kia Soul buyer? 50
Average age of a Nissan Cube buyer? 46
Average age of a Scion xB buyer? 42
Average age of a Honda Element buyer? 49

A lot of this most likely has to do with the fact the vehicles are incredibly practical. They haul people, kids, and groceries with ease. Plus, "youth" don't have as much money as this more middle-aged demographic, who can more readily afford brand-new cars.

I'm 31 and still love the square vehicles. Then again, I also highly value practicality in a vehicle.

Anyway, the article is an interesting read.

Grown-ups bask in Cubes' youthful glow (USA Today)


nlpnt said...

A few related observations;

-Most of the more mature people I see driving tall boxes/hatchbacks in general are women. Most of the 20/30-somethings are guys. Most of the teens are driving Mom's car (see below)

-With small kids in the family, they're tall enough you can strap the squigglers rown without bending double, but low enough that they don't have the SUV Leap of Doom to get out; and small enough to minimize cruising around for a parking space while they get increasingly cranky!

-With teen drivers or soon-to-be-drivers, these cars are all low-powered, designed to be cheap to insure, and available with manual transmissions so they get to learn it/don't have a free hand for texting.

Andy Lilienthal said...

"don't have a free hand for texting."

That's fantastic. That should be part of a campaign to sell more manual-transmission-equipped cars in the U.S. LOL

nlpnt said...

Personal experience (not that I've ever been dumb enough to try texting while driving!) is that M/T really helps me to stay on task.

Since I have a formal diagnosis of non-hyperactive ADD from my kid days, if I ever have to special-order and miss out on an incentive or flat-out pay extra for a stick, can I deduct it as "adaptive driving controls"?

D2M said...

On the upside, at least middle-aged folks finally get to drive something that isn't bland! I had how similar shaped most American cars are. It's good to see some pazzaz! :)

But this got me thinking... so the 30+ crowd is buying these cars because they're affordable and practical, what new cars does that leave the hip 20 crowd to buy? Are they buying new cars? If so, which ones? (I bet they aren't affordable or practical!)

My husband probably would not have bought the Fit if he'd been allowed to choose. He'd have bought a lemon (cause it's cheap) or a sports car (cause it's fast and cool looking). Never once would it have occured to him to get something new, with a warranty, and practical. (I sometimes suspect men treat cars like women treat jewellary. It's fun and you can show it off to your friends, but it's not really practical.

No offence to the men here.)

Anonymous said...

My folks bought our first xB when my dad was 50 or 51. Then my folks got an xB2 and my dad was 55, so yeah that article is pretty much on point. Of course I'm 21 and have my xB, so I break the mold a little.