The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC recently introduced readers to the Chrysler Portal, a concept car from Chrysler Fiat that was billed as a millennial dream car. It included selfie taking capabilities, shared playlists, LED accent lighting, and facial recognition software. Chrysler created the car in an attempt to combat the lack of interest from millennials in the automotive industry.
Well fortunately or unfortunately, the car selfies will have to wait. Car manufacturers such as Chrysler should be relieved by new data released by Autotrader and published in the Detroit Free Press which suggests that millennials are showing a newfound interest in SUVs. Data taken from an Autotrader survey showed that 40% of millennials say their dream car is an SUV. This growing interest from millennials aligns with an emphasis from car manufacturers on family-carrying vehicles. According to Ford US sales analyst Erich Merkle, who spoke to the Free Press, sales of SUVs are up across the board - large SUVs are up 12%, midsize SUVs are up 9%, and compact SUVs are up 4%. On top of that, consumers become very loyal to SUVs after their first purchase. Buyers cite the biggest selling points of SUVs to be the cargo space, higher seating position, ease of getting in and out, and extra seating. For instance, Ford's best selling car with millennials is the Escape, which can seat seven. After all, you can't have #squadgoals if the entire squad can't fit in the car!
While the features of the Chrysler Portal may be trendy for millennials, they might not be the safest. Millennials like to multitask, but keeping an eye on the road while trying to take the perfect selfie may prove to be difficult and certainly unsafe. Run-of-the-mill SUVs, on the other hand, have been consistently improving their safety features. Of the cars U.S. News and World Report consider to be the 10 safest SUVs, many come standard with safety features such as rear view cameras, automatic emergency breaking, and rear cross traffic alerts. Since millennials are a generation highly interested in technology, it's likely that they'll be willing to spend the extra money on optional safety features as well. These can include lane departure warnings, adaptive cruise control, and forward collision warning - all of which make for a safer vehicle.
For years, the buying habits and lifestyles of millennials suggested that they wouldn’t be buying SUVs to the same degree as their baby boomer parents. Baby boomers moved out to the suburbs and started having families in their early 20s. Millennials, on the other hand, are more likely to live in urban areas and have shown less of a desire for marriage and children. As a result, millennials tend to use ride sharing apps such as Uber and Lyft as means of transportation, rather than purchasing a vehicle. Car manufacturers were right to be concerned by this lack of interest, as there are 80 million millennials in America, making them the largest generational group in the country. When it comes to the auto industry, according to the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business, millennials purchased only about 4 million cars and trucks in 2015, and are expected to have made up only 30% of new car sales in 2016. Millennials have enormous buying power, and if they weren't using that power to buy SUVs, it could be a huge loss for automakers.
There are a few factors that likely explain millennials' new desire for SUVs. One is that their lifestyles are starting to look more like those of baby boomers, no matter how much they try and deny that they're like their parents. While there is no exact definition of a millennial, the agreed upon age range is generally people born between 1980 and 2000. Since millennials are getting married and having children at older ages than previous generations did, this means they are just now reaching the time in their life when they need a bigger car to transport a family. As such, they are becoming more interested in the extra seating and cargo space that SUVs have to offer. Data from Ford shows that SUVs are most commonly purchased by people between the ages of 35 and 44, and millennials are just starting to hit that age range.
Another explanation for millennials' new interest in SUVs is the economy. Since the Great Recession has ended, it’s likely that millennials are just now starting to reach a point in their life when they have the resources to make a large purchase, such as an SUV and a house in the suburbs.
While millennial lifestyles are looking more like the life styles of baby boomers, according to Autoguide however, their actual car purchasing habits are still quite different. Millennials spend more time doing their own research before walking into a dealership, and the vast majority of that research is online. Millennials look up car ratings before going to the dealer just like they look up Yelp reviews before ordering takeout.
Millennials are clearly doing their research when it comes to car buying. This newfound interest in SUVs is great news for the automotive industry, who will welcome purchases of bigger cars and safety upgrades by millennials. It's also encouraging that millennials are just as interested in safety features as they are with selfies and custom playlists. However, no amount of research or high tech safety equipment can currently assure that accidents won’t happen. Whether driving an SUV or any other type of car, it’s important to be alert and to follow all traffic laws to minimize the risk of being involved in an automobile accident. Posting that car selfie would be pointless if you crashed the car that took it, right?
Accidents can happen regardless of the type of car being driven and whatever advanced safety features the vehicle may have. If you have been involved in automobile accident call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation. Our attorneys are experienced in handling all types of motor vehicle collision lawsuits including those involving SUVs.