While we question whether pricey “performance” add-ons like body kits and push-button starters are worthy of much distinction, a new study conducted by TrueCar.com shows that some consumers are more excited by such features.
According to the study, Scion was the top brand and tC was the top model for Generation Y buyers—the 18-27 aged demographic more associated with social media and Katy Perry than Scion or Mitsubishi.
The study included more than four million new car purchases from 2009 to 2010 and tracked what the Gen Y consumer actually paid. For the two years studied, 21.2 percent of Gen Y buyers bought a Scion, 20.3 percent bought Mitsubishi, and 10.7 percent opted for Mazda. With less than 10 percent and, in descending order, Nissan, Volkswagen, Kia, Hyundai, Honda, Toyota, and Subaru rounded out the top ten.
“Generation Y buyers want vehicles that look distinct and can be tailored to their individual tastes,” said Kristen Andersson, Automotive Analyst for TrueCar.com. ”Buyers from this generation are also looking for vehicles that have the technology features they are accustomed to built into the vehicle at an affordable price.”
So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Scion tC, with its $18,995 MSRP and the Mitsubishi Lancer, at $20,670, landed at the top of the study for cars bought in 2009 and 2010. Both vehicles are accessible to college-aged students and graduates, fuel efficient, come from the factory with a plethora of customizable options including upgraded powertrain and audio entertainment packages, and are heavily supported by aftermarket suppliers.
Similar attributes apply to the rest of the field, as well—give or take a degree of performance. The Honda Civic Si, listed at $22,975, falls right behind the top two, but the Toyota Yaris Sedan, listed at a top-ten best price of $13,915 and barely 100 horsepower, beats out the $17,365 Ford Focus Coupe.
Efficient cars round out the bottom five of TrueCar.com’s list, as the $15,830 Scion xD was the sixth-most purchased vehicle, but top-ten heavyweight Volkswagen GLI, listed at $25,365, provides the segment’s entry-level luxury while the Subaru Impreza, at $19,220, offers standard all-wheel drive. At the bottom of the list, the Kia Forte and Toyota Corolla, at $15,690 and $16,660, respectively, pit the fresh upstart against old reliable.
The list of cars is not altogether shocking, considering the demographic, but there is more substance to what TrueCar.com provides with it. So, while it isn’t surprising that Scion tC was the most desirable car for those studied, it might be surprising that, on average, tC buyers only saved 0.3% off MSRP, paying $18,994—the smallest such discount on the list, which suggests that both dealers and buyers are happy with the price.
On the other hand, at $15,040, Ford Focus Coupe buyers saved, on average, about 13.4% compared to MSRP—the best deal in the group. Additionally, Kia Forte and Mitsubishi Lancer buyers saved, on average, 8.9% and 8.2%, respectively, which may suggest a number of factors, including increased competition among like dealerships and manufacturer rivals, and the dealership’s incentive to move cars.
These statistics signal to dealerships and consumers alike that some of the hottest cars for young consumers, like Scion’s tC and xD, as well as the Honda Civic Si, are appropriately priced, but also that little movement in negotiation can be expected. If the survey results are any indication, then 2011-2012 may show that the God-of-Awesome’s marketing campaign for the Scion tC Release Series 7.0 is spot on.
2009-2010 MSRP figures do not include tax, title, and fees.