Ford is popular with the young folk, it would seem. The Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker is the No. 1 brand first considered by customers born between the early 1980s and early 2000s when shopping for a new vehicle, up from fourth in 2008.
Marketing research firm Maritz Research came to the conclusion while conducting research for their annual New Vehicle Customer Study. They asked would-be buyers and actual buyers about their vehicle purchase and what their vehicle preferences were. The data, which was collected over a five-year period between 2008 and 2013, found that the majority of millenials are looking for small hatchbacks or midsize cars.
Ford says being the most frequently considered brand by young buyers is an indicator of a “sales funnel.” This is when consumers move from awareness of a brand (i.e. seeing a commercial) to consideration to eventual purchase. Ford says strong consideration usually correlates with future purchase decisions.
Why is the young crowd all Ford-crazy? The automaker says it stems from introducing in-demand products at the proper time. When millennials began to show greater interest in utility vehicles and SUVs, Ford was introducing its redesigned Explorer in 2011 and Escape in 2012. The Escape and Explorer also saw the largest jump in purchase consideration from millennial buyers, climbing by 1.1 and 1.7 percentage points respectively.
“The trend of millennials starting families comes at the same time Ford is updating or replacing nearly its entire product lineup,” sAmy Marentic, Ford global car and crossover marketing manager, said in a statement. “These fastest-growing segments – like small utilities – coincide with Ford’s product strengths.”
Millenials account for a significant portion of car sales and additionally, the top millennial markets by population (California, New York, Texas, Florida and Pennsylvania) are areas where Ford’s market share has the most growth potential.
“Millennials are an important group of buyers in the industry today,” said Chris Travell, vice president, of strategic consulting at Maritz Research, “and not just in terms of sheer size. They are also helping to refine the vehicle shopping and ownership experience.
“These younger buyers are much more connected than previous car buyers,” he exlplained. “The manufacturer that develops a strategy that resonates with millennial buyers will increase the likelihood of consideration the next time that customer is in the market. In turn, this will increase the likelihood of selling a car to that customer. It appears Ford’s millennial strategy is working.”