An economic study out of Michigan State University suggests that kids are 39 percent more likely to buy cars from the brands their parents support.
The study, co-authored by MSU economist Soren Anderson, collected data every two years between 1999-2011. Surveyed were 4,300 adult children and their 2,600 parents, with preferences broken down by corporations (General Motors, Ford, Toyota) rather than brands (Chevrolet, Lincoln, Lexus).
The strong correlation between parents and kids has implications for automakers’ marketing efforts. For example, how can automakers influence a young person’s buying decisions in order to have their subsequent parenthood as an influence? One way is to “invest in young consumers and harvest old consumers” or, in other words, “lower prices on entry-level vehicles to attract young people and then raise prices on higher-end vehicles once they’re hooked on the brand.”
“In theory, these findings could change the way automakers price and market their cars,” Anderson said.
But there is another train of thought: If young buyers visit showrooms already loyal to a brand − that hallowed 39 percent influenced by parents’ car habits − automakers might consider upping prices on entry-level vehicles instead.
“Is this really about the cars or could it be other factors, like parents and children tending to be more similar to each other than other people? We’re pretty sure it has something to do with the cars themselves,” Anderson queried.