Motivated by a strong social conscience and keen to rent, stream and share goods and services, the Millennial generation’s revolutionary approach to spending is changing how companies – including carmakers – do business.
Despite the fact that Millennials are coming of age in one of the most difficult economic climates in the past 100 years, a 2015 Nielsen global online study found that they continue to be the most willing to pay extra for sustainable products.
“Brands that establish a reputation for environmental stewardship among today’s youngest consumers have an opportunity to not only grow market share but build loyalty among the power-spending Millennials of tomorrow, too,” says Grace Farraj, SVP, Public Development & Sustainability, Nielsen.
And their fresh thinking is influencing the cars they want to drive in ways you might not expect.
More than four in five Millennials believe SUVs have become more fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly during the last five years. Having shed their gas-guzzling reputation, SUVs are now on the shopping lists of one in four Millennials in the market for a new car, according to a recent Ford survey.
Doubtless that is why Ford is introducing an all-new fully electric SUV, engineered to deliver an estimated range of at least 300 miles – enough to drive from London to Paris. The company introduced three new SUVs in Europe last year, and the new zero-emission model will be one of five arriving by 2020.
“SUV sales are rising faster than any other type of vehicle in Europe, and eco-conscious Millennials are a driving force behind growing SUV demand. Last year, Ford’s SUV sales outpaced even this rapid industry growth,” said Roelant de Waard, vice president, Marketing, Sales & Service, Ford of Europe.
“Customers are discovering the fuel-efficiency offered by advanced engines like our new 120PS 1.5-litre TDCi diesel that meets the latest Euro Stage 6 emissions requirements and delivers 115g/km CO2 in the new Kuga, and the multi-award-winning 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine in the Ford EcoSport.”
Sales of Ford’s SUV models in the UK – the compact EcoSport, medium-size Kuga and full-size Edge – are up 320 per cent in three years and grew 31 per cent in 2016 compared to 2015 in Europe.
Industry SUV registrations were up 21 per cent across Europe in 2016, accounting for more than one quarter of all the new vehicles registered.
And it’s not only younger drivers that are defying expectations with their choice of car. Ford data shows that the average age of customers buying hot hatchbacks – high performance versions of small and medium sized cars – increased by more than ten per cent between 2010 and 2016.