Concerns that the massive millennial generation will break from past generations on car ownership appear, at a minimum, to be overstated.
Perhaps the misunderstanding does not stem from a belief that millennials desire flexibility, but a misconception that cars are not the best option to provide that flexibility. One striking result is that for millennials who do not currently own a car, most, including city dwellers, expect to purchase or lease one in the next five years. And a majority of those that already own or lease a car expect to sell or terminate their lease and acquire another vehicle in the next three years. This should be particularly encouraging for auto industry executives staring in the face of declining sales in many countries and economic headwinds.
However, executives should take note of what kinds of cars millennials like. Our results show that millennials are significantly more interested in buying hybrids or EVs, especially when compared with current market share data. Smartly, the industry has taken notice and made the right technology investments – over 100 new plug-in models are expected to be in showrooms by 2022.
While the interest in potentially more eco-friendly powertrains tends to validate millennials’ concern for the environment, the data clearly shows that millennials still highly value having their own car for the independence, convenience and general preference of driving over other transportation options. Thankfully for the automotive industry, the data has shown that 2.4 billion millennials worldwide will likely be driving the industry forward.