SUV sales booming because of 'generation Z' buyers, says Ford
Search Driven for Ford for sale
Less than a month after Ford North America announced that it would wipe every sedan and hatchback from its line-up, the company have said that the car-buying habits of 'Generation Z' are to blame.
Or to thank, your choice I suppose.
Ford's decision to cut cars from their American line-up was a financial one. Their SUV sales have gone up, while sales of traditional cars have gone down. Now, in a press release published today (titled "It's not all about millennials; Gen Z drivers help make subcompact utility the fastest-growing auto segment") the blue oval credits at least part of this shift to stilted cars towards young adults born after 1995.
“Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, Millennials – everybody wants their SUV, and Gen Z is no different,” says Erich Merkle, Ford US sales analyst.
“As more new small SUVs like Ford EcoSport become available, you’ll see the subcompact SUV segment continue to climb as a popular new car of choice for first-time buyers.”
These views are bolstered by numbers. Four years ago in the US, people aged between 18 and 24-years-old bought 8,121 'subcompact' cars and 443 'subcompact' SUVs. That same number in 2017 has swung; 3,981 subcompact cars to 2,840 subcompact SUVs.
But I'm somewhat sceptical.
Not sceptical of those numbers ... I'm sure that they're bang on. But the thought that Gen-Zeders are making such a sway on the new-car market is faintly believable. And if you search up how many cars are sold annually in America, you get a bit more perspective.
According to statista.com, in 2017 6.3 million cars were sold in the United States. That's more new cars changing hands than there are humans living and breathing in New Zealand.
Yet, Ford are compelled to issue a release based on an age-group that makes up less than a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of one per cent of the new-car buying public? According to 2017 Nielsen data, Generation Z covers more than 80 million people in the US. But because less than 3000 of them bought SUVs last year, they're suddenly 'in love with new SUVs'?
“To Gen Z buyers, connectivity is everything,” says Karen Sullivan, Ford EcoSport brand marketing manager.
“Their car serves as an extension of their phone and their home, and we’re seeing an exciting response from these young customers to our all-new EcoSport.”
Ford's logic here is curious to say the least. Generation Z, by and large, are using that new level of connectivity to summon Uber drivers and Uber Eats. They're using it to swipe right until their heart's content on Tinder. I'm not sure that any of these things have any real correlation with car buyers, especially when Gen Z is generally savvy enough to know that you don't need a new car to get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto — let alone an SUV specifically.
Ford go on to say that the EcoSport (the release comes across as a giant advert for the brand's smallest crossover) offers "cargo space Gen Z drivers can't get in subcompact and compact cars". They quote the 50 cubic feet available behind the front row of the EcoSport with the second-row seats down, and then compare that to the comparatively meagre 25.4 cubic feet behind the front row of the Fiesta.
Don't tell them that the current Honda Fit has more space in the back of it —52.7 cubic feet — than the EcoSport ...