Young buyers are inching back into the new-vehicle auto market after several years on the sidelines, helped by easing credit and a slightly improving job market.
“Younger buyers have returned to market at a higher rate than any other age category,” according to a recent report by J.D. Power and Associates’ Power Information Network.
The young buyer group — from teens through age 35 — is a hefty 23 percent of so-called retail buyers, the highest since 2008, according to Power. The retail sales category excludes multiple-vehicle sales to fleet buyers, such as rental and taxi companies.
Data from Polk, which tracks new-vehicle registrations, not sales, found a similar move, showing buyers 18 to 34 provided 12 percent of all new-vehicle registrations from January through July — the highest since 16.4 percent in 2007.
Power’s Thomas King, a senior director, says high used-car values could be helping younger buyers with something to trade in. Credit is also easier to get now, he says, and the group is seeing growth in longer-term loans, 72 months and over, which cuts monthly payments.
Younger shoppers don’t typically buy high-profit vehicles, at first. But if they can be kept loyal, automakers believe, they’ll move up to very profitable models as they get older and richer.