• 286c068d-2257-44cb-88e7-7ea1233c550bFord is the No. 1 brand of vehicle that Generation Z, those ages 16-21, most seriously consider – according to MaritzCX
  • Fuel economy tops the reasons for purchase for this group, followed by vehicle design and value
  • Car segment offerings make up the overwhelming majority of vehicles considered by Gen Z buyers

The youngest people in the market for new vehicles are most interested in shopping for Ford products, fuel economy and in car segments, according to MaritzCX, a customer experience software and research company.

Of the 1,061 members of Generation Z in the MaritzCX study – the group defined as ages 21 and younger – Ford tops the list of vehicles most seriously considered, at 8.2 percent, ahead of Toyota with 7.2 percent and Chevrolet with 6.4 percent.

Fuel economy top purchase consideration

Fuel economy is the most important reason for buying a new vehicle for this group, with 34 percent of respondents citing that attribute.

The second and third most noted reasons for buying a new vehicle among this group of shoppers include their previous vehicle getting too old and repairs to their older vehicle becoming too costly.

“Making decisions based on fuel economy and value explains why these buyers tend to shop brands like Ford, which builds vehicles that prioritize these attributes,” said Chris Travell, vice president for strategic consulting at Salt Lake City-based MaritzCX.

Cars trump trucks, utilities

While much has been made in recent months about rising utility vehicle sales, Gen Z buyers in the MaritzCX study showed an overwhelming preference for shopping small and midsize cars. Four of the top five vehicle segments for Gen Z buyers are cars rather than utility vehicles or trucks.

Gen Z buyers opt for compact cars at 41.1 percent, such as Ford Focus; 14.7 percent shop midsize sedans, like Ford Fusion; and 11.6 percent shop subcompact cars, like Ford Fiesta.

Among all vehicles sold in the United States last year, car segment purchases accounted for 32 percent, with the remainder distributed among utility vehicles and pickup trucks.

“The youngest new vehicle buyers tend to have less money than older folks, so it’s no surprise they overwhelmingly shop cars rather than more expensive utilities or trucks,” said Travell. “Gen Z shoppers are driven largely by financial constraints, and car segment offerings tend to be most affordable.”

In comparing vehicle shopping preferences of Gen Z to millennial buyers, the data indicates age cohorts and buying preferences do not neatly align.

“Younger millennial buyers, ages 22 to 25 or so, tend to behave like their younger Gen Z counterparts, whereas older millennials, roughly 26 to 35 years old, act more like Generation X when it comes to vehicle shopping behaviors,” said Erich Merkle, Ford sales analyst.

The Importance of Gen Z

People in this age group were born between 1993 and 2001; while they make up a small percentage of new car buyers today, globally, they represent 2 billion people, making them the largest single age cohort in the world. Gen Z represents 21 percent of the world’s total population and 25 percent of the U.S. population.  By 2020, their purchasing power will be equal to GDP of over $3.2 trillion.

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