Riding In Cars With Millennials: How Brands Are Trying to Hook Next Gen Drivers

From car-focused experiences to tech solutions, auto brands are pulling out all the stops to get Millennials behind the wheel...

Let’s get this out of the way first: Millennials are buying cars. The improving economy has decreased underemployment, allowing for more to buy cars and houses, and according to Time,  in 2014, Millennials beat Gen X in overall car sales. Bentley calls Millennials “increasingly important” noting that they’re the “largest potential consumer group today, and their influence is greater than simply the money that they have to spend.” Audi has reported a 23% increase of Millennials buying their vehicles in the past two years. According to a Ypulse’s monthly survey, 71% of 18-33-year-olds report that they personally own/lease an automobile, 52% of 18-33-year-olds say they plan to buy a car in the next one to five years, and 19% plan to buy one in the next year.

But, as they do with almost everything, Millennials approach the car buying process differently, and their motivations for buying a car might not align with previous generations. While Xers might have been thrilled to buy a luxury car to impress their friends, Millennials don’t want to be ostentatious, and the word “luxury”—a go-to marketing term for the auto industry, doesn’t mean the same thing to them. Their buying process is impacted by their tendency to research everything to death online, making them feel like experts by the time the come into a dealership, and their impatience with red tape and antiquated paperwork. In other words, to get this generation, who are proving they do want to drive, behind the wheel, might take some new tactics. Here are four examples of how auto brands are going the distance to rethink car selling, and appeal to the next generation of drivers: 

Taking Them Beyond the…


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The Newsfeed

Quote of the Day: “I think we’re already seeing alcohol lose its health halo. Next, the assumption that alcohol is essential to a good, sophisticated life will fade.”—Joy Manning, Deputy Editor, Edible Communities (Medium)

“The doofus dad” TV stereotype is being remade for role-resisting Millennial parents. Inept at care-taking and almost everything else, the tired stereotype is saying its last “D’Oh!” as The Simpson’s Homer Simpson and Peppa Pig’s Daddy Pig get replaced with a new wave of capable fathers like Bluey’s Bandit. The switch could have a real impact on the way kids understand family life, with one research fellow explaining, “The media reflects reality and also constructs reality.” (SMH)

Apple's new subscription gaming service Arcade will cannibalize its own App Store downloads—and that’s a good thing. Downloads in the App Store are on the decline, despite mobile gaming maintaining popularity and raking in revenue. If Apple can turn Arcade into young gamers’ go-to for mobile play, they’ll be poised for success that could outstrip even Apple TV and Apple Music. (The Motley Fool)

Gen Z music artists are “post-genre.” Mixing several influences into one song has become a way for rising artists to set themselves apart, and thanks to self-upload services like SoundCloud, they don’t need music industry exec’s approval. Meanwhile, the Genreless Generation can curate blended playlists via Spotify to fit moods and occasions rather than “rock” or “pop” and are streaming has also globalized their content consumption, so U.S. genres are no longer a limit. (Vice)

Carl’s Jr. has a CBD-infused burger that costs exactly $4.20. The chain restaurant is giving fast food a Cannabis Infusion, but only at one Denver, Colorado location, and only for one day. The Rocky Mountain High Cheese Burger Delight packs 5 mg of the chemical that won’t get you high. CBD is the trendy ingredient du jour, with 57% of 18-36-year-olds telling us they’re interested in trying it, and the chemical has made its way into everything from lotion to La Croix-like beverages. (LAT)

Axe is challenging masculinity with “bathsculinity.” The brand has been blurring gender lines for the Genreless Generation for years now, and their latest series of YouTube spots is showing that men can take baths, too. They’ve enlisted comedian Lil Rel Howery, who takes bubble baths surrounded by candles in the humorous videos. And they couldn’t be more on-trend: bath time is seeing a surge as a salve for Millennial anxiety. (Marketing Dive)

Quote of the Day: “I think for a cohesive strategy and for really helping to build awareness as well as grow the market size for new things, there's definitely digital and social media. But also, there has to be this in-real-life element.”—Alicia Yoon, Founder, Peach & Lily (YPulse)

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