Debate Magazine

Who Buys New Cars?

Posted on the 15 August 2018 by Markwadsworth @Mark_Wadsworth

Emailed in by MBK, from The Times:
Here’s a surprising thing. The average age of a new car buyer in the UK is 54. The majority of new cars are bought by people in their fifties, sixties and seventies. The average age of a new Ford buyer, for example, is 56. For Volkswagen it is 54. For Toyota it is 63. Even cheap, fun, youngster-friendly Fiats are bought by people whose average age is a relatively ancient 49.
That doesn't surprise me at all and I'd always assumed this was the case:
1. Older people have more money, less sense and are more averse to risk and hassle, so are more likely to buy new. Younger people vice versa.
2. Assuming people pass their driving test in their twenties and pack in driving when they are 70 or 80, the average age of all car drivers is about 50, so we'd expect the average age of all car buyers to be about 50, with a slightly younger average for second hand car buyers and a slightly older average age for new car buyers.
If these ages seem high, it’s because we have been conditioned to believe that it’s the young who buy new cars, thanks to those jolly TV commercials featuring carefree twentysomethings heading to the beach together in a gleaming convertible. Even the ads for high-end roadsters shot in moody empty landscapes seem to favour wrinkle-free granite-jawed chaps well under 45.
Amen brother, most car adverts are vacuous crap. Apart from the one for the MX-5 where the bloke drove from the suburbs to a petrol station in the middle of the desert, bought a pint of milk and drove home again.
The surprising thing about the articles is the Baby Boomer vitriol in the comments:
Well the young don't typically really own cars do they.
They lease them and lots of my friends talk about how "its only £320 a month" as if its not a great deal of money. When you point out to them that often at the end of the deal they have nothing to show for it, they don't seem too bothered.
Furthermore plenty of young people don't even consider the purchase of a car (let alone a new one) possible, with sky high insurance, tax and fuel costs. If they live in a city they may as well forget it and uber/bus/cycle everywhere.

Jeez. In commercial terms, it makes little difference whether you are renting a new car for £320 a month or actually own it outright and are losing £320 a month in depreciation. Is he accusing young people of wasting their money on cars, or slagging them off for turning up their noses at them? Does he not realize that the statistics on car buyers include HP and FL deals? Or is this some sort of projected self-loathing? Lighten up, mate!
The young need to work harder - I've been buying new cars since I was 25.
The first Boomer says young people can afford to buy cars but a lot of them don't want to waste their money on them (and good for them). The next Boomer says they can't afford to buy new cars because they don't work hard enough. This was not an income comparison, you fuckwit, it was about who buys new cars.

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