Millennials have less connection to first car than boomers

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - 

A new survey from CarGurus reveals that the first car buying experience of millennials starkly differs from that of previous generations.

Compared to millennials, baby boomers were not only found to have been more involved when selecting their first car, but were also far more likely to have contributed to the purchase cost, the online automotive shopping platform said.

While only 37 percent of millennials surveyed said they contributed to the cost of their first car, 65 percent of baby boomers told CarGurus they paid for some or all of their first car, according to the survey. And 53 percent of Gen Xers contributed to the cost of their first car.

“Our data shows a clear generational shift in the dynamics of first car purchase,” said Sarah Welch, senior vice president of consumer marketing, said in a news release. “Given the rise of autonomous vehicles, ride sharing and sweeping urbanization, it will be interesting to see if future generations show the same trend in parents controlling the first car purchase or if we’ll see a drop-off in dependents needing a car at a younger age.”

Twenty-three percent of millennials’ first cars were hand-me-downs, while only 10 percent of baby boomers were, according to the survey.

The survey also found that millennials were more likely to receive their first car from a family member, and were just as likely to not have a choice. Thirty-four percent of the millennials surveyed said they were given their first car for either school, a job or extracurricular activity.

Thirty-three percent of millennials did not have a say in their first car, as opposed to 24 percent of baby boomers.

Although the survey shows clear differences in first car buying experiences between generations, it presents a few similarities, as well.

The survey found that 83 percent of all first cars were either bought or given used and 55 percent of drivers got their first car between the ages of 16 and 18.

Additionally, the survey also asked participants to name their favorite car brands. Chevrolet is the only brand to top each generation’s list of favorite brands. The overall most popular brands amongst all the drivers surveyed are Ford, Chevrolet, Toyota, Honda and Dodge, respectively.

The following are lists of the top five brands for each generation.

Baby boomers: Most popular first-car brands

  1. Ford
  2. Chevrolet
  3. Volkswagen
  4. Plymouth
  5. Toyota

Generation X: Most popular first-car brands

  1. Ford
  2. Chevrolet
  3. Toyota
  4. Dodge
  5. Pontiac

Millennials: Most popular-first car brands

  1. Chevrolet
  2. Honda
  3. Toyota
  4. Ford
  5. Nissan

CarGurus said it conducted the online survey of more than 1,800 randomly selected participants last month. Survey participants included drivers who have owned a car, ranging from 18 years of age to 70.

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