Saturday 27 February 2010

Top 10 most popular cars bought by over the 65's (U.S)

With most customers favouring smaller cars, there is still one demographic that Detroit has a solid hold on… Retirees. Buyers over 65 are the last hope for the good American car. In some dealerships, anything upto 85% of all Buick buyers are 55 and older.

The over-65’s look at brands like Buick, Lincoln and Cadillac as status symbols. Those brands have what advertisers call the “Mind Share” in that demographic. Retirees remember a time when the only people driving those cars were celebrities and other high profile members of society; now they want in to that high-profile group of Cadillac drivers. Plus, older folks like familiarity, they know these brands, they’ve heard them their whole life.

Studies in the U.S have shown that the next generation of OAP’s prefer sporty, performance type vehicles as opposed to the large cloud cars on this list. As for now, here are the 10 best sellers with the old folks:

(The models are ranked based on the percentage of buyers age 65 or older, using market research data from J.D. Power and Associates. All the cars on this list get less than 20 mpg in town driving and less than 30 mpg extra urban driving.)

10. Ford Taurus – The Taurus is one Ford’s best selling models, in fact it was the best selling car in the 90s. Ford went through some weird phase where all the cars had names starting with ‘F’. They got rid of the Taurus title and called it the “Five Hundred”. Either way, the Taurus is back now and old people still love it. Upto 35% of all buyers are 65 years old or older.

9. Lincoln MKZ – Compared to the rest of the cars on this list, the Lincoln MKZ is a lightweight. It’s marketed to a fairly younger consumer, but just like the Taurus, 35% of it’s buyers are 65 or older.

8. Cadillac STS – The STS is probably the “sportiest” car on this list, although like the rest of the cars, it has a roomy interior and the blind spot/back up cameras that older people like. Retirees love the Cadillac brand, they remember it as being the ultimate car brand. 39% of all Cadillac STS buyers are over 65.

7. Toyota Avalon – The only foreign car on the top ten list is Toyota’s flagship sedan. That’s because Toyota specifically designed the Avalon to compete in this particular market of over-65’s. Because of all the press, 39% of all Avalon sales went to retirees.

6. Mercury Sable – The Sable is the Ford Taurus’ upmarket cousin, and just like it’s always been, it’s essentially just a Taurus with a Mercury badge. Old people love it though, nearly half of all Sables sold (48.5%) have gone to people over 65.

5. Buick LaCrosse – The top five on this list is where the real favourites lie; there is a substantial jump in the percentage of over 65 buyers as we go from #6 to #5 on the list: Only 48.5% of all Sables want to old folks, meanwhile, almost 64% of all Buick LaCrosse sales were to people over 65.

It has old folk favorites like OnStar, electric seats with memory and remote audio controls on the steering wheel. We’re in the over-50% zone now, so it’s a safe bet to avoid all Buick LaCrosses you see.

4. Buick Lucerne – The Lucerne is the beefier version of the Buick LaCrosse, plus is has parking sensors and reversing cameras. It also has ‘Lane Departure Warning System’ that alerts the driver if the car starts to move out of its lan. Still, with a full 67% of all Lucerne’s out there belonging to over 65’s, I’ll still steer clear of them, with or without lane departure warning system.

3. Mercury Grand Marquis – The Mercury Grand Marquis costs a little more than half the price of the Lincoln Town Car and the two cars are virtually identical. If you exclude cops and other fleet drivers, a full 69% of all Grand Marquis drivers are over 65.

2. Cadillac DTS – The DTS is slightly larger and less sporty than the STS. It’s actually a direct competitor to the Lincoln Town car, so it appeals to retirees for all the same reasons. Brand recognition, quality image, and lots of technology like lane-departure warning system and blind-spot systems that many of the other top ten have make 72% of OAP’s buy one.

1. Lincoln Town Car – More than 75% of all Town Cars out there are driven by someone over 65, so keep an eye out. The Town Car is probably one of the spacious sedans for less than $47k. It has more interior space than many large executive cars.

The car is just the typical old man car: huge interior, rear-wheel drive, mirror like ride, plush seats and a powerful V8 petrol engine.

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