Detroit Three seize larger share of youth market

Mar 25, 2013

By gaining momentum in the U.S. small- and mid-sized car market, Detroit automakers are boosting their share of sales to younger U.S. buyers at the expense of Japanese brands.

Market research companies R.L. Polk & Co. and reported that General Motors, Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Group increased their share of retail registrations to 18- to 24-year-olds by 1.9 percentage points and to 25- to 34-year-olds by 1.5 points since 2008, as noted by Bloomberg.

In addition, South Korean brands Kia Motors Corp. and Hyundai Motor Co. also gained 6.8 points and 5.1 points worth of share among those buyers last year.

“U.S. automakers have burst onto the scene in recent years with small, fuel-efficient and affordable cars that really appeal to a young set of buyers,” said Jessica Caldwell, an analyst with Edmunds.

LMC Automotive also reported that the Detroit Three’s share of the U.S. small- and mid-sized car market will grow to 33% next year, from 26% in 2009.

Japanese automakers, led by Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co., registered 43% of retail sales to 18- to 24-year-olds and 43% to 25- to 34-year-olds last year. However, the brands lost 9.8 percentage points and 7.7 points of share in those categories since 2008, according to data compiled by Polk.