Together, millennials and baby boomers give Ford 160 million good reasons to expect the surge in SUV sales will continue into the next decade, according to the company.
With U.S. and worldwide SUV sales growth expected to continue, Ford now plans to add four new SUV models in the next four years-”all four in SUV segments in which the company does not currently compete.
“As members of the 80-million-strong millennial age group enter their prime child-rearing years, a leading indicator of more SUV sales, nearly 80 million aging baby boomers continue to prefer their SUVs,” said Mark LaNeve, Ford Motor Co. vice president of marketing, sales and service. “It’s a demographic double whammy and it all points to one thing: more SUVs for the foreseeable future.”
LaNeve cited recent Ford research that shows once millennials even begin thinking about starting a family, their interest in shopping for SUVs goes up significantly. And as many have delayed starting families, these yet-to-form family households represent additional SUV growth opportunities for the company.
Yet millennials alone aren’t expected to drive SUV growth. Aging baby boomers tend to stay with or return to SUVs, in part because it’s easier to get in and out of a vehicle that sits higher off the ground than a passenger car, according to Ford. LaNeve also noted that many boomers feel younger and more active driving an SUV.
While low gas prices have contributed to the growth in SUVs in recent years, much improved fuel efficiency in the latest generation of utility vehicles leads Ford to believe a potential rise in gas prices wouldn’t push consumers back to passenger cars, according to the company.
“Some SUVs now rival the fuel efficiency of V6-powered midsize sedans from only a few years ago,” LaNeve said, “and as baby boomers grew up with much less capable, much less efficient vehicles, they tend to appreciate the efficiency of Ford’s newest SUVs.”