New polling from Ford suggests younger consumers are bucking the trend set by their parents of favoring foreign-made vehicles over those made in America.
Of Millennial consumers polled, 72 percent do not feel loyalty to the automobile brands their parents preferred. Instead, an overwhelming 91 percent trust the quality of American products to be equal or better than products made elsewhere, with 74 percent of members of Generation Y going so far as to say it’s important to buy products made in America.
Younger generations rank the quality of automobiles made in the United States above that of those made elsewhere. Of the respondents, 45 percent say American cars are better, 33 percent go with European-made cars, while 22 percent prefer Asian-made vehicles.
With regard to specific brands, 43 percent of Gen Y and Gen Z consumers rank Ford among the top three brands for making high-quality vehicles. Among those who named multiple brands as providing high-quality vehicles, Ford ranks No. 2 in delivering the highest quality.
“Globalization and evolving approaches to parenting are triggering significant shifts in both the attitudes and behaviors of young consumers,” said Sheryl Connelly, Ford global consumer trend and futuring manager. “Not only are Millennials more aware of how and where products are made, but parents are empowering them to take greater ownership over purchasing decisions. Both trends are yielding a generation of consumers that thinks much more critically about the source, quality and performance of the cars they drive.”
When evaluating the quality of a car, 40 percent of these consumers are likely to factor in their parents’ opinions, while 38 percent value online reviews and 27 percent turn to third-party quality rankings such as Consumer Reports or J.D. Power. Of Millennials polled, 65 percent say how a car feels to drive is important in evaluating quality, while 54 percent believe how it feels inside is important and 43 percent think looks are key.
When these younger consumers are ready to purchase a vehicle or sign a lease, their parents’ opinions take a back seat to more practical considerations. The top factors influencing Millennial buyers’ car-purchasing decisions are cost, gas mileage, how well a car drives and a vehicle’s safety features. By contrast, parent recommendations rank No. 9 among decision-making factors, indicating that while parents may guide or inform the purchasing process, younger consumers are empowered to make the ultimate decision about which car they choose.
Further reinforcing this generation’s appreciation for practical factors, of those polled, 79 percent say they value high quality over good looks.