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Generations Y, Z Show Strong Willingness to Pay for Advanced Car Technology

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NEW YORK--October 17, 2013: A new GfK analysis shows that Generations Y and Z are not just savvy about new car technologies, but also willing to pay more for a variety of advanced auto features. The trick for car makers and after-market vendors is to harness that interest while staying within the younger generations’ limited budgets.

“I’d love new auto technology, but it seems too expensive.”

According to a study by GfK and the Consumer Electronics Association – “GfK/CEA: The Future of Automotive Technology” – 74% of consumers in Generation Y (ages 25 to 34) and Z (18 to 24) fall into the most tech-interested segments of car buyers. Seven in ten (70%) of those in Gen Y, and 61% in Gen Z, said they are “especially interested” in auto technology – both significantly above the average.

These two groups also indexed well above-average in their willingness to pay extra for a variety of advanced car technologies, including visual warning of nearby emergency vehicle activity, seats that automatically go to driver's preferred position, and spill-proof car devices. In contrast, Generation X (ages 35 to 44) showed average willingness to pay for new technologies, while Boomers (45 to 64) were below average.

But these younger groups often see today’s auto technologies as over-priced; more than half (52%) of Gen Z, and 46% of Gen Y, agreed with the statement, “I’d love new auto technology, but it seems too expensive.”

“We generally associate advanced technology with luxury vehicles for older buyers,” said Jeff Campana, SVP of GfK’s Automotive team. “But Generations Y and Z are already highly attuned to technology and its benefits – not just Internet access on the go, but also safety and cleanliness features. We see a clear opportunity for auto makers to engage these essential groups by bringing advanced devices and services to Small Cars and Midsize Sedans, which are more within the grasp of young car buyers.”

Among Gen Z, 44% say Small Cars or Midsize Sedans are their first choice for an intended vehicle purchase; the figure for Gen Y is 38%.