Guess Who's Buying More Sports Cars in America?
14 January 2000Guess Who's Buying More Sports Cars in America? Polk Identifies Majority of Sports Car Owners as 45 and Older
DETROIT, Jan. 14 -- Ten, twenty and thirty years ago, it was the young rebels without a cause cruising main streets with fast, fun sports cars. Their dads and moms felt more secure driving the "dependable, reliable" sedans or station wagons. But a recent analysis released today by The Polk Company found that today's moms, dads and grandparents seem far more inclined than their parents to choose a spiffy sports car. Today, the majority of Americans purchasing sports cars are over the age of 45, with approximately 35 percent falling in the age bracket of 45-54 years of age. The percentage of buyers within the 45-54 age bracket for sports cars is relatively high compared to other vehicle types on the market: 23 percent purchase large/luxury vehicles, 28 percent midsize vehicles, and approximately 21 percent minivans. AGE DISTRIBUTION OF TODAY'S SPORTS CAR BUYERS* Age Bracket % 18 - 24 years old 2.5 25 - 34 years old 15.5 35 - 44 years old 27.7 45 - 54 years old 35.7 55 - 64 years old 13.2 65 - 74 years old 4.3 75 years old and higher 1.1 Source: Polk *All new vehicle buyers April-June, 1999 data. "The reason for such a large percentage of sports car buyers among older Americans," said Kim Fritz, an automotive industry analyst at Polk, "can be explained by the fact that these Baby Boomers are now earning more today due to the growing economy and the strong stock market. The average annual income among sports car buyers is $50,000 to $74,999. Now that these households are finding themselves with dwindling financial obligations to their children, they're discovering that they have some disposable cash to spend on 'toys.'" INCOME DISTRIBUTION AMONG SPORTS CAR BUYING HOUSEHOLDS* Household Income % Less than $15,000 6.1 $15,000 - $19,999 2.1 $20,000 - $29,999 8.1 $30,000 - $39,999 10.6 $40,000 - $49,999 12.9 $50,000 - $74,999 25.1 $75,000 - $99,999 15.3 $100,000 - $124,999 7.7 $125,000 and Above 12.1 Source: Polk *All new vehicle buyers April-June, 1999 Data. The top-selling sports car overall is the Ford Mustang, with approximately 35 percent of all sports car buying households purchasing this vehicle. When sports cars sold are segmented into regular and high-end categories, the Mustang becomes the number one seller in the regular market with 42 percent. Within the high-end sports car segment, the Chevrolet Corvette -- a 1999 Polk Automotive Loyalty Award winner -- tops the list with approximately 39 percent of purchases. Households purchasing vehicles within the high-end sport segment tend to have higher annual incomes than those purchasing regular sport vehicles ($125,000 and higher compared with $50,000 to $74,999, respectively). TOP FIVE SELLING SPORTS CARS BY SEGMENT* (Percentage of Segment's Total Sales) Overall % High-End % 1. Ford Mustang 35.59 1. Chevrolet Corvette 39.45 2. Saturn SC 9.74 2. Mercedes SL Class 21.50 3. Chevrolet Camaro 9.28 3. Porsche Boxster 17.55 4. Mitsubishi Eclipse 8.28 4. Porsche 911 11.14 5. Pontiac Firebird 8.27 5. Audi TT 3.35 Regular % 1. Ford Mustang 42.30 2. Saturn SC 11.58 3. Chevrolet Camaro 11.04 4. Mitsubishi Eclipse 9.85 5. Pontiac Firebird 9.83 Source: Polk *All new vehicle buyers April-June, 1999 data. "With the growing popularity of the sports car, it's no wonder we're seeing more and more of them in auto shows and showrooms world wide," Fritz said. "Over the last few years, we've seen these sporty cars wearing nearly every manufacturer's name, on both the new and the new-and-improved models. And more are on the way. Not only to appeal to the young, but to the young at heart." Polk is a global company delivering multi-dimensional intelligence to the auto industry to enhance the relationships consumers have with brands. Through lifetime understanding of individuals, Polk helps clients maintain current customers, win new ones and build their brand loyalty. Based in Southfield, Mich., Polk is a privately held firm currently operating in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Holland, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States.