Guess Who's Buying More Sports Cars in America?

14 January 2000

Guess 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.



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