My grandpa drove an Oldsmobile.
So it was no real surprise to me when Oldsmobile closed shop. In my mind, it simply ran out of customers. What young person would want to buy a car with “Old” right in the name?
Today I have to wonder if Toyota could follow that same path.
To me, Toyota symbolizes quality and reliability. To younger people, the brand perception is being built around conservative styling, mass recalls, and congressional hearings. Not exactly ways to build trust with Generation Y.
Young people now entering the car-buying world are much less familiar with Toyota’s stellar history. Their parents might recommend a Toyota, but that would be like my grandpa telling me to go buy an Olds.
So where are the young people looking today? Ford.
According to a Detroit News story, young car buyers are being drawn into Ford dealerships by the automaker’s technology, and they are bringing their parents with them. That’s pretty good proof that Ford’s gamble to sell technology by partnering with Microsoft and Sony is paying off.
With Ford’s Sync technology, drivers can control their cell phones and music players with voice commands. That’s the kind of thing that will influence how iPad-obsessed members of Gen Y think about a car company. That, and the fact that Ford was the only U.S. automaker to rebuild its business without government help, bode well for a profitable future.
And no, I don’t think Toyota will go out of business, but I do think it has some serious ground to make up with young people if it wants to keep pace with the Blue Oval.
Are there any compelling reasons for American youth to buy a Toyota instead of a Ford? I think in the youth market Ford is the hands-down winner?