2012 Prius C

Gen Y may lead us to hybrid and electric cars with awesome apps

Younger auto-buyers are overwhelmingly looking for highly fuel efficient, hybrid, cars, with advanced infotainment features.

Deloitte released a preview of results of their yearly survey of Gen Y automotive buying habits, saying that the younger crowd have a "strong affinity for hybrid vehicles" and that "generation that leads us away from traditional gasoline-powered vehicles." Specifically they were shown to have a 57% preference for hybrid vehicles and given that Gen Y is 80 million strong, it's enough auto buyers to tip the scales significantly. And as Gen Y is the smart phone generation we should be unsurprised to learn they overwhelmingly want touch-screens on the dashboard.

Deloitte defines Gen Y (in case you needed to know) as those ranging in age from 19 to 31. The study, conducted in Sept and Oct 2011, is their yearly analysis of the buying habits of consumers, and covered 1500 Gen Y, Gen X and baby boomer people. Deloitte released the preliminary results at its Shifting Gears conference yesterday in Detroit, and final results are due to be released in February.

The results specifically break down as 57% preferring hybrid cars, 2% preferring pure electric cars, and 37% preferring a traditional gasoline driven drive train. Of those preferring a hybrid, they prefer the non-plug-in hybrids (66%) over the plug-in hybrids (33%) apparently in the belief that it's more convenient to go out of your way to a gasoline station to refill a gas tank, than it is to plug in.

As to why, the Gen Y crowd is concerned over the high price of gasoline. Eighty-nine percent are looking for high fuel efficiency, and this becomes especially important when gasoline prices rise. Some 49% of Gen Y auto-buyers are willing to pay extra for higher fuel efficiency.

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