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Millennials Love Cars! Strategic Vision Reports 2016 Most Loved Vehicles

Many in automotive circles have proclaimed a gloomy outlook for the automotive industry’s future due to social media, cell phones and ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft which would replace the millennials’ need and desire for a personal vehicle. According to the latest results of Strategic Vision’s Customer Love IndexTM (CLI™), the truth is that millennials truly love their new cars. Nothing can replace all of the rational and emotional benefits that come from owning a new vehicle.

CLI™ measures the amount of love owners experience with their new vehicle, compiling data from over 120 different aspects of the ownership experience (from interior door handles to taillight design to performance) on a scale that ranges from “7 – I Love It” to “1 – I Hate It”, with “4 - Satisfactory” being at the middle of the scale. For Gen Y, CLI scores are significantly higher than any other cohort group, even when purchasing lower priced products. For example, millennials love their new Nissan Juke far more than everyone else loves their award-winning Audi A5 Cabriolet, which was the Most Loved Vehicle in a high-powered segment full of premium roadsters and convertibles.

“Although there are financial barriers hindering many younger people from buying a new vehicle, when they are able to get into one, they couldn’t be happier,” reports Alexander Edwards, President of Strategic Vision. “Vehicles today are not just satisfying their needs to go places and stay connected with others. They are providing means for younger people to become ideal versions of themselves as they come to rely upon, have freedom in, feel good about, and ultimately love all the things that their new vehicle does for them.” Edwards continues, “There is no easier way to become Batman than to be behind the wheel of your own, personal Batmobile.”



Both Subaru and BMW garnered five Most Loved Vehicle Awards, tying for the most awarded to a single brand. Though their results are similar, the two brands have taken very different paths to victory.

Subaru has continued its steady ascent that started with their “Love” ad campaign in 2008 and since then has lead to market share and sales figures that have more than tripled. Of particular note is that two of the top five most loved mass-market vehicles for millennials were Subaru models. Karl Miller, Director of Marketing for Strategic Vision, says, “In 2008, Subaru began to attach its product to the core of who people are and what they aspire to be, and they stayed on message for several years. They understood that Love is more important than cell phones, even for millennials! As these young people are finally coming into a financial position to buy, Subaru can expect to reap further benefits from the cumulative effect that their powerful message has had on this age group.”

While Subaru increased Love through messaging, BMW did so through a revamped product line. The refreshed 3-Series Sedan and the still-fresh X4 both excelled against plentiful competition in the near-luxury segments. Many millennials aspire to own a BMW vehicle, and the emotional payoff of finally having one led BMW to take three of the top 5 spots for most loved luxury vehicles among millennials.



The Tesla Model S is by far the Most Loved Vehicle in the industry. The performance, technological innovation, styling, buying experience, and enthusiasm for the product have placed it well ahead of every other vehicle in the study. Through Tesla’s primary focus on crafting a performance car, instead of building an alternative fuel vehicle for the sake of doing so, they have shown the adoption potential of alternative fuel technology.

Christopher Chaney, Senior Vice President of Strategic Vision, says, “Make no mistake about it. Tesla Model S being the Most Loved Vehicle in America is more than just a gleaming compliment to their whole team. It is the Rosetta Stone example to manufacturers and government agencies for getting more consumers to purchase alternative fuel vehicles.”



A few new models made their mark in this year’s rankings. With the industry’s first new heavy-duty truck in years, Nissan’s Titan XD has had an impressive debut, surpassing the usual industry stalwarts from domestic manufacturers. The enthusiasm for the brand new Mercedes GLE-Class Coupe handily put it ahead of other high quality Luxury CUVs. The newly redesigned Honda Civic Coupe has similarly energized loyal Honda owners who stayed with the brand for its reliability and value, but were waiting for something new and exciting.

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