Will Baby Boomers Keep Fueling the Auto Industry?

Ford Mustang

The Great Recession changed driving habits across the nation. Due to several factors, the country’s interest in cars took a backseat to other priorities. Years later, millennials are still showing a lack of demand amid a weak economic recovery, but baby boomers are proving to be the target audience for automakers.

When it comes to buying a new car, older Americans are clearly in the driver’s seat, according to the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute. Michael Sivak, a professor at the university, found that people between 45 and 54 years old are responsible for 26 percent of new vehicle purchases, the largest group of buyers in the study. Those age 55 to 64 accounted for 23 percent of new purchases.

Sivak said in his findings: “There were substantial increases from 2007 to 2011 in the number of drivers 55 to 64 years of age and 65 to 74 years of age. This trend likely reflects the aging of the general population, coupled with the increased probability of older persons having a driver’s license.” He adds, “The emphasis on this relatively older age group is further supported by the expected continuation of the graying of the population and the consequent continuation of the increase in the number of older licensed drivers.”