SANTA MONICA, California — When members of Generation Z go used-car shopping, the only model on their radar that's slated for continuing production is the Mitsubishi Lancer, according to recent analysis by Edmunds.com.
It's no surprise that young car buyers are attracted to the prices of used vehicles, and the Edmunds analysis of data from Polk confirms that this year, through April, shoppers in the 18-24 age group purchased 181,906 used cars, compared to just 27,670 new ones. That means they're 6.5 times more likely to buy used than new.
What's perhaps more interesting is that of the top 20 used vehicles bought by Generation Z this year, all but the Lancer are either out of production or going out, and the top three are true blasts from the past: the Daewoo Lanos, Eagle Talon and Nissan 240.
The Lanos sedan and hatchback haven't been made since the 2002 model year, while the Talon and 240SX coupes went out of production after 1998.
The Edmunds.com analysis showed that the young buyers are most often attracted to cars that are 10-15 years old. In fact, they've bought more than twice as many 2001-'06 model-year vehicles so far this year than they have brand-new 2016 vehicles.
The Gen Z choices, following the top three, in order, are the Acura Integra, Honda Prelude, Mitsubishi Lancer, Acura RSX, Kia Sephia, Ford Aspire, Daewoo Leganza, Saturn Aura, Pontiac G6, Scion tC, Dodge Dart, Suzuki Forenza, Mitsubishi Galant, Pontiac Aztek, Dodge Caliber, Suzuki Vitara and Dodge Neon.
There's no doubt that many of these models — some out of production for many years — can be great bargains, but even though price is a big consideration for the 18-24-year-olds, maybe there's more going on here.
"For most young car buyers, it?s price first and then everything else is gravy," says Edmunds.com Director of Industry Analysis Jessica Caldwell. "There?s no doubt that you?re probably getting a good deal these days on an Eagle Talon or a Ford Aspire, both of which ceased production in the '90s. It?s easy to look at this list and have a good laugh, but the kids buying these vehicles see them almost like a fashion statement. If you can drive a Daewoo while all of your friends are driving newer Hondas or Toyotas, you can kind of stand out from the crowd."
Edmunds says: Consumers of any age in the market for a used vehicle should check out the Edmunds.com 100+ Tips for Used Car Shoppers.