This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
ADVERTISEMENT
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS - See his portfolio and get alerts BEFORE every trade. Learn more NOW!

Ford and GM Attract Oldest Buyers but Buick Bucks Trend

DETROIT (TheStreet) -- For all the work that Ford (F - Get Report) and GM (GM - Get Report) have done to remake the Lincoln, Buick and Cadillac, they haven't solved a crucial problem: Buyers of the three historic car brands remain the oldest for any brand sold in the U.S.

According to a recent survey of the top 44 brands by IHS Automotive, in 2013 Ford's Lincoln had the oldest buyers, with an average age of 61. The next four were Buick at 60.3, Cadillac and Bugatti at 59.5, and Lexus at 56.9.

Nevertheless, over the past five years the trend is promising for GM's Buick. Since 2009, Buick has reduced its average buyer's age by 1.1 years, the most of any brand. In fact, since 2009, the average age of U.S. auto buyers has increased by nearly a full year and only four brands have reduced their buyers' average age.

Buick takes on the age issue head-on in a recent commercial that encourages buyers to "take a fresh look at Buick." One scene shows an elderly woman looking at a new stylish Buick and saying disbelievingly "I thought you bought a Buick." Later, she proclaims, "Sure doesn't look like a Buick."

The average age for a U.S. car buyer in 2013 was 51.8 years, according to IHS. Land Rover and Lamborghini had the youngest buyers, whose average age was 47.9 years. The next four were Dodge at 48.6 years, and Mazda, Mitsubishi and Scion, all at 49.1 years.

"Buick is the only non-luxury make with an average age of 60 or higher in both 2013 and 2011, and its mix of 75+ buyers in 2013 (19.2%) was the highest in the industry," wrote IHS analyst Tom Libby, in a recent blog. "Buick has been making a concerted effort to bring in young customers, but these data suggest more time is needed."

Libby used registration data for retail buyers to compute the average ages. "The industry-wide range of ages, from 47.9 to 61, is smaller than one might expect," he said. "One reason for this is that these data are based on the ages of the people who register the vehicles, and they are not always the same as the principal drivers. A father buying a car for his son will register the vehicle in the father's name, for example."

Buick sales are up 11% in the first four months of 2014 after rising 13% in 2013. At the New York Auto Show in April, Tony DiSalle, Buick's U.S. vice president of marketing, said the brand has changed. "This is a very different Buick today, essentially an all new product portfolio." Of the five Buick vehicles, the oldest model is just two years old.

Buick spokeswoman Katie Bjork said the recent commercial encouraging a fresh look shows that "Buick doesn't focus its outreach based on age, but persona." Years ago "people would buy a Buick because they knew the deal and could get a good deal," she said. Now, "the lineup is fresh and the vehicles perform very well against the competition."

At Cadillac, sales rose 19% in 2013 but have declined 4% through the first four months in 2014. "Buyer age is not really the goal," said spokesman David Caldwell. "The goal is attracting new buyers. We are doing that, as about 60% of our buyers today are new to Cadillac."

1 of 2

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Try it NOW
Only $9.95
Try it NOW
14-Days Free
Try it NOW

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Options Profits

Our options trading pros provide over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • Actionable options commentary and news
  • Real-time trading community
Try it NOW
Try it NOW
Try it NOW
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
SYM TRADE IT LAST %CHG
F $16.51 1.00%
GM $37.64 0.88%
AAPL $130.08 1.30%
FB $79.31 0.43%
GOOG $560.35 0.35%

Markets

DOW 18,221.93 +89.23 0.49%
S&P 500 2,108.22 +3.72 0.18%
NASDAQ 4,981.7070 +18.18 0.37%

Partners Compare Online Brokers

Free Reports

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs