) -- Old people like cars too.
We sometimes denigrate old people, particularly when it comes to advertising, where the common assumption is that this particular demographic group doesn't buy anything.
Isn't this why the Lawrence Welk Show had to move to PBS? Because the fear of advertising to seniors, combined with Welk's 1992 death, scared off the Madison Avenue crowd?
What do they know about music anyway? Probably not a single one of them recalls that Dodge use to sponsor the maestro, who hailed from Strasburg, N.D. A great car, in its day. It's no longer what it was -- but who is?
In any case, a recent study by TrueCar indicates that seniors in America, defined as age 65 and over, "chose vehicles from brands they grew up with." The study reviewed purchases by more than 200,000 car buyers in 2009 and 2010.
"Seniors are looking for a luxurious and comfortable vehicle from a brand they are familiar with and trust, and many seniors grew up with these iconic American luxury brands in their parents' garage," said TrueCar analyst Jesse Toprak, in a prepared statement.
TrueCar.com compiled a list of the top brands purchased by seniors in 2009 and 2010, by percentage of buyers. Topping the list of brands were Buick, Lincoln and Cadillac.
In fact, eight of the top ten cars favored by seniors were made by
had one each.
America's top-selling vehicles -- the
Accord, the Camry, and Ford and Chevrolet pickup trucks -- were nowhere to be found on this list.
Read on for the top ten cars favored by seniors.
No. 10: Toyota Avalon
According to TrueCar.com, 53.7% of Avalon buyers are seniors.
No other Japanese manufacturer has a single vehicle among geezer's top ten vehicle preferences, although Lexus is ranked as the No. 9 favorite geezer brand. Seniors account for 27.6% of Lexus sales.
No. 9: Lincoln MKZ
TrueCar's survey shows that 53.8% of all MKZ buyers were seniors.
Seniors love Lincolns, their second-favorite brand. Seniors buy 47.7% of the Lincolns that are sold.
Lincoln sales surged in July, gaining 40%. Ford analyst George Pipas said one reason for the pickup in sales is that dealers, who formerly sold both Lincoln and Mercury, are now able to focus on the brand.
No. 8: Buick LaCrosse
The survey shows that 58.9% of LaCrosse buyers were seniors.
Although it has been gaining buyers in all segments, Buick leads all brands in the percentage of senior buyers, with 57.5%. For the first seven months, Buick sales rose 27.2%, leading all GM brands, while the average age of the brand's buyers is falling.
No. 7: Chevrolet Impala
The survey shows that 51.3% of Impala buyers are 65 or older.
Chevrolet is the sixth favorite brand for seniors, who account for 31.2% of its sales.
No. 6: Hyundai Azera
Seniors accounted for 64.7% of Azera buyers, TrueCar said.
Hyundai was seniors' No. 10 favorite brand, with 25% of sales coming from the group.
Since we must assume that not many of our seniors drove Hyundai as kids, it most likely is price that attracts them. TrueCar said seniors paid an average of $24,353 for their Azeras, second lowest cost on the list. The only other cars with an average price below $30,000 were the Chevrolet Impala at $21,830 and the Buick LaCrosse at $25,732.
No. 5: Cadillac STS
Seniors accounted for 71% of STS buyers.
The STS had the second-highest price tag on the list, with seniors paying an average price of $39,148.
We think this says that some seniors have big bucks, so advertisers should not turn away.
No. 4: Cadillac CTS
Seniors accounted for 74.2% of all CTS buyers.
Here we should mention that 44% of all Cadillac buyers are seniors, making it the third top brand for seniors.
By the way, in terms of brands preferred by old folks, Buick is first at 57.5%, Lincoln is second at 47.7%, Cadillac is third at 44%, Chrysler is fourth at 36.1%, GMC is fifth at 32.4% and Chevrolet is sixth at 31.2%.
The next four brands are imports. Porsche, for sporty seniors, is seventh at 29.5%. Lexus is eighth at 27.6%. Jaguar is ninth at 26.5% and Hyundai is tenth at 25%.
No. 3: Cadillac DTS
It really seems that Cadillac has something going here, as far as having that old black magic -- as Frankie used to croon -- back when cars were cars and made of steel rather than aluminum.
Of DTS Buyers, 84.8% were seniors.
No. 2: Buick Lucerne
The survey shows that 86.8% of Lucerne buyers were older than 65.
One reason the average age of Buick buyers is dropping is that Lucerne production ended in June. Sales of the Regal are also bringing the average down, and sales of the Verano, which is coming in the fall, are expected to accelerate that trend.
No 1: Lincoln Town Car
The survey shows that 89.6% of Town Car buyers were seniors.
Lincoln has found a couple of niches. We also know that the Lincoln Town Car is the most favored car in the
New York limo market, known to insiders as "the black car industry."
One other point, Lincoln is not only the No. 1 car on the list of senior favorites, it is also the highest-priced car here. The average price was $41,595, making it the only car with an average price over $40,000.
-- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C.
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