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      02-17-2010, 07:57 PM   #137

Drives: E90
Join Date: Jan 2010
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Originally Posted by ///Metak View Post
I think it is absolutely amazing that over 27% of M3 drivers are age 16-25!?!? I was still in school and not in any position to buy a $70k car. I was buzzing around my university in a Honda Civic Si(loved that car). Bought my first BMW(318Ti Mtech package) at 26, first house at 28 and then my first ///M a year later. The 16-25 crowd must being doing something right, good for you!
Part of it is from tech and the inevitable entrepreneurship that comes along with anything new.

But this also partly why:

The BMW M3, with a base price of $54,000 to $65,000, has the lowest average customer age of any model in the automaker's lineup.

Take, for example, the BMW M3. You might expect this $62,000 Bavarian hot rod to be best suited to wealthy middle-aged car nuts, but instead the car has the lowest average customer age of any model in BMW’s line-up.

M3 buyers are surprisingly young, reports Larry Koch, M brand manager for BMW North America. While the average age of a buyer is 41, many M3 buyers are in their mid-20s, and others are closer to 56 — older enthusiasts finally buying the car they’ve long wanted.

“There is a two-humped profile for the M3’s age graph,” Koch said. “They are very young or they are old,” he said. “There are no 41-year-olds.”

It’s a similar story across the automobile industry. While fresh-out-of-school professionals, burdened with student loans and first-job salaries, might be expected to buy entry-level cars like Honda Civics or Toyota Corollas, instead many are choosing rides that fit the image they have of themselves as wealthy and successful, even though they haven’t yet achieved that status.

Members of “Gen Y” — a famously fickle age group loosely defined as those born between 1978 and 1994 — don’t feel they need to earn their luxury, observed Ed Kim, director of industry analysis for AutoPacific, which tracks the automotive industry.

“They want it now, and they feel they deserve it now,” he said.

This trend works to the benefit of automakers that produce "aspirational" vehicle models that younger buyers decide they deserve to own, even if, by conventional measures, they can’t afford them.

The answer, he explained, is that youngsters are spending the rent money on their car payments.

“Generation Y is shaking out very differently to other generations,” said Kim. “There are unprecedented numbers of boomerang kids who come home after college and stay a long time.”

Living with the parents rent-free frees up cash for flashy rides like the M3, he said.

Audi acknowledges the success its competitors have had making themselves so irresistible to younger car buyers that they’ll scrimp elsewhere to afford a prestigious car. Luxury carmakers like Mercedes-Benz and BMW offer a lot of lease financing to help customers afford their products.

“You get a fair amount of stretching [by young customers] to get into the brand,” observed Scott Keogh, chief marketing officer for Audi of the Americas. “That’s something Audi wants to get into.”

I'm 24 and bought my first house when I was 22.

I'm not buying myself a M3 until I have at least half a million in the bank. It's a rather arbitrary amount and not a lot of money to some, but it will be a nice reward for myself. I started out with nothing.

Right now the best reward is the satisfaction from the hard work that I'm putting in (usually 70 hours per week).

If a parent buys their kid a nice car, that's fine, as long as they recognize that it's their parents' money and they have achieved absolutely nothing.

I don't get the people who can't afford it and drive it around to project 'status'. If one wants to live at home with their parents to afford a M3, that's their own business. It's just plain sad from my POV.