Why Gen Y buys Japanese

A recent study from TrueCar.com revealed that younger buyers between the ages of 18 and 27, those deemed Generation Y, trend toward Japanese brand vehicles. I’m not surprised. That’s probably because I am Generation Y, and I drive the number-three vehicle the study said my peers bought in 2009 and 2010 – the Honda Civic Si. Even more telling than my age and my taste in a car that I can afford, however, are my memories of the mishaps in my parents’ domestic brand vehicles.

Two incidents stand out in my mind from my mom’s 1991 Ford Taurus wagon. The first, I recall the doors on the passenger side flinging open for no reason at all. I’m serious – I was riding in the front seat (buckled in thank goodness), when all of a sudden my door flung wide open. It also happened to my friend in the backseat on the same side – she ended up hanging onto the actual door – good thing we were just in a parking lot. Mind you, we were about seven or eight years old at this time.

After those nightmarish incidents, the final nail in the coffin for my mom (and for any chance Ford had of gaining my brand loyalty) was when we were coasting through a residential neighborhood and the transmission literally fell out of the car. We couldn’t have been going more than 15 miles per hour. The car only had 60,000 miles on it. The first opportunity we had, we ditched the Taurus wagon and Ford with it.

Then came the Mitsubishi Diamante wagon. It was a 1995, and it was awesome. It seemed to be light years ahead of the Taurus – maybe it was it’s simple design yet sturdy ride. Maybe it was the fact that it had steering wheel controls before they were mainstream. Or perhaps it was because it’s the car I learned to drive on – sentimental value I suppose. But regardless of the reason, the Diamante ruled because it never disappointed us or broke down for no good reason.

To this day, I’ve only owned one domestic brand vehicle – and I always labeled it a fluke that it held together for the 10 years I had it. But just as all trends come and go – as Ford, GM, and Chrysler begin to make vehicles that us youngsters can trust – I believe that with time all wounds will heal, and the next generation could once again balance the scales.Studies are helpful, and¬†data is nice.

But stories like mine are the real reason that Generation Y are loyal to Japanese brands. Afterall, they were there for us when Detroit ignored quality. They swept us off our feet before we were old enough to drive Рnot only that, but they also remained loyal to us for many years afterward.

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This article was written by

Melanie Batenchuk founded Be Car Chic in 2009 as a way to help consumers make smart decisions when buying and selling their cars. Her prior work at the dealership, trade association and manufacturer levels has provided her a deep understanding of the complex facets within the auto industry, making her a leading woman in her field.

There are 2 comments for this article
  1. IsaacSalazar at 11:17 PM

    My parents had an Oldsmobile Cutlas Supreme and then a Cutlas Ciera before they bought their first Japanse car. 1991 Toyota Camry. The Camry ended up reaching 300K miles.