Millennials and Automotive: We Got It All Wrong

 Millennials and Automotive: We got it all wrong!

Why are millennials such a hot button issue?

Because we have over-analyzed, over-researched, and misread habits and purchasing power.

Two major pressure points when looking into this seemingly dichotomous relationship are millennials as buyers and millennials as employees.

Millennials as buyers:

From 2010-2013, research stated that millennials had no desire to puchase vehicles. Actually, they hate cars.

          Just give them a bike.

And black rimmed glasses.

And a really cool beard and possibly a cat.

That is all they need.

In 2015, we know this is not true. Maybe they were just waiting to acquire some of their own money (which they have.) Maybe they were saving for the car with all the eco-friendly components they desired (which they buy).

The Numbers:

27%--the increase in millennials purchasing cars from 2010.

76.8%--the employment rate of 25-34 year olds. They have the $$$ to buy cars.

50% of all millennial car purchases are smaller, greener cars.

So, I guess we were off the mark with millennials. They ARE buying. They do like cars (maybe not as much as the boomers, but they like them nonethe-less). And very quickly they will be the biggest economic factor in the industry. Millennials are not the enemies, but our best customers.

Does that mean that we were off the mark with our employee stereotypes as well?

In short, Yes.

Millennials as employees:

There are many facets to the topic of millennials as employees that can be discussed. Today, we will focus on one: work ethic.


Millennials are lazy


They have different work habits and motivations than their predecessors. Millennials are not motivated by a commission pay structure. Commission means indefinite hours, indefinite wages, and an indefinite schedules. While commission used to mean the potential of more money, that does not resonate with millennials. Millennials value time. Personal time. Time with friends. Time with family.

If that means they will have a set salary that may be less than they would make with commission, that is fine.

Some see this difference in pay structure as laziness on their part. They don’t want to have to work hard to make money.


They don't want to have to work all the time to make money they will not be able to enjoy. It is that simple. Quality of life is just as important as excess in the bank account.

Also, millennials are loyal.They could possibly be the most loyal employees you have if you know what is important to them.

The Numbers:

2030: The year when Millennials with make up 75% of the workforce

26%: number of millennials who will leave within a year without shedding a tear if not satisfied in their position.

52%: the percentage of millennials who want a mentor to help guide them to do their job well and to provide guidance for next steps.

58%: the percentage of millennials who think communication is the most important trait of a leader.

So, millennials can be great employees--if you know what motivates them. And it may not be what motivated/motivates you. Are you ready to shift your thinking and adjust some of your practices?


Take Away:


  • Millennials are buying cars. The world is not ending. They are actually buying pretty nice, expensive cars. Yay.
  • Millennials are really smart, educated employees. Know what is important to them and you will have a loyal team. Ignore what is important to them and you will have an endless stream of people coming in and out of your dealership.