Study: Older People More Likely to Shop for New Cars

Even as baby boomers age, they continue to buy cars. That generation is now 49 to 67, but a new study by the University of Michigan's Transportation Research Institute finds a large chunk of them are still active car shoppers.

In 2011, one in every 14.6 drivers age 55 to 64 bought a new car, the UMTRI study found. That's the highest density for any age group, and well above the 19.7 new-car sales for all drivers in 2011. By contrast, the often-targeted 35-to-44 age group, which led all new-car shoppers in 2007, fell in 2011 to 15.9 drivers per new-car sale.

Still, the group in between — those age 45 to 54 — made up the largest overall chunk of sales, buying 26% of all new cars in 2011. By comparison, shoppers age 55 to 64 bought 23% of all new cars. However you slice it, older drivers still take a big piece of the pie. A study in 2012 by J.D. Power and Associates and AARP found buyers ages 50 and older accounted for nearly two-thirds of all car shoppers.

What about their young counterparts? Just one in 221.8 whippersnappers drivers age 18 to 24 bought a new car in 2011 — a conflation of still-high unemployment rates among young people and Gen Y's waning enthusiasm for cars.

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