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How old do you think the average new car buyer in America is? Go on, take a guess. Based on all of the ridiculous advertising strategies you see lately, you might think that the average new car buyer was a hip, trendy, Generation Y hoopy frood, wearing his beanie to buy organic, fair-trade coffee at the Park Slope Starbucks. (Confession: I went to the Park Slope Starbucks daily during the New York Auto Show this year. Parking was surprisingly easy.)

But no! According to the NADA, the average new car buyer is 51.7 years old, and earns about $80,000 per year. In comparison, the average age of Americans is 36.8 years, and the median income is roughly $50,000. In other words, Baby Boomers are buying all of the new cars right now. There are all sorts of people on the Internet who will tell you why this is a horrible comment on today’s bleak economic landscape (oh, here’s one), but I’m here to tell you that the future of new car sales could be changed with just a bit of clever marketing.

If you’ve logged on to any social media outlet lately (and if you have, why aren’t you following my Twitter and Instagram?), you’ve undoubtedly seen some version of an article floating around that links to this recently performed study that says we’d all be so much happier if we spent our money on experiences, not possessions. You know, the whole Eat, Pray, Love lifestyle that nearly everybody in the whole world (other than you and me) seems to be able to effortlessly afford. Go backpacking across Europe! Spend a month meditating in Thailand! Live in a hut in Zaire! Drive a Volkswagen van across Central America! Actually, don’t click that last link. I hate those people. But, I digress.

In fact, many of these articles specifically point out how owning a new BMW won’t make you as happy as visiting the Louvre will. Sometimes I feel bad for the boys from Bavaria — they’ve become a symbol for everything that #feelthebern people hate about America. But I suppose they did it to themselves. Anyway, more digression.

The reason all these people target luxury car ownership as being a wasteful expense is because they’re failing to realize what luxury (or sports) car ownership should be about — it should be about the experience, not the ownership.

At the middle of every great story in my life, whether it be a story of heartbreak, adventure, love, anticipation, regret — doesn’t matter the emotion, there’s always been a car directly in the center of the story. I bet if you think back in your life, you’d say the same. That’s why you’re here. That’s why you read these pages, along with our colleagues at Road & Track, Jalopnik, and others. At some point, a car meant something to you, and it wasn’t because you enjoyed writing the payment check to the bank every month, I’m guessing.

It was because you shared a first kiss in the front seat. Or maybe it was because you watched a door slam as somebody you loved disappeared from your life forever. Perhaps you raced in the ice and snow to the delivery room, only to have your wife’s water break in the passenger seat of your car.

Maybe it was that moment that everything slowed down around you as you heard the awful, jarring sounds of a car crash, and you realized that your hands just would not. Let. Go. Of. The. Wheel. Possibly you remember touring across America with five guys you alternately loathed and loved as you brought your music to dirty little college bars, playing for the adoration of literally a dozen people a night.

Nothing about any of those moments has anything to do with car ownership. Or maybe it does. The car is the literal and figurative vehicle that takes us to every experience we ever have. Unless you grew up and live in an urban environment where a car isn’t necessary, every day until you turned 16, you dreamed of getting that license — not because you wanted to own a car, but because you wanted the freedom that a car, a license, and five dollars’ worth of gas in the tank would give you.

For me, my first Jetta, along with an October birthday, meant that I was the first of my friends to have a car. We could pile five kids into it and go literally anywhere we wanted. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday that summer, we’d go directly from football workouts to Pizza Hut for an unlimited $5 lunch buffet, and then we’d drive across town to the go-kart track, where we’d get kicked out every time for bumping. One time, my girlfriend and I got in the car and drove two hours south, just because we wanted to cross the river into Kentucky and say we’d gone to another state together. I remember her actually shaking a little bit with fear, because she wasn’t allowed to leave the state, due to her parent’s nasty divorce, and holding her hand as we drove over the bridge.

I’ve got a million stories for each car that I’ve ever owned, and I know that you do, too. So why aren’t automakers selling that experience to Gen Y? Toyota’s “Let’s Go Places” was a good start, and maybe it’s no coincidence that kids would rather own a Corolla than an iM. But it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Some brilliant ad agency needs to free young people from the idea that a car is a possession and convince them that a car is an experience. Gen Yers aren’t so far removed from their first car. Take them back to that excitement they felt, and then recreate it for their first new car.

There you go, OEMs. My brilliant idea, at no cost to you.

Source : http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2016/06/barks-bites-spend-money-cars/

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Bark’s Bites: Spend Your Money On Cars