Americans love our cars and the wealthiest amongst us apparently love Lexus more than anything else. Surprised? That’s one of the key findings behind Ipsos’ latest Affluent Survey. What’s interesting about Lexus is that, of all four car-buying generations, the Millennials, Gen Xers, Boomers and Seniors agree that Lexus is the most top of mind luxury brand.
When you break the luxury brands out by generation, you get different results once you move down from Lexus.
In order of importance, Millennials think that Lexus, Mercedes Benz, BMW, Audi and Tesla are synonymous with luxury. GenXers think Lexus, BMW, Mercedes Benz, Audi, Tesla and Porsche mean luxury. Boomers think Lexus, BMW, Mercedes Benz, Cadillac, Audi, Lincoln and Tesla are the nicest vehicles. And seniors list Lexus, Mercedes Benz, Cadillac, Bentley, BMW and Jaguar as their most top of mind luxury brands.
The variety in these lists has a lot to do with marketing and the age you are or were at the height of a brand’s marketing arc, says Tony Incalcatera, who ran the numbers behind the Affluents in the Fast Lane of Automotive Innovation study.
“BMW is huge with Boomers and less so for all other generations,” says Incalcatera, offering the German car as an example. “Millennials have a higher proportion of BMWS than Boomers or GenXers. Luxury is often thought of as aspirational – something to strive for. The fact that there are disproportionately more BMW owners among Millennials might lead them to feel that since they have already obtained one it’s no longer an out-of-reach “luxury.”
Could this speak to the idea that Boomers give their kids BMWs as a Sweet Sixteen present or as the first college car?
Meanwhile Cadillacs figure highly amongst everyone except for Millennials. Could that be because the height of high profile Caddy living – and visibility in movies and TV shows as a luxury car- was in the 70s, 80s and 90s?
Overall, the top luxury cars for all generations are as follows:
- Mercedes Benz