Are Millennials Shying Away from Buying New Corvettes?
It’s a topic of discussion that has been around for awhile, and in this video a young Corvette owner breaks it down for us.
In this video, from My Corvette Life, host Chris Draper has a crack at explaining why people buying new Corvettes tend to be near or at retirement age. According to him, it’s a problem GM has been trying to solve for over 20 years.
“As the age demographic gets older and older and older, the sales are starting to decline, decline, decline,” says Draper, “As the baby boomers get older, they start to die off and there’s less and less new Corvettes being sold.”
We’re not so sure it’s been exactly keeping the suits up at night though. He’s also not being entirely truthful about Corvette sales. The Corvette has been selling steadily except for a slump from 2009 to 2013 as people recovered from the financial crisis. But we’re not here to get into that sidebar. We’re more interested in his take on the younger demographics and new Corvettes:
“For those that say millennials just aren’t interested in cars now, that’s complete bullsh-t,” says Draper. “There’s several factors that are playing a part in how millennials, or young people, look at cars nowadays.”
Which is quite true, but he then goes on to talk about the same thing that’s been regurgitated since the ’80s about how all family cars look the same. Then, the way he complains about everything being designed by a computer and bean counters is more something you expect to hear from an old man. He also complains about how young people dislike the dealer experience. Something that really is not something new by a long, long shot either. Finally, though, he gets to the real crux of the matter:
“My last point is that money, and life in general isn’t the same as it was in the ’50s and ’60s,” says Draper. “Nowadays, if you don’t go to college, and graduate, the chances of you getting a good-paying job is slim to none.”
Draper then lists the same complaint each generation goes through about the cost of an education. Then he goes on to tell us how his generation is expected to get a job, get married, buy a house and have kids. Again, that’s something every generation deals with. But, according to Draper, the previous generation got a decade jump on getting financially sound than the millennials. Something a few of us here at Corvette Forum would beg to differ on. It’s not like universities and tuition fees are a new thing invented just for millennials. Whether you actually need a degree to get a good job or make real money these days is a subject for a different website.
His last point is where we seem to get the truth of why he’s annoyed at GM. He explains his life situation, which sounds pretty good to us. He’s doing well but, essentially, he blames the high price of Corvettes for the reason he doesn’t own a brand new one.
‘For those that say millennials just aren’t interested in cars now, that’s complete bullsh-t. There’s several factors that are playing a part in how young people look at cars nowadays.’
Now, before we get into that, let’s address the stereotypes generally attributed to millennials. Words that often come up are “entitled” and “lazy.” Negative attributes that often come up are not caring about ownership, being financially irresponsible, lacking any loyalties, having bad work ethics and always staring at their phones. However, the thing to remember is that the newest generation to reach adulthood inevitably has the same sort of accusations leveled at them. Depending on how old you may be, just switch out phones in that list for TVs, computers, and/or video games.
In this case, Draper seems to have an entitlement issue. What we need to remember here is that a new Corvette is a high-end sports car. Family and commuter cars are relatively inexpensive because they sell in volume. A two-seater, petrol drinking, performance monster is a luxury to the relative few that want one. Draper actually points out that $60,000 for a base model seems reasonable for what a Corvette actually is. However, we realize that $60,000 can also buy you a house in some parts of the country. A house also won’t lose a large percentage of its value the moment you take ownership then continue to be a depreciating asset. If you have kids, $60,000 will also put them through a decent college.
To circle back, GM has been solving the problem of how to sell to a younger demographic. The latest generation of Corvette is honed to the point they are world-class performance cars. Out on the track, they are now competing with European cars generally considered to be more high end. At the Corvette’s higher end, an $80,000 Z06 may not quite be a supercar, but it’s certainly a supercar adversary. And for that kind of money, you’re only just getting into a base model Porsche 911.
GM has already figured out that the way to reach a younger demographic is to build cars that rip the heart out of more expensive and established performance vehicles. That’s a reputation and level of performance that will continue to sell Corvettes. The fact that GM is producing that level of performance for that kind of money is actually cause for celebration.