Generation Z, or Zoomers as they are referred to, are young people born between the mid-1990s and mid-2000s. They play an important role in the retail industry as a whole with $44 billion in buying power. Of that buying power, Generation Z wields a portion of it to the automotive industry, which establishes trends that automakers are taking note of in the process. Their most recent car-buying trend indicates they prefer buying used cars, and specifically, a used Ford is at the top of that preferred list.
Young people who comprise this segment of the population were born and/or have lived through a historical period that experienced two recessions, including the Great Recession of 2008-2009. The Great Recession is only second to the Great Depression of 1929 in regard to its financial impact on the U.S. economy, a time when credit extension was virtually frozen as the banking industry was in disarray. There’s a high probability Generation Z’s purchasing habits have, to some degree, been shaped by their experiences, their families’ experiences or a combination of both during these recessionary periods. This car-buying sector knows what they want in a vehicle and the maximum amount they will spend when purchasing their ideal vehicle.
Generation Z car buyers prefer vehicles that offer more features for less money over smaller vehicles with fewer features and less money. They often opt to purchase used vehicles to get the features and options they want because it’s the most cost-effective method. This generation embraces vehicle depreciation. The process doesn’t change what vehicles offers, but it does reduce how much buyers pay for vehicles. The resulting transaction allows Zoomers to get what they want without paying the costs associated with buying the vehicle new.
Zoomers have a specific list of features and options in mind when it comes to their ideal vehicle. They prefer vehicles that are:
- Fuel efficient
- Made by an automaker considered to be “traditional, practical and trusted”
- Environmentally conscious
Generation Z car buyers also tend to purchase sedans more often in comparison to SUVs and trucks. In 2018, U.S. sales for used sedans rose by 7 percent. Ford’s most popular midsize sedan, the Fusion, was one of the 10 best-selling sedans. The Ford Fusion outsold the Chevy Cruze and Chevy Malibu, which are two of the Fusion’s strongest competitors in the midsize-sedan market.
Here’s a look at a price analysis and price comparison for several popular Ford vehicles since Ford is Gen Z’s preferred automaker.
Used vs. New Price Comparisons
Vehicle Model | 2019 Price Range* | 2016 Price Range* | Minimum Average Savings**
- Ford Fusion $22,840-$40,015 $14,132-$19,717 $8,700
- Ford Taurus $27,800-$42,975 $16,156-$25,058 $11,600
- Ford Mustang $26,395-$46,595 $17,897-$43,782 $8,500
- Ford Edge $29,995-$42,355 $17,670-$27,337 $12,300
- Ford Explorer $32,365-$54,165 $19,947-$34,879 $12,400
- Ford F-150 $28,155-$70,560 $21,021-$50,604 $7,134
The price analysis and comparison show why Zoomers purchase used vehicles over new ones. Their savings range from $7,134 to $12,400. The analysis/comparison chart also shows the savings specific to Ford sedans.
For example, the base price for a new Ford Fusion would cost about $23,000. In comparison, just six years later, that same vehicle would only cost a little over $14,000. With standard fees included, a Zoomer would save almost $10,000 by opting to buy a three-year-old Ford Fusion.
For the sake of comparison for a different Ford vehicle, a Zoomer who purchases a three-year-old Ford Explorer stands to save roughly $12,400.
Ford strives to offer Zoomers the vehicles they want at prices they deem affordable according to their financial standards.
Certified Pre-Owned (CPO)
If Generation Z car owners want an added sense of confidence in the quality of the vehicle they’re purchasing and the secure feeling that they’re safe, a Ford CPO vehicle meets that requirement. Ford goes beyond its standard inspections when certifying vehicles as CPO.
Here are the benefits of a CPO certification:
Every vehicle undergoes a 172-point inspection. This inspection is comprised of nine specific checkpoint categories, including:
- vehicle history
- vehicle interior
- vehicle exterior
- vehicle diagnostics
- hybrid/electric vehicles
During a CPO inspection, factory-trained Ford technicians look for such things as open recalls, via the Ford OASIS system and CARFAX reports, any sign of damage resulting from hail, flooding or fire and any abnormalities in how the major mechanical parts of the vehicle, such as the engine and transmission, are operating.
A warranty package comprised of two specific warranties is provided with every CPO vehicle sold.
The comprehensive limited warranty includes coverage for over 1,000 vehicle components, including the engine, transmission, brakes, safety systems and electrical system, for a period of 12 months/12,000 miles.
The powertrain limited warranty covers the engine, transmission and other parts for a period of 7 years/100,000 miles. This warranty also offers complimentary 24-hour roadside assistance. The powertrain warranty is transferable to future owners.
CPO vehicle owners can purchase a Ford Extended Warranty through Ford dealerships.
For additional information regarding Ford’s CPO program in general or specific information regarding the CPO warranty program, please speak to a member of the sales staff at your local Ford dealership.
Generation Z and the Value of Used Fords
Young people feel owning a car provides freedom. Transportation allows them to take care of their obligations and enjoy spending time with friends among other things. They feel a sense of responsibility resulting from signing a loan or lease agreement and maintaining their vehicle for years to come. They are excited about the entire process.
Ford monitors the buying habits of young people because this data helps the company design vehicles that meet the needs of Generation Z. The automaker wants to keep Generation Z excited about vehicle ownership, especially owning a Ford vehicle.
That’s evident according to a recent statement Ford released. The automaker stated that their global product strategy “centers on high-growth product segments, electrified propulsion, autonomous vehicles, mobility services, operational fitness, and high-performance culture.” Ford’s vision moving forward aligns with Zoomers who are tech-savvy and accustomed to features and apps that offer convenience and safety. They are also environmentally conscious which electrified propulsion addresses.
Regarding electrified compulsion, Ford announced its commitment to build a fleet of 40 hybrid and electric vehicles. The automaker is allocating $11 billion dollars by 2022 to make their commitment a reality. Not only will this investment help Ford further reduce the carbon footprint of its vehicles, but it will also allow Ford to provide additional options for Zoomers looking to purchase environmentally friendly vehicles.
Two of Ford’s most popular environmentally friendly vehicles are the Ford Fusion Hybrid and the Ford Fusion Energi. The Fusion Hybrid offers a combined 42 mpg, and the Ford Energi offers a 20-mile range on a full electric charge before gas propulsion takes over.
Generation Z car buyers who are in the market for a vehicle that offers a great value at a lower cost should look no further than their nearest Ford dealership. They’ll find a vast inventory of used Ford vehicles. Talk to a salesperson and let them know what you’re looking for.
*Based on MSRP. Prices may vary depending on your location and the vehicle’s specifications.
** Calculations made using lowest average price for 2019 and 2016 Ford vehicles.