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GONZAGA UNIVERSITY NEWS FEATURE
By Kaitlyn Warter
Class of 2009
|MBA Marketing Plan: Gen Y Holds Sway in Car Market|
Gonzaga University MBA students Kevin McKay and Jason Jones recently presented their analysis of the youth automobile market to domestic auto bosses in Detroit. The audience included the chief financial officer of Ford Motor Co., and the product manager of Jeep.
The title of their presentation was “Connecting with Gen Y: Making Cars Cool Again.” Deloitte Consulting sponsored a presidential-style town hall forum at the 2009 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) Jan. 10. Deloitte asked participants to incorporate a proprietary survey of over 1,000 young people as a component of the event.
The students found that by next year, 2010, members of Generation Y will account for one in four new U.S. vehicle sales. This generation, which ranges from pre-teens to 27-year-olds, is starting to earn enough money to buy new cars, and with a population of around 75 million, they are expected to be a powerful force in the auto marketplace in upcoming years. The students' success was mentioned in several national media reports as well.
The Zags, along with students from Clemson, Michigan State, Syracuse and Texas Tech universities, were asked to create their own marketing plans to help automobile manufacturers better understand “Generation Y” and effectively attract their business.
“We can either be a great opportunity for the automakers, or a threat to their survival,” said Gonzaga’s Jones, who was born and raised in Spokane. “And Gen Y is already here. They need to start building brand loyalty in the Gen Y market now.”
While some automakers worry Generation Y may be difficult to please – with tastes calling for cars with personality, style, and lots of gadgets – price is a huge factor in what they can afford. Gonzaga’s McKay said prices should be straightforward and non-negotiable.
“We don’t want to spend time haggling over price,” said McKay, who is from Seattle.
With such a large swath of the marketplace comprised of people in Generation Y, automakers must be ready to tailor vehicles to meet their needs with price-tags they can afford, the students discovered, adding that manufacturers should be prepared for a reshaping of the auto industry.
To read more about the survey, visit the following link.
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