One of the topics that I like to talk about during Fast40 seminars and articles is what vehicles might become more popular in five to ten years, as younger workers get a little older and have more buying power for chauffeured transportation.
I talk to so many operators who say that they have to make sure they stock Lincolns and Cadillacs, almost exclusively, because their clients have a strong affinity for the brands. According to the report from GM Authority, new Lincoln buyers have an average age of 61 years old, with Buick being 60.3 years, Cadillac and Bugati tying at 59.5 years, and Lexus at 56.9 years old.
Cadillac, along with other luxury vehicle manufacturers like Mercedes, know that in order to ensure stable growth long-term they need to court a younger market and turn them into loyal customers. Mercedes has come out with the CLA, which at $30,000 is more affordable for younger buyers, and Cadillac’s ATS with a starting price of $33,095 is starting to do the same.
It will be interesting to see how these marketing efforts affect the chauffeured transportation industry. My hunch is that younger buyers will have less loyalty to brands like Lincoln and Cadillac, and will be more open to rides from newcomers like Hyundai’s Equus, the Toyota Avalon, and the Chrysler 300.
The Tesla S, as well, has been discussed by younger operators as being an attractive car, not just for its low maintenance costs, but also for its exceptional driving performance and appeal to the younger/greener/tech-savvy generation.
MKTs are still one of the most popular choices for operators, and even if they have qualms about its look, they still know that a majority of their clients are reassured by the Lincoln label, and trust the quality of the vehicle through the name. These proclivities though, may change, and operators will have a new crop of clients that are more open to other vehicles that might have more competitive operating costs.
All of the manufacturers, however, are continuing to improve upon their existing models and are hoping to gain a profitable market share in chauffeured transportation. Lincoln and Cadillac especially, with their long history in the industry, have already started looking ahead to new vehicle releases and innovations that will better serve the chauffeur market.
What kinds of vehicles do you have in your fleet and why? Have you noticed any change in vehicle preferences among the different age groups in your clientele?
— Tim Crowley, LCT senior editor
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