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Tech Talk v53 – A good match for Elio!

Gen Y a Good Match for Elio Affordability, Unique Design

Conventional wisdom says that Generation Y, or Millennials (consumers between ages 18-34), are not all that into cars.

Of course, at Elio Motors, we have a saying. “E” is for everyone. We believe there is a case to be built for just about anyone to own an Elio. There’s the AND vehicle crowd – the people who own an SUV, Pickup Truck or Minivan, but want to use the Elio as a commuter vehicle. College kids, first time buyers, used vehicle owners…there’s room for everyone under the Elio tent.

So when we saw a recent study that said Millennials are in fact interested in vehicle ownership, we got pretty excited. Here are a few highlights:

  • Millennials would like the car buying process to take less time, be more transparent, offer more affordable customization options and have more targeted advertising.
  • Millennials drive more miles per month (934) than Boomers (544) or Gen Xers (790).
  • 8 in 10 Millennials said they use a car as their primary means of transportation, and,
  • 82 percent said they find purchasing or leasing a new vehicle to be “exciting.”

Right off the bat, we agree with Millennials. Buying or leasing a vehicle should be hassle free. It should be more transparent. Customization should be more affordable. And, advertising should be more targeted.

We agree with these sentiments so much that a good portion of our business strategy is based on these ideas. Take our retail strategy for example.

Our retail centers will be as refreshingly different as the Elio itself. They will be more like Apple’s “genius-bar” than a traditional auto dealership. As for transparency, everyone will get the same great price, which will eliminate the old-school haggling element found in traditional dealerships. And, customization? We’ll offer a long list of custom options for people who want to infuse their Elio with some extra personality. Many of these options will be announced as we get closer to production.

Affordability also is important to Millennials. The average new vehicle is priced north of $30,000. The median salary for Millennials is $35,600, so most simply don’t have the resources for the typical new vehicle. The Elio’s price tag of $6,800 will fit neatly into Millennial budgets.

Millennials also will save a lot of money based on miles driven. In one year, the average Millennial drives 11,208 miles. At 84 MPG, they will need 133 gallons of gas in a year. With gas at just $2 per gallon today, Millennials could fuel up for a year for just $266. A vehicle that gets 25 MPG would take 448 gallons to go that same 11,208 miles. At $2 per gallon, that would be $896 per year, or $630 more than it takes to fuel up an Elio.

If gas goes back to $4 per gallon that savings jumps to $1,260 per year. Any way you slice it, that’s a significant savings.

But, the thing that jumps out at us the most? Millennials think buying or leasing a new vehicle is exciting. We couldn’t agree more. Driving and vehicle ownership have a lot to do with passion and excitement and that’s where we think we match Millennials well. The Elio is unique, it’s different and it’s fun. It’s a departure from the every-day run-of-the-mill vehicle.

It’s really a perfect expression of individuality that will appeal to younger customers. As we’ve taken the vehicle across the country, Millennials have been among our most supportive fans. Although currently they do not take out reservations at the same rate as Boomers, primarily due to a lack of discretionary funds, when we go to market Millennials with be running with the pack.

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