Opinion | Impact Of The Millennials

  • Mar 21, 2017

The Indian automotive industry has come a long way. It is continuously evolving, though the pace has increased rapidly. There's a whole new crop of buyers - Millennials (Generation Y) - and they have now grown up. Their demands are changing the face of automobiles. This new cohort will soon become a primary reason behind the India's 'youngest country' status by 2020, and the carmakers are aligning their product and marketing strategies to cater to them.


India is on track to become the third biggest car market in the world by 2020 - and because it's also going to be one of the youngest countries around the same time - carmakers have their work cut out to find their target audience. This audience is different from the Generation X that preceded it. Generation Y, don't leave much room for error, and as a result, carmakers are already on their toes to woo this generation with modern products and marketing ideas.

Ford EcoSport

While no single hard line separates the Gen X from Gen Y, the latter has certain ideologies that make it different. This generation is the first to shake hands with the Internet and mobile connectivity - the first generation who can't think of life without gadgets and smartphones. In 2017, this generation is expected to be in the age group of 18-35 years which makes it the ideal automotive buyer. And therefore, a lot of energy and hard work is being put to give this generation what it wants, and ultimately succeed.

Changing ways of reaching out to buyers


Carmakers are aware that their target audience spends a lot of time on the internet. And therefore, it is best to approach them through the online medium. While traditional sources of advertisement are still on the carmakers' list, the presence of online media is more than ever.

Unlike the Gen X, that believed in the sense of touch; the Generation Y is more likely to invest in a brand that is easily reachable and has quick turnaround times. As a result, carmakers have also started to offer the option to book cars and bikes online. Numbers do reveal that buyers, though not in large numbers, are comfortable with taking the first step of booking their new vehicles online and waiting for the dealerships to get back to them.


The Gen X started with the idea of calling the dealerships to ask for a test drive at their place. However, carmakers are developing ways to even jump this point with the help of virtual reality that gives buyers a chance to almost feel the car from the comfort of their homes, without even picking up their phone to dial a number. Even if they have to reach their phones to ask for a test drive, it can now happen through an app on the smartphones.

Changing products



Cars, too, are not the same. Inside-out, there is a lot of effort put into the designing. Buyers these days want a car that looks good. Irrespective of the segment, carmakers are putting in their best effort to make their product stand out. Take the Renault Kwid, for example. It's an entry-level hatchback but looks bigger than its competition, and different too. And that is one of the primary reasons it's doing well in the market.


Buyers' affinity towards the SUV body style is something that is also not hidden. It's got to do with the road presence of these big machines more than anything else. Starting from the compact SUVs like Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza and Ford EcoSport and going up to the bigger machines like Toyota Fortuner and Ford Endeavour, the SUVs are raking in huge numbers. Even in the luxury segment, the SUVs are selling well.

Active lifestyle


The reason why a niche segment a few years ago, the SUVs and crossovers, is now developed into a mainstream segment, is because of the view with which cars are bought now. Our lifestyle has changed, people are busier than ever, but their spending potential has also risen. While the previous generation looked at weekends as the days to spend time at leisure, the Gen Y is more into exploring different destinations or indulging in exciting activities. Their cars bring this excitement closer to them. While a sedan can do justice to the weekend getaways with its big boot, only an SUV gives you the option to try your hand at off-roading or even venturing into the woods.


Maven Provides Personal Mobility Solutions

The Gen Y spends a lot of their daily hours in their cars. As a result, they want to spend quality time there rather than just sitting and clutching away through the traffic. Hence, the evolution of traditional CD/MP3 players happened. Now, you get options like Bluetooth connectivity, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto which double up the smartphones into music streaming devices. The music system is now known as an infotainment system because of the wide array of tasks it can do, like playing videos and taking calls or even reading out messages. The screen of the entertainment system also acts as the output for the parking camera, thereby offering more than what just a music system could do.

Automatic transmission

Tata Tiago AMT
Tata Tiago AMT

Changing gears without driver inputs is not a new phenomenon. Just that it has become mainstream now, and you can opt for one in even the smaller cars. Technologies like Automated Manual Transmission (AMT) have changed the game for this segment altogether. The two-pedal tech is more affordable now and easier to maintain as well. Traditional torque converters were considered to consume too much fuel but the CVTs and AMTs of today's era are head and shoulders with their manual counterparts. Thanks to the increasing traffic and more man hours spent behind the steering wheel, this technology is becoming popular with every passing day.

Creature comforts


Now that the Gen Y spends so much time in their cars on the road, the place has to be comfortable too. To make the drive more comfortable, manufacturers are offering innovative features in their cars. So, equipment like height adjustable driver's seat and adjustable steering is common and is even offered in the smaller cars. On the bigger cars, even under Rs 10 lakh, you get a whole lot of equipment never heard of a decade ago. Things like automatic headlamps on/off, automatic wipers, climate control and steering wheel audio controls have completely altered the drive experience in today's cars.

Changing after-sales experience

2010 Toyota Prius

While it looks increasingly hard to contain buyers of a generation that wants something different every time they go out making a new car purchase, carmakers are leaving no stone unturned to keep the customers intact and upgrade within their portfolio by offering them a good after-sales experience. And technology is playing a crucial part in this process too. Buyers can now book their car service from their smartphones, and can even access roadside assistance and other information about their vehicles. To gain buyer trust, manufacturers are giving the break-up of service and repair expenditure on these apps.


Overall, this demanding generation of millennials has turned out as a boon for the automotive sector. The quality of the products, their life, the output, the after-sales experience and value-for-money quotient is at an all-time high now, and things are only going to get better for buyers in the long term looking at the pace of development in this sector.

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