Auto Industry Shifts Focus to Millennials

SUSIE GHARIB: They grew up on play dates, MTV and Facebook. We`re talking
about the millennials. These are the biggest generation since the baby
boomers. There are more than 80 million of them in the U.S. between the
ages of 11 and 30. With that kind of buying clout, it`s no wonder the auto
industry and other companies have come courting. Diane Eastabrook reports.

DIANE EASTABROOK: Meet 14-year-old Greer Hutchison. She`s a typical high
school freshman into dance, Facebook, friends and shopping.

GREER HUTCHISON, 14 YR. OLD: I go shopping with my friends a good
portion of the time. Online, I actually just got a whole bunch of dance
clothes which I spent over a hundred dollars on.

EASTABROOK: Greer is one of the nation`s 80 million millennials — a
demographic whose buying power could top $2.5 trillion within a couple of
years. Suffice it to say the auto industry is smitten.

JOHN MCFARLAND, MGR., GLOBAL MARKETING, CHEVROLET: They want a car
that captures their hearts and their minds.

EASTABROOK: At the Chicago auto show, John McFarland talks about
millennials like a love-struck suitor. He`s Chevrolet`s marketing
strategist for products like the Sonic (NASDAQ:SONC), Cruze and Spark.

MCFARLAND: Forty percent of those consumers though are passionate and
excited about cars, but they don`t think any brands have really given them
truly what they want and understand them yet.

EASTABROOK: Millennials are unlike any demographic before them.
They`re not big on brand loyalty. And, these are consumers who want to be
directly involved in the design of the products and services they use.
Chevy has been reaching out to millennials with quirky ads on Youtube. It`s
also gathering ideas about what they want through Facebook and giving
millennials video cameras to record their thoughts.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would like to pretend that it is a person that
does exactly what I want it to do and doesn`t talk back.

EASTABROOK: Chevy designer Joe Baker used some of that input when
developing the code 130-R concept.

JOE BAKER, SR. CREATIVE DESIGNER, CHEVROLET: They wanted something
kind of sophisticated looking. It`s a car for someone who does want a
Corvette and does want a Camaro, but isn`t necessarily in a place where
they can afford them.

EASTABROOK: But millennials are fickle consumers according to Gigi
Carroll and Jamie Shuttleworth from the advertising agency DraftFCB.

JAMIE SHUTTLEWORTH, CHIEF STRATEGY OFFICER, DRAFTFCB: This generation
is changing who they are quite frequently.

EASTABROOK: They say while millennials may love one brand at 16,
they may easily ditch it for another at 18.

SHUTTLEWORTH: Businesses need to be learn to kind of be iterative,
adaptive, rapid prototype.

GIGI CARROLL, VP& CREATIVE STRATEGIST., DRAFTFCB: And it seems those
brands that really engrain themselves in their culture and what they`re
looking for are the most successful.

EASTABROOK: Also what appeals to one millennial, might not appeal to
another. Research by JD Power and Associates found overall millennials
favor cars over trucks. But Greer Hutchison shot down that conclusion.

HUTCHISON: I would love a Range Rover or a Jeep.

EASTABROOK: Go figure. Diane Eastabrook, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT,
Chicago.


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