“Kids say the darndest things,” claimed a popular TV talk show host from the past. And according to a recent broadcast on National Public Radio by Sonari Glinton of NPR News, not only are kids still saying things, the marketing folks for major carmakers are beginning to listen carefully. It’s all part of a fairly new marketing plan to design cars that will be desirable to a future generation of car buyers. Based on the NPR report, hosted by Mary Louise Kelly, here are 5 reasons why a 6-year-old has a say in what kind of car he or she might be driving one day.
1. Kids are observant
In the process of interviewing two young girls about cars, Glinton both demonstrates and explains that kids pay close attention to specific features they desire in cars. During the interview one of the girls expressed her preference for Chevy and OnStar technology, while the other said she hoped to buy a Cadillac one day because, “they have a good speed to me and they have a good ride.” More kids pay attention to the cars they ride in than you’d expect.
2. Kids give unbiased opinions
Although the idea that young children tend to give more honest and direct answers to questions was not directly discussed in the interview, the answers the children gave were very illustrative of this unbiased behavior. As further proof of this notion, Ms. Jessica Caldwell, an analyst for Edmonds.com, which offers car reviews and car buying advice, said in the interview that car companies seek the advice of very young people.
3. Kids are impressionable
From ads for toys and breakfast cereals to Toyota commercials in which a young boy proclaims that, “Just because you’re a parent, doesn’t mean you have to be lame,” marketers have known for a long time that kids form impressions early on. And those impressions can stay with them. When a kid sees a cool car he says to himself that when he grows up he’s going to get one of those. As children turn into teenagers and then adults, they remember the brand of that car they thought was cool when they were a kid.
4. Kids are accessible
Unlike adults who tend to be more guarded when it comes to participating in focus groups, kids are quite open and accessible. Although this concept was not directly addressed in the interview, speaking about the marketing practices of car companies in reaching a younger demographic, Ms. Caldwell said that they just go to different schools and talk to children and see what they are interested in. Just how car companies are gaining access to elementary school classrooms was not discussed in the broadcast, although it would be interesting to know what, if anything the schools gain by allowing such access.
5. Kids are the car buyers of tomorrow
Another issue not touched on in the interview is the high-stakes nature of the automobile market. As each company vies for greater market share, they are exploring new ways to reach and influence a younger demographic. In the interview Mr. Glinton states that, according to TrueCar.com, that Scion, Mitsubishi, Mazda, Nissan and Volkswagen are the brands with the most Generation Y buyers. Brands need to know what children want right now in order to know what to sell them when they become adults.
Jack Allen is a freelance writer for Napleton’s Des Plaines Chrysler Jeep Dodge. As a Chicagoland Chrysler Jeep Dodge dealer, Napleton’s Des Plaines is able to offer a great selection of automobiles at very competitive prices.