Many luxury car brands are interested in attracting younger buyers in order to ensure a steady stream of future customers. And these days, no one seems to be doing that better than British prestige automaker Rolls-Royce.
“We are seeing, in that segment of ultrahigh-end-growth individuals, a fast decrease in average age,” Rolls CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös said in an interview with Bloomberg. “It’s fantastic, it really is.”
The average age of Rolls-Royce buyers around the world is 45 years old, which Müller-Ötvös said is down from 56 just seven years ago. That’s the kind of demographic shift other luxury brands can only dream about.
The average age, for example, of customers of Buick and Cadillac, two upscale General Motors brands that have made a recent push to pull younger buyers into showrooms, are 59 and 52, respectively. Meanwhile, the average age of car buyers overall is 52, and 50 in the luxury bracket specifically.
For a brand with the kind of stuffy image Rolls-Royce projects, being able to boast younger buyers is good news. For one, it means their customer base isn’t on the verge of dying off in large numbers. Plus, if younger people see their contemporaries driving a Roller, they’ll be more likely to want one, too.
Müller-Ötvös says Rolls-Royce has noticed a trend wherein more and more Rolls buyers are self-made, rather than having inherited the money that allows them to buy a car with a six-figure price tag.
The trend toward the owners of pricey cars skewing younger is a promising thing in the wake of buzz-killing reports that Millennials are less interested in owning things than previous generations. J.D. Power suggests Millennials will comprise 40 percent of the U.S. car market by 2020.
Rolls-Royce’s success can be at least partly attributed to its owner, BMW, from which it borrows engines and electronic controls—things that would have been prohibitively expensive for a boutique company to develop on its own.
All of this points to a promising future in the North American market for luxury car builders, who had been relying on the Chinese market for the bulk of their profits. There, the average car buyer is just 34, and 38 percent of luxury car buyers are under 40 years old.