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Report: Senior Citizens Surpass Millennials in Number on U.S. Roads.

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 8/15/2015 Megan Stewart

With the rise of safety technology like brake assist, lane keep assist, along with more comfortable interiors, drivers are staying on the roads longer. According to U.S. Census data, the number of licensed drivers over the age of 65 has increased 29 percent from 2003 to 2013.

Research

Nearly 3.5 million U. S. drivers are over the age of 84, which is a 43-percent increase over the last decade. Looking at millennials, drivers under the age of 20 have dropped 3 percent in the same timeframe.

But not only are seniors staying on the road longer, their tastes in vehicles have also shifted. "We sell new bikes to guys in their 80s all the time," said Harley-Davidson chief Marketing Officer mark Hans-Richer to The Washington Post. Motorcycles may be popular with the blue-haired group, but the most popular vehicle researched on Boston-based online car shopping platform CarGurus is the Chevrolet Corvette.

While the number of seniors on the road has increased, automakers are still targeting younger buyers, with the exception of a few. The reason for this isn't because seniors don't have value as customers, but that the vehicles may outlive the drivers, making it more economical for automakers to go after buyers who have many more years ahead of them. However, with more seniors on the road, it may make sense for a slight shift in demographic targeting, especially when drivers over 75 register about six times as many new cars as buyers age 18-24.

2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06

"We don't ignore any group ever," said FCA's vice president of product planning Ben Winter. "But some of the metrics are fairly compelling. I'd say we're talking about [seniors] much more than we used to."

Source: Washington Post

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