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Jillian Overmyer, Account Advocate
by Jillian Overmyer, Account Advocate

How do you approach Generation Y when it comes to car buying?

Generation Y- the proclaimed ‘Me Generation’ - is portrayed as a disengaged consumer base, highly uninterested in the automotive world. As a Gen Y’er living in Detroit, The Motor City, I beg to differ. We are interested in cars. But when it comes to buying one our interest level withers. The immediate scapegoat for this behavior is high cost, but new studies refute this claim. J.D Power studies have shown that Gen Y buyers have increased in market share at the greatest rate among all new-vehicle buyers.

Generation Y

What then makes a generation of consumers excited by a product, but not eager to engage in purchasing? It’s not about the car. It’s about the car buying experience. In fact, a recent study by Deloitte found that 65% of Gen Y consumers would prefer to purchase a car without negotiating with a sales person. So, how do the Gen Y consumers want to buy their cars? Well, that’s easy: online. We purchase our clothes online, we earn our college degrees online and it only makes sense that we want to purchase our cars online too. Many General Motors dealers are jumping onboard with the implementation of ‘Shop-Click-Drive’. This program allows consumers to make the complete purchase of a vehicle - from paint color to delivery date- online, avoiding the face-to-face buying experience that many of us Gen Y’ers’ dislike. How Does Gen Y buy?Dealers need not fear, this program isn’t meant to replace your physical showroom, but rather, it’s another path for those who choose to remain faceless.  

Shop Cliick DriveShop-Click-Drive began in 2012 as a pilot program with a handful of select dealerships, primarily located in the Midwest. With the ongoing studies surrounding Generation Y’s buying behavior and power- GM’s goal in mind was to appeal to this group. Even with a fully customized website that allows multiple purchasing paths, it’s still important to have an optimized mobile website. Instant gratification is demanded, which is why a Gen Y consumer always has a smartphone, tablet, or laptop in hand. Being optimized on all available platforms is crucial to the success of a dealership. One such optimization is the ‘Click to Call’ feature for all of your departments. The customer visits your site from a smartphone and voila, with a simple click of a button they’re calling you. According to, “70% of all mobile searches result in an action within a hour;” a powerful statistic to keep in mind. It’s safe to say, the customers looking at your mobile site are ready to visit (unless of course they are buying online!). It’s important to remember that Gen Y customers are still purchasing from YOU, and the reputation of your dealership is a priority.  Gen Y’ers research and read reviews on nearly every product they buy. If they’re reading reviews on  where to buy the best pair of jeans, you can almost guarantee they’re reading reviews on where to buy their biggest purchase yet: a car. Having a solid Reputation Management team behind you is essential for attracting this web-savvy market. Keep your demographic in mind. Appeal to YOUR customer. Mobile Searchers Take ActionThe true key to dealership success is to understand who is buying from your dealership, do your research! Keep in mind: word spreads fast online. Don’t be the subject of the next meme to go viral.

So, what we're saying is…

  • Stay on the forefront of purchasing paths. Whether it’s Shop-Click-Drive or something you feel you are doing differently in your dealership, make sure there are options for those who prefer to avoid the face-to-face.
  • Keep your mobile and tablet website aligned and optimized to reflect your dealership’s message.  Keep in mind, your mobile site should not be a replica of your primary website; it should be much easier to navigate. Highlight what a customer would need most: sales and service numbers (click-to-call), hours and directions and inventory.
  • Maintain a positive reputation virtually. You can hold as many community events as possible, but one poorly treated negative online review can turn away a potential Gen Y customer.  A strong Reputation Management team acts as your dealership’s publicist and can divert an online review crisis.


About the Author

Jillian Overmyer, Account Advocate   Jillian Overmyer has been an Account Advocate at CDK Global since 2013. With automotive running through her veins (born and raised in The Motor City) she says that she has had “a lifetime of automotive experience!” One of her fondest memories was receiving her very first car; a silver Camaro SS convertible! How can you top that? When not delighting her dealers, you can find Jillian spending quality time with friends at happy hour or curling up with a good book. You can reach Jillian at

Views: 571

Tags: Gen, Y, car, digital, generation, management, marketing, new, optimized, reputation, More…sales, websites


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Comment by Eric Hinkle on November 18, 2014 at 8:52am

I agree with you Manny!  Another dynamic to reel them in:  create a sub-website with apathetic spelling, illogic word connotations and endless acronyms (LOL, OMG, BFF, etc.)  Speaking and/or writing in whatever language 'that is' should produce results.  Instead of Year, Make, Model; we now offer 'Awesome', 'Shady' and 'Daddy?'.  No need for 'auto-correct' to fix my spelling anymore.  Eyes are too glossy to see that squiggly red line under that word.

Comment by Michael on November 16, 2014 at 1:19pm

As we have experienced in recent digital history, the Xers and BBoomers will soon be in parity with iedentical 'actions' via Mobile, as this leading milleneum sector. Assume you are pertaining to persons up to the age of about 32? Thx Jillian for the needed reinforcement with GMs and Dealers:)

Comment by Ben Misra ( Secondarypro) on November 14, 2014 at 3:47pm

Actually it is 54% for gen y and 57% for all other generations, so really not a big difference here. The sales person does not do any real negotiating as most dealers are happy to show the customer the invoice and ask for a reasonable profit.

I think that you are not giving the dealer enough credit for actually understanding the needs of the consumer and doing their best to make the car purchase as painless as possible.

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