Learn more about the survey
A word about the sample:
Data collected from University of Michigan undergraduates in relation to the auto industry is inherently peculiar. Given the University’s proximity to the headquarters of 3 large automakers, students are better versed in the industry—interacting with one of these companies in a direct or indirect manner is more likely than at any other undergraduate university. Additionally, the urban sprawl of the area makes it more car friendly than other urban campuses where public transportation is more developed.
University of Michigan students represent a better-off portion of Gen Y. According to the New York Times, “The median family income of a student from [University of] Michigan is $154,000, and 66% come from the top 20 percent.” The same New York Times publication cites a University of Michigan students’ median individual income at age 34 to be $68,700. Given that the University our sample population comes from primes respondents for success, our data may be more indicative of an informed and wealthy consumer rather than a truly representational sample of the mobility-interested public.
The sampled population was a randomly selected portion of the University of Michigan’s undergraduate student body. 18,000 students were emailed a message that included a link to the survey and 2643 responses were gathered. Students were incentivized with an Apple product of choice for two randomly selected winners. The survey included 5 demographic questions, 29 brand questions, 3 purchase intent questions, and 3 opinion questions.
Student Purchase Intent
Students were asked how they would proceed with a vehicle purchase after college and were offered the following responses:
Auto IQ: A student's industry knowledge
Auto IQ is a metric designed to test a student's automotive industry literacy by assessing knowledge of vehicle pricing, manufacturer reputations, vehicle segments, and brands as parts of corporations. Scores, ranging from weak to exceptional, are meant to reflect the student automotive industry knowledge.
Motives for vehicle use
We asked students to rank their agreement with the following statements. Throughout the analysis process we used motives for vehicle use to understand students' sentiments regarding the way they think of vehicles in their lives. Therefore, motives for vehicle use allude to the reasoning behind why students may have different purchase intent.
Gender of respondents
Another metric: dream car
By asking students if they had a dream car, we created a proxy demographic variable that was used to predict purchase intent
Do you have a dream car?
How students responded when asked to name their dream car
Another predictive demographic used in our analysis was the student's hometown. Urban, suburban, and rural students proved to have different preferences and intentions
Plans for mobility after college
For satisfying their mobility needs after college, 69% of students said they plan to purchase a vehicle, 26% didn't have plans yet, 4% plan to use public transportation, and 1% plan on being early adopters of new mobility solutions including ride sharing and car sharing services.