In 2016 the median income in the U.S was around the $48,000 mark. It’s already a well known fact that in the U.S the Ford F-150 is the biggest selling vehicle in the U.S, but what may surprise you is that people making over $200,000 per year tend to drive the same cars us mere peasants tend to purchase. The F-150 is indeed top of that list followed by the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Honda Pilot, the Jeep Wrangler. Most surprisingly the Honda Civic makes the top five as well.
The study, conducted by MaritzCX, showed people earning that much money tend to buy the same vehicles as people in the median average. They just drive the more expensive trim models.
So at what point to we need to raise the income to find the people buying the luxury cars?
Turns out that people making $400,000 or more are the people buying the Tesla Model X and the Lexus RX350. Remarkably, at least to my mind, they are also buying the ever humble Honda Civic.
If we push up to the half a million dollars per year mark the list starts again with the F-150 and then we find some some luxury cars – two Land Rover models and the BMW X5.
So, why are high earners shifting away from luxury vehicles?
Shawn St. Clair, senior director of global syndication for MaritzCX, believes the shift is down to common features, a broader range through vehicle models and a change in how people make their fortunes.
I’m inclined to agree.
First, as high end technology gets cheaper cars are being sold more and more with features as the value proposition. When those packages that used to be the reserve of luxury models are attached to vehicles perceived as reliable and long lasting; they become very attractive indeed for overall value.
On top of that, many models from the mainstream companies come in a wide range of trim levels and the top end of those models often overlap with the low end of luxury brands. A savvy shopper is going to spot that, and people making that kind of money tend to be rather savvy about value.
Finally, over the past couple of decades we’ve seen a new breed of high income workers and entrepreneurs. Wether it’s software developers with the latest hot game or people making their fortune with a well marketed online store, it’s not the old school rich fat cats spending all of the money. If yours is a life of hustle to make the big money then a car is an appliance, not a statement or a celebration of wealth.
Add that to the building push back against the idea of the 1% and the ever growing social perception of wealth being a vulgarity, it may explain a lot of why the blue collar F-150 and the more city friendly Civic are just as popular wether people have significant wealth or not.
Of course there will always be the people that require the doors of a billionaire, but it’s worth pointing out that Mark Zuckerberg current rolls around in a black Golf GTI with a manual transmission.