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Seniors Feel Ignored by Auto Makers in the Design of Vehicles

Author: RDA Group

Published: 2010-11-10 : (Rev. 2013-08-01)

Synopsis and Key Points:

Needs related to unintended acceleration and greater fuel efficiency top the list of needs drivers want addressed in the design of future vehicles.

Main Digest

RDA Group Reports: New Car Buying Boomers Feel Ignored by Auto Makers in the Design of Future Vehicles - Auto-Ideation Study Identifies 500 unmet vehicle needs among current drivers including unique differences among Boomers, women, hybrids, trucks and 19 vehicle segments.

Needs related to unintended acceleration and greater fuel efficiency top the list of 500 needs today's drivers want addressed in the design of future vehicles according to RDA Group's 2010 Auto-Ideation Study released today. More detailed findings raise the question of whether auto makers are paying enough attention to the unmet needs of new car buyers in unique demographic groups like Boomers and women, as well as those driving Hybrids and cars and trucks in 19 other vehicle segments.

In the case of Boomers the study found that older drivers (60 & older) are particularly concerned about their safety and the safety of others around them, visibility while driving, and the ability to get comfortably into and out of vehicles. The bottom line is they are demanding manufacturers design vehicles that are more user-friendly to seniors.

"Historically, auto makers have found targeting the needs of the younger generation to be more exciting than thinking about developing new features and innovations to address the needs of an aging car buyer," said Jim Thomas, Senior Vice President for RDA Group. "What tends to be overlooked is that people 60 & older make up over 50 million people in the U.S. and represent almost 40% of all new vehicle buyers."

Many of the most important concerns of Boomers are a reflection of their forgetfulness as many needs uncovered in the study are reminders to take action if they are not paying attention. New car buying Boomers also have special needs relating to mirrors, windshield reflections, blind spots and easier access for high and low ground clearance vehicles. Thomas notes that "meeting the needs of Boomers in their 'golden years' represents a 'golden opportunity' for auto companies."

This unique study provides guidance to auto companies by identifying and prioritizing 500 unmet needs from the consumer's perspective. "The most successful automotive companies use this information to prioritize their own limited R&D resources to develop new features and innovations that meet the most important needs of tomorrow's vehicle buyers," adds Thomas.

The Auto-Ideation study collected data from 2009-10 model vehicle owners using an online survey during August 2010. Almost 7,600 new vehicle owners ranked the importance of 500 unmet needs in areas such as safety, performance, visibility, comfort, convenience, telecommunications, damage protection, security, entry/exit, storage, service/maintenance and personalization. The Auto-Ideation study is a biennial survey conducted since 2003. To purchase a copy of the current study, interested parties can call (248) 836-6010.

RDA Group (established in 1969) is headquartered in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. RDA Group is a global market research and consulting firm that conducts advanced product research, customer satisfaction and quality tracking studies for the automotive, financial services, health care, utilities, construction equipment and temporary staffing industries. For more information about the RDA Group, visit

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