Subaru buyers in North America | Wonder

Research Brief

What is the demographic and psychographic profile of a Subaru buyer in North America? How do the main consumer trends in automotive industry in North America affect Subaru?


In order to target future consumers for a Subaru advertising campaign, gain a psychographic and demographic understanding of current Subaru buyers and examine relevant consumer trends that may impact the automotive industry and the Subaru brand.

Early Findings

Subaru Owners

  • Subaru is known for targeting a more diverse audience, and their communications focuses on niche groups such as lesbians, medical professionals and dog owners. This is unlike most traditional automotive advertising.
  • 80% of Subaru buyers own dogs. The company has made dogs the focus of its “Love” positioning in its advertising and sales campaigns.
  • Subaru has conducted extensive research into the psychographics of their brand loyalists, again, leading the shift away from traditional marketing approaches.
  • Subaru tends to target areas where the climate is truly “all weather,” and the Subaru Outback is the most popular car in Portland, OR.
  • Subaru owners hold on to their vehicles, and the Forester is one of the top 15 models amongst owners who keep their car for at least 15 years. They even pass them down to new drivers in the family.

Automotive Trends

  • Ford, Chevrolet, Toyota, and Honda are the top four brands in the USA according to sales, based on Mintel’s 2017 data.
  • Pickup trucks are the most popular used and new vehicles according to sales for most of the United States.
  • Car brand perceptions vary by demographics, as does interest in vehicle types. Sedans and SUVs are the most popular body style overall.
  • In the US, country of origin is important for half of car buying consumers. Nearly half of the car shopping audience would consider a foreign made vehicle.
  • Price and gas mileage are the most prominent motivator and parents with children in the household are the most influenced by recommendations from family and friends.
  • New car buyers are generally getting older. The share of vehicles bought by 16 to 34 year olds declined by 6 percentage points (2000 – 2015), and fell by nine percentage points amongst 35 to 49 year olds.
  • People 55 years and older were the only age group to have an increase (up 15 percentage points), according to the US Federal Reserve.

Proprietary Research

Perceptions of Auto Brands – US – June 2017, Mintel “Brand perception for automotive companies is critical to success since consumers are so infrequently in the market for a vehicle. Past experiences, reputation, and word of mouth are crucial factors that play a role in shaping consumers’ choices before they even decide on what to purchase.” -Buddy Lo, Automotive Analyst, Mintel. Mintel International Group Ltd: 4,895.00 USD.