Are You in the Market for a Midlife Crisis Car?
Are You in the Market for a Midlife Crisis Car? | CarMax

March 2016

Consider the “midlife crisis car.” What comes to mind? Probably the words flashy, red, and sporty. But CarMax recently conducted a survey on midlife crisis car trends, and the results may be surprising: sedans and SUVs are gaining in popularity. While one in five potential buyers (20 percent) would still go for a sports car first, 17 percent would purchase an SUV and 15 percent would pick a sedan. When asked about a specific make and model, the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Corvette were the favorites.

Perceptions of “middle age” get a makeover

This survey comes at a time when the concept of midlife and middle age are evolving in America. Increasingly, this life stage represents an exciting new chapter of possibility and freedom. According to the recent CarMax survey, one in four American adults consider it likely they would buy a car associated with a midlife crisis.

Red isn’t the only show-stopper

No matter what we may have learned from ‘80s movies, today’s midlife crisis car doesn’t have to be red. The most popular color for respondents’ hypothetical midlife crisis car was black (20 percent), with silver/gray (19 percent), blue (17 percent) and, yes, red (17 percent) close behind.

Sports car for him, SUV for her

Thirty percent of men said they’d be very or somewhat likely to buy a car associated with a midlife crisis, while 21 percent of women said the same. But the type of car each gender would buy could not be more different. For men, sports cars still reign supreme, and black is the color of choice, both coming in at 24 percent. Women went with SUVs (19 percent), and red won out as the preferred color (21 percent).

The South is most likely to buy a midlife car

According to the survey, residents of the South are most likely to purchase a midlife crisis car, with more than 30 percent of respondents indicating that they were very or somewhat likely to buy one. Midwesterners were the least likely to spring for a midlife crisis car overall, with almost 80 percent of respondents saying that they were not very likely or not at all likely to buy one. Of the 18 percent of Midwesterners who would purchase a midlife crisis car, the most popular make was an SUV – the only region where the sports car did not come out on top.

The Ipsos survey was conducted on behalf of CarMax from October 20 to October 21, 2014. For the survey, a national sample of 1,005 adults from Ipsos’ U.S. online panel was interviewed online.


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