Younger generations show growing interest in classic Volkswagens

Younger generations show growing interest in classic Volkswagens

German marque is an attractive, low-cost vintage option

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More young people are showing an interest in buying classic Volkswagens, according to data from Hagerty Classic Car Insurance.

“The whole myth that younger people, in general — and to characterize younger people in general and, of course, everyone loves to typecast the millennial generation — none of them like cars, is wrong,” said Jonathan Klinger, Hagerty’s vice president of public relations. “There are plenty of young people that are interested in cars.”

Hagerty has reported a drop in classic Volkswagen insurance quotes among older generations — those born in 1964 or earlier — since 2015. In 2015, baby boomers requested 42 percent of Hagerty’s classic VW quotes, by far the lion’s share. This year, that number has dropped to 34 percent.

Generation X has consistently shown an interest in the vintage German cars, but the VW marque has begun to flourish among millennials. In 2015, 14 percent of Hagerty’s quotes for older Volkswagens were requested by millennials. This year, that figure climbed to 23 percent.

“When we were looking specifically at the millennial generation … Volkswagen is ahead of other brands like Datsun, Dodge, GMC, Jeep, Pontiac,” Klinger said, adding that all of them significantly trail giants Ford and Chevrolet.

It turns out insuring an old VW is a fairly inexpensive prospect. | Carter Nacke photo

A few factors contribute to the German marque’s popularity, he added. One reason? They look cool.

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“They’re a handsome vehicle that has a timeless look to them but they still look good today,” he said.

Another primary factor is the relative affordability an old VW offers — despite one recently slapped with a $1 million price tag.

Most Beetles carry a price much, much lower than this one that was priced at $1 million. | Burback Motors photo

Most Beetles carry a price much, much lower than this one that was priced at $1 million. | Burback Motors photo

“Your typical vintage Volkswagen is a more overall value than if you look at the market across the whole,” Klinger said. “Young people don’t have as much disposable income as other generations may have, yet they’re pretty fun cars if you get the right model.”

While the soon-to-be-discontinued Beetle is, unsurprisingly, the top VW insurance quote requested, Klinger said other models — particularly Rabbits, GTIs and Sciroccos produced in the early 1980s — have been gathering more interest in recent years.

There's a growing niche for Rabbits made in the early 1980s. | ClassicCars.com photo

There’s a growing niche for Rabbits made in the early 1980s. | ClassicCars.com photo

Klinger pointed out classic Volkswagens aren’t just affordable to buy, they’re also relatively inexpensive to fix and easy to learn.

“They’re simple to work on relative to today’s cars,” he said. “They’re well-built vehicles.”

The legacy of Volkswagen is also a draw for young people, Klinger said. The marque has been around since World War II and has been featured in films and TV for decades, as well as been idolized in pop culture, particularly during the 1960s. Volkswagen clubs exist worldwide and shows are held often.

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That sustained following has led to a wide berth of easily accessible knowledge and affordable parts –- both original and recreated.

“Any car that has good technical support and parts availability is eventually going to be more popular,” Klinger said.

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  • Joe Ehrlich
    November 19, 2018, 9:10 AM

    Older people tend to trade in their old Beetles and get VW Campers. Hagerty does *NOT* insure Volkswagen campers. That little fact is reflected in who remains to insure with them.

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    • Norman Spirit@Joe Ehrlich
      November 19, 2018, 4:01 PM

      As much as I’d like to believe this happy-talk, I don’t. Someone will have to explain the fact of stunning drops in applications for drivers licenses, drops in ownership of cars in general, lack of real jobs enabling them to pay for cars and a lot more before this gels into a real "trend". Otherwise it sounds like "millennnials" have found yet another way to get Dad and Mom to pay their way…

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