Research from Germany suggests that older people are still the key customer base for car manufacturers as younger people are focusing their spending power elsewhere.
The average age of a new car buyer in Germany rose to a record 52.2 years in 2013, three years older than the average a decade ago, reflecting a trend observed in other industrialised countries.
Only 27% of all new car buyers last year were under the age of 45, according to an analysis of new German registrations conducted by the Centre for Automotive Research at the University of Duisburg-Essen.
Although youth unemployment is low in Germany, elsewhere in Europe this factor is also forcing young people to delay buying a car or to purchase a second-hand vehicle instead. In the UK, the number of young people taking driving tests fell almost a fifth between 2007 and 2012.
"Young car buyers are dying out. Only large-scale immigration can maintain the German car market at its current level over the next 10 years," Ferdinand Dudenhöffer, director of the Centre for Automotive Research, told the Financial Times.