Texas Tech Business Students Have the Ear of the Auto Industry

Generation Y forges changes in car design.

Written by Sarah Whetstone

They have been immersed in technology since birth. They revolutionized communication as teens. They demand to be connected as adults. And now, as they come of age, Generation Y is driving auto markets to adapt to their always plugged-in lifestyles.

Researchers of the American automobile industry asked Texas Tech University business administration undergraduates Matt Carlucci and Peter Klingman to pinpoint Gen Y's vehicular desires. Their answer: the same thing they want in every other aspect of their lives - to be connected.

Deloitte Research released the results of surveys from Texas Tech and MBA students from four other U.S. business schools including Clemson University, Gonzaga University, Michigan State University and Syracuse University. They found that Gen-Y, people of ages 17-28, redefined the definition of a "cool" car with style, safety and connectivity - Wi-Fi, built-in iPod decks, etc. - topping the list.

Deloitte asked the students to compose a marketing plan based on market research that would help the industry understand the nature of Gen Y attitudes toward car buying.

Alan Whitebread, professor of marketing and international business in Texas Tech's Rawls College of Business, accompanied Carlucci and Klingman to the North American International Auto Show in Detroit where the students presented their findings to Deloitte, executives of major automobile manufacturers, and members of the media.

 "These are great experiences for students to participate in a live industry function and interact with senior executives," Whitebread said. "It makes the classroom material come to life."

Find Texas Tech news, experts and story ideas at www.media.ttu.edu.

CONTACT: Alan Whitebread, professor, Rawls College of Business, Texas Tech University, (806) 742-1963, or alan.whitebread@ttu.edu.