New York, New York – Auto manufacturers have experienced a steady decline in customer brand loyalty, with young buyers far less loyal than older ones, according to consumer research company GfK Automotive.

This change signals the need for a new approach to marketing automobiles in the future, the company said. While the faltering economy, bankruptcies and product safety issues have all taken a toll on brand loyalty, these are not the reasons consumers do not replace one brand with the same one, the study found.

Generation X (born 1965-1980) and Generation Y (1981-1994) are more concerned with their home entertainment systems, smart phones and the Internet rather than the car they drive.

“Automotive brands need to be aware of the effect of disenfranchisement among both Generation X and Generation Y, and ensure appropriate product and marketing efforts,” said Doug Scott, senior vice-president of GfK Automotive. “Younger purchasers, Generations X and Y, are least brand-loyal, while Boomers and Pre-Boomers remain brand-loyal.”

Auto marketers now face the challenge of attracting younger generations who will soon account for over half of all new-vehicle “replacers,” the company said.