This was supposed to be a top 5, but I honestly didn't know which one to leave out. Therefore, it's now top 6 car brands that I believe to have the most "hype" and influence among young adults and open the reasons a bit after the list.
I don't think that it's a surprise for anyone the German brands dominate the list. They are reliable, often pioneers in development, and publicly considered premium cars that tell something about their owner. The order of the last four brands usually vary between individuals. The ones that like bold design, are looking to make a statement or need a status symbol would probably put BMW or Audi to the top of the list. But the ones that are more for innovative design and technical features would go for a Mercedes-Benz. And well, Porsche is Porsche. They are expensive, fast and good looking. Pretty self-explanatory why they are popular if you ask the young.
There is no denying that Tesla has succeeded in creating the hype it definitely needs, and that's why it's on the top of my list. Their forerunner position in the EV-market combined with futuristic, yet simplistic designs have made the social media go crazy. I don't think it's far from the truth saying Tesla is likely to have the most devoted fans from all car brands. If you have a Tesla, you are automatically "cool" in the eyes of any young adult, and there'll be people who want to hitch a ride to get the EV-experience. I'll write more about what creates the hype among the young next time.
Volvo is an extremely interesting brand. Probably the most interesting one in my opinion, and a personal favorite of mine along with Mercedes. If you had asked the young a few years ago, the answer would have likely been that Volvo makes reasonably priced, safe and therefore boring cars for middle-aged men with two kids and a dog. But now, the opinions have completely changed after Volvo renewed almost every model a couple years ago.
Now their cars compete with the Germans with modern technology - yet classy and luxury interiors - with high-powered engine options and Polestar, making them even more sporty. Many friends of mine have often sworn to be Mercedes or BMW guys in a group conversation, but later confessed they would rather get a new Volvo. I feel like Volvo is kind of an "guilty favorite" for many. It's not a popular opinion to admit you like a Swedish brand that makes safe family cars, but Volvo has undeniably won many on their side with their new models.
All I've said of course comes down to personal experience in the end, but I wanted to touch base on the topic and discuss a bit on how well the old stereotypes on car brands hold up when Generation Z is soon the main target segment for car manufacturers. And what the young really think about car brands in general.
The stereotypes hold true to a certain extent, but there's clearly a turning point in the car industry with electric vehicles, automated driving and many brands like Volvo rethinking their identity. It's very interesting to see which cars will actually be popular and how the opinions will shift in a few years with EVs and autonomous driving coming and a new generation buying the products of the car industry in the future.