Boomers in the 55-to-64 age bracket are now the biggest car-buying segment, displacing the 35-to-44 bracket that held that distinction as recently as four years ago, according to a study by the University of Michigan's Transportation Research Institute. Models designed to appeal to youthful buyers are being snatched up by boomers. "One of the dirty little secrets of the auto industry is all these cars are positioned in advertising and public relations as something a 25-year-old will buy," said John Morel, a market researcher for Honda. "But your propensity to buy a car at 25 is roughly a quarter of what it is at age 65."

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