But fewer than four in 10 18-34-year-olds trust car companies to prioritise "consumer and societal interests".

Consumers aged 18-34 trust the motor industry more than older car buyers, according to a study published this week.

Research by automotive shopping site CarGurus found that Generation Z and millennial purchasers are more likely to believe automotive brands and businesses “put consumer and societal interests first” than old buyers, who seem more cynical. However, the study found trust levels are still lower than they could be, with just over a third of 18-34-year-olds saying they think car companies “can be trusted” to do right by society.

In comparison, 27 percent of Generation X respondents (aged 35-54) and just 15 percent of Baby Boomers (aged 55-64) said the same thing. But CarGurus says more than a third (36 percent) of world-weary older buyers actively distrust the intentions of automotive brands.

Happy man smiling at his new car in dealership showroom

And there’s evidence that the car industry needs to do more to gain the trust of women, too. Just a quarter (26 percent) of female buyers said they felt car companies have their best interests at heart, compared with a third of male consumers (32 percent).

By the same token, more than half (52 percent) of women surveyed said they were uncertain about the trustworthiness of the automotive industry. That makes women nine percent more likely than men to be unsure about how much trust they can place in car companies.

Woman buying a car and salesman handling keys

The research also looked into the qualities an automotive business might need to improve its standing among buyers. Integrity and the ability to deliver on promises was deemed the most important, being cited by 81 percent of respondents, while reliability and transparency rounded out the top three, having been proposed by 79 percent and 75 percent of buyers respectively.

CarGurus said car brands might need to work “extra hard” on maintaining integrity and transparency if they want to appeal to women, these are areas where women “over-index” compared with men. Integrity was cited as a key factor in trustworthiness by 82 percent of women (compared with 80 percent of men), while 78 percent of women said transparency was important. Just 72 percent of men said the same thing.

Smiling woman buying car at dealership with salesman

“The good news for the car industry is that the younger generation, which is crucial to the future of the sector, has a level of trust in car brands,” said Madison Gross, director of consumer insights at CarGurus. “The work that manufacturers are doing to move towards electrification and adopt a greener approach to building cars is, doubtless, playing a big part in engendering that trust.

“As these are the car buyers of tomorrow, it’s important that businesses continue to enhance that relationship with Gen Z and Millennial buyers.

“However, it’s clear that, despite recent efforts, more needs to be done by car makers in how they serve female car buyers. Studies show that women are quite often the key shopping decision-makers in relationships. Despite this, the car industry is historically a male-dominated environment. That needs to change if the sector is to harness the power of the female buyer.”