Keith Naughton
Bloomberg News

Consumers ages 19 to 31, known as “Generation Y,” prefer hybrids and connected cars, which could define the automobiles of the future, according to a new study.

In a global survey of consumers, 57 percent of this young cohort preferred an “electrified vehicle,” said Deloitte LLP, which conducted the study.

Dashboard technology was the most important part of an automobile’s interior to 59 percent of Gen Y respondents, with 73 percent preferring touch-screen controls, Deloitte said.

“This could be a tipping point for moving electrified vehicles mainstream in the U.S.,” said Craig Giffi, Deloitte vice chairman and automotive practice leader. “The motivation is heavily based on economics, lowering their fuel costs. What’s driving them to hybrids and electrified vehicles is not so much saving the planet as they want to save their pocketbook.”

Automakers and other marketers are keen to crack the code on selling to Gen Y, a group of about 80 million consumers in the U.S. that is almost as large as the baby boomer generation born after World War II.

Gen Y consumers will purchase one in four new automobiles sold in the U.S. this year and 40 percent of the vehicles sold in the next 10 years, Deloitte said.

For its annual Gen Y survey, Deloitte polled 1,500 Gen Y, Gen X and baby boomer consumers in the U.S., 250 Gen Y consumers in China and 300 Gen Y consumers in Western Europe.

The study was conducted in September and October, the researcher said.