Skip to comments.Why Don't Young Americans Buy Cars?
Posted on 03/27/2012 7:47:55 PM PDT by DeaconBenjamin
Kids these days. They don't get married. They don't buy homes. And, much to the dismay of the world's auto makers, they apparently don't feel a deep and abiding urge to own a car.
This week, the New York Times pulled back the curtain on General Motors' recent, slightly bewildered efforts to connect with the Millennials -- that giant generational cohort born in the 1980s and 1990s whose growing consumer power is reshaping the way corporate America markets its wares. Unfortunately for car companies, today's teens and twenty-somethings don't seem all that interested in buying a set of wheels. They're not even particularly keen on driving.
The Times notes that less than half of potential drivers age 19 or younger had a license in 2008, down from nearly two-thirds in 1998. The fraction of 20-to-24-year-olds with a license has also dropped. And according to CNW research, adults between the ages of 21 and 34 buy just 27 percent of all new vehicles sold in America, a far cry from the peak of 38 percent in 1985.
At a major conference last year, Toyota USA President Jim Lentz offered up a fairly doleful summary of the industry's challenge.
"We have to face the growing reality that today young people don't seem to be as interested in cars as previous generations," Lentz said. "Many young people care more about buying the latest smart phone or gaming console than getting their driver's license." The billion-dollar question for automakers is whether this shift is truly permanent, the result of a baked-in attitude shift among Millennials that will last well into adulthood, or the product of an economy that's been particularly brutal on the young.
(Excerpt) Read more at theatlantic.com ...
My nephews (23 and 24) both live with mommy, neither of them have drivers licenses, the combined total of time working between them their entire lives is less than 6 months. They both party non-stop (where do they get the money), and the younger one is covered head to toe with tattoos (again where does the money come from?...my sister and her husband are poor).
I don’t understand the mindset, I counted the days till I turned 16 and could get my drivers license, had even worked and bought my own car in preparation. I was out of the house after I turned 18. It is weird, I do not believe one can mature (maturing does not preclude acting like an idiot when appropriate), until one is on his own. When I read the endless facebook posts of the 24 year old (apparantly he has nothing else to do all day), I can not distinguish his posts from one I would expect of a 14 year old.
There was the Taurus sho, but I don’t think it was a 4 cylinder.
In an era when a small 4 cylinder will get you 200 horsepower, there is no point to a v8 motor. They are a thing of the past.
Many of the most affordable used cars were destroyed during the ludicrous "Cash for Clunkers" program.
the SHO was not a 4 banger nor a stick. I don’t remember the model designation for the 4 cylinder stick.
Yeah, and the kids who could turn a wrench were putting new engines in the '55 chevy, while the really good ones were putting together a lead sled or a rat rod or a T bucket...back when if you couldn't buy one, you could still manage to put one together. No chips, no computers, no air bags...
What used to be tuned by ear is now voodoo.
There were no catalytic converters and no emissions inspections requiring 'original equipment'.
The price tag on a car now is more than a house was then.
I agree, I got my license on my 16th birthday, and have never ridden a bicycle since. I’m 35 now.
This is the future of america. Lots of useless obama voters. It is sad. Even the kids who WANT jobs can’t find them.
Close to what I’ve been watching for. Subaru and Audi come close, but I don’t know that they have manual transmissions anymore. Turbo diesel is the way to go.
If VW would build my first car again I’d sure buy another. 1964 Safari bus. They sell for a fortune these days, you would think that would be a clue that there’s a big enough demand to bring it back.
Young adult=no job. No job=no money. No money=no car(new or otherwise).
This same logic is the reason I am still driving my ‘99 Toyota Solara(I bought it new) with it’s 550K miles. I can’t afford a new car until my house is paid off in 2.5 years. I would also like to see if I can get it to a million miles before I or it kicks off.
Gee I wonder if this drop in the teens is at all due to the restricted drivers license many states have gone to. If you are in high school much of the daylight hours and are too young to drive at night, I would guess having a drivers license might not be worth the bother so much. Not letting teens drive at night is surely a way to lower the number of teens who bother to get a license.
“And oh yes, only suckers buy new cars these days, when a two year old used car is half the price and still lasts ten years.”
Not true so much anymore. Because there are fewer “suckers”, used car prices are at record levels. And, there are no “good, cheap” cars anymore, Cash for Clunkers put a big dent in those. That alone turned more than a few young Democrats into Republicans where I work.
Or a V12.
Turbo charging is the way to go, and turboing a V8 is the way to go (torque pulsing and NVH considerations, along with CUBES).
(My turbo I-4s are adequate, but I'd pop for a turbo Diesel V-8 for overkill.)
I'd suggest that the auto makers design and manufacture special specific vehicles on a four year schedule so knowledgeable folks could plan their acquisition while minimizing engineering costs at the manufacturer.
Having access to a carb flow stand was a plus.
I’m not really a big fan of V8s for diesels. Bigger fewer cylinders in the in-line configuration running very slow RPMs and lots and lots of boost PSI is the way to go. In boats they refer to this as a “lugger diesel”. Dodge Ram does it right with the cummins inline 6. Ford has an awesome turbo on their latest big diesel. It’s a multistage made by Honeywell I think. I’d like to see an even bigger turbo with even more stages and maybe even some turbine compounding...on a massive 4 cylinder diesel.
There was some sort of BMW turbo I-4 m/t on T-Birds for a while.
“I wonder if this drop in the teens is at all due to the restricted drivers license many states have gone to.”
My dad’s grandfather owned a car but couldn’t drive it. So my father drove him around town, from the age of 12. You didn’t need a driver’s license then, in 1932, you simply had to be able to reach the pedals.
(And I am satisfied with my I4 TDIs)
That would be a good idea. And too sensible to be picked up by the automakers.