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.
Yes, it's a "T".
I suggested same while employed there (idea rejected) and have now gone virtual Galt.
If I was calling the shots at a vehicle engine design lab I would put them to work building a three cylinder two stroke direct injected valveless diesel with one massive multi stage turbo and turbine compounding.
Talk to SAAB. They have spent the most time “there”.
There are boost pressure limits in practical terms though. Even heavy duty diesel connecting rods have limits to how much force you can transmit through them. Horsepower is torque at a given RPM.
The problem is how much torque can you safely apply with a motor reasonably weighted for a road going personal vehicle. I love my pickup, but I love light & nimble cars as well (actually, my Titan is quite nimble in a straight line, thanks to a 32V V8 motor :)). The only way to obtain horsepower in lightweight engines is to spin them skyword on the RPM scale.
And due to tightening fuel mileage requirements from gub’ment, V6, I6, and V8 diesels with higher RPM capabilities is pretty much the future of diesel.
However, I really think Diesel tech will eventually be supplanted from passenger cars to heavy trucks, by spark ignition engines in the end. More tuneable parameters (spark advance, fuel events, turbo pressure, etc.), and less rotating mass for same power output, and no emissions filters required for soot & NO2. With the advent of GDI, gasoline engines can be built to be just as efficient as diesels, and be able to pull the same heavy loads. Diesel is already begrudgingly produced by the distillers —— they could easily turn that diesel into gasoline. With engine technology bringing gasoline big gains in efficiency, I really think the diesel’s days are numbered. Just too expensive & too heavy.
Even worse, a diesel always wastes some fuel, unburned. That’s the soot... it just builds and builds in the exhaust system and some sort of filter has to either remove it, or it collects and it eventually clogs the system or catches fire. Even with the current crop of multi-event piezo injectors, soot is still a major problem in the end.
“Close to what Ive been watching for. Subaru and Audi come close, but I dont know that they have manual transmissions anymore. Turbo diesel is the way to go.
VW and Audi, and BMW sell turbo-diesel with manual.
Just over $20,000 for VW Golf or Jetta with manual, about $25,000 loaded, automatic, sunroof, satellite radio.
Why the “America Too Big to Fail Three” don’t offer us diesel is simple: No imagination, no risks.
VW’s objective is to top GM and Toyota, and become the number one automaker in the world.
They are making their Passat at their new factory in
Chattanooga, Tenn. It comes in turbo-diesel, too. Full sized sedan by current standards.
Not even Priuses?
We thought we had arrived when we got our hands on a timing light and a dwell meter... Most had an extra condenser and set of points in the glove box, and an ignition wrench, a feeler gauge and a screwdriver could get you going.
Real performance required 'talent', some money, and the willingness to experiment.
For most of us, at first, so long as it got to highway speed, didn't wake the folks up if you came in late (as if they weren't awake anyway), and didn't burn more oil than gas, that first car was a big step toward self-sufficiency and maturity.
It wasn't until later we discovered going fast...
Fewer cylinders per displacement quantity and fewer RPMs equals greater efficiency. A 5 liter 6 cylinder is more efficient than a 5 liter 12 cylinder with equal power outputs and equal RPMs. A ten liter engine operating at 1500RPMs is more efficient than a 5 liter operating at 3000RPMs with equal power outputs.
The bigger motor with less RPMs also lasts longer...assuming equal level of manufacturing, materials, and design quality.
The jetta is a helluva car for the money and long lasting too. They’ve come a long way in the last 25 years in terms of bang for the buck and durability.
Watch local want ads. Some of the best vehicles we have had were from estates (parent died, 'kids' (middle aged) didn't need another vehicle and often sell older but little-used vehicles at bargain prices. (Think a 1998 with 35,000 miles on it). The money you save can go in the gas tank. Often, these were garaged and meticulously serviced, often by dealer mechanics.
Used (off-lease and former rental) vehicles have usually been well maintained if not always well driven. Local, non-franchise rental agencies can offer some deals, especially near the end of the year when they cull the fleet for tax purposes.
Bargains can be had there as well, and then there are State and Municipal impound auctions, although these may involve more risk of getting a lemon.
There are still bargains out there, but you aren't likely to find them on a dealer lot.
That’s a beauty! ‘Jitneys’ and ‘jalopies’ used to be common, but nowadays there’d be a collective fit thrown over one anywhere but a museum or a parade.
The generation was force-fed that oil and CO2 emissions are evil, to the point that this has become the religion of many of them. And it is asked why kids aren’t buying cars? The communist brainwashing is finally taking hold Cars are considered evil. Oil users are raping Mother Earth.
Get with the program. The commie’s war against cars is finally starting to take hold.
“They share apartments to share the cost. They live close to work and either ride a bike or walk.”
Geez—I did that in the 70’s. What goes around must come around.
When a used truck costs $27K, you won’t see many younger people buying them.
And if you don’t have a job, you can’t afford a car.
Bob, do you know the percent of non-government workers in the USA that are actually belong to a union?
My teens don’t particularly care to drive, and frankly, insurance is just too much when they don’t have jobs.
20,000 grand adjusted for inflation is 136,000 dollars (2012)
Oh that another free thing the DEMS can give them. We need a new cheap people’s car. /sarcasm
obama has not given them the money yet, probably. A big majority of them back in 2008 wanted to be a part of history and “put a Black man in as President”.They did. He is there. And through the results of his policies, they have no opportunity to work and earn money for said car. Me, I was sixteen years old when I eatned the money for my mother to purchase my first cat. Back then the insurance was so high for young drivers, our parents purchased our cars in their name and carried us as occasional drivers on their insurance. We paid the difference in insurance costs.
I doubt it.
I would prefer to think the drivers license is a formality they are ignoring.
Not Bob, but I'd guess about 8%
Speaking of Mustangs...here is one that can get me excited http://www.aeclassiccars.com/OnlineCars/Mustang/67FastbackREPROBLUE/67FastbackREPROBLUE/album/index.html
There's the answer, folks.
Many kids are leaving college these days with the equivalent of a home mortgage payment, and very little job prospects due to the "new normal" unemployment rate. How can they then afford to buy a home? How can they afford a new car with no job? I'm not saying that they have no responsibilty for their situation, just that we can't copy the European model and not expect the same results.
Young adult Europeans live with their parents, because of economic conditions that Obama is replicating for us here. Multiple generations live in the same home.
Obama wants a European model for the USA, and he's getting it. If we continue down this path, our country we'll graduate from being like Italy to being like Greece, and the American dream will finally be dead for future generations.
Thanks - I wondered what that would be in today’s dollars but was too lazy to figure it out. At any rate, doubtful if we could buy a house and car like we had at $136,000 today. Just a new Mustang would take up a chunk of it.
Cars like that are usually bought and insured by the parents so they don’t count as a “young buyer”.
I worked after HS and saved $1700.00 for a 74 Camaro...My first....Lots of fun and speeding tic’s to boot(: