By on January 12, 2009

In the immortal words of Rodger Myers Jr., “You kids don’t know what you want. That’s why you’re still kids, ’cause you’re stupid.” I mention this because a couple of hours ago, Farago posted this little nugget about Generation Y and what they want when it comes to cars. According to the Deloitte survey, the three most important factors are exterior style, price and green. Which Robert categorized as, “complete horseshit.” Hmmm, not a lot of wiggle room there. But, obviously RF’s right. Horsepower is the number one thing a kid cares about, followed quickly by torque and then number of turbochargers. I think. And as commenter bleach said, “Environmentally friendly, eh? I’m guessing that survey also found Gen Y considers abstinence from sex, drugs and alcohol to be cool too.” Ha ha ha! But kids are pretty stupid (see above). So I decided to ask my 28-year-old fiancee (the age range of the survey was 17-28 year olds) what she thought. “Yup,” she totally agreed. Though for her it would be affordability, looks and environmental friendliness. What about performance I asked in a panic? Surely you must want performance? “No. The only people that care about performance are gearheads like you. I just want to go 80 mph on the freeway and get to where I’m going.” I was a bit shocked, especially because this blasphemy was happening under my roof. What about getting on the freeway quickly — surely that had to matter! “Most cars get on the freeway fine.” Safety? “No.” Um — I was fishing around — good brakes, surely. “That would fall under performance. Look, I’m a little spoiled from driving your car, but really price looks and whether or not it hurts the planet sound right.” Gulp. For the record, I’m not marrying her for her opinions on cars. Anyhow, what do you think the kids want?

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96 Comments on “Question of the Day: What Do The Kids Want?...”


  • avatar
    thetopdog

    Jonny, you should know better than to EVER ask the average female anything car-related. Actually, asking them what they want (even about things non-car related) and expecting a reasonable answer is not recommended either

    As far as young males go, they want 3 things:

    1) Performance (acceleration and handling)
    2) Looks
    3) Sex Appeal/Status

    I assume it’s been this way since the beginning of time. “Modability”, technology and nice interiors also matter to some young guys, although these criteria can fall under the 3 main categories too.

  • avatar
    no_slushbox

    What the auto industry really needs to worry about is what kids whose parents are buying them new cars want.

    Right now probably Hondas and BMWs, depending on how well mommy and/or daddy is doing, with some 370Zs, Gs, ISes, Mustangs and Corvettes thrown in. If they play too many video games they might want one of those rally car inspired things.

    I’m doubt they want Scions; only old people on fixed incomes drive those. I’m sure that’s not something the youth want to emulate.

    Young people who have graduated college and are working, and buying something new, probably have the same preferences.

    I don’t buy new, so my tastes shouldn’t matter to a strategic consulting/market research firm that is doing its job (although that is rare).

    A major market research mistake is asking people what they want in a car. They don’t know. Instead market research firms should ask people what specific cars they like, and their clients should benchmark those cars.

  • avatar
    JG

    Kids around here want to look prestigious. Economy cars and modern muscle are kind of “low rent…” Your friends (and enemies) will all envy you in your lightly used Audi A4, or 318, or RSX. Pop in an Ipod adapter and go.

    I came out of a Tim Hortons a few months back, and this disenchanted young man had parked his black 2008 Mustang Bullitt alongside mine of the same variety. Talking with him I got the feeling he was kind of pissed his Dad didn’t spring for something like an E92 M3. “I wanted a beemer but all I got was this discounted Mustang…”

  • avatar
    chrisz

    I asked my kids,(18-b and 16-g)and the reply came back as ‘my own’. Instead of driving their parents boring and old cars.

  • avatar
    TEW

    There is a reason why the Mustang and the Corvette have been around for so long. I am 18 years old so I feel that I fall into this category and if money was no object I would buy a Corvette ZR1. No matter how hard the media tries the youth will always dream of owning a sports car.

  • avatar
    geeber

    Young people can afford not to care about performance because most cars are quite good in the handling and acceleration department – especially compared to vehicles of 15 years ago.

    It’s not that young people don’t care about performance; it’s that they can take for granted that acceptable performance levels will be present in just about every vehicle on the market. Today’s “acceptable performance levels” would have been considered sports-car material 15-20 years ago.

    It’s the same reason she doesn’t have to worry about safety. Virtually every new car sports a gazillion air bags, so buyers can take it for granted.

  • avatar
    Michael Ayoub

    I’m 18, and I want a GR-series STI. I currently drive a Fit.

    (And to no_slushbox, I don’t play many video games. :))

    Most of the kids at my school want anything European because that’s what cool people drive, yo. I’ll never stop laughing at the retard with the Volkswagen Jetta that has Mercedes AMG wheels. If you combine two German car manufacturers, you double the coolness, bro.

    My best friend (who isn’t an enthusiast by any means) just got a 2008 Mazda6.

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    iPhone

  • avatar
    ajla

    They all want(ed) the G8 ST. I think…

  • avatar
    Dynamic88

    I strongly suspect that Gen – Y wants;

    1. Affordability, becaus w/o this, there is no car.

    2. Styling. Something that looks cool – not their parent’s car.

    3. Green Cred, because they’ve been raised to think green (they all recyle)

    I hate to break it to you, fellow gear heads, but even in my generation (boomer) an lot of people really didn’t give a damn about 0-60 times.

  • avatar
    steronz

    People need to stop asking kids what they want, because all they’ll find out is that they want something that looks like an F430, gets the mileage of a Prius, can perform like a ZR1, has the interior and NVH of a Maybach, and costs less than a Cobalt.

    Kids buy the coolest car that they can afford, which, depending on who they are, can be anything from an SN95 Mustang, to a 1st gen xB, to an old Towncar. Or it could be a Olds 88.

    These surveys shouldn’t be asking what features kids want, because there’s no relation between features and what cars they end up buying. Instead, they just need to ask what cars are “cool” right now, which is a pointless moving target if there ever was one.

  • avatar
    jthorner

    I think the fiancee is pretty typical.

    The real question in most buyer’s minds young and old is: “How does it make me look?” Depending upon the crowd they travel in, green might be oh-so-cool look to go for. Monster truck plays to a certain crowd while the Fit goes for a whole different group.

    Someone once described a car as the clothing you leave parked in front of your house or workplace. Sounds about right. There isn’t a universal answer to the question of what people want.

    P.S. The job of marketing is often to segment people into groups and then tell them what they want based on their group affiliation. Speaking of which, there are no defined generations as in “boomer”, “gen-x”, etc. People are born and people die every day. This birth year market segmentation is a tool of marketers trying to work their magic. It isn’t real.

  • avatar
    maxo

    there are lots of normal mainstream kids, just like the adults. They care about this stuff, and will grow up the same. The majority of people RF’s age buy stuff like Camrys… or Buicks :)

  • avatar
    ARacer

    They want the same thing as adults: something they think their peers will approve of. Whatever that happens to be. No matter how ridiculous it is to the casual observer.

  • avatar
    Detroit-Iron

    I’m a little out of that range, but my wants haven’t changed since then:

    1963 Lincoln Continental Convertible with a Roush prepped crate motor.

    and

    Lotus Super Seven.

    I don’t think that will help the marketers much.

  • avatar
    musicalmcs8706

    As someone who falls towards the younger half of that age group, a lot of that makes sense. The price is HUGE! We want the best that we (or mommy and daddy) can get for the money. And the green part also goes with the price. The better gas mileage the less it costs to run. Makes total sense to me… And even though I drive a 2005 Impala, not a 2005 BMW, the looks are important to me. My requirements are that it is in good shape and isn’t a Camry when it comes to looks. Luckily my car has the spoiler and alloy wheels. But looks are very important.

    I really would love to have a car that is incredibly fast, but I haven’t encountered a single situation where my Impala hasn’t been fast enough. Plus this car can hold a lot more stuff than so many other cars out there and when I’m having to move out of the dorm for the summer it’s a great car.

  • avatar
    Evan is a Robot

    Speaking as a 19-year old college student, my top three criteria are:

    1. Practicality (I want to be able to fit all my stuff into it when I move, which happens a lot with people my age)

    2. Fun-to-Drive (mostly handling, but a bit of grunt couldn’t hurt)

    3. Affordability (I’m an engineering student, so the low tuition/high starting pay probably skews this somewhat)

    But then again, I’m also a nerd, so what do I know?

  • avatar
    porschespeed

    Depends on the girls Jonny…
    (you too, thetopdog)

    My ex loved her 750i because it was fast. (she’s 32) She previously had a Firebird with whatever the hipo 350 is. She was once stopped after being clocked north of 150.

    My current (23, I know, I know) has a turbo Eclipse. That she regularly gets heavy on the right foot with. She also has ‘fast’ on the car shopping list. But she can also change her own tires. And really got into helping me assemble an engine. If only she wasn’t majoring in accounting…

    When I was a kid, we wanted handling. We lived out in the (sort of) boonies. Tons of backroads to carve. GTI, Opel Manta Rallye, X1/9, those were the cars we bought. The fact that the rest of the world had T/As and trucks didn’t hurt getting us, umm, attention from girls was a bonus.

    Of course, I’m weird and so are most of the people I know.

  • avatar
    toxicroach

    no_slushbox :

    I’d put it another way: car companies should be worried about what the parents who are buying a new car for their kids want, because at the end of the day the car that will be bought is the one they want that the kid will accept.

    Also, who the hell is getting brand new cars bought for them as kids? I was as pampered as anyone without a trust fund can be, and I got whatever car my parents wanted to get rid of. In this economic environment even the most reckless of upper middle class parents are probably downgrading to nicely used cars.

  • avatar
    sean362880

    I’m 24 and I drive a Mazda3 hatch.

    Styling: weird
    Price: low (for a new car, that is)
    Green cred: some

    So I guess I fit the bill, except that the performance is better than average too.

    …but if I were slightly richer I would have got a Mustang GT. Purchase price, mileage, and insurance convinced me otherwise. I guess that’s the difference between what I wanted and what I actually bought.

  • avatar
    magoo

    “I strongly suspect that Gen – Y wants;

    1. Affordability, becaus w/o this, there is no car.

    2. Styling. Something that looks cool – not their parent’s car.

    3. Green Cred, because they’ve been raised to think green (they all recyle)

    I hate to break it to you, fellow gear heads, but even in my generation (boomer) an lot of people really didn’t give a damn about 0-60 times.”

    I’m sure you nailed it. For most kids today just as for the population in general, cars are essentially appliances. The passion for cars shared by young and old through the ’50s and ’60s does not exist anymore. Except for the usual handful of gearheads of course.

    I am old enough to remember when cars became no longer cool. It was about 1972. The kid with the great car went from the top of the social pecking order to the bottom almost overnight.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    I’m with Detroit-Iron

  • avatar
    no_slushbox

    toxicroach:

    At the end of the day the parents are of course the deciders, but sometimes the kid gets to pick it out. I’m sure there has recently been a steep decline in that practice.

    In this economic climate (not so much the “credit crunch”, but simply peoples’ newly discovered personal fiscal conservatism) selling any new cars to people in the 18-28 range is going to be an elusive goal.

  • avatar
    dolo54

    I wouldn’t say less kids are gearheads today than back in the day. They just transfer the passion to what they can own. Back in the 70s if you were a gearhead you got a beat up muscle car and slowly added go fast parts as you could afford until you had a monster. Today the same still holds true, except that muscle car is replaced with an import, Honda, VW, Mazda, Subaru, etc. Although there are still those who go ‘merican and get an old Fox Body and build them up. I don’t think the percentage is that different. It wasn’t like every kid was driving a suped up muscle car in the 70s. Most were in whatever they could afford and didn’t have that much desire to go faster.

  • avatar
    yournamehere

    Im 23.

    At 20 i bought a Scion xB. at 22 I bought a GTI.

    The xB was ok. It was kinda cool, but it couldnt get out of its own way. I LOVE my GTI. But i dont need such a big car. If Ford brings us a Fiesta ST or RS that will be my next car.

  • avatar
    SOF in training

    My 21 yr old daughter recently moved out and took my 1986 Tercel 4wd with 245,000mi, with her. I tried to talk her out of it. Not stylish, not safe, still moderately reliable, green only when you consider how long it has lasted and the reasonable mpg, and certainly cheap (she insists that at one time I said I would ‘give’ it to her). She wouldn’t own a car if she could avoid it.

    My 18 yr old daughter decided that she could no longer stand driving my beater ’95 Corsica, and wanted a ’95 Eclipse – until she read owner reviews. She just bought a ’95 240SX – automatic… only because she couldn’t find a nice one with a stick. She wouldn’t consider anything bigger. Stylish, reasonably priced, and greenish… well, gold-greenish.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    I’m sure you nailed it. For most kids today just as for the population in general, cars are essentially appliances.

    They were appliances for most people, in many generations. Luxury appliances, if you go back far enough, sometimes overchromed if that was the style (but so were the stoves and fridges of the time!), but appliances nonetheless.

    The problem is, if you get enough gearheads of any generation in one group, they’ll groupthink what you’ve just said. In your case, we have old gearheads, who only ever talk to other old gearheads, and not to housewives, cost accountants or farmers, all of whom, by and large, didn’t give a shit and bought the best appliance. Young enthusiasts? What young enthisiasts? Why, in my day, cars were Real Cars, ten yards long, with eight hundred pounds of chrome and engines measured in cubic feet, not these twinkie rolling discos we have today! Now get off my lawn!**

    Ahem..

    I’ve listened to baggypanted, backwards-ballcap guys in deathcar Integras and WRXs who’ve said almost the same thing: old people don’t care about performance or styling; they just want a sofa on wheels.

    ** channelling a little Peter De Lorenzo, there.

  • avatar
    DeanMTL

    The priority list:

    1. Has to look cool
    2. Prestige is a bonus (Benz, BMW, etc)
    3. Performance is irrelevant

    As a 32 year old that can afford whatever I want, I’ll still go for looks over performance, but that’s mainly a function of where I live. In Montreal where the streets suck and the weather is atrocious, a beefy Range Rover Sport is a more desirable buy than a 911 Turbo. As CRAZY as that sounds, I know.

  • avatar
    jmo

    Also, who the hell is getting brand new cars bought for them as kids?

    Mothers and especially fathers who want to demonstrate how well they are providing for their families. A lot of men value being an above average provider.

    It’s the type of guy who buy their kids a new car at 16 another at 22, college and grad school are paid in full, a 100k dollar wedding and 250k for a house down payment. I know a bunch of people from families that consider that to be the bare minimum level of parental support.

  • avatar
    Hwanung

    I’m 24.

    I want to rewind the clock 50 years, and make a small 4 door sedan out of an NC Miata (Insert 510, 2002ti, Cortina, Escort, etc. here). Tune an n/a motor (Duratec + DI) to about 200 hp, mate it to a 6 speed manual, and then call it a day.

    Please delete BS like 10 way electric parkbench seats, light up cup holders, AWD, yaw sensors, navigation screens, and other miscellaneous garbage acronym electronics that will just break and cost me a lot of money 10 years from now.

    Please add manual recaros, and HIDs. Make sure I can stuff a set of hoosiers in the trunk and the back seat.

    As the primary feature is LIGHTNESS, I see no reason why this wouldn’t be under 15 seconds in the quarter and over 30 mpg on the highway. Put some BAMF tires on there and you’ll be embarassing the Ultimate DoucheMobile in no time.

    Until then, I’ll keep buying used cars.

  • avatar
    black turbo

    I am an 18 year old college student, and I drive a 2000 Saab 9-3 3-door hatch. I know this site doesn’t take too kindly to Saabs, but I do. I financed the car on my own and am mostly happy with it, despite the problems related to it essentially being an Opel underneath. I chose to buy the car because I thought it was a great looking car, and it’s pretty fast, and it gets good fuel mileage. What I consider cool is anything that can blow the doors off of all the ‘cool’ cars, and get decent mileage when its not, all while not drawing any attention to itself.

    I also have a friend that drives a Dodge Ram 2500 that he financed himself and uses to snow plow and landscape, and I also have a friend with a 2003 Acura RL that he took no part in paying for. They are both happy with their vehicles, but performance plays no part for them, nor does effieciency or how clean it is. The truck does that job, and the Acura has the status.

    I’m not sure how that figures into the survey, but those are real statistics.

  • avatar

    I think kids are more interested in their cell phones than their cars.

  • avatar
    amy amnesia

    As Jonny’s above-mentioned fiancee, I’m very impressed that only thetopdog seems to have fallen into the “let’s make generalities about females” trap.

    To defend myself a little:

    “affordability” is because I have always been broke. It includes used cars, because I have never had the money to buy something new.

    “looks” is not “the trendiest thing out there”. It means, I don’t like white cars or cars that look like every other car on the road. Also I prefer two-door hatchbacks, small small small.

    “green” means, I don’t want to pay a lot in gas. Basically, this is an extension of “affordibility.”

    Performance is important, and I’d love to have a car that performed well. I would assuredly pick the best-performing car in my price range ($0-$500)

    But Performance to me means “would handle great on a race track or if i was in some kind of elaborate police chase.” Neither of those scenarios applies to me on a daily basis, so unless the best performing car is also the cheapest, I won’t buy it.

    Twin turbo costs extra, I heard.

  • avatar
    magoo

    “I wouldn’t say less kids are gearheads today than back in the day. They just transfer the passion to what they can own. Back in the 70s if you were a gearhead you got a beat up muscle car and slowly added go fast parts as you could afford until you had a monster. Today the same still holds true, except that muscle car is replaced with an import, Honda, VW, Mazda, Subaru, etc.”

    To some degree, but the Import Tuner trend (the fast ‘n furious scene) is as dead as a doornail. Nopi is bankrupt and Sport Compact magazine recently folded. There never was the breadth and depth in interest there was for hot rodding in the ’50s or muscle cars in the ’60s. Kids today just don’t like cars the way we did. That’s my read anyway.

  • avatar
    benders

    As someone who falls right in the middle of the targeted age group, I drive an 04 WRX wagon that I bought 1 year ago. It’s fast, practical, and reasonably efficient; those were my criteria.

    It’s been said above, young adults buy whatever they think will make them cool. Among my college friends (almost all engineers) they buy sports cars (Boxster, RX-8). My friends where I live now all buy GM sedans because that’s what everyone else buys. My accountant friends all bought appliances from Toyota or Honda.

  • avatar
    vww12

    “These surveys shouldn’t be asking what features kids want, because there’s no relation between features and what cars they end up buying”

    Errr… exactly right.

    People say they are for this, that and the other (typically a mix of what their peers are doing and what their parents taught them) and they end up doing something totally different.

  • avatar
    ellomdian

    @porschespeed – Can I have your ex’s number? I like them a tad older in a large BMW that doesn’t start with “x”…

    Quick headcount around the office has 1 green, and 8 don’t care about the green. Seriously, only those “cool” hippy kids on TV care about the environment.

    The rest of us see “green” as “fuel efficient means cheap.” If my car ran for free on processed baby panda spleen, well, time to stock up on spleen before it runs out.

  • avatar
    Dynamic88

    Now get off my lawn!**

    LOL!

  • avatar
    Rev Junkie

    I’m 17, and I sure as hell know what I want in a car

    1. Manual Transmission
    2. High-Revving Engine
    3. Good to Drive
    4. Light Weight
    5. Easily Tunable

    I also have the good sense, unlike most other teenagers in not adorning my Civic with fake chrome wheel covers, fake Type-R or Turbo badges, fart cans, neon lights, 3 ft. high spoilers, and all other accessories that make me look like a jackass. I’m hoping to snag an early 90′s Miata for my next car and shove a Honda F20C drivetrain under there. 237hp@ 8700 rpm, 6sp man, good handling, 2100lbs, what’s not to like? Lack of power steering, so what? Power windows, mirrors, locks, softtop, who needs ‘em? Airbags, we don’t need no steenking airbags! Cheaper than an Elise, and more powerful.

  • avatar
    SunnyvaleCA

    A certain type of driver just pushes the accelerator less far down when driving a more powerful car. Fast acceleration isn’t in their thought process. When confronted with a dangerous situation, the solution is always to slow down. As in: “Traffic on the highway is going very quickly and my on-ramp is very short … so I better slow down to be safe!” For those types of driver, more power is of absolutely no use.

  • avatar
    dolo54

    @ magoo – I think you’re wrong. Just about every car that is tunable has active forums. If you don’t believe that young people (16-35 in my mind) aren’t into tuning cars, just take a look at them. The magazine’s fail because no one reads magazine’s anymore. Nopi failed because it’s corny and everybody got sick of it. But there are plenty of kids that love to work on their cars and make them go faster. I’m 38, and I remember the 70s. I also know a lot of younger people who work on their cars, just from living in neighborhoods where that goes on. For instance when I moved to my neighborhood, Anaheim, CA, an 18 year-old kid came up to me as I was working on my car just to ask questions about it. He just got a beat 240sx that he is rebuilding. Check out cardomain.com, sure a lot of those cars are a bit silly, but you can see the passion out there. Check the site I go to all the time when I need to do a job on my car: twinturbo.net. See all the tutorials and tech posts on how to do repairs and upgrades. It’s crazy how much support you get now. Back then you had to take shop class and get to know people to learn anything. Now you can just go online and have access to thousands of people’s collective knowledge. I daresay it’s way easier to be a car guy these days.

  • avatar
    Robstar

    My wife is at the top end of this agerange and probably doesn’t qualify for this survey as she has lived her entire life in brazil. She wants prestige first, cheap to run/insure 2nd.

    prestige in brazil is:

    1) “imported”, but not vw (unless it’s a fancy one — jetta, passat, or better). When I say “imported” I mean by brazillian standards.
    – Anything Japanese
    – Anything European, especially except:
    * fiat
    * vw sub 2.0L engine, except jetta
    * chevy sub 2.0L engine, unless the model doesn’t exist in Brazil
    * Renault
    2) 2.0L engine or bigger = have money
    3) Bonus points for SUV/Truck as these are (guess) — expensive in Brazil
    4) Auto transmission = expensive in brazil
    5) She is due for a car by Q4 2010 and is currently interested in either a minivan, a fit, and a couple of other suv’s. She currently LOVES her 2000 neon as it is reliable, doesnt eat much gas, and has a……2.0L engine (who cares if it’s only got 3 auto gears?)

    Needless to say she HATES riding in the STi. The acceleration scares her.

  • avatar
    jcp2

    +1 for SherbornSean and David Holzman’s comments.

    I think cellphones are taking over as teen status symbols, with a car being within the financial reach of only a few young adults.

  • avatar
    Quentin

    26 year old automotive engineer here.

    Daily Driver:
    - fun to drive
    - clever (neat features such as plaid seats or unusual styling)
    - practical
    - easy on gas

    My wife and I have a 2005 MINI Cooper S and a 2007 VW GTI respectively. The MINI isn’t the most practical, but it fits the other 3 criteria very well. My GTI fits all 4.

    That said, I’m looking for a utility vehicle as a 3rd car. My criteria for it are as follows:
    - cargo space
    - ground clearance
    - mpg
    - awd

    Thus, I’m hoping for a hybrid Venza to come out soon. Plus, the MINI is so stiffly sprung that I’m pissing blood after a trip to my parents’ 4 hrs away.

  • avatar
    rkeep820

    Scooter.

  • avatar
    InTheFlesh2525

    As a 20 year old male

    im after

    1) Performance
    2) Durability/Dependability
    3) Safety

    Gas Mileage is a distant 4th

    I drive an 02 Sentra SE-R
    which touches lightly on all four

    after college though im going for a new WRX
    Beauty is only skin deep right?

  • avatar
    TEW

    At the high school I attended more than half of the cars in the lot were brand new. The parents did not want their child driving in a POS because they feel that the parent’s peers would look down on them. Also the parents are trying to buy their kids love. It was not uncommon for a child to drive in a $20,000+ car.

  • avatar
    thetopdog

    Cellphones aren’t even close to being comparable to cars as status symbols. Everybody has a cell phone, nearly anybody can afford a top of the line cell phone, tons of pre-teen girls have iPhones and Blackberries, it’s not the mid 90s any more.

  • avatar
    porschespeed

    @porschespeed – Can I have your ex’s number? I like them a tad older in a large BMW that doesn’t start with “x”…

    You may think you want a 6 foot tall silhouette model for the chrome cutouts on the truck mudflaps who’s madly in love with you. You don’t.

    The rest of us see “green” as “fuel efficient means cheap.” If my car ran for free on processed baby panda spleen, well, time to stock up on spleen before it runs out.

    ROTFLMFAO

  • avatar
    Raingler

    I’m 21 and I want off-road capability. There are just to many great places to go where there is no pavement.

    I think you can tally that up under performance, but I’m an enthusiast.

    However, if I were going to go to much further in modifying my 07 Jeep, and I wanted a second car…

    It would be the complete opposite of what I have. Comfortable, efficient, 4 door (practical), fairly quick, and 100% not a Chrysler.

  • avatar
    carlisimo

    The few young people who are car enthusiasts get ridiculed for their taste, harassed by police, beaten down by insurance companies, facing the prospect of being tracked by GPS and having their pictures taken by cameras, and they’re probably buying used, so the cars they like turn out to be sales failures and are canceled.

    And then people wonder why there aren’t that many enthusiasts anymore. Thank you, “do as I say, not as I did” grown-ups.

  • avatar
    Neb

    I’d say one thing that people talking about gen Y and their cars completely miss is that the gen Ys are by in large much poorer then their parents were. While in the seventies and sixties you could actually cater to a youth market since many young people had the cash to participate, today more often then not they quite simply don’t. You could make a sharp distinction in the gen Y demographic between the haves and the have-nots: the have-nots if buying a car will look at the used market, while the haves will be able to have their parents buy a car for them. This is relevant since the former are not really on the radar of auto manufacturers, and the latter are not just buying new cars, but can afford the top end of the range (the Honda Civic Si, the Golf VR6 etc.)

    Thus, there is a market incentive to serve up expensive small cars for the haves, but no market incentive to serve the have-nots. The only way to bring that far larger group into the market place is to increase the income of the Gen Ys, which is, well, out of the Auto manufactures hands for the most part.

    Another problem with serving the gen Ys could be called “the Scion Paradox.” Since the Baby boomers are not only about twice as numerous as generation Y, but also have way more money as a demographic, it makes sense that most new cars are directed toward that demographic, either through marketing (like the new Mini) or through engineering (like the new Scion XB.)The first Gen Scion XB was directed at young people, but ended up being bought by a lot of older folks, so it makes a certain sort of sense that you’d tune the next gen for those older folks. Of course by doing that, you are defeating the purpose of the Scion in the first place: to appeal to young people.

    Thus the marketing wankery that goes on with Car buying Gen Ys is often that: wankery. Until the Ys become richer, they are not going to be buying many new cars.

  • avatar
    Schm

    Hello everyone.

    I’m 18, and my parents and I just bought a used e90 330i. I thought the looks were nice, black, the drive was astonishing, I loved the manual transmission, and I loved the tech (Satellite Radio, ipod thingy, nice stereo). It’s everything I would want, except that’s a BMW, because despite what it seems, I really could do without the attention (Hence the black)

  • avatar
    xargs

    I’m 36, and WAY outside the target demo. I’m interested in ‘fast’ but I like ‘odd’ in a big way. I’ve owned about 50-some vehicles in my life, 40-some of which have been motorcycles. I am currently stuffing a VFR800 motor into a Honda Z600 car (RWD FTW).

    It’ll be great.

    I’ve never cared what people thought of my cars, because they’ve always been off the radar of most folks.

    But my ex-girlfriend is all about style. Speed not so much. Another female friend likes proper amounts of power (and she’s got an ’04 WRX +more turbo.) She’s married, alas.

    If I was looking at a new car right at the moment, I’d probably be looking at a Fit or something similar. Everything got too big and bloated. I like the first gen xB, but sheesh, set copier to ‘bloat’!

    I want a 21st century 2CV/Renault 4 ‘camionette’ trucklet big enough for a pile of crap and the occasional dirt bike. Ha!

  • avatar
    magoo

    “@ magoo – I think you’re wrong. Just about every car that is tunable has active forums. If you don’t believe that young people (16-35 in my mind) aren’t into tuning cars, just take a look at them. The magazine’s fail because no one reads magazine’s anymore. Nopi failed because it’s corny and everybody got sick of it. But there are plenty of kids that love to work on their cars and make them go faster. I’m 38, and I remember the 70s. I also know a lot of younger people who work on their cars, just from living in neighborhoods where that goes on.” -dolo54

    I’m talking about 1) car enthusiasts as percentage of the population and 2) the level of casual car enthusiasm among the mainstream population. There is no question that both have diminished since say, the ’60s.

    Really all I am saying is that the age of America’s love affair with the automobile has passed. Are many people still into cars? Sure. But it’s not the national passion it once was.

  • avatar
    jcp2

    thetopdog,

    See neb. He/she says it better than I can. Maybe a better answer would be “an affordable and reliable used car.”

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    I live mere blocks from a midwest college campus (WMU in Kalamazoo) which allows all students to have/drive cars to campus. A natural environment to study the automotive preferences of the young. Based on my continuous observations, the following: (The school is mostly caucasian, with a large population subset of Middle eastern and asian.)

    Young guys want cars that …..surprise!…chicks think are cool, under the theory that this will assist in getting them laid. But they don’t want to spend, or have a lot of money to spend. They also want to drive cars other guys won’t see as wimped…so, your Civic coupes, your GTI’s, your Mazda 3′s, to a lesser degree your Mustangs, are all very common. They aspire to BMW 3-series (don’t we all?) but less so as it has gotten bigger, more complex, and more $$ expensive. They’ll settle for Audi A4′s because to drive something European indicates a certain knowledge of the world.

    Jeep Wranglers and Toyota pickups are big among the subset of guys who like to be outdoors….relatively cheap, but supports their active lifestyle. Wouldn’t drive an Element of xB because too many geezers have ‘em, even though they fit the lifestyle profile.

    Young chicks like to drive cars that….surprise!…other young chicks will think are cool. VW convertibles, Jettas, Eclipses, Civics, Pria, a Corolla in a flattering color, also, Vibes or Matrices. Chicks also seem to like the G6,the only D3 nameplate that appears to be seen as respectable by sorority girls. The more affluent still go for Grand Cherokees and the pre-2007 Liberties.

    Surprising, no has one mentioned that AC, a sunroof, and an iPod jack are must-have features, just as power windows and locks and a security system with remote power locks are all de rigeur.

    Engine size I don’t think matters, as young people would rather have coinage for premium weekend alcohol than to put it on gas, so the horsepower guys are barking up a wrong tree (except for male jocks…they like their big V-8 pickups, but they’re a minor anomaly…they believe their jock status will get them laid…wheels aren’t necessary for that aspect, so they go all out to outperform each other. It’s a penis-measurining thing.

    Also, I think the young folks, more than any previous generation, like a somewhat understated, more factory look of cool. Buying a vehicle with factory, or dealer installed extra luxuries beat adding on after-market stuff later. That speaks, again, to a certain worldly knowledge about “how to buy a car” to them.

    More importantly, perhaps, if you drive American, (except for Mustangs, Jeeps and pickups)it is a sign that your parents bought it for you, so you are by nature under their control. If drive foreign, even if your parents paid for it, you get some cred for independence.

    If you drive the following, you are a scholarship student, or otherwise socially suspect:

    Cobalt
    Focus
    Galant
    Older Camry
    Older Accord
    Taurus
    Any Mercury

    The among African-American students,I see alot of Chrysler 300′s and some Chargers, and also a lot of Impalas.

    So,it kind of appears that, like older adults, young women’s opinions seem to carry a lot of weight as to what is cool, and what epitomizes lame. And, also, it seems that what a car IS is maybe not as important as what it says about the owner in terms of sophistication and worldliness.

    So, if I were marketing cars, I would be asking young women “what does this car say to you about the person who owns it?”

    Make of this what you will. It is just observations.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    I would never have thought of a car costing more than $4k through college. Hell, 4 wheels and a seat or two was great. I remember thinking I’d get a Neon out of school, but realized I had balls and needed to drive something that wouldn’t cause that fact to be questioned.

    I stretched the budget, spent 15k, and bought an Altima.

  • avatar
    akirachan

    Kids that are actually into cars want fast cars that are featured in Gran Turismo( WRX, GT-R, etc). They also want cool cars with celebrity credentials(‘Slade, Lambo, etc). Finally they want something they can afford but fast ( used CR-X, integra, etc)

    All I can say is this; cars are like music, has always been. But it’s so diversified nowadays I don’t think there is one way to wrangle this issue. Some kids are indie kids, some goth, some pop/american idol types, emo kids, suburban-punks, etc.

    I think if there’s any trend amongst kids in general, it’s probably that they don’t really care about cars as other previous gens did. At least not till they get older.

    Sad. And as with the previous analogies with music, tastes for cars have been more influenced by non-essential aspects, such as nav capability, iPod connectivity, getting-from-point-A-to-point-B-ability(blah!) and shit like that. Not horsepowah, not handing, not coolness in a gear-head kinda way.

    P-Funk(or whatever shit that ruled pre-1995) is missed and so are big-ol-gas-guzzlers/Super Car Dreams that were fantastically funky and imaginative!

  • avatar
    PanzerJaeger

    21 year old here..

    1. Performance (mod-able)
    2. Style
    3. German

    Dream car: Audi RS4, RS5(when it comes out), R8
    Back to reality: VW GLI, which I’m hoping to pick up soon for a decent carpocolypse discount. :P

  • avatar
    GeeDashOff

    Lets see: I’m 23, just graduated and got a job, finally bought my own car. Mommy and daddy never bought me shit, all my own credit, so my budget was ~$15,000.
    My friends are basically in the same boat. we’re in suburban N Jersey so a car is basically a must for getting anywhere.

    I bought a 2004 subaru impreza wagon, and my other friends have: 1999 Honda civic, 2000 toyota carolla, 2001 civic, 2003 civic, 2003 mazda3, 2006 scion xB, 1999 F150, 99 ford focus, and an 05 hyundai sonata.

    Whats the common theme here? Cheap, economical, reliable, practical transportation.

    I don’t know who these kids are who are buying (being given) BMWs and Benzes but they’re not representative of 90% of american youth.

    Most of my peers can’t afford basics like loan payments or rent let alone fancy cars.

  • avatar
    jmo

    Gee,

    I’m curious to know why you would spend 15k on a 5 yo Subaru rather than spend 15k on a new Fit? I’d have to think that subarus and hondas have about the same lifespan – so buying a new Fit would get you at least 5 more years of trouble free motoring.

  • avatar
    black turbo

    Something I’d like to add, is being near the bottom of the specified demographic (18), I was recently in high school. When I was in high school I found myself explaining at least once a week what all the letters meant on an automatic shifter(!) This was especially shocking to me since I learned to drive in a 5-Speed Saab Turbo, and still drive one today, also a stick.
    I dont think it’s been mentioned at all yet, but I’d hope that I’m not the only young self proclaimed enthusiast out there that requires a manual transmission. To be completely honest, I would buy nearly anything that I could afford, had some flickability, and of course, that third crucial pedal.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    “Kids buy the coolest car that they can afford”

    I’m sorry but that statement typifies the problem of using stereotypes and generalizations.

    I mean, if all of us kids were a fashion statement, wouldn’t we all wear hip clothes of varying types?

    And yet… most folks I’ve known in my life couldn’t give a flying flip about their clothes other than having them not be an issue in their lives. My own suspicion is that 85+% of the folks in the world have the same exact attitude towards cars.

    Most cars bought and sold in North America are a combination of one part economic proposition, one part functionality, and maybe a half part style/performance. This is why cars like the Camry, Accord, and Prius are such strong sellers here, and virtually nowhere else.

  • avatar
    romanjetfighter

    Well, I got a silver Camry a few months ago when I was 18. I wanted something unique, but my mom insisted on a reliable car to get me through college. Parents choose kid’s cars, unless the kid works for the money. And what kid can work and save up a couple thousand for a car?

    Kids at my high school were badge whores.

    X-types, lots of C230s (most leased), new 3-series, used 5-series. Most of these badge whores were girls. Infiniti and Lexus were all staff-driven.

    Guys loved their trucks. An expression of maleness.

    Cars for young people are to get chicks and assert their social standing amongst their peers.

  • avatar
    dasko

    I am a 21 year old student. I am an enthusiast but most of my friends are not. I want a safe, quick car, that is respectable on gas that goes around corners well and hopefully is a hatchback.

    My friends want a car that is:
    Cheap
    Cool looking
    Green or fast depending on the person

  • avatar
    Areitu

    1) Most boys want cars they think will make other boys and girls go “Wow.”

    2) Most girls want cars that make them say “That’s cute!”

    3) For both sexes, something “unique.” This includes VW Beetle Cabrios and any base model car with a performance apperance package.

    That’s about it, I think.

    Evan is a Robot :
    January 12th, 2009 at 5:12 pm

    Speaking as a 19-year old college student, my top three criteria are:

    1. Practicality (I want to be able to fit all my stuff into it when I move, which happens a lot with people my age)

    2. Fun-to-Drive (mostly handling, but a bit of grunt couldn’t hurt)

    3. Affordability (I’m an engineering student, so the low tuition/high starting pay probably skews this somewhat)

    But then again, I’m also a nerd, so what do I know?

    As a 25 year old (graduated at 23) who had those same priorities while car shopping, I was also a nerd. In fact, I had one of those grids where each axis represented those things, reliability/serviceability include. The best candidate was a slightly used WRX. I had the epiphany that I would only be young and dumb only once…that skewed the whole thing terribly.

    jcp2 :
    January 12th, 2009 at 6:53 pm

    +1 for SherbornSean and David Holzman’s comments.

    I think cellphones are taking over as teen status symbols, with a car being within the financial reach of only a few young adults.

    You can’t hold a car to the side of your head at the mall or wherever you’re going.

    PanzerJaeger :
    January 12th, 2009 at 9:34 pm

    21 year old here..

    1. Performance (mod-able)
    2. Style
    3. German

    Dream car: Audi RS4, RS5(when it comes out), R8
    Back to reality: VW GLI, which I’m hoping to pick up soon for a decent carpocolypse discount. :P

    RS4 FTW.

  • avatar
    hans007

    I am reading this and I’m 27 and I think that

    for me maybe I completely got over the initial part of what a typical guy wants in a car, but I also like the idea that a car isn’t a hassle and is convenient. Call it practicality.

    Granted when I was 24 I bought a G35 coupe (with my own money by the way, after I had saved for a few years and got a new job) and it was not convenient or practical and it wasted gas like crazy. And it was awesome.

    But I got annoyed I really couldn’t use it in los angeles traffic (And it was not so convenient for say having people in) so I got an acura TSX (1st gen). THe acura is still pretty sport, though I wish it were faster. Maybe age brings the whole “green and practical” part I don’t know. Then again I want a faster rwd car now….

    I also agree with the not what my parents have thing. Both my parents drive BMWs. My mom is like 49 and drives an e90 328. I can’t see myself driving one now that my mom has one. I mean its a great driving car, but its instantly not cool since mom has one.

  • avatar

    “I want something with reclining leather seats that goes really fast and gets really shitty gas mileage”

    -” how bout a 6000 SUX?”

    YEAH ! That sounds good !
    Ho about cruise control? DOES IT COME WITH CRUISE CONTROL?

    - “Sure ! We’ll even through in a Blapunkt !”

  • avatar

    When I was a kid, I was always attracted to the Lamborghinis.

    Never liked Porsche.

    Now I want a Veyron.

  • avatar
    Jimal

    Sorry, but I don’t give a rat’s ass what kids think or want. I spent the earlier of my 38 years being ignored because I was a kid and didn’t know any better, didn’t know what I was talking about. In this way kids are pretty much the same as they were when I was that age, yet for some reason I’m supposed to care about their opinions? The adults in this world need to grow a collective pair and resume control of things.

  • avatar
    V6

    i’m 25 and i’ve always had a thing for semi luxury sedans. i hate the sound 4 cylinder engines make, i need a 6 cylinder, quiet riding, good ride and handling doesnt need to be amazing, just good enough to be smooth and flowing through corners and reasonably quick steering. fwd/rwd/awd doesnt bother me

  • avatar
    flomulgator

    from Magoo:
    “The passion for cars shared by young and old through the ’50s and ’60s does not exist anymore. Except for the usual handful of gearheads of course”

    I’m sure there is historical sociological stuff with the increasing commonality of cars, and there is big green cred backlash to sportiness these days. But more than anything, I would add to that statement that as a 28 year old, I grew up in a police state. Cops and speed traps everywhere. Horrendously expensive taxes…err tickets. I have a enough electronics, paranoid awareness, and rebellious spirit to keep on performance driving and aspire to sports cars, but most kids from my generation simply gave up a long time ago, got in line, bought a honda, and started mooing.

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

    I don’t know what they want; I’m pushing 40. But, I’ll take that Ford GT, if you’re offering.

  • avatar

    @ 27, and being in that recently categorized “Gen Y returning from combat”, here are my priorities:

    -Fun to drive

    -Does it piss somebody off

    Green cred… could care less. Save the environment means a lot less when you are trying to save a civilization

  • avatar
    Hard Max

    I’m 28 so I guess I fit in the demographic in question.

    Cars owned since college graduation:
    Nissan Sentra Spec-V
    Subaru WRX
    Nissan 350Z

    We’re not all hippies dammit. I’ve been tempted to get a very fuel efficient car for my daily commute but only for the gas savings. I don’t care even slightly what my car’s carbon footprint is.

    It’s the economy stupid. I think the green movement is the media confusing (on purpose or because it’s stupid) the economic drive for fuel efficiency with a moral drive for fuel efficiency. I think most people honestly don’t give two shits about the environment unless it has an effect on their pocket books (I’m not excluding myself from ‘most people’).

    Personally, I’ve always liked affordable sports cars. As my income has grown my idea of what is affordable has grown as well. If my wife and I hadn’t just bought a house I would be ok with adding a $30K car note to our budget. With that said, I would be hard pressed to make that kind of commitment when there are so many great used sports cars on the market.

  • avatar
    chanman

    24 year old here, with a 20 year old sibling.

    Main points seem to be that when we get cars – we need them to be ready and there for using.

    Price
    Practicability
    Handling seem to encompass it.

    There’s an Acura CSX a few Civics, an Echo or two, the odd Mazda 3, and one used BMW 3 series… and more Toyota Matrixes than all the previous models combined.

    The Matrix is compact, fairly easy on the gas, has lots of space, and is built on Corolla mechanicals – and everyone’s got a relative or friend with an older generation Camry or Corolla puttering along after lots of km’s and abuse so…

    No one with a coupe, or truck, and no one with a sports car. (Vancouver university students and grads. *shrug*)

  • avatar
    JuniorMint

    27 M, and I want the original g–d—–d Scion xB back. No, better yet, I want 55-year-old ad executives to stop thinking they have the slighest idea what I want.

    My necessary criteria were:

    * Looks / Does It Piss Somebody Off (for the xB, these two categories are conveniently combined)
    * Drive it Till The Wheels Fall Off
    * Stupidly Practical (good milage, cargo space, sufficient passenger space for hauling around carloads of drunken, giggling young ladies)

    Doesn’t look like there’s much agreement in the Gen Y crowd!

  • avatar
    Mirko Reinhardt

    @Quentin :
    26 year old automotive engineer here.
    Daily Driver:
    - fun to drive
    - clever (neat features such as plaid seats or unusual styling)
    - practical
    - easy on gas

    28 year old process engineer here, pretty much the same criteria – ended up in a black 118d with orange seats and love it.

    I’d like to add three must-haves
    - hatch (sedans are useless and make their drivers 10+ years older instantly)
    - manual gearbox (ditto)
    - iPod jack and decent stereo (I sometinmes spend whole days in the car, so I like to bring podcasts, music, audiobooks…)

  • avatar
    AG

    Well, when I first got my license, I would have much rather had the 15 year old monte carlo my dad sold than the 10 year old camry I ended up with.

  • avatar
    Kurt.

    I get the opportunity (?) to work with that age group on a daily basis. Being a “gear-head” myself, I get to discuss what the future leaders think about our favorite subject.

    The young men come in two catagories; Traditional gear heads and what my generation called Young Republicans (though their political beliefs somewhat differ).

    The young American men tend to like the Scions, Hyundi, and WRX at the top of the range, etc. The Europeans think along the lines of Renault Clio Clubs, Opal Corse, and Peugeot 206…with the EVO/WRX at the top of the line. They still dream of owning a Skyline GT. They want a cheap care they can “Tune”. They are not even looking for a used Porsche that the could get for half the cost and double the performance.

    The Young Republicans are the wannabe Family Guys. The car gets them and their family (even if they don’t have one) from point A to point B. Again, they buy entry level cars but they tend to run in the small sedan range such as the Kia Spectra.

    The young American women are who surprise me. They seem to think size matters and want style to go with it. Big SUV’s with big wheels. Maximum comfort. BMW’s and Lexi. The European ladies are quite different. They want small, inexpensive, and stylish. The VW Polo Cross comes to mind. You also see a lot of Clio, Corse, 206, Citroen C2, and Smart.

    Just my observation.

  • avatar
    John R

    Well. I’m still in the range.

    500 to 700 horse R34 GT-Rs followed closely by 400 to 600 horse R32 GT-Rs followed closely by 480 to 620 horse R33 GT-Rs.

    Maybe 400hp blown NSXs also….or an R35 GT-R with a first gear made of adamantium.

    I really like GT-Rs.

  • avatar
    Robstar

    V6> I take it you’ve never heard an sportbike engine wound out….?

  • avatar
    Quentin

    Mirko Reinhardt :

    I’d like to add three must-haves
    - hatch (sedans are useless and make their drivers 10+ years older instantly)
    - manual gearbox (ditto)
    - iPod jack and decent stereo (I sometinmes spend whole days in the car, so I like to bring podcasts, music, audiobooks…)

    Oh yeah, those are definite must-haves. I’ll likely never own another sedan after having my GTI. I also fear that the MT is going the way of the dodo. That criteria alone removes many cars from my possible choice. The ipod jack is a definite must! Luckily, that is now a common feature.

    It is a shame we only get a 1-series coupe here. I love the 5 door hatch 1 series in Europe, especially with the assortment of available petrol and diesel engines.

  • avatar
    Aeroelastic

    Well, it sounds like the best measure is what people actually buy new (and with their own money). Recently, my friends in the 27-28 age range have bought:

    Chevy Cobalt (female)
    Mazda 3 (female)
    Jeep Wrangler (male)
    Nissan Maxima (male)
    BMW 330i (male)
    VW GTI (male)

    All are happy with their purchases. Everyone else I know drives 5-10 year old cars.

  • avatar
    Geotpf

    geeber :
    January 12th, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    Young people can afford not to care about performance because most cars are quite good in the handling and acceleration department – especially compared to vehicles of 15 years ago.

    It’s not that young people don’t care about performance; it’s that they can take for granted that acceptable performance levels will be present in just about every vehicle on the market. Today’s “acceptable performance levels” would have been considered sports-car material 15-20 years ago.

    It’s the same reason she doesn’t have to worry about safety. Virtually every new car sports a gazillion air bags, so buyers can take it for granted.

    That’s it exactly. A Camry Hybrid is faster than almost any street vehicle sold in 1970 or earlier. A Prius is faster than 80% of vehicles sold during that time. Every new vehicle is safer than a Volvo of that period. So it’s down to green cred and looks (although every new vehicle, including, say, the Hummer H2, is also greener than any vehicle sold then as well).

  • avatar
    GeeDashOff

    I’m curious to know why you would spend 15k on a 5 yo Subaru rather than spend 15k on a new Fit?

    Because I love to ski and the Fit just isn’t going to get to the mountain when there’s 2 ft of fresh pow pow. And when there’s 2 feet of freshies I’m going to get to the mountain come hell or high water.

    But yeah, if it wasn’t for that I would have gotten the Fit. I test drove one and liked it, and it gets way better mileage than the subby, but my passion for skiing won out over pure practicality.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    I’d say one thing that people talking about gen Y and their cars completely miss is that the gen Ys are by in large much poorer then their parents were

    This is a valid point. Both net income and actual spending power for Gen X and Y is between 12 to 35% lower than Boomers had at the same age. I don’t think Boomers realize exactly how easy they had it in terms of easy, meaningful employment. That makes it a lot harder to make discretionary purchases, and drives enthusiasts to cheaper realms.

    Of course, if you try to tell a Boomer this, they’ll call you a slacker.

  • avatar

    25/M. When I was 17/M, all I wanted was a Trans Am, with the big hood snoot and tons of power and RWD and babes draping all available surfaces. Now that I am married and actually have to pay my own damn bills, I’d have to say my priorities are different. If I had to lay it down, it would be:

    1. Price
    2. Reliability
    3. Fuel Economy (not because of the environment, but because gas is a variable operating cost I’d like to insulate myself from)
    4. Safety
    5. Comfort/Quietness at speed
    6. Style

    HP and 0-60 doesn’t even make the list when I’m seriously considering new cars. I expect to have a Prius, Insight or Ford Fusion Hybrid (if they have any available) in my garage in the next few years.

  • avatar

    Speed and Sex. Sex and Speed.

    Can they afford it? That a whole ‘nother question.

    But they WANT sex and speed.

  • avatar
    bryanska

    What we need to understand about Gen Y is they have a new set of desires. This is because their world is very, VERY different than older generations.

    They want to socialize and connect first and foremost. Above all. Socialize. Connect. Everything else is subservient. Because a car can’t help them do that as well as a smartphone or The Cloud, cars aren’t as important as they were to the teen/college kid. It’s much sexier to have a huge network, full life, and crammed social calendar. If the car helps, great, if not — why bother?

    In 2000, the college car was essential, because it took you to the connection spots. Today, the connection spots are online. A car today is a hassle: it’s dirty, expensive, and a chore to keep shiny.

    Cars will not be as cool as in 1960, 1980 or even 2000 until they serve the flow of the connected Gen X-er. A host of features are needed: onboard WiFi, Bluetooth, HDD and full media library integration, realtime traffic… Distractions? More like necessities!

    The woman in the article had it right. Why would you need performance when you can’t use it? Load up on the luxury, reliability and broadband, and the teens will follow. The definition of “performance” is changing.

  • avatar
    OffCamber

    I am 33 now. When I was in the target survey range, I was after cars that offered great bang for the buck from a performance perspective. I have alwasy been more about handling over outright speed and I like tunability.

    When I turned 18 in 1993, I bought an ’85 Celica GTS.

    When I turned 21 in 1996, I bought an ’88 944 turbo. The turbo was a weekend/sunday car and I drove a beat up ’92 Civic to work.

    Safety was never a concern (still isn’t as far as I go, but is for my family car).

    Gas mileage was never a concern.

    Cost of ownership was and still is a huge concern.

    Most of the younger guys I know are about bang for the buck. That is why they all drive WRXs and Lancer EVOs. You can get a TON of performance for the price of a new Accord. Its hard to ignore. But then again, most of the younger guys I know are all gearheads.

  • avatar
    njdave

    I think one reason kids today are not that interested in car performance is that so many of them were raised SUVs/minivans that HAD no performance. They became used to dull just get me there transportation appliances. They sort of think that all cars are that way because that’s all they have been in.

  • avatar

    Apparently, my previous comment did not take.

    Anyway, for this 22 year old CS major the list is as follows:

    1) Practical
    2) Fuel Mileage
    3) Handling

    I ended up with a 2 door Astra XR.

    Now, if I could have found a Lotus Super 7….

  • avatar
    Areitu

    # Flashpoint :
    January 12th, 2009 at 11:28 pm

    “I want something with reclining leather seats that goes really fast and gets really shitty gas mileage”

    -” how bout a 6000 SUX?”

    YEAH ! That sounds good !
    Ho about cruise control? DOES IT COME WITH CRUISE CONTROL?

    - “Sure ! We’ll even through in a Blapunkt !”

    I’ll buy THAT for a dollar!

  • avatar
    kid cassady

    I’m 22 now. Having been a car nut since age 2, at age 16 I presumptuously presented my parents with a list of cars I would like to have purchased for me, among them:

    - BMW 850i
    - Porsche 944 S2
    - Alfa Romeo 164 S
    - DeLorean DMC-12 (I was only partially kidding)

    If you extrapolate my choices to the larger youth population, every teenager wants a foreign car that is ludicrously impractical, costly to insure, has difficult to find, expensive parts, and is not as fast as it looks.

    I ended up eventually with a Saab 9000 Aero, which only meets one of the above criteria.


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