By on August 7, 2012

The auto industry seems to slowly give up on ideas  of returning to the heydays of  17 million car sales per year. And the industry already fingered a guilty party: Young people just don’t buy enough cars. “Financially pressed young people who connect online instead of in person could hold down peak demand by 2 million units each year,” says Bloomberg in a long feature article.

Auto sales to 18-to-34-year-old buyers hovered at 11 percent in April 2012, down from 17 percent in April 2007, before the recession, says R.L. Polk & Co.

The 80 million U.S. consumers born from 1981 to 2001 are more interested in 4G than in V-8 for, says consultancy Deloitte LLP.

Dan Luria, a labor economist at Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center in Plymouth, Michigan says that a combination of lower wages and the generation’s tendency to favor gadgets over cars may cap average U.S. auto sales at about 15 million annually.

What do you think? Stop distracted driving by not driving a all?

 

 

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213 Comments on “Generation Why: Industry Blames 4G Generation For 2 Million Missing Car Sales...”


  • avatar
    catt102

    not rocket science…high edu. debt, high gas/insurance/maintenance/parking costs discourages a new car purchase.

    And if you’re living in a big city that has decent public transport and ZipCar, it makes not buying a new car a no-brainer.

    • 0 avatar

      Although I agree with all those reasons you named, those are direct costs of owning a car. The real problem is HOUSING. The Housing market drives America’s economy whether it’s the building of houses, the purchasing of items for houses or the ability to afford houses.

      Because Housing is in a slump, and we are still in recession with an unemployment rate higher than 10%, kids are graduating from college without being able to get a job using that shiny new Liberal arts degree and therefore can’t afford a car or don’t even have the credit to consider taking out a loan on a car. These kids either live in Mom’s basement (some 30 year old couples are too) or they get AN APARTMENT. Apartments in bog cities tend to be near mass transit. If you’ve got mass transit, you don’t need a car.

      My sister is a lawyer and she got a Zip car card. She lives with her friend in an apartment and doesn’t have any real space for parking a car though she has the money. Zip Car for her makes plenty of sense. Not to mention here in NYC we have the greatest public transportation.

      Another aspect is that cars are the SECOND most expensive investment an American makes – the House being the first. Now that no one can afford a house, the car is right behind the “apartment”. It appears that cellphones (or expensive internet/phone plans) are quickly becoming the 3rd.

      • 0 avatar

        Not only are they the second most expensive investment, they are also a continuously depreciating investment, unlike real estate (usually). If you don’t need a car often, buying one just doesn’t make sense on any level.

      • 0 avatar
        Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

        Make no mistake, a house is a consumer durable good that depreciates after you factor in maintenance and insurance costs. You’ll be lucky for it to break even accounting for currency devaluation and inflation, and for it to gain in value net costs (including taxes and interest) you need to have real population and wage growth in your area unless you’re in a bubble.

      • 0 avatar

        anything you have to “spend cash” on is a depreciating investment unless it appreciates in value. This normally doesn’t happen.

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        Chicken before the egg, eh?

        The reason why housing is in a slump is because there are no jobs for your falsely blamed younger generation to buy into the overpriced investments every homeowner rushed out to over-finance in their mcmansion neighborhoods.

        “Liberal arts degree”… HAHA – I got laid off and was unemployed and I have a BS in Engineering. I’m not touching the housing market as I don’t want to lose my arse on a bunch of over-appreciated garbage that the ‘older generation’ thinks is still worth 2x’s what it would normally cost.

      • 0 avatar
        George B

        At least here in the Dallas area, I don’t see a lot of young white college educated looking people riding the bus or the train. The riders appear to be mostly Latino. What I think is happening is jobless college grads are choosing to borrow the parents car and mooch rides off friends instead of buy the beater they can afford. They would rather wait to buy a car that will impress their friends than buy basic transportation. Six years ago I sold a functional but worn 1990 Ford Probe for $600. Nobody in their teens or twenties showed any interest in owning that car. Back when I was in high school a not trashed two-door coupe would be a nice upgrade from the typical hand me down grandparent cars and beater farm trucks my peers got to drive.

      • 0 avatar

        tresmonos

        If you truly have a BS in Engineering, you must live in a dead end area if you can’t get a job. If you lived here in NYC you could easily get something. The problem is, the people with the most marginal skills are the ones always hurt most by recessions. What is your degree in? I have a friend in Chemical engineering and he pulls $75,000 a year. By the way – you should go back and get retrained so you can do more with whatever knowledge you’ve got.

        If you really wanna get rich quick, come up with an iPhone app that anyone with an IQ of 6 can play.

        I don’t think this is “chicken before the egg”… The recession started when housing fell apart. Though a number of things happened, the main points were: the troubles and collapses of investment banks (i.e: Lehman Bros, Goldman Sachs and Bear Sterns) followed by the trouble at AIG and hitting the crescendo on September 15, 2008. As a bank/lender/underwriter, I’ve lived and breathed this since 2001.

        Housing collapses – credit collapses – people start hoarding money. Less money being spent means less people needed at stores. Less people working means more money hoarded and fewer items purchased. It’s a downward spiral but, I insist, America’s problems BEGIN WITH HOUSING.

        Supposedly the fed pumped money into the system after 9/11 because consumer research said that after a major traumatic event, people hoard money. That’s why they needed to – as President Bush said… “get us shopping”. The more we spend, the better the economy gets. Problem is, our materials are all being made in China which means the net result is money and jobs leaving our shores. Protectionism is in order here.

        I believe the only way out is to stop holding interest rates down and let them float. Yeah the market will take another plunge but there’s no other way to correct/ liquidate the bad debt. The government is artificially propping up the market and another collapse is coming anyway. I’m thinking the dollar itself is going to have to be replaced in less than 10 years.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        ……..If you truly have a BS in Engineering, you must live in a dead end area if you can’t get a job. If you lived here in NYC you could easily get something. The problem is, the people with the most marginal skills are the ones always hurt most by recessions. What is your degree in? I have a friend in Chemical engineering and he pulls $75,000 a year…….

        Except that 75K in NYC is not exactly living large to say the least. With a studio going for what, $1,800 a month? I have a BS in EE and eventually moved from actual grunt engineering work to management in order the break through the 100K ceiling. Sad to say engineering does not pay what it is worth. The tough economy has enabled companies to $hit on workers and cut pay and benefits. Also, the influx of foreign engineering students anxious for a job has also depressed wages. I worked for a company in NYC (since bought out by AECOM) and saw this mess first hand and was hurt by it. I was fortunate enough to leave and get a job with far better pay and benefits. A car, too, so that is one less car that I need.

      • 0 avatar
        Russycle

        Housing? Seriously? As in houses are too cheap? I grew up in southern California, and watched housing prices skyrocket so that by the time I was in the workforce a house cost 10 times my annual salary. Somehow that didn’t motivate me to buy a new car, since rent pretty much took my whole pay check.

        Yes, the collapse of the housing market was a disaster, but it was a necessary correction of the housing bubble. Housing prices rising at 3-4 times the inflation rate means pretty soon no one can afford a house.

      • 0 avatar

        Goldenhusky

        “Except that 75K in NYC is not exactly living large to say the least. With a studio going for what, $1,800 a month?”

        You can purchases true “houses” (not apartments, not condos) in the suburbs of Queens or you can spend $1500 a month and get an apartment in gentrified brooklyn.

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        I now am employed. I picked up a IE job in 2008 thanks tofor Obamas smart grid initiative. My degree is manufacturing based and I wouldn’t change my current profession even if I knew I’d get cut from my OEM again. I agree with your more thorough explanation. I horde my cash for another lay off. My nest egg can buy most houses in the lesser Detroit suburbs out right. I will eventually buy a house when I can put 60% down on what I want. I am a product of the recession. My degree and work experience (continual training) is what kept me afloat during hard times. I have friends that kept stagnant and now their degrees earned four years ago are completely worthless. The ‘lost generation.’

        Next car? Panther with a 5.0 swap. Screw the complexity of new tech cars.

      • 0 avatar
        ChevyIIfan

        If you work in consulting, most entry level to mid-level engineers get paid the same, regardless of where you live. Which means people need to learn to pull their head of their butt and get out of massive cities, especially NYC. I live in Memphis and work for an environmental engineering company, one of the cheapest cities in America. My home office is in Nashville, another inexpensive city. And guess what? Everyone in my company gets paid the same across the company (1600+ employees across the US). Yep, I get paid the same as someone in my same position in our New Jersey office. Wonder who has more disposable income to travel, raise a family, buy a car, buy a project car, etc.?

      • 0 avatar
        racer-esq.

        “I will eventually buy a house when I can put 60% down on what I want.”

        There have been a lot of reactionary, not financially smart responses to the housing crisis, and this is one of them. There is no good reason for a young person to put more than 20% down on a house (20% will get the absolute best rate and terms).

        -The government subsidizes mortgages both directly through Fannie and Freddie, and indirectly through the interest deduction. Why not maximize the subsidy?
        -You can only take $10,000 out of a retirement account for purchase of a home without penalties. If you have 60% to put down you are either failing to maximize retirement account contributions, planning to pay a penalty or buying a $16,666.67 house (which may be possible in Detroit).
        -Nothing in life is certain, and in the US it is fairly easy to walk away from a house no matter what state. Also, sometimes sh*t happens and you need money. Why would you tie up a 60% down payment when 1) your house may for some reason, e.g. depreciation, may become rational to walk away from, or 2) you may need that money for something else.

        No matter what you do, get a fixed rate mortgages. Interest rates on adjustable rate mortgages adjusting beyond what buyers could afford is THE major cause of the housing crisis. Mortgage brokers would tell suckers that a 5 year ARM was fine because they would only live in their first house for 5 years. Then 5 years came up, and because the house was worth less than what they owed on it they could not sell it, could not refinance it into a fixed rate, and could not afford the payment. Foreclosure time.

      • 0 avatar
        AoLetsGo

        Actually if you have a college degree a car is the THIRD most expensive investment and if your a doctor your degree could be the FIRST most expensive investment. I would also like to point out that there are no worthless degrees — although of course these days some offer almost no cash return on your invested capital.

      • 0 avatar

        “I now am employed. I picked up a IE job in 2008 thanks tofor Obamas smart grid initiative.”

        And I hope Obama can count on your vote in November :P

        AOLETSGO

        If you can’t get a scholarship, you’ll end up so deep in debt coming out of college that the “investment” into your education will become a ball&chain. College costs roughly $30,000 a year unless you go to a community school which is more like $10,000 a year. That’s a hell of a lot of money. Many people would be better off in carpentry and plumbing.

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        Racer-esque,
        How’s your judgement going? Whatever you may think of it, I don’t like it. My retirement used toto be maxed but I found my liquidity has had better returns than my roth and 401(k).

        I like low house payments on nice houses. Finamcial freedom is the name of the game. Travel, hobbies are not in short supply.

        Big trucks: more of a Ron Paul fan. The job was hiring in June of 08 and I like money.

      • 0 avatar

        Let me let you in on a secret…from my experience in banking:

        The bank will approve a NEW CAR LOAN faster than a USED CAR LOAN – even if you have bad credit.

        The reasoning is simple: if you default, the car will still have value when we repo.

        If we gave you the loan on a used car, we’d have less to take back from you since the depreciation would have hit double time.

        Toyota, Hyundai, Nissan and Honda are backed by STRONG BANKS. they can give ridiculously low financing to ANYONE. American companies have to resort to the worst of subprime loans to compete with that. They are leasing Camry and Sonatas here for $189 a month on a base model. as you tack on more equipment, the payment may rise to $250, but that’s still ridiculously competitive.

      • 0 avatar
        indyb6

        Dear fellow TTACer “bigtruckseriesreview @ Youtube”. I have said this before and I will say it again. Please do not underestimate the amount of knowledge and work it takes to design, develop and sell an “iPhone app”.

        Your comments like “If you really wanna get rich quick, come up with an iPhone app that anyone with an IQ of 6 can play” make software development look like child’s play. It is not. And, as a software developer, who has spent 6 years of life and lots of money, while actively avoiding social life (unlike people with shiny Liberal Arts degrees) to get a BS and an MS in Computer Science, it is personally offensive when you try to portray application development as something any Joe Schmoe could do.

        There are computer science degrees for a reason. Computer Science is the fastest growing field, employing the most recent graduates for a reason. It’s not that it is extremely difficult to learn to code, but to learn and implement good programming practices takes experience and a brilliant mind.

        If you don’t agree with me, and think that creating iOS applications is a piece of cake and a quick way to get rich, please join the Apple Developers Program, download the iOS SDK and try to create a basic application that does something you want it to do. Doesn’t have to be anything graphical, just simple one line text. For instance, make an application that, when run (open), gives you the count of unread e-mails and/or text messages on your device. Let me know how that works out for you.

        I hope you will quit saying this thing time and again. I hope you will realize that software development is not as easy as you think it is. I hope you will stop associating iPhone app development to a ‘get rich quick’ scheme. I hope you will reply with something constructive.
        Thanks :)

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        @bigtrucksreview: “College costs roughly $30,000 a year unless you go to a community school which is more like $10,000 a year.”

        Private universities run about $30k/year, but state universities such as Virginia Tech and the University of Illinois run somewhere between $10k-$20k/year. Community colleges (which you seem to be conflating with the massive research and teaching institutions that I just mentioned) are far cheaper.

        All of these different educational institutions have important roles to play, but the big state land grant universities are a really good deal. The top state universities are just as good as the top private universities, but they cost half as much.

        Please don’t conflate community colleges with 4+ year state universities. They both have a public education mission, but that’s about where the similarity ends. Community colleges provide a vital public service, and I respect what they do, but it’s not the same thing as a 4-year university with a billion dollar research program.

        P.S. I’ve spent most of my adult life studying and working at land grant universities. I was one of those “overpaid” and “coddled” government workers, until a private company recruited me away for huge increase in pay and exactly the same benefits. I learned so much as both a student, and a staff member supporting scientific researchers, that I can’t say enough good things about these institutions. But the private sector does pay better.

      • 0 avatar

        A minimal amount of Web wandering will reveal ample numbers of engineering-type degreed folks are hurting as much as those sub-humans possessing a “shiny new Liberal arts degree”.

        And Congress continuously increases the number of various visa holders entering the USA and filling positions USA citizens should be filling.

    • 0 avatar
      car_guy2010

      Is this the best excuse that the monkeys working at Deloitte could come up with?

      How about the fact that new cars are simply not affordable to my generation?

      It’s hard enough to make it on your own with high apt rents and a limited job market. I’m of the mindset that someone should not have to uproot everything they have and move just to survive.

      • 0 avatar
        tuffjuff

        With all due respect, $199/month lease isn’t affordable? Or $299/month equivalent on loan?

        Toyota has a program where if you meet certain criteria, you can lease a Matrix or Corolla for dirt cheap, without a co-signer, even if you have limited credit. Who would want to drive a Corolla or Matrix, I don’t know, but there are options out there.

      • 0 avatar
        racer-esq.

        I think that this is part of the issue also. Like tuffjuff said, new cars are very cheap. But maybe not the cool ones. Young people may demand an Audi or BMW, which they will never get new and cheap.

        On the other hand, older people are probably mature enough to know how awesome a Hyundai Sonata for under $20K is. Or a Chevy Cruze for under $15K, or numerous great lease deals on commodity cars.

  • avatar
    Thill

    LOL, I think the economy is the mostly to blame here. Cost of food, clothes, gas, housing, etc is on the rise and jobs for many recent college graduates are scarce. With rising healthcare costs and many companies in recent years cutting back on bonueses and other benefits, this is kinda a no brainer. Used car makes more sense or even public transportation.

    • 0 avatar

      I agree.

      The average smartphone plan costs upwards of $75 nowadays. That’s roughly 33% of what many people pay for a car note. You can lease some japanese cars for $199 a month – Nissans for $179 a month or less. Smartphone plans can cost 50% of a car note in that case.

      • 0 avatar
        Patrickj

        You can lease a car for $199 a month until you go to the dealership and actually talk to a human being. Then it’s about $350.

      • 0 avatar

        Gotta keep your credit score up.

      • 0 avatar
        tuffjuff

        @Patrickj

        I think it depends, largely, on your credit. A person in the 700′s will pay almost half as much per month on a lease as somebody like myself, in the low 600′s, can.

      • 0 avatar
        hans007

        yeah but no one is going to go without a phone.

        even say a virgin mobile phone is what $35.

        maybe you pay $80 on verizon or something.

        that said you were going to get a phone anyway. how many people do not have a phone of some sort ? you can probably more easily get by with a beater car or no car than no phone at this point.

        its still pretty sad, but yeah the cars geared towards young people seem to be all weird as it is or too expensive (the fr-s too expensive, cars like the juke and its excellent drive train are totally weird).

      • 0 avatar
        joeaverage

        “yeah but no one is going to go without a phone.”

        B.S. I’ve never owned a phone and I am actively avoiding the cost. It’s money down the drain to me. I’m at work 8AM to 5PM. Call me. if I’m away from my office, leave a message. I’m at home from ~5:30PM to ~7:30AM. Call me. If I’m away from the house, leave me a message.

        Alternatives: e-mail (I have several addresses personal and professional) or use my ancient chat program address which still sits there next to the system clock on my computer and a few of us bounce a few messages back and forth over the course of a day.

        What IS the point to paying $75-$125 per month for the ability to talk RIGHT now? There is about 2-3 times per year where I could see the convenience of a cellphone but I’d rather speak to someone socially on the phone when I’m not at work unlike some of very distracted fellow employees – some of which will stop mid-conversation to answer a random call from a social contact (non-work related) or will answer text messages at the most inopportune times.

        Coworker: “I’d like to have a $1200 raise this year.” You could cancel the cellphone.

        Another coworker: “I’d like to have a $1000 raise.” You could cancel the deluxe HD cable tv package…

        Whatever your priorities are… A cellphone isn’t going to pay for itself (for me) so I don’t think it is worth it.

  • avatar
    burgersandbeer

    Connecting lower new car sales to a preference for gadgets is pretty weak. It isn’t like passing on the latest 4g phone for $200 with a new contract frees up the funds for a purchase 100x as expensive on the lower end of the scale.

    It’s what Thill just said. Considering the cost of a new car, I’m not sure how they make the 15 million mark either.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      “Financially pressed young people who connect online instead of in person”

      Owning a car is not about “connecting,” unless it means “going to your job.” A car is about transportation.

      Public transit and multi-use living areas are great so long as you stay in that envelope. But if you need to go beyond it, such as visiting family in the next town over, work in a place without bus service, or need to get big items at the store, all those wonderful alternatives to cars become moot.

      I have a few friends who don’t have cars. I can’t say any of them do it by choice. If they could get one, they would, but they manage without. They do call a lot of people and ask for rides, because fb or not, they still have places to be in-person.

      So, I’ll agree and say “It’s the economy, stupid.” If more people had jobs, were more confident about getting jobs, made more money at their current job, and didn’t have to support others without jobs, more cars would be sold.

      The big wildcard it seems is whether there will be lingering effects. The hot thing in urban planning is carless living, so I expect there will be a portion that continues without cars, and I think people will be much more frugal overall (keeping cars longer, spending less on them).

      • 0 avatar
        carbiz

        redav, you’ve hit the nail on the head: lazy city planners are catering to conventional wisdom of the day, and that is cars are bad. Toronto is building an entirely new neighborhood (on former industrial land, built on a former flood plain/swamp) that is based on medium density housing (read: homes and apartment buildings so close together you’ll be able to watch your neighbor’s TV without binoculars), all based on the lack of need to own a personal vehicle. The drawings paraded around the city show happy people walking along wide promenades, smiling cyclists cheerfully stopping at stop signs, shiny new streetcars whisking people to their job (?), all with nary a car in sight. Of course, the sketches are always on a sunny day in June. You never see the piles of slush and snow that take up half the sidewalk. You never see the hulking 80,000 train in the middle of the road taking the entire road to turn, and you never see the hapless motorist circling the block 3 times trying to find a parking spot.
        Yes, this version of utopia is all built around transit, walking and cycling. Suddenly it’s 1850 and its Yorkshire. Nobody has a reason to travel beyond 20 miles of their birth. Families do not move off to far away cities. People don’t want to own cottages, go snowboarding or rent a stable up country for a horse, both spouses live and work within 6 blocks of their fabulous new cozy (500 sq ft) studio loft (read: no interior walls) that they paid $400k for, and they never lose their jobs. Husband’s company doesn’t suddenly close up after 56 years in business due to Chinese/Korean/Vietnamese/Zulu competition, thus throwing him out of work and finally finding one at a Starbucks in the next town, requiring him to now slog 90 minutes each way to his $12 an hour (this is Canada) job. No, these things never happen.
        In 30 years, when the usual tree-hugging, granola eating cities have given us 30 more years of what the world will be like without automobiles, I wonder how those cities will compete with the cities who figured out that not everyone wants to live in a 10 million plus city, with 50 storey glass towers that all leak and cost a fortune to maintain, stacked against each other such that those floor to ceiling glass walls are not only useless, but an embarrassment: you have to make sure your socks match before your first coffee because your neighbors across the ‘way’ can see your ashtray full of roaches under the sofa.
        Ah, but I digress. It must be the ghost of Jane Jacobs still tsk tsking over this city.

      • 0 avatar

        Carbiz, what a ridiculous statement. You want to have a big house with a driveway for your cars? Live in the multitudes of suburbs that surround Toronto. You’ve got plenty of options. You’ll also get to deal with all of the OTHER people driving because we don’t have decent public transit, but by all means, as long as you can drive your car in, right?

        Cities don’t need cars. Cities need people to leave their cars at home and choose pretty much anything else as a way of getting around. As a person who lives rurally myself (but works and lives in downtown periodically), I’m not convinced of cities either, but in the case of Toronto, people simply DO want to live there. In droves. Lots of people want to live in a city of 10 million and never leave. That is why real estate is so ridiculous.

        So, what would you like them to build instead of high-density? Some nice suburban McMansions? In 30 years what will determine what makes a successful city is one that can get people around quickly and efficiently. Cars simple do not do that, as much I love them. 97% of them drive around with just 1 person in them, they take up huge amounts of space in cities like Toronto, and they just generally aren’t worth it in those settings. And I really am at a loss for how “tree hugging” and “granola eating” have anything to do with efficiency. Oh, and since you’re dissing the hippies I’m guessing your conservative, perhaps financially so? Well, then I’m sure you like free markets and the law of supply and demand and such, so how about this: don’t like high-density housing? Don’t buy it.

      • 0 avatar
        tekdemon

        I actually don’t think it’s really just about the money. I have a lot of friends who don’t own cars even though they make $90K+ a year and live in the outer boroughs of NYC. They don’t buy cars because they can get to work easily on the subway and driving into Manhattan just doesn’t make sense for most people (and is very costly with parking running you $20 a day) given the horrible traffic, etc. And then there’s the friend who moved to Manhattan and gave away (to his mom) his Audi because it made no sense to keep his car anymore.

        On the other hand another friend just finished medical school and went and bought a car because he needed one to drive between the hospitals he’s doing his residency at-he needs a car so he went and bought it. Most people I know who have to drive for work will buy one even if it eats into their budget, though I have to say that I do know one person who lives and works in Long Island who takes a cab or bums a ride to get to work. She could actually afford a car fairly easily and she does know how to drive but she got used to not having to drive after living in Manhattan for several years and apparently she’s able to bum a ride from coworkers often enough that it’s still far cheaper than a car payment and insurance here (insurance runs me about 1800 a year here on a 10 year old Camry with a clean driving record).

        I honestly don’t think it’s all financial at the end of the day-people just don’t feel a need to own a car in a lot of places. The guy I know who gave him mom his Audi makes more money than most of my other friends and he owns several really expensive watches, it’s just that a car would be more of a liability than anything else for him.

  • avatar
    Boxofrain

    The cost of car ownership is high. If you can make do without a vehicle you’ll have a lot more dispoable income, money to pay off debt, save for a house etc. Anyway, what’s out there to get exited about? What car would young people want to sacrifice for to own?

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      The hassle of owning a car is high too in some cases. Depending on where you live there is all the costs of buying the car, maintaining it, keeping it presentable, parking it and so forth. Then there is the hassle of driving it and making use of it. I think for some folks it doesn’t represent freedom anymore, it represents a lifestyle anchor. Just depends on whether the alternatives to the car are more appealing of convenient.

      I can’t do without a car but my wife and I are doing just fine carpooling so the other car just sits there depreciating. Fortunately the other car is worth about $1800 now so no big deal. It’s our backup vehicle and I do drive it a couple times per week on Daddy taxi duty for after school activities like soccer and scouts to keep the battery up.

      I for one would bicycle to work at least once or twice per week if I had a safe route (bike trails would be nice) giving our main car two days off per week during the reasonable warm months of the year. That too would slow the pace of our vehicle replacements. I think the age of the car alternatives is close – people who would gladly scooter/bike/train/bus their way back and forth to work given the opportunity in some areas.

  • avatar
    Marko

    Agree with the other comments – it’s economic factors et al, not any kind of technology, leading to this data. (Hint: think of all the college graduates over $100K in debt working at your local McDonald’s – or nowhere at all.)

    Also “1981 to 2001″ – why do they care about 11-year-olds?

    The “Texas Sharpshooters” with their smartphone scapegoat are at it again.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Yeah, if the group is 18-34 year olds NOW, the years should be 1978-94. But that’s not the definition of “millenials”. 1981 to 2001 is. Sort of. Demographers get hung up on two-decade generations, the two ends of which have no commonality at all. The baby boom “generation” cited at 1946-1964 actually contains three separate groups. Marketers need something to work with, but aren’t keen on doing the best research – asking the age groups directly.

  • avatar
    Freddy M

    And the response from many of the Detroit automakers has been to offer small, fuel-efficient, heavily tech-contented city cars — which so far seem to be selling to the 30s and 40s crowd from what I can see.

    Derek perhaps you are on to something from your previous articles about marketing higher-prestige cars to youth, but along with the current corporate thinking, such higher-prestige necessarily comes with a higher price – which apparently is cost-prohibitive to this lower-earning demographic.

    And as far as distracted driving goes, I’m seeing a lot more of said 30s and 40s people texting and talking behind the wheel, and more teens and 20somethings … riding the bus.

  • avatar
    Thill

    One more obvious thing. Credit is much tighter now. It is more difficult to secure loans for things like credit cards and new cars than it was when I got my first job.

    • 0 avatar
      Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

      If you have the $$ and the score, credit is not that tight. My ~700 FICO got me a new car loan at 3.99% and prequalified me for a home loan at 3.49% thru my credit union.

      • 0 avatar
        mda36

        Which is something that people that just graduated high school or college do not have. It’s hard to even get a college credit card these days

      • 0 avatar
        tuffjuff

        700 is decently high.

        I’m in the low 6′s, after some realllllllly bad decisions half a decade ago. :)

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        I have a daughter-in-law who is a loan officer and she tells me that there are a lot of factors that go into a approving a loan.

        FICO score, past credit history, do you rent or own, mortgage or no mortgage, number of credit cards and open accounts, income and monthly expenditures are all part of it but in the end what gets you a loan for anything is whether or not you can afford it; as in can you afford the monthly payments and still live. Or, how much money will you still have left over after paying all your monthly expenses.

        I know old people with a FICO score over 800, two zero-balance credit cards, own their own home, no mortgage and no credit history because they pay cash for everything as they go through life, and they can’t qualify for a $50K loan at low rates.

        And if someone wants to extend a loan to them there are all sorts of caveats attached like higher than warranted APR, a requirement for life insurance to cover the unpaid balance of the loan in case of default, and a much higher than normal down payment.

        It’s prejudicial lending and I’m sure that young people just starting out are experiencing the same prejudices, but for different reasons.

        Life’s a bitch, and then you die. It’s hell after that.

      • 0 avatar
        racer-esq.

        “I know old people with a FICO score over 800, two zero-balance credit cards, own their own home, no mortgage and no credit history because they pay cash for everything as they go through life, and they can’t qualify for a $50K loan at low rates.”

        1 – You cannot get an 800 credit score with no credit history, so something is off about this scenario. A high credit score does not mean no late payments, it means a lot of open accounts and no late payments.

        2 – The factors that matter are a borrower’s middle credit score from the three main agencies, the borrower’s overall debt to income ratio, and, if it is a secured loan, the loan to value ratio. If someone with a middle credit score above 760 (i.e. a prime borrower) is having a hard time getting a loan it is either because of what the loan would do to their debt to income ratio, or because the loan is unsecured. Also, almost anyone is going to get bent over on a home equity line of credit, which you seem to be describing. The good rates for good borrowers are on purchase or no-cash-out refi mortgages, and on new car loans.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        racer-esq., in the interest of brevity I omitted “since the early ’90s” after the credit history.

        At one time, prior to the early nineties, this couple did have many open accounts and even a mortgage. Since he retired from civil service and worked behind the scenes in obscurity after that, his credit history ceased after he paid off all his open accounts over time.

        Now in his late eighties and still driving the last Suburban he financed in the early 1970s, he’s been toying with the idea of buying a brand new Suburban (~$50K).

        These people really do exist. They are my wife’s parents.

      • 0 avatar

        Racer

        I refinanced a Nigerian couple who’d been in the country 2 years and had lackluster jobs. One of them had over 800 as a high score while the middle was in the 700′s. It is possible to get 800 without extensive credit history because THE SYSTEM IS BROKEN.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        I got an 850 FICO score without really trying.

        In ’94 I was trying to get a $20K loan to start a business, but had no collateral and my only credit history was a Sears card. Impossible.

        I would just shred all the pre-approved credit card offers, but decided to jump on one. It was for $7K and before I could max it, more offers arrived. In all, I had 5 credit cards and they kept raising their limits for me up to $18K each.

        By the time my business started taking off, I had run up more than $30K in credit card debt. I systematically paid them off in 3-$4K chunks and kept them open with near zero balance at near zero APR. Just enough to keep them lubricated.

        Of course, I’ve never missed a payment, but I’ve never had a car or home loan.

      • 0 avatar
        fredtal

        My FICO score is about 650, they say I don’t have enough credit history. I’ve mostly had only one credit card, I pay off the balance every month, I don’t make car payments and now my house is payed off. I’m a poor credit risk? Stupid banks.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Yeah, I agree that the system is broken. Although I have access to the three rating agencies through my affiliation with USAA, I have no way of finding out what my FICO score is, for free, if I ever needed to finance anything. I would have to enroll in some useless monitoring program to get my FICO score.

        All I can get from them is that free annual credit report. Well, mine is pretty barren. Own my own home but never had a mortgage on it. Own several late model cars but never financed them. Have one credit card but rarely use it unless I shop online.

        My wife’s credit report is even more bland and devoid of credit info than mine is since she mostly uses credit cards issued to her family’s real estate business. And the business gets billed and pays them every month. I bet I wouldn’t qualify for any kind of loan right now.

        Here’s another great example that involves one of my sons (age 45) who is a bank officer at one of Japan’s largest banks here in the states.

        His credit score is somewhere in the 500s because he has no credit history at all and only last year returned from an eight-year assignment in Shinjuku, Japan.

        His wife is a Japanese national and also a bank officer at the same bank here in the states, so neither one is credit-worthy in the states, although they both get paid very well.

        Once their employment ends with this bank, if ever, my son would have a very difficult time qualifying for anything that involves borrowing money since he has been working for them since 1990 after he got back from Persian Gulf War 1 and got out of the Marines.

        I can only imagine what some of these kids have to go through nowadays to get a loan of any size. So why bother, unless there simply is no other way to get around.

        Who wants to pay outrageous APRs when you are unjustly labeled a bad risk because you have no history and are already deeply in debt with student loans?

      • 0 avatar
        joeaverage

        When we bought our first house several years back we overheard the bank approve a loan for a fellow who had been in jail long enough to erase any bad credit history. He had just gotten out so he had no working history with whoever was paying him to come to work every day.

        “because THE SYSTEM IS BROKEN.”

        My story comes from about 2003 but despite the crash/recession I think it is still broken like you said.

  • avatar
    Speed Spaniel

    I say ‘good’. In a world of $30,000 Toyota Camrys, $40,000 Venzas, $50,000+ hamster-wheeled powered BMWs and the biggest joke of all, the price of any MINI, the cost of the automobile has become outrageous. The car industry has nobody to blame but themselves and their greed. If I remember correctly back in the early 80s, Ferraris went for $40,000 and I remember thinking as a kid, “wow! who could afford that?!” So what are car manfacturers going to do about this latest trend with the younger generation? This goes beyond marketing and advertising and getting their attention to buy. Perhaps a total rethink of the concept of basic transportation is in order?

    • 0 avatar
      Toad

      Young people usually buy used cars; if they can swing a new car payment there are plenty of good options under $20k, and even under $15k. Almost anybody can swing the $0 down, $199/mo Fiat 500. Corollas, Versas, Darts, etc are all very affordable.

      The new reality is that a lot of young people are entering adulthood with much more limited income prospects than there were in the past. The days of getting well paying job with only a high school diploma are over, and liberal arts degrees that provide no specific skills are not much more valuable. That is not going to change. These people with limited incomes are not going to be new car buyers for a long time, if ever.

      The 22 year old with technical skills or an engineering degree can buy a REALLY nice car. The womyns studies graduate with $100k in student debt, not so much.

      • 0 avatar
        car_guy2010

        On the flip side, you can take that $100k degree and make something out of it if you are willing to take a job outside of the field you studied in.

        I’d much rather owe money for my education than for a car or any other asset. Why? Because learning is never a waste of time in my world. The problem is finding jobs in the first place. I work full time as a custodian and I realize that I can’t do this work forever because it doesn’t pay enough to cover my debt. Thus, the scramble to find something better within the company I work at or start looking outside of it.

    • 0 avatar
      JCraig

      I agree completely. I haven’t looked it up but the price of cars seems to have outstripped inflation. When did small car pricing in the $20k’s become normal?? Regulation is partially responsible. I agree we need resonable basic rules, but requiring TPMS, traction control, airbag seat sensors, etc etc etc as added to the cost. Something needs to be done to roll back much of this and allow basic cars to be sold in the US again. Even if they have to make a new category of ‘basic’ or ‘city’ car…

      • 0 avatar
        tuffjuff

        When small cars became GOOD.

        The old Focus at $15,000 was a stretch. The new one for $21,000+? Completely acceptable.

      • 0 avatar
        car_guy2010

        Roll it back? WHY????

        I appreciate such innovations and they are needed because they also protect you from MORONS on the road. Yes, I’m talking about the last-minute lane changing assholes and the idiots that insist on tailgating you when you’re going the speed limit.

        If more people exercised common sense on the road, there would be no need for all these nanny state gadgets.

        Though I do think that a driver airbag, passenger airbag and seatbelts are good enough as far as safety goes. I don’t want a large computer screen in my car. I’d be happy with an USB jack for my iPod.

    • 0 avatar
      iainthornton

      Have I missed something or are you ignoring inflation?

      • 0 avatar
        hgrunt

        “In 1985, the [ferrari] 328 retailed from $58400-$62500 ($115300-$123400 in 2008 dollars” from Wikipedia. For reference, the median household income is about $20,000, in 1985 dollars, about $50,000 in 2008 dollars. Looks like Ferraris have gotten more expensive over time when adjusted for inflation, but may actually be equal or ches

        A better way to do it would be to compare MSRP or transaction prices to median household income of the same year and see what proportion of income people are spending on cars, and if they’ve become more or less affordable.

    • 0 avatar
      car_guy2010

      I’m pro-union but I do wonder if unions, especially pensions, factor into the high cost of cars?

      I’m not familiar enough with the inner workings of the automobile industry and I won’t pretend to know. I’d just like a honest answer.

      As for credit, mine is terrible based on some truly terrible decisions that I made as an unemployed 23 yo a few years back. I have medical bills that I still haven’t paid off because the debt has been passed on to so many collectors that I don’t know who to send the money to! It’s been 8-9 years since and I work full time, take classes part time. It would be nice if they didn’t hold medical bills against your credit score though. That’s just bloody ridiculous!

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Very few of what we would call “decent-paying” jobs for all these college graduates with massive student loan debt hanging around their necks upon graduation and little hope of paying them off in the near future.

    You reap what you sow, and those who mortgaged their future back in the late 1990′s – 2006 by spending funny money on houses that weren’t worth the land they were built on, well, that trickled – no – flooded down through society and helped create the crisis we have now.

    That’s a very simple explanation, but the basics are correct, I believe.

  • avatar
    Rday

    I think the trend is a reaction to many good jobs going overseas to China, etc. There the auto markets are expanding because people are making money. Younger adults here are saddled with massive debt and don’t see or have the job opportunities of the past. As incomes shrink and taxes escalate in this country, there will be fewer buyers of cars and expensive items. Big corporations are starting to reap the harvest they have sewn by moving the good paying jobs overseas.

  • avatar
    burgersandbeer

    To expand on the economic woes preventing people from buying cars, it’s uncertainty as much as un/underemployment.

    Even if someone can afford it right now, a new car loan is placing a risky bet on uninterrupted employment for at least as long as it takes to be able to dump the car for a price that pays the loan balance.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    It’s kind of silly to be talking about preferences for gadgets when the elephant in the room is the fact that the 18-30 demographic is taking it on the chin from the recession more than any other demographic. Not only that, your friendly government sees cars as a revenue source. Here in The Capital of the Free World the latest thing is a camera that catches you if you don’t stop behind the crosswalk at an intersection. The fine? $150.00 As a general matter, the government (at all levels) is at war with cars. New highway construction is minimal (outside of Texas), so if you’re living in a growing metro area (as opposed to say, Detroit or Cleveland), you face increasing traffic congestion.

    As any economist will tell you, the combination of reduced income, higher price (for owning and operating a car) and reduced utility (as a result of parking expense and traffic congestion) means that people are getting around on a bicycle or on the bus.

    At best, for lots of people, there is no pleasure in operating a car; it is a “necessary evil.” Not a formula for high sales of the product.

    • 0 avatar
      Speed Spaniel

      “It’s kind of silly to be talking about preferences for gadgets when the elephant in the room is the fact that the 18-30 demographic is taking it on the chin from the recession”

      It’s true and it’s sad. I say to this generation burn your iPhones or throw them in Boston Harbor. Go out and do something about it. Make a difference and pave the way.

      • 0 avatar
        Toad

        If by doing something you mean acquire marketable skills that employers or customers need and will pay well for, I agree and say go for it.

        If you mean quit showering, squat in Zuccotti Park, and demand some vague “change,” well…no.

        The world has changed a lot in the last 20 years, just like it did at the beginning of the industrial revolution. As it was then, becoming a Luddite won’t improve your situation. All of us are to a certain degree in competition with everybody else, and I’m pretty sure we can’t convince the rest of the world it needs to stay poor so we can stay rich(er).

      • 0 avatar
        DC Bruce

        Well, one of the defining characteristics seems to be a sense of powerlessness that these folks have. Perhaps a lot of them invested in Obama’s “hope and change” mantra, only to find out that warmed over lefty nostrums from the 1960s (I know; I was there) don’t really work too well.

        For example, as the father of 3 people in this generation (only one not yet finished college), I see that a huge part of their budget goes towards real estate (lease payments). Perhaps they need to understand the relationship between land use policies and rent control (NYC) and what folks pay for a place to crash every night. Texas, despite its high growth, had low real estate prices 35 years ago; and they’re still low.

        I agree with Toad, that the OWS approach will, at best, spread the misery around. But one of the really tough things about figuring out your education is navigating the gap between acquiring a narrow, “marketable skill” (that will be obsolete in 10 years) and wasting time and money on useless pap from the get-go like, say “women’s studies.” Probably in the last 5 years, the demand for geologists from the petroleum industry has been very night; but if an oil bust like that of the 1980s comes, that will change very rapidly.

      • 0 avatar
        Jurgen

        Its a Brave New World and smart phones are part of the Soma.

        I think the analysis is backwards, millennials can’t afford new cars so instead spend their $$ on smartphones and other things they can afford. It is classic “poverty” spending that is too often associated with minorities.

        Plus if they have a used vehicle it is probably pretty decent. A 2002 of almost any brand is far far far superior to say in 1992 having a 1982 vehicle.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        @Speed Spaniel: “I say to this generation burn your iPhones or throw them in Boston Harbor. Go out and do something about it. Make a difference and pave the way.”

        And what would that achieve what, exactly?

        When you don’t have a smartphone, it looks like a fun toy and nothing more. When you do have one, it’s the most useful item you own. Having the world’s information in your pocket, as well as a GPS, a world map, and the ability to call contact anyone on earth (at least anyone who isn’t stuck in the past) is incredibly valuable. So, throwing an iPhone in the harbor looks like all waste and no benefit — why would anyone do that?

        I’m in my 30s and rich enough to own both a smartphone and a car, but if I had to choose between the two, I keep the phone. Being available by phone/text/e-mail does way more for my ability to keep my job than my car does.

    • 0 avatar
      200k-min

      … the 18-30 demographic is taking it on the chin from the recession more than any other demographic….

      I think we have a winner. It’s the economy stupid. These millenials are out of work or working for less money than their Gen X peers were making at the same age. Meanwhile everything costs more, case in point, used cars that young people buy just aren’t available at reasonable prices. My Honda I bought with around 25k miles and 2 years old for about 60% of sticker. You can’t find that today.

      To add insult to injury many of the boomers refuse to retire and open up room at the top as their retirement savings suck. This directly impacts everyone down the heirarchy as one 55+ yr old experienced employee costs the same as 2+ fresh college grads. See it at my employer every day. My boss even admitted that there are no opportunities for the under 40 crowd to advance their careers in this economy. You either can’t get the experience or you can’t find someone to replace.

      It’s usually the little guy that hurts the most and here we have the 20′s crowd. Duped into a college debt load that never helped them get a job and stuck in a poor economy. What do you expect?

      • 0 avatar
        fredtal

        As a 60 year old I’ve paid off my house, have a nice retirement portfolio and I’m bored with work. I’d retire right now if it wasn’t for healthcare. I’m just hoping the Repulicans/Tea Party don’t screw up Medicare more than it already is.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        Which is precisely why health care needs to be decoupled from employment. Why is your life worth nothing if you are unemployed? Pretty sad.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        @fredtal:
        I just changed jobs and, despite working in this country for my entire adult life, it seems really strange that my personal life (my healthcare) is any of my new employer’s goddamn business.

        I like the people I work with, and I like to talk about my kid with my new friends around the coffee machine. But it doesn’t seem like a proper part of the business I’m transacting there to hand over my kid’s social security number.

        I shouldn’t be complaining since this company provides a better healthcare plan than my old University job. But I’m still puzzled why it matters at all.

        And, yes, one of the reasons I didn’t start my own business was because I can’t risk my kid’s health for my own ambition. My new job is a great job where I’m being paid well to do cool stuff, and I’ve learned a *LOT* in the last month, so I shouldn’t be complaining, I guess. But, as a young dad, I really don’t have the freedom to be an entrepreneur until my wife’s career gets shifts in to high gear — and healthcare is the reason.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        fredtal, as a 66 year old on Medicare and TriCare for Life, I don’t want to sound alarmist, but things are changing. I’ll always have the VA to fall back on but my wife was never in the service so she needs a civilian doctor.

        We were informed early this year that we are losing both our surgeon and our internal medicine specialist at the end of this year. And they are not the only ones throwing in the towel. Lots of doctors are calling it quits.

        Many are just plain tired of being shortchanged by Medicare, Medicaid and the DoD for the services provided, and Obamacare is just increasing their workload and not compensating them adequately.

        Our surgeon will be moving to Australia with his family to practice there and our internal medicine specialist is retiring early at age 60. He told my wife he’s moving to the Bahamas. Seriously!

        They gave us plenty of warning so we could shop around for another doctor and surgeon. We’re bracing ourselves for the worst.

        It’s not a given that we’ll find another surgeon or doctor who will take us. Many of them are not taking new patients, which leaves us only with General Practicioners and ER services.

      • 0 avatar
        sunridge place

        Oh my gosh…a doctor retiring at age 60 and moving to the Bahamas in his retirement..the world is coming to an end!!! He must be getting out just in time to avoid going on food stamps!

        Uhh…your other doctor going to Australia…uhh…what sort of heathcare system does he think he’s joining?

        I love Australia….great place to visit and probably live…but…read their healthcare policy…sound familiar?

        http://www.guardian.co.uk/healthcare-network/2011/jun/07/healthcare-systems-australia-medicare-canada-saskatchewan

        Medicare is controlled by the Australian government’s Department for Health and Ageing (DHA). But each state is responsible for public hospitals under the Medicare scheme, which dates from 1984 (the same year Canada’s system was implemented). Blood transfusion services are provided by the Red Cross and dentistry, optometry and ambulance services are outside Medicare.

        There is a separate government-run pharmaceutical benefits scheme that subsidises prescription medication and allied treatment, but patients are expected to pay the excess at the point of dispensing.

        Medicare is financed by a 1.5% income tax levy, plus an additional 1% levy on higher rate taxpayers who do not take out private insurance. The government encourages all citizens to take out private healthcare to top up the Medicare co-payment system – which offers 100% subsidies (in other words, free) treatment for in-patient stays, 85% for specialist services and 75% for GP treatments.

        Patients are expected to pay at the point of care for the ‘excess’ unless they have insurance or exemption. However, there is also a low earners card allowing totally free government-funded healthcare.

        Private insurance is complex, with citizens choosing between a mutual or the government-run Medibank service. There are incentives for young working people to sign up for private insurance, with premiums being government subsidised on a mean-tested rebate basis of between 30 and 40%. However, citizens over 30 are premium surcharged on private insurance at the rate of 2% per year, up to a cap of 20%. Private insurance also operates on a community basis, with premiums not wholly based on age or previous medical history.

  • avatar
    redgubbinz

    What about those of us who don’t have the V8 OR the 4G? I still use an old Nokia ‘dumbphone’ since I can’t justify the cost of one of Apple’s newest toys/the contract that goes with it. As for new cars, don’t make me laugh. Yeah I really want another endless monthly payment on a terrible poverty-spec Versa. If my 21 year old car dies (it’s about as immortal as the phone, and just as Nordic), I’ll just buy a 15 year old car for $3k.

    Hell, I still consider a $60 video game purchase an exercise in extravagance so why would I even consider dropping $200+/mo. on something I use 30 minutes per day?

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      $2000 a month for something I use 30 minutes a day, put it in those terms and I miss being single.

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      “why would I even consider dropping $200+/mo. on something I use 30 minutes per day?”

      BINGO!

      I have a short commute as well so I could argue against anything nicer than a $3K car too b/c I could honestly commute in a 1930 Ford Model A just fine or a 60s aircooled Beetle. Low speeds, slow streets, lots of stop lights.

      Just whatever a person wants to spend their cash on but I agree with you.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    It’s the economy. The government has been at war with it since 1970 and went nuclear in 2009. It is better now to play games to make money than it is to employ people or provide domestically produced anything. People didn’t spend too much on housing during the bubble. Instead, they used inflated values to borrow fiat money. For every twit that paid an absurd amount of money for a house, there was another twit that took home equity loans against their home’s inflated valuation. I was talking to an accountant yesterday about some of his tax clients. One of them is paying $5,550 a month for an indifferent house in an indifferent area. They’ve owned it for over twenty years, but they took out an $800K second against it at the peak of the market. To my surprise, my friend actually advised this. Prior to taking the helo, they were paying $7,200 a month in debt maintenance between their tiny mortgage and huge consumer debts. The helo let them pay off everything else rather than just paying interest and reduce their payments. This allowed the client to keep borrowing and spending like a junkie. The idea that we’re supposed to build an economy around the housing market is deeply flawed. The people living in the houses need to be productive enough to reflect the value of their homes. Regulations, erosion of human capital, and incentives for unproductive activities ensure that they are not.

  • avatar
    stottpie

    blaming it on ’4G’ seems like a very convenient cop out. it’s simply the economy, housing, and job situation that is responsible for 99% of it.

    • 0 avatar
      Chicago Dude

      I understand that there are a lot of people out there that want to buy a new car but can’t afford it, but there are also a lot of people out there that can afford a new car but have no interest.

      Between 2000 and 2010, the number of households in Chicago without a car went from 14% to 25%. Between 2000 and 2010, the per capita income in Chicago increased by about 36%.

      People with money aren’t buying cars either.

      • 0 avatar
        stottpie

        Only 8% of Americans live in cities of 1 million or more.

        http://www.prb.org/educators/teachersguides/humanpopulation/urbanization.aspx

        it’s definitely not accurate to make the point you’re making based on Chicago, the third largest city in the country.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        @stottpie:

        Actually, it might be sufficient to explain it. (I’m not endorsing his idea, but I am pointing out that your argument lacks rigor.)

        Let’s suppose that there are 9 cities with a population of over a million (http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0763098.html), with a total population of around 23 million.

        If 15% of the 23 million households (3.45 million) don’t own cars, and then later 25% of 23 million household (5.75 million) don’t own cars, that meant that there are 2.3 million households in large cities who no longer own cars.

        Of course, this is just car ownership — not who’s buying new cars. But, the numbers are on the same order of magnitude, so you can’t dismiss Chicago Dude’s supposition outright.

        Let’s look deeper.

        According to Wikipedia, there are around 250 million passenger vehicles on the road in the USA in 2009 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passenger_vehicles_in_the_United_States). Also, about 5.5 million vehicles were sold in the USA during 2009, so about 2.2% of the vehicle fleet was replaced that year. So, assuming that 2012 sales numbers aren’t too different from the 2009 numbers (and they are), that means that 0.022*2.3 million vehicles = 50k vehicles would actually have been sold to the people who no longer bother to own cars in cities with populations over one million in 2009.

        So, you’re right in the end — I just thought your reasoning needed some rigor.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    It’s not clear whether they are talking about new car sales or total car sales. I have a hunch they are referring to new car sales. If so, then you have to look at the increasing life of used cars as a factor as well. An underemployed and over-student-loaned young adult may be able to go a decade with mom & dad’s hand-me-down used car.

    • 0 avatar
      phlipski

      If 200k miles is the new 100k miles, and population growth of the us is slowing, then it makes perfect sense that the long term sales projections of new cars would start to slowly decline.

    • 0 avatar
      fincar1

      That’s exactly what our daughter is doing. She has our old 1999 Accord, which had just over 200k miles on it when she got it two years ago. It’s still looking and driving fine for her. She’s in a better position economically than a lot of people her age, married to a firefighter, working as a LPN, and studying online for her RN; but I doubt if they’d consider buying a new car if the old Accord bites it.

    • 0 avatar
      jonny b

      The longevity of 90′s cars has to be taken into account. I didn’t buy a new car until I was 35. Why? Because the fleet of 90′s Hondas my parents bought for themselves NEVER broke, and the best car is a free car. For years I drove a triple hand-me-down Accord that I hated because the price ($0) was right. When we were young and stupid my brother and I abused the hell out of those cars and they refused to die. The same could not be said of most cars built in the 80′s.

  • avatar
    nickoo

    You’ve got to be kidding me–Blaming phones? Could it be the ridiculous cost of ownership of a new vehicle (with a few exceptions such as kia soul)? The greatest recession since the great depression which hit the young disproportionately hard? The outrageous costs of health-care? How about starting your career with the most student loan debt of any generation with the least job security, lower pay, and less benefits? Totally clue-less out of touch car companies deserve to lose sales. This generation will never come close to having the opportunities the prior generations of Americans had, Thanks for nothing previous generations, now kindly piss off with your BS theories and hurry up and die already.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      I assume your last statement is tongue-in-cheek, at least I hope so, as I don’t wish evil on anyone. At least don’t include me in that “previous generations” group.

      Your thoughts are nothing new; in the early 1980s, we baby-boomers were quoted in print saying we wanting the WWll generation to hurry up and retire (not “die”), as they have held on to power much too long so we could take over…

      What you really have is the downward spiral of the world-wide system we live in, which has about run its course.

      Another thing that appears to be factual for too many younger people today in this country and perhaps the rest of the western world is that they are simply not motivated like the asians and even the Mexicans, legal or illegal in this country. If so-called test scores are any indication, the USA has been behind asian countries, especially Japan overall since the late 1970s. The western world has achieved so much, maybe people want to rest on their laurels and expect everything to be handed to them. It doesn’t work that way.

      Me? my parents were working-poor and had to scramble for the basics, which we did have. I always hustled to achieve my goals, even if I didn’t have a real clear picture of where my efforts would lead me. No, I’m not a Rhodes-scholar, rocket-scientist, doctor, lawyer or Indian chief, just a humble designer, but I had to work for what I have accomplished. I believe most are like me, if not vastly superior, but the younger generation I feel for because too many opportunities really have vanished.

      All the basics, of which a car in many cases is, have become very expensive and it’s not going to improve anytime soon, I’m afraid.

      • 0 avatar
        200k-min

        … in the early 1980s, we baby-boomers were quoted in print saying we wanting the WWll generation to hurry up and retire…

        The bulk of the boomers were well into the work force by the early 80′s so I don’t think it applies apples to apples. The Gen Y group is just entering the work force now. What you did have was a recession in the late 70′s and early 80′s. Getting someone to retire in a recession is tough. I have a co-worker who is mid 80′s who retired and then came back to work to save more for retirement. Was that happening in the 80′s? His experience is valuable but taking him back meant a contract was let expire and another young person is out looking for work.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      ……..This generation will never come close to having the opportunities the prior generations of Americans had……

      That is not entirely correct. A larger percentage of Americans become rich now than in the past. The problem is with those who don’t make it to that level. The middle class is evaporating at alarming rate. So while there are more wealthy people, there are far less in the middle. Lots more in the bottom though…but no doubt the idea that most will do better than their father is dead…

  • avatar
    johnny ringo

    Low car sales from the millenial cannot be blamed on the “4G” thing…the economy has been in the tank since 2007, housing sales have badly slumped, companies aren’t hiring and many have graduated from college with record student debt levels. An under-employed
    college graduate may have to make do with a used junker until the economy begins to return to some degree of certainty.

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      The 4G can’t be absolved though. $125 per month = $1500 per year. A car payment of $350 per month is $4200. $1500 isn’t chicken feed for a entry level person.

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    Also, just think of all the phone sex you can buy with just 10% of that non existant car payment.

  • avatar
    mbaruth

    Actually, new car sales have been trending up as a percentage of overall car sales. Used car auction and transaction prices have been sky high this year-attractive lease and financing offers for new cars are back.

    • 0 avatar
      racer-esq.

      I think that this may be part of it. Young people being a smaller percentage of new car buyers could mean two things:

      1) Young people are buying less new cars.
      2) Old people are buying more new cars.

      I think it could be the latter. A lot of older people that I know, that have a decent amount of money but always buyed used, are now buying new because used cars have become such a rip-off.

      Also, with used car prices so high residuals are high, which means great lease deals. Maybe young people are leasing instead of buying.

  • avatar
    stuntmonkey

    The same bunch who labelled Gen-X with ‘slackers’… wash rinse repeat with Gen-Y and ‘phones’.

  • avatar
    stevelovescars

    The cost of car ownership, particularly NEW car ownership is a big problem. If a 25 year old can even afford the car, and taxes, and rising state fees he or she still needs insurance and gas. The increasing use of traffic enforcement as a revenue source to replace taxes that keep getting cut for political purposes increases driver costs in the fees and the resulting insurance premiums which far outweigh those state fees. Of course, the insurance industry also appears to have been instrumental in increasing new forms of tax collection, sorry, “public safety enforcement” as a form of revenue growth, so long term they may be shooting themselves in the foot by reducing their potential audience or by driving them to older an cheaper vehicles.

    I would also argue that used cars are replacing new cars for younger buyers. Used cars cost less to buy, register, insure, and if your smart phone has GPS and all of your streaming audio in your pocket, those new in-car gadgets aren’t so compelling.

  • avatar
    raph

    Yep the economy in conjunction with stagnating wages and lots of debt.

  • avatar
    aristurtle

    Blaming the customers because your product isn’t selling is sort of like blaming the audience for not laughing at your comedy routine.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      But this has been exactly what the domestic car makers had been doing when they started to lose market share to the imports and transplants.

      Detroit, Dearborn and Auburn Hills blamed the stupid Americans for preferring to buy the better foreign cars, even if they were produced right here in the US of A.

      Eventually, in 2008, that moved me to buy our first new foreign-brand SUV/CUV that was specifically made for the North American market. It was/is a great ownership experience, better than any up to now for us.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    The notable increase in the percentage of early twentysomethings who don’t have driver licenses is a big hint that it isn’t just about economics. There is a growing segment of that age group that isn’t just avoiding new car purchases, but that is avoiding driving altogether.

    • 0 avatar
      crackers

      My youngest daughter falls into this group. She is at University and absolutely refuses to get her driver’s license. We tried persuasion by reminding her she may need to drive when she graduates and (maybe) gets a job, but she is quite happy using a combination of cycling and public transport.

      Another consideration – the younger generation has repeatedly been told throughout their school years that cars are vile appliances that cause wars, kill people with their pollutants and force society to spend huge amounts of money on infrastructure to support them – money that should be spent on more socially acceptable alternatives.

      • 0 avatar
        carlisimo

        Add to that the backlash to the Fast and the Furious a little over 10 years ago. That REALLY turned the public against any young person who claimed to like cars, and driving. Young car enthusiasts became the #1 cancer to society, feared by parents, harassed by cops, disdained by their peers… a lot of us laid low during that time.

        It was socially acceptable to drive an SUV (especially if it was because you felt unsafe), but put a wing on your Civic and watch your back. Totally okay to ride an uncorked Harley that resonates through your neighbors’ houses while you warm it up for twenty $*&@%! minutes at 6am, but do anything with your car’s exhaust and the police are all over you. Street raced in the ’60s? You’re accepted into the world of car manufacturer executives! Street raced in the ’00s? Bring out the torches!

        That’s how I feel it’s been. I don’t work on my car anymore. I use it to go places on the weekend, but now I just take the train to work and build faster computers when I feel the need to tinker.

      • 0 avatar
        joeaverage

        On the Harley bit – absolutely!

    • 0 avatar
      Loser

      Just what I was going to post. We had to force our son to getting a drivers license. Many other parents have told me the same thing, their teenager has no interest in driving. Seems the days of teenagers living for when they can drive are over.

      • 0 avatar
        Guildenstern

        I still see that as being economic. When I was a teen as much as I loved cars I didn’t bother getting my licence until I graduated Highschool. My friends all lived within biking distance (ahhh I remember being healthy), And a crappy job at Taco Bell just to afford gas, repairs, and insurance on whatever rusted heap I couldn’t really afford anyways? When I could instead take more Science classes thanks to more homework time, and do theater after school? And sit around talking about how cool cars are with my friends was free?

        it just economically didn’t make sense. And that was in the mid 90′s when Insurance and gas were cheap, kids could actually still GET fast food jobs. My nephew just got his temps this spring and you don’t want to hear what his insurance is going to be, also any jobs he’s been looking at (and not getting since he’s a teen) Pay THE SAME as the crappy 90′s taco Bell job. Why would getting a licence be an incentive?

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    I think phones might be a significant factor. The average smartphone bill now is over $90/month. That’s roughly the difference between a new car and a used car payment. When you look at it from a family perspective, You might have mom & dad at $100/month for their phones and $60 to add two juniors. This is a monthly expense category that didn’t even exist a generation ago. Even fifteen years ago, if you even had a cell phone (and it was more common to have one per family) the payments were about $30-40/month. Through in cable television while you are at it. We dropped cable 15 years ago when our bill hit $30. Your average cable bill now is over $100/month.

  • avatar
    sckid213

    As someone who studied journalism in school and worked as a journalist for some time, I trend hate stories like this. They take a theory — “young adults aren’t buying cars because they like technology better” — then find a couple man-on-the-street type people who fit the theory and quote them, find an analyst to say what the reporter wants to say, and then present it as fact…another “trend that’s sweeping the nation.” USA Today is especially bad with these invented trend pieces.

    As someone who is also part of Gen Y, I agree with all of the above — it’s the economy that’s stifling my peers from buying new cars, not a love affair with tech. All of my peers still very much aspire to have cars…and nice cars at that. As soon as they are able, they go out and buy as much car as possible. Usually it’s a slightly used luxury brand.

    The Bloomberg article is poorly reported and disappointing for a publication of that caliber. Now lots of rich old men are going around thinking that people my age think of phones they way they think of cars. It’s just not the reality.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      “All of my peers still very much aspire to have cars…and nice cars at that.”

      What makes you think that your man-on-the-street story is any more credible than what comes from the reporters?

      Again, if it was just about the economy, then the rate of younger people without drivers licenses would not be increasing as it is.

      Meanwhile, the new car market peaked in 2000. The 17 million mark referenced in the TTAC headline has been reached only twice, in 2000 and in 2001.

      The average TTAC contributor seems to believe that the credit bubble during the 2000′s drove some sort of spike in new car sales. The reality is that during that period, while credit was booming, new vehicle sales were slowly declining. New vehicle sales in 2006 were 5.5% lower than they had been in 2000.

      There are a number of factors at work here. Technology is almost certainly one of them.

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      Are you sure this isn’t partly people thinking they ought to be making more money without objectively looking at how much more they are optionally spending?

  • avatar
    azmtbkr81

    When I graduated from college 8 years ago most of my friends ran out and bought new cars before the ink was dry on their offer letters.

    The new graduates we’ve hired in the last few years prefer to buy used cars, fun cool cars like Wranglers, 90′s Supras, etc. Every weekend someone in the office is replacing a transmission, installing a lift kit, replacing brakes etc and I don’t work for a hot rod shop or anything close to it. It seems to me that interest in modifying and tinkering with cars is higher than it has ever been during my adult life.

    This may be a byproduct of a bad economy but I think that there is more to it. Among the younger generation buying a new car is almost viewed as inauthentic or a cop out. Scabby knuckles and grease under the fingernails earn more respect than a shiny new 3 series or Mustang. Most of my coworkers are certainly paid enough to buy new but anyone with even a passing interest in cars seems to prefer used.

    • 0 avatar
      Mzdaspd304

      Honestly, and this is going to sound stupid, but you can blame the Fast and Furious for that. Before those movies came out you NEVER saw a 16-24 year old kid have a catback exhaust on a old civic even a can muffler for that matter. Any 4-banger on top of that. This is where kids dump all their part time money at and phones. Before those movies you could find a ton of old eclipses, civics, proteges, lancers, celicas, subies that haven’t even been riced out. Now you can’t find out that ISN’T. Completely neglected on routine maintenence in order to buy the ebay turbo kit not realizing it won’t run with out tuning it and/or heavy modification to the product to make it fit. Drive it into the ground and then try to sell the half assed project car.

      Older OBD-II systems or even OBD-I systems are way my laxed then they are now. Older and by that I mean 90′s to very early 00′s cars were easier to work on than they are now. Even if you can afford a new car you can’t even touch them without the CEL coming on. Even something as simple as a CAI throws CEL’s now, thats failed emissions in my state. Pinhole exhuast leak, failed safety. Oh you are 1.5oz low on coolant and your CEL came on: FAIL.

      Assuming that a kid can afford it, they would rather put that car payment into aftermarket parts and work on the car than drop it on a car payment that if it rains on the car or you open the door the wrong way it costs an asinine amount of money to get it fixed or just to pass safety and emissions.

      • 0 avatar
        corntrollio

        That theory does sound pretty stupid. I’m not sure if this is an age thing or a location thing, but I saw plenty of riced out cars well before The Fast and the Furious came out. I knew kids who had to have their three friends get out before they went over speed bumps because of the suspension mods. The fart can was definitely alive before then and stupid gigantic 4-foot wings for cars that would never produce a lick of downforce and other stupid mods were too. Hell, even multicolor paint jobs.

  • avatar
    zerofoo

    Gen Xer here. Comparing a technology purchase to an automotive purchase is a ridiculous analysis. Much online social activity eventually results in face to face contact. If two parties want to engage in a sexual relationship, I can almost guarantee that will require a mode of transportation to happen.

    The average price of a new car – now over $30k – that’s simply absurd considering today’s employment and wage problems.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/moneybuilder/2012/05/10/average-price-of-a-new-car/

    How does a Gen Y individual with 6 figure college loans and a crappy job afford a $30k car?

    My wife and I both have good jobs, a nice house, and we aren’t comfortable with a $30k hunk of metal sitting in the driveway.

    The computer/communications industry has changed an enormous amount in the last decade. We’ve gone from dial-up to blistering fast broadband in your pocket. Cell phones used to cost $5/min. Now unlimited is the way of the future (with the exception of data service).

    How much better have cars become in the last 20 years? Sure they are probably more powerful, safer, and more comfortable, but at the end of the day, it is simply a transportation appliance to most non-enthusiasts. They still only do the job of moving people and things from one place to another. Is that really worth $30k?

    Cars have pretty much stopped evolving – they need to become simpler and cheaper if car companies want to sell more of them.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      The $30k “average car” averages in luxury cars bought by people without crappy jobs and huge loans. Bringing that up to whine about what young people can’t afford is like including the square footage of farms in a decision about apartments.

      The world has no shortage of new $18K appliances.

      • 0 avatar
        zerofoo

        It’s an average, much like the average household income. It was around $50k when I looked at it earlier this year.

        $30k average for a car when household income is averaging around $50k seems way too high.

        Either incomes need to vastly rise, or cars need to become cheaper. There is no other magic that will make people want to spend more of their income on a car.

    • 0 avatar

      Cars evolve all right. They are reaping the burden of CAFE and safety regulations. The costs of compliance is being passed on, as always was the plan of the liberal elite of both parties who enacted the legislation.

      • 0 avatar
        zerofoo

        Agreed on this. Cars are about as safe and efficient as we can affordably make them.

        Let energy prices drive the market for fuel efficient vehicles. As fuel costs rise, people will naturally demand hybrids and diesels.

        This is one problem the free market can effectively solve.

    • 0 avatar
      duffman13

      Concur entirely.

      I am a in my late 20s so sort of in the age group you mention. Between my wife and I we have about $30k worth of metal in our driveway in the form of a Mazda3 hatch financed at 0% during the carpocalypse, and a 12 year old s2000 that we paid cash for. I couldn’t justify more than $500/month in car payments with a clear conscience and we are making 6 figures combined. Could we have afforded a BMW 3 and a beater? probably, but it wouldn’t be smart.

      I have more important things to throw my money at, like retirement accounts, my mortgage, the occasional track day, etc. Tying myself into so much debt that I can’t plan for the future or enjoy myself so I can have a cool new car is the last thing on my mind.

  • avatar
    dcdriver

    New car sales will eventually tick back up but probably not reach the peak levels. A lot of these fancy smartphones and tablets with their required data plans really aren’t affordable for many young people who have them but they still find a way to pay for them. Eventually for these people, the list of “must haves no matter if it causes me to live paycheck to paycheck” will include a new car because it will be part of whatever status they pretend to be. That’s the modern american way.

    Just as for these kids’ parents– sending their kid to state U. and probably being able to pay for their college wasn’t good enough for their “status” so they sent them to a “better” more prestigious out of state school or expensive private school, so therefore the kids had to take out a loan–.

    The parents got the desired effect of being able to say to their friends “my kid goes to (insert name of desireable name college” instead of “so and so state” To the parents, sendng their kids to the “better” school was the same as buying their Lexus or BMW, it fit their supposed status. The result is a generation of kids in debt.

  • avatar
    Crosley

    I think it’s a combination of both a really poor economy (especially among young people) and our nations’s youth just not sharing in the car culture as a result of communication technology.

    A car doesn’t represent freedom to people like it used to. When I was in high school/college, you really had to get out to be social with your friends.

    I also see an entire generation of college graduates with ridiculous degrees, six figure debt and absolutely zero marketable job skills. They’ll be in a “holding pattern” for a while, many of them living with their parents and bumming their cars for a while.

    The car makers are going to have to get used to a smaller market for a while. It also wouldn’t kill them to curb how expensive even “economy” cars are becoming, well past the rate of inflation.

  • avatar
    fredtal

    I didn’t buy a new car until I was 33 and that was in 1985. In my high school there was only 1 guy with a new car. Seems like we are slowly going back to the way it was in my youth.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Same here. I bought my first new car when I was 31, which was the same year I bought my house. House was $127K, car was a $20K Golf TDI. Sold the Golf in 2003 due to employment issues, didn’t buy another new car until ’09. At the time I was making ~$42K a year, but I had two housemates. Still have one, but am making ~2.5X that money now. Same house. :-)

      Nobody I went to HS or college with had a NEW car, mostly hand-me-downs or beaters. And I lived in a very wealthy town in HS. The hand-me-downs were usually Saabs and Volvos. For that matter, of my entire circle of friends, I can think of only two others who have EVER bought new cars. One bought his first new car just this year at 42, and the other has been making six figure salaries for more than a decade.

      I graduated from college after 5 years of undergrad and 3 of grad school with ~$30K in debt – and after my disastrous first year of college my parents paid for NONE of it beyond books and some car expenses. That would buy only 1.5yrs at the state univerisity I attended these days, and probably only 1 year of Law School at the mid-western state univerity I went to for that. Scary.

      I do have one friend (same age) who borrowed his way through 8-9 years at a foriegn university – he is beyond screwed. Over $400K in debt for a Master’s degree that qualifies him to ask if you want fries with that. Architectural History, to be precise.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        I went to high school in a small town in the late 1970s, and the only student who had a brand-new car was the son of the local Dodge dealers. Everyone else drove their parents’ car or a used car from the late 1960s.

  • avatar
    Sinistermisterman

    To be honest I can sympathise with not wanting to buy a car. Take my ‘cheap’ Cobalt for example. Payments are $300 per month, insurance is $250 per month (yes, that’s Vancouver BC for you), and maintenance averages $50 per month. I’m lucky in that I don’t have to pay for gas, but when you consider that outlay of $600 every month, it’s a sizeable chunk of my wages. If I was on a lower wage, I would either opt for a beater and the cheapest insurance I could find, or just rely on the bus, my bike or my feet.
    I think that in order to attract younger buyers, the overall cost of buying and running a car has to be MUCH lower, but considering a large chunk of this cost is not actually the cost of the car itself, I don’t think manufacturers will have much luck in changing the situation.

    • 0 avatar
      Chicago Dude

      $600? You’re crazy.

      When I was an unmarried twenty-something, I ditched my car (which was costing me about the same) and moved here:

      http://www.city-data.com/neighborhood/Lakeview-East-Chicago-IL.html

      Look at those demographics! It’s like heaven for a single guy in his twenties. Surely you have similar neighborhoods in Vancouver…

      • 0 avatar
        Sinistermisterman

        FWIW, I’m only paying $300 for the car payments because its over 24 months. It’ll be paid off early next year.
        Similar neighbourhoods? Not really. At present I live in the one neighbourhood in Vancouver where there are more young women than anywhere else (Kitsilano), but being married, having just turned 30, and about to have my first child, that’s not really of interest to me right now.
        I just looked at the data in that link you sent me, and FYI there is nowhere in Metro Vancouver that is that cheap to rent in. Property prices here are ridiculous in even relatively poor economic times.

  • avatar
    jmo

    Can we stop with the ridiculous $100k in student loan meme? The median is $25k only 10% have more than 50k and less than 2% have over 100k.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      On an inflation-adjusted basis, the amount of federal student debt originated increased by 239% between 2000 and 2010, from $43 billion to $104 billion (in 2010 dollars).

      http://trends.collegeboard.org/student_aid/report_findings/indicator/Total_Aid_Adjusted_for_Inflation

      • 0 avatar
        car_guy2010

        And where do those tuition increases go?

        In the pockets of college “administrators”, aka blood-sucking leeches.

        The school I attend has SEVERAL vice presidents of this, vice presidents of that. They could save a lot of money by cutting some of those positions and using that money to hire more instructors, etc. They’re cramming students into dorms and classrooms while they pad their pockets. Classic baby boomer behavior, screw the young people.

      • 0 avatar
        joeaverage

        The staff level folks around here (mid-south, state land-grant university)vary from $20K to $50K salaries. Step up to a dept head and they are making $120K with the top level people over $200K but admittedly they are few in numbers at the school that I know best (where I graduated from).

        I do know thanks to the college students I know best that college today isn’t like college in the 1980s. Back then you went to college with a handme-down microwave, maybe a mini-fridge. Maybe some toys like your old bike, maybe your old stereo or some portable music.

        There are alot of kids now buying $500 gadgets (tablets, cell phones, laptops) and fewer of them seem to rely on university provided computer labs to get their work done. My firend tells me that every semester they cut dozens of bicycles locked to railings, posts and bike racks. They were new three months before and “forgotten”.

        Now none of these items singularly break a 2012 college student’s budget but they do add up to alot of waste.

        I also hear that the state funding to these schools has been cut about 35% over the past 10-15 years meaning the needed money comes from somewhere.

        Lastly I’d question the cost of all of this rapidly obsolete technology schools and students are so reliant on. How much more expensive is replacing a computer every few years vs a typewriter that lasts 10-20 years. Don’t forget the cost of antivirus protection every year and toner vs carbon paper and typewriter ribbons.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      But even $25K is a LOT of money when you are just starting out. It is a car payment on a pretty nice car.

      And with the rate of inflation in college costs, it is really just the past few years that have gotten really bad. Lots of folks I went to school with could just pay for it between summer jobs and Mom and Dad. Or they graduated with $3-5K in loans. When I started school in ’87, tuition, room and board and books was ~$4K a year at U-Maine. By the time I graduated in ’93 it had doubled to ~$8K. Now it is over $20K. Per year. Even if summer job income has doubled due to the higher minimum wage, you simply cannot earn enough to pay for that yourself. And where I went to school there are not enough jobs for the residents of the town, never mind part time jobs for students. And there is no more financial aid than there was 25 years ago, and probably less. So the difference gets borrowed. And this is at a cheap state school with in-state tuition. Out of state is $35K a year, private schools are $50K+. Per Year. Some private schools still give freely of the financial aid if you are poor, but even if the parents are comfortably middle class you are looking at a lot of borrowing unless they put away a heck of a lot of money.

      • 0 avatar
        Crosley

        The student loan problem has gotten out of hand, and the cause is the same exact situation that happened to the housing market.

        The government basically lets anyone get a loan in the name of affordability and access, prices skyrocket as a result of everyone being able to pay whatever the school asks, and tuition rates keep going up creating the opposite intended effect of affordable tuition.

        If a student goes to school out of state University, $30k a year tuition is a conservative starting point (my alma mater is $37k) And let’s not even talk about graduate or law school. Add in living expenses, books, recreation, rent, etc., six figures of debt looks like the new normal to me unless someone else is footing the bill.

        A 21 year old with a six figure “mortgage” is not going to be buying a new car anytime soon, especially if it’s a bullshit degree he signed his life away for.

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        $138 bucks a month is the payment on a pretty nice car? Not by any definition of “pretty nice car” I’ve ever heard.

  • avatar
    skor

    It’s not right to blame these kids for something they are not responsible for. They don’t buy cars because they don’t have the money to buy a car, or don’t have the money to keep one.

    Ultimately this is what happens when workers no longer get more than a subsistence wage. Even crazy old Henry Ford knew that paying people well for a job well done was good for his company, the economy, and the country as a whole.

    It was the greed of the sociopaths running the banks, Wall St and big corporations coupled with the gullibility of the Baby Boom generation that believed in the lies it was being fed about its own “exceptionalism” that has destroyed our economy. In the end, the only people who will come out ahead are those few Wall St/banker/CEO types. The majority of Baby Boomers are about to get burned big time….most will die in poverty. Just wait until Mittens is elected and they are shut out of Social Security, Medicare and all the other programs that kept their parents afloat in old age. It will take years, if not decades, to get back to anything that resembles “normal”. Actually, I doubt this country will ever see anything like the prosperity that took place from the end of WWII to the first oil shocks of the 70s.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      We extensively bombed Germany and Japan. It took them decades to rebuild. We had no economic competition.
      How will Romney being elected affect Social Security, Medicares, et al?
      Tail-end baby boomer here, how am I going to get burned?
      Retired reservist here, when I turn 60 I’ll get paid for waking up in the morning.

      • 0 avatar
        Mzdaspd304

        Because like most republicans and/or tea partiers would love nothing more than to privatize it. Remember what happened to your 401(k)? It went in the shitter for the most part as most everyone else’s did as well. As if SSI monetary status wasn’t bad enough as it is, let’s go ahead and base it now off market fluctuations. SSI will go deeper in the red then.

        How do you feel about all the years dumping money into SS just to *maybe* have a paycheck for waking up in the morning. How about an inconsistent one? One month you might get a few hundred bucks. The next month, maybe $30, just depends on how the market does.

        Privatizing Social Security will just change a pension plan into one big giant ass pooled 401k.

        SSI – in theory is a perfect income subsidy. The problem was when we started barrowing from it and no one wanted to put it back or pay more to replace it.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        Medicare is already deeply in the hole. Things are getting even worse as more Baby Boomers retire. Maybe you don’t want it to be “privatized,” but doing nothing isn’t an option. Neither is paying ever-increasing taxes, unless we all want to be taxed into oblivion to pay for grandpa’s hip replacements. Then it won’t just be young people who can’t afford a new car.

        Social Security is okay…for now.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      The “prosperity that took place from the end of WWII to the first oil shocks of the 70s” was anything but “normal.” It was the result of the United States being the only major industrial power to escape World War II with an intact industrial base.

      Western Europe and Japan spent most of that time rebuilding, while the Soviet Union, the Eastern European countries and China hobbled themselves with communism.

      Neither Romney nor Obama is going to bring back those conditions, unless they secretly plan to have Germany invade Poland and Japan invade China and bomb Pearl Harbor. Of course, in 2012, we’ll also have to ensure that India, Mexico and Brazil get bombed flat, too, for this plan to work.

      • 0 avatar
        skor

        So you’re saying that the ONLY way America can compete globally…. the only what it was ever able to compete globally….is to kill the competition…..literally kill the competitors?

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        No, I’m saying that the only way to replicate the conditions that existed after World War II is to…first have World War II.

        America competes very well right now. When you adjust for inflation, manufacturing’s share of the nation’s gross domestic product has remained the same since the 1970s.

        Our manufacturing sector is quite healthy. What has dropped is manufacturing EMPLOYMENT, thanks to productivity improvements. We make more things with fewer people.

        The same thing happened with agriculture. In the early 20th century, over 1/2 of the American workforce was employed in the agriculture sector. Today, it’s about 3 percent. Nobody is starving – the First Lady is on a fitness campaign because too many people are fat – and the quality of food is higher than ever before, while the cost is LOWER.

    • 0 avatar
      nickoo

      Well Said. The baby boomers (specifically the ones who voted for republicans/Reagan) have destroyed this country’s middle class, it started with Reagan and his two tax reform bills that gutted the middle class, as the entire political spectrum moved rightward thanks to right wing propaganda and the middle class kept voting against it’s best interests, things only got worse, culminating with the mess we are in today that very well may be the new normal for generations to come. Our politics have shifted so far to the right that we are at the point where Nixon would be considered “green party” and Reagan couldn’t even get the Democratic Nomination because he would be too Liberal.

      For those of you who are middle class and still voting for Republicans, just realize that you have more in common with that down on his luck person who has to rely on SSI disability/medic-ade than you do with the millionaire who will never have to work a day in his life, AND, you’re more likely to join your SSI friend than you are to become that millionaire, are you sure you want to keep voting the way you’re voting?

      • 0 avatar
        skor

        @nickoo

        Yup Eisenhower, Nixon AND George Romney (father of Willard) would all be horrified by the state of the Republican Party today. Hell, big, bad “Tricky Dick” tried to give the country single payer health care back in the early 70′s…..that would get him labeled a “Stalinist” by the current gang running the GOP. The GOP has gone so far off the reservation that they voted to defund the Census Bureau back in May, a move that even the Wall St Journal, a publication that no one ever mistook for the Daily Worker, thought was totally crackpot.

        The saddest part is that millions of talented people who want to work, and whose contributions would make us all better off, and lift the entire nation, are prevented from participating so that a tiny minority can retain its privileges, and extremists can indulge in their whacked-out ideologies.

      • 0 avatar
        FromaBuick6

        Yeah, middle class voters are stupid for voting for Republicans after all the wonderful things Obama has done for them. He’s reduced unemployment, cut the deficit, ended the wars, closed Gitmo, saved social security, made healthcare affordable and made us all shiny happy people.

        Oh, wait. He hasn’t done any of things. Obama has, however, told business owners they owe all their accomplishments to the government, played a lot of golf and accused his opponent of doing everything but stealing candy from babies. So he’s got that going for him. Which is nice.

        “Reagan couldn’t even get the Democratic Nomination because he would be too Liberal.”

        The “Nixon was a Liberal” meme has been around for ages, but Reagan? That’s one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard. At the start of the Nixon administration, interracial marriage was taboo, abortion was illegal and you could go get arrested for sodomy. But yeah, other than that, George Bush and the Tea Party clearly turned us into a bunch of racist right wing nut jobs. Oh, and don’t forget the Koch Brothers, it’s always the Koch Brothers.

        I know this is an inconvenient fact for some people, but the world is not flat, and sociopolitical trends are not that simple.

        I always wonder how the President’s supporters can listen to the elitist, self-serving, condescending drivel that spews from his teleprompter without batting an eye. Then I hear these bitter, trite rants about the evil GOP and the One Percenters, and remember how Lefties are utterly incapable of independent, critical thought.

        Thanks for making me talk about politics in an article about car sales. Jerks.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        President Reagan’s tax cuts did not “gut” the middle class. Top earners today account for a higher percentage of total federal income tax revenues collected than they did in 1980. Nor were Reagan’s reductions in the top rate for the federal income tax the first. President John F. Kennedy pushed through the first rate reductions for top earners in 1962, and the economy boomed for several years in the 1960s.

        The real complaint is that the manufacturing sector has undergone a revolution since 1980. That is because American companies have been forced to adopt new production techniques and more automation in response to tougher foreign competition. That has nothing to do with Reagan’s tax cuts.

        The manufacturing sector is quite healthy. When the figures are adjusted for inflation, manufacturing’s share of the nation’s gross domestic product has remained unchanged since at least the mid-1970s (around 16-17 percent).

        Since 2002, manufacturing output has INCREASED by 30 percent in this country. What has declined is manufacturing EMPLOYMENT. That is because companies have instituted new production procedures and automation, not because of any tax cuts. We don’t make things the way we did in 1955, 1965, or even 1975. Healthy, well-managed companies are continually striving to make MORE with LESS. The “less” includes less labor. That is not Ronald Reagan’s fault.

        As for Richard Nixon – he instituted wage-and-price controls in 1971 and the 55-mph speed limit, two dumb policies that ultimately failed. Those are hardly the actions of a conservative, but if the left wants him, they can have him.

        And the idea that we are more likely to need SSI than become a millionaire, and that is why we need to vote for Democrats, is silly at best.

        One, even a family of four does not need an annual income of $1 million to live well in 2012, unless “living well” really means “living like Donald Trump or an A-list Hollywood movie star.”

        Two, given that SSI is supposed to be for people who are completely disabled, I doubt that most of us will ever become disabled to that degree during our lifetimes. (So far, I’ve met a grand total of…two people…on SSI, and both my job and personal life put me into contact with a wide variety of people).

    • 0 avatar
      jimmyy

      Are you a hard working educated person willing to do whatever it takes to be a huge success? Your best bet is vote republican.

      Are you a person who wants to get a secure job that lasts until retirement? Your best bet is vote Obama.

      Problem with this country is too many want the effortless cradle to grave position and vote Obama. This is going to kill the country.

    • 0 avatar
      car_guy2010

      Exactly.

      It was my dream as a youngster to go to college. I swore I would be the first in my small family of 4 go to and I did. No regrets on that part.

      What I do regret is not deciding on a degree that would actually help me. I’ve always been indecisive and that has come back to bite me in the ass plenty of times.

      It’s sad when you hit your early 30s and you’re just starting to figure out what you want to do with your life. This should have happened for me 10 years ago.

      Maybe I shouldn’t be so quick to blame my parents’ generation. At the same time, there doesn’t seem to be much of a future if you’re not already grandfathered into the system itself (i:e-bankers, investors, scummy people that scam others for money).

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Hogwash to the cell phone meme. Take the price of the phone and a 2 year plan and figure out how many car payments that equals. 2-3 car payments, probably 5 car payments tops.
    Lots of service personnel buying new shiny iron after their deployment to Iraq/Afghanistan (or their second or third deployments.) Don’t forget Sailors who have 4-5 months salary setting in the credit union after a cruise.

  • avatar
    jmymlr

    Anyone have some similar stats on Gen X car purchasing in the early ’90s recession? I suspect you’d see a similar drop in new car sales in comparison with the total population.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    Just thought I’d add a data point to the discussion.

    I’m a recent grad with a B.S. in Biological Engineering and an M. Eng. in biomedical engieering from Cornell (in hindsight I wish I’d done mechanical engineering but that’s neither here nor there). I have relevant work and intership experience, and have a good GPA. I applied to over 40 positions, sleuthed out and called hiring managers, the whole 9 yards. I got 3 serious interviews and only one offer, which I accepted. It’s really tough for entry level engineers right now. I’m trying to learn as much electronics and motion control as I can fit into my brain to make myself a stronger candidate for a manufacturing/automation position in the future.

    Thankfully my hardworking parents graciously paid for my entire college education, I realize that I’m in much better shape than many of my peers, and I am thankful for that. My job is also close to home, so I’m living there for the time being, saving every penny of my paycheck and helping out with grocery expenses.

    I have a ‘dumb’ phone that I pay $25 a month for. I drive a 1998 Mazda MPV with 148k miles but in fantastic mechanical/cosmetic condition that I got as a hand me down (I’ve been its caretaker for a long time). I had the urge to buy a new car but quickly came to my senses. The Mazda may need repairs now and then and only gets 17 mpg, but being free of car payments and full coverage insurance payments is a beautiful thing. I’d rather save for my future with my girlfriend.

    • 0 avatar
      rodface

      I graduated in 2010 with a B.S. in mechanical engineering, and have experienced a good jobs market (Houston, TX). My friends who studied bioengineering are either in graduate school, or working in industries unrelated to their field of study. It’s sad to see people who worked so hard (and boy did they complain about it!) at an engineering degree find themselves without the job opportunities they were promised. Of course, a degreed engineer of any stripe is hardly going to have trouble finding some sort of technical position, but underemployment is a real possibility.

      • 0 avatar
        skor

        You’re young, I assume you are unattached and don’t have children you need to support. My advise to you is to look for work outside of the USA. Yup, emigrate, young man. Try Canada or Australia. Trying teaching English in China or Vietnam…it might even lead to something in your field. Have a parent or grandparent that was born in Germany? You are entitled to German citizenship. The unemployment rate in Southern Germany is 2%, and they are always looking for people in technical fields. If America is going to abandon you, why shouldn’t you consider abandoning America?

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        I guess that is why VW built its new Passat plant in Tennessee, which is located in the United States, unless Tennessee seceded from the union while no one was watching.

    • 0 avatar
      nickoo

      BS physics, MS and BS mechanical engineering in 2009, top 15 school, cum laude grad honors, military vet, etc…The job market has been just as bad for me as it has been for you. Some days I wish I would have stayed for the PhD, other days, I’ve been thinking I should have done Electrical or Systems engineering.

    • 0 avatar
      jimmyy

      On the east or west coasts, engineering jobs are very easy to land. I would move.

      I have a BS in Electrical, and a BS in Mechanical, and I have made a fortune.

      Nearly any engineering degree from an above average school will work.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        Yeah, I should mention that I was looking almost exclusively in and around the state of Indiana, where my girlfriend is starting medical school. I’m sure I would have had better chances looking across the US, but I was stubborn and dead set on moving out closer to her. The job I did take is in NY (10 hour haul to visit her). I prioritize her over any sort of career/money, she’s a keeper for sure :) Still applying for jobs in her vicinity with no plans of letting up.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      gtemnykh Have you tried USA Jobs? NSA Crane seems to hire a lot of engineers.

  • avatar
    Retro cars

    I would say that it’s got more to do with the cost of motoring, than spending money on gadgets. I for one am a keen petrol head, yet I try to keep my driving down to an minimum to save money.

  • avatar
    John

    The 4G generation is going to be working to pay for the auto industry’s bailout for a long, long time, so the auto industry can stick it where the sun don’t shine.

    • 0 avatar
      chicagoland

      And Big banks, AIG, Iraq War, Veterans’ benefits, on and on. GM is pennies compared to those!

      Oh, and since when is GM = ‘auto industry’? They only have 18% market share, how is that the whole?

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      I don’t know if the 4G generation actually understands just how deep they are in the doo-doo. If they’re working, they’re paying for it all. Everything. The whole enchilada.

      We have to remember that the people who already made it, have enough money to last their lifetime, are retired and no longer contributing, or are just plain independently wealthy, like Romney, don’t give a hoot about the bailouts, handouts, nationalization or the national debt. They may talk about it, but why would they care? They’re not paying for it.

      It’s the people currently employed that are saddled with the deductions and future debt. Those no longer working, or living on welfare, are smart enough to keep whatever money they do have under their mattress or in safe-deposit boxes so no money trail exists.

      It waters my eyes every time I see some ‘unemployed’ young guy at Wal-Mart whip out $100 bills to pay for his groceries, and then drive off in a late model luxury car he bought used, with cash.

      Do we know who they are? Sure we do. Just look around you.

  • avatar
    icemilkcoffee

    Middle-lower income young people seldom buy new cars in any event. So I’m not convinced that the explanation is so simple.

    If I were to guess, I would say that the lack of credit is the real reason why we are missing those new car buyers. The foreclosure crisis wiped out a lot of people’s credit. In other words, the new car market is hampered by the same issue that is dogging the housing market.

  • avatar
    levi

    Excellent, Mr Schmitt. You rattled some chains on this one!

  • avatar
    sfbiker

    Wait, wait, wait. There are several megatrends at work here. The first is that the costs of a college education — ANY college education — have risen by double-digts annually over the last twenty years. Young people graduate with much more debt than I did in 1997. And yes, the jobs aren’t there to support them, but that has nothing to do with the degrees they get — I have a Master’s in English, and I’m pushing six figures as a paralegal in Silicon Valley/San Francisco. Entry-level wages have stagnated, especially for people with technical degrees, because the companies hiring engineers prefer to get engineers that are educated overseas on an H1N visa. Why? BECAUSE THEY’RE TEMPS, AND YOU DON’T HAVE TO PAY THEM AS MUCH, OR GIVE THEM STOCK OPTIONS. And they work their asses off to keep from getting fired and sent back to China or India. There’s no “shortage” of engineers that are educated in this country, no shortage of people with technical skills. It’s that in Silicon Valley, unless you went to MIT or Cal Poly (or Stanford, or Cal, or Michigan, or Northwestern, or one of the other top 20 schools) you might as well not even bother applying.

    So we hang the kids who went $50k – $100k in debt out to dry because they could only get into, say, Southern Illinois, or Colorado State, or Texas Tech, and then disparage them for living in their parents’ basement and not buying new cars. Screw the cranky Baby Boomers, and my fellow snide Gen-Xers, who were handed a country with a booming economy and taxpayer-funded educations, and one bubble after another that we could all ride into economic stability. And especially screw the people who voted to pocket tax breaks, and voted repeatedly to give the investor class tax breaks and corporations loopholes to avoid their responsiblities. Gen-Y (and, to some extent, Gen-X) are going to be cleaning up this mess forever.

    I’ve managed to pay off my debt, but I’ve watched my 401k drop off to nothing twice now — once in 2001, and again in 2009 — and my Boomer parents are too sick to work, so guess who’s paying their mortgage? I’ll give you a hint: it’s not the pension plans they had from their jobs. Those don’t exist anymore, thanks to the pro-management legislation passed by Republicans in Congress, and it’s not their savings, which was wiped out as well. My step-mother is working full-time at age 70, and my father is too sick with Parkinson’s to do much of anything.

    I’m 41 years old, and I don’t think I’ll be able to buy a new car again until my parents die, sometime in the next twenty to thirty years. I only pray that I’m not so far in debt trying to cover them that I might someday, many years from now, be able to buy a home. (But it won’t be here in California, because the stupid Democrats can’t balance a fucking budget here, either.)

    Seriously though, you want to know why we’re not buying new cars? What good would a new car do me? I can’t drive it to work — parking costs $20 a day. The freeways are jam-packed at rush hour anyway, so it would just idle itself to death. I survive in this economy by riding a used motorcycle to work, and public transit when it rains. I have a used Ford Escape that I paid off four years ago, and I have driven it all of 600 miles since March. At that rate, I probably won’t need a new car until I’m in my fifties or sixties.

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      And THAT is why I don’t rush off to the coasts or the big metro areas to seek a job that leaves me living in a place like that for the next forty years. I’ve lived in those places and dealt with the B.S. that comes with it.

      I could move off to the coasts or cross-country but that has costs too – costs to travel back to see friends and family several times per year, postage for all the odd-and-ends my family would want to exchange at every birthday and holiday we didn’t travel, and basically we don’t want to chase a gold rush and spend our lifetimes away from the people important to us. And in those same big cities and coastal areas each recession seems to be harder on the residents than in the quieter parts of the country. No major real estate bubble effects, the economy doesn’t shutdown completely, etc. There are a few jobs here for people will skills and you don’t have to compete with 10,000 applicants where it is really tough to rise to the top of stack come interview time. Not to say that where we live is perfect ’cause it isn’t.

      Slow and steady can be pretty nice compared to boom and bust.

  • avatar
    jimmyy

    The main factor is people have been switching in droves to Japanese cars, especially Toyota, Honda, and Nissan. These cars usually last 300,000+ miles, which is far longer than the typical 130,000 mile Detroit lifespan. If your car lasts twice as long, then you need to purchase half as many cars. Simple math. As the Japanese continue to increase their market share, this trend will continue. I think Detroit has a real problem because, thanks to the UAW gravy train, Detroit can not afford to build a car comparable to Toyota and Honda. Fortunately, Detroit still sells a large number of vehicles to the senior citizens who refuse to purchase superior Japanese products … this will not last much longer since that generation is entering the old folks home.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      A lot of old people are also switching to foreign or transplant cars. I see more Avalons than Buicks in my area, and more Highlanders than Enclaves/Acadia/Traverse piloted by people over 65.

      The new trend for seniors over 65 seems to be Minivans. It may have something to do with ease of entry and egress of that type of vehicle.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        Which makes sense. The generation that was burned by Detroit will stay with the Japanese makes until death. The next generation is already changing that, as Citations and Fieros are just names on paper. These younger people have been willing to try Detroit products and most have been happy with them, despite what jimmmmyyyy spouts.

    • 0 avatar
      chicagoland

      The article is not just about Detroit, but overall car sales. It’s old news about drivers switching to Asian makes. But, overall sales of all new cars are down.

  • avatar

    WSJ, March 2012: “Total student debt outstanding appears to have surpassed $1 trillion late last year, said officials at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a federal agency created in the wake of the financial crisis”

  • avatar
    chicagoland

    There are other reasons for lower car sales. More young adults buying used cars, and a lot fewer impulse buys.

    While some elite media are assuming “all young adults want to live in cities and take subway”, reality is a large % still live with parents. And, they love used German luxury cars. Audi, MB, BMW certified used cars in driveways of suburban or outer city neighborhoods owned by Junior, to impress at the clubs.

  • avatar
    oldyak

    Has anyone REALLY gone out and priced used cars lately???
    $2000 used car may last 2 weeks!
    $4000 used car may last 4 weeks!
    New car…Parents cant/wont co-sign
    and the student loans…Oh my God!!!
    Im sure the taxpayers will end up paying them in some fashion.
    Insurance..well that’s a whole other racket!
    But nothing really has changed since I was young…
    If you want a job you need transportation.
    and If there no bus lines..you need a car!
    Trust me….these young tech savvy kids will face the cruel reality we once did, when mom and dad kick them out!!!

  • avatar
    Sanman111

    While I think some good points have been brought up in the discussion, there are other issues as well. For starters, new cars are not really cool anymore. Those that are cool are so far out of reach that it really does not matter (whether by price or insurance). My iphone costs $199 and with my portion our family plan costs about $70-80/mth. I need that for work (to get emails, calls, etc) more than I need a shiny new car. This is coming from a self-professed car guy, a newly minted doctor,and someone driving to work in a hand me down Toyota Camry (that never breaks). The cash I do have after loans and life expenses goes to time with friends and the gf as well as a vacation. My gf just splurged on a new car…a Corolla that cost nearly $20k. Even with the two of us being professionals in healthcare with good jobs, life is expensive and there are priorities outside of the newest shiniest car. A physician friend got engaged and picked up a new Sentra. I have a couple of gearhead friends that did just put themselves in a BMW 135 and a BRZ, but those are few and far between. As for me, I’m keeping the camry and I have my eye out for a something like an NA miata, SN95 mustang convertible, or MR2 that I will buy in cash and fix up when I have the funds. Being a car guy does not have to mean leveraging your finances to the hilt.

  • avatar
    Boxerman

    The reasons stated above all of which are probably valid.
    1 The economy.
    2 Govtwar on cars
    3 Direct costs
    4 Most cars lame transport devices.
    5 Social demographics/media make car less necessary

    Studies show that there is a percentage of people who are enthusiasts, for them regardless of age there is a desire to purchase and this is something like 40% of a given population group.

    For everyone else a car is a necssity/conveniance. Undoubtably social media, living in cities, mass transit, brainwashing, globval warming, traffic, costs, the economy etc has shifted the desire and or need to own a car downward. If an when these people need a car as a necssity they will buy one.

    Given the Govt war on cars, the hassle, the cost and social media substitutes a car is not so much fun, or even socialy neceesary to get about hence less licenses and purchases.

    As for the economy, if you think its bad now, wait till the bill for the 16 trillioin in debt comes due. Yes maybe corporations do well, but small business employs 50% of people. If Govt is going to pillary you, take over 50% of what you make, why bother hiring and risking, better find a job with garaunteed employment like at the government. Orjust stay where you are, what is the reward for a small business in working hrder and risking more.

    Our system is killing wealth creation and drive at least on an upper middle class level.

    Or since 18-30 year olds are taking it on the chin, how is that hopey changy thing working out, why woulkd I hire you, take on more payroll taxes medical etc, what do I get out of it, borrowing more to hire more, where is the upside. The Government wants to be a 50+% partner in everything I mke, they are not there to put in for 50% of losses in bad years, and they throw up more roadblocks and paperwork every year.

    Elsewhwere, like asia Goverment encorages growth, not false job security, it makes conditions for economic vitality not broad ill defined regulations, and the tax rate is 15%. Somehow these governments have money to spend and their population is upwardly mobile.Yes we have more protections here than they do, we protect the envirpoment for one thing, but economic growth need not negate this.

    If you were starting out, risking your future working for little now, and put all you made into something that may pay off, would you try do it here, where goverment works against you and if you suceed takes half, or somewhere else.

    Turn on the TV, look at europe, they have zero money negative groth and no real prospects, that is where hope and change takes you.

    Pity the alternative is to feed non productive bankers, and be anti abortion, anti enviroment.

    We can still have agreat country, socialy accepting, without destroying the enviroment, and economicaly vibrant.
    Smaller appropriate government, that gets out of the way, but watches for danger. Sadly neither party is close to offering this.

    Still I would vote for someone who can count and who understands that to tax money, you have to generate it first, this mortaging the fuure is not change I can believe in.

    My point is, fiscal conservatism need not come with all the other negative socialy conservative views. But currently that is the choice, and given that choice you are better off taking the good with the bad, at least with the repulicans there might be an economy and companies to hire.

    • 0 avatar
      icemilkcoffee

      Sounds like you’ve substituted your own imagination for reality. Some asian countries can get away with 15% tax rate because they have very small militaries, and they have stamp tax (transaction tax) on all stock trades. They also have MUCH higher car taxes. In some places you cannot own land. You can only lease the land for 99 years. Do you think any of this would pass muster with your fantasy republicans (the type that only exists in your fantasies)?

      Europe has negative growth because they pursued something called austerity since the recession. Do you know what austerity is? If not please go look it up before you continue.

      Your fantasy on taxes is just that- a fantasy. If tax cuts create jobs, we should have been swimming in jobs after 10 years of Bush tax cuts. Where are the jobs? Tax cut is a tried and FAILED solution. Bill Clinton raised taxes and we had the best economy under Clinton. Back in America’s golden years during the 50′s and 60′s we had a 70-90% top marginal tax rate.

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        “If tax cuts create jobs, we should have been swimming in jobs after 10 years of Bush tax cuts. Where are the jobs? Tax cut is a tried and FAILED solution. Bill Clinton raised taxes and we had the best economy under Clinton. ”

        +1000

        I just can’t understand how Boxerman can avoid the truth that after 8 years of Bush with 6 years of Republicans in the House, the economy was in complete and total free fall collapse.

      • 0 avatar
        Boxerman

        Europe has austerity now because they have no money. Your logic is they have no money because of austerity. The reason the actualy have no money and no way to borrow more is. Evause they have flowed non productive socialist policies. How many great new companies have been started in Europe I. The last 20 years, yes so
        E huge titans still exist, but the lifeblood of an economy is small and mediu
        Business and no one wants to do this in Europe for good reason.
        70% tax rates gets you zero, the driven people who. An do. They leave

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        The 1950s and 1960s were our “Golden Years” because our major competitors were either still rebuilding from World War II or hobbled by their adoption of communism. They were the “Golden Years” in spite of those high tax rates, not because of them.

        It’s also worth noting that top earners paid a smaller percentage of total federal income taxes collected in the 1950s and the 1960s than they do today. How can this be? Because while we’ve lowered the rates, we’ve also closed the loopholes. The dirty little secret is that very few taxpayers actually paid those higher rates in the 1950s and 1960s. (For example, only three taxpayers IN THE ENTIRE NATION paid the ultra-high 90+ percent rate of the early 1950s, and they were all professional baseball players.)

        At any rate, that well-known right-wing Republican, President John F. Kennedy, Sr., pushed through reductions in the top rate of the federal income tax in 1962 to “get the economy moving.” And the economy boomed for most of the rest of the 1960s. For that matter, I recall the economy doing quite well after the Regan tax cuts of 1981.

        And Europe’s negative growth is caused by poor economic policies (including too much spending and borrowing), not “austerity.” Austerity is the inevitable RESULT of the policies followed by several nations, not the cause of Europe’s problems.

  • avatar
    ccode81

    I think everyone’s opinion here has some sence.
    Let me put down mine.
    In economic hey days of Japan, houses were so expensive, mortgage rate was 6% or so.
    Buying a property were something unrealistic for 20s.
    All spare money not so big to buy house went to cars, while living with parents or company supplied apartment.
    House was only subject of consideration after getting married and having kids.

    After economic depression, houses are quite affordable and mortgage is something below 2% for prime.
    Young people here with so so good income job now prefere to buy a house in late 20s, rather than wasting on cars.
    once buying houses, with such a low rate, early payment of loans dramatically decrease principals rapidly.
    It is now like a game, how fast you pay down, putting all spare money into it.
    not much interested to buy anything beside spending small money to gadgets, which you can easily feel cool with latest model. I have to pay something at least 50k to feel similar satisfaction by buying a car.
    Also young people prefer to live in urban area where car is not necessity.

    I could choose a life with Ferarri and small rented apartment, but rather ended up with own property and Alfa.

  • avatar
    DIYer

    I’ll let you in on a little secret – Not only young people are financially pressed, everyone else is too! I bought my first new car when I was 34 years old, and bought 5 used vehicles before that.

  • avatar
    Shankems

    4G? Please.

    Mid 20s here, and my girlfriend and I have a combined income just above 100K, so I guess we’re at the top of end of the group described. In college as a computer geek I HAD 0 interest in cars. I couldn’t afford a truly lust worthy vehicle and I was just generally dismissive of everything else as boring; i’d rather spend 2 grand on a computer than anything car related.

    That all changed when I had to get a new car because my hand me down buick was rotting. Short story is I lucked out. I got my hands on a G8 GT for $22K when Pontiac was biting the dust and that car turned me into a car enthusiast. Driving became not just fun, but AWESOME. The funniest thing is that my girlfriend had negative interest in cars too, until I let her borrow that car to go to the bank one day. She came back all smiles and talking about how she beat someone at a light and it was easy. A trip to the bank had become fun. I’ve since given that car up to my girlfriend and bought the same car, albeit the GXP submodel.

    My story may be an exception, but I think it is what car makers are going to have to try and achieve if they want younger drivers that WANT cars. They have to make cars that are a blast to drive that can be afforded. Then hopefully young drivers will stumble unto these cars and word will spread.

    In 3 years my girlfriend and I went from a 10 year old Buick and Civic, to 12.2 Liters of honkin’ V8 in the driveway, a couple track days a year, and I smile every single day I get up and have the pleasure of commuting. Now if only the price of a new CTS-V would come down just a bit…..

    TLDR-
    Give young people V8s!

  • avatar
    Guildenstern

    I’m a ’79 and my Wife is an ’82. Sorry car companies, real fact is we just buy USED then hold on to it. The Boomers pump out so many great off lease used cars why would we bother with new?

  • avatar
    mountainman_66

    rust belt dweller here………its amazing what young people in my ‘here and now’ find to be ‘cool’ and valuable…..its not the same stuff as that of my youth.
    when i was a young lad in the late 70′s to mid 80′s and things were good around here, young men in their 20′s and early 30′s bought Trans-Ams, Camaros and Mustangs. Boats were a big item too…..a 19 foot I/O open bow was the ticket for a couple of young guys wanting to score points with the young ladies. A small starter home in the ‘burbs got it done……on the weekends a polebarn was built to house projects and provide shelter from both sun and rain when it was time to drink beer with their friends and family. They worked in places that had names like Timken, Goodyear Aerospace and GM Mansfield. Solid wages. Solid lifestyles.
    Today, financed tattoos, a clapped out Honda Civic or Monte Carlo (FWD), complete with flea market bought sound system and a closet filled entirely with Afffliction clothing is what sets apart the ‘cool’ young men of my neck of the woods these days. Living in their (single) mom’s basement playing XBox 360, working at the AutoZone. Such a dismal set of affairs. NO real opportunity to get traction in life, but when you look at these guys they give you the glare, like “I am cool and you are not”. Maybe its because I’m 46 and theyre not….Id like to believe that. But I think they don’t get it, that they have no point of reference, that if they knew better, they’d see that their mode of ‘getting it done’ isn’t’ , and its not all their doing.
    Its the Economy.

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      It’s the economy but alot of teen and 20-somethings never build any useful skills playing those video games. They aren’t tinkering with a car or the family tractor. They aren’t learning carpentry putting up a barn. They aren’t learning to cook while heating mystery meat in the microwave in between video game sessions. They don’t know much of anything about anything. I’m middle aged these days and it’s amazing how limited or specialized if you prefer some of my peers and their kids are. They can do one thing at work and b/c they prefer not to do any of their own chores they can’t develop fallback skills like roofing or carpentry or some sort of trade. The trade like wrenching on a car would have served a few friends well who found themselves unable to pay a mechanic to fix their car.

      Unintended side effects of a suburban lifestyle with time to kill – spent consuming games and movies?

      I see it at work too – we get a kid that grew up on a farm vs a kid that grew up in a suburban bedroom with helicopter parents trying to prevent a boo-boo and tears.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    Well that is 2 million less people using gas and clogging up the roadways. I’m all for that.

  • avatar
    Mzdaspd304

    All I see is one-hundred fifty some odd comments of problems but no solutions. This artricles comments would make doomsday sayers blush. Obama is a left wing socialist or communisit. Which ever you prefer, they get interchanged a lot even though they are complete sets of different ideals and gov’t’s. Romney is a right wing Facist.
    Obama may have not done what he promised, in fact, he did very little which is fine by me, at least the status quo hasn’t changed. I’d rather have false hopes then be blatently lied to from Romney who will more than likey destory the middle class with taxes. Here is an entire class of people that to him is gold mine of throats to cut for whatever money they have left. You can’t tax the poor because they have nothing to tax. Heaven forbid you tax the rich. Remember, they worked hard for that money inheriting that from a dead realitive. Well that pretty much narrows it down to one class of people who get the shaft. The middle. I’m in my late 20′s and I wouldn’t be the slightest bit surprised that if in my lifetime I see “hoovervilles” again besides the history books. Shanty towns of the out of work and over taxed. If that doesn’t happen then there very well could be a revolution here like the arab spring with the gap of the rich and poor growing at an alarming and substantial rate.

    The problem in my state is a very red state, especially my county which is a suburban area of St.Louis. The vast mjority of residents are middle class and yet they vote so republican that it would make bible belt dweller feel ashamed to live there. Most people in this area vote on one thing, and only thing only. Being Pro-Life. You could have a republican that will tax them at 99% have the worse economic and foreign policy and that person would still get their vote because they are pro-life. Not that being a red state is bad, being an uneducated red state is more than just a disaster waiting to happen.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      The majority of rich people did not inherit it from relatives. The percentage of “the rich” who inherited it has been declining since 1989. At any rate, rich people already pay the lion’s share of federal income taxes. Maybe you ought to look at the 50+ percent of people who pay no federal income tax rates.

      As for the entire pro-life/pro-choice debate – I seem to recall President Obama trying to make the “war on women” one of the themes of his campaign. So he must have thought that theme would gin up HIS base.

      As someone who knows plenty of liberals, I can tell you that a fair number of them vote solely on whether the candidate is pro-choice. I guess they are uneducated, too? Or are they now defending a sacred constitutional right?

      And the people who wail about red staters voting straight Republican are always curiously silent about residents of, say, Detroit or Philadelphia always voting for Democrats, even as Detroit slowly disintegrates and a whopping 40 percent of Philadelphians live at or below the federal poverty line. I guess that they are uneducated, too?

      • 0 avatar
        Mzdaspd304

        You must be a republican with the way you twisted my words. I have had first hand expereience as a citi mortgage as a loan processor. processing loans of the rich and poor alike buying homes as I see underwriters results from personal/business frederal income taxes and you sir/ma’am are veryoff. I have seen school secretaries pay more in taxes than 3.5 million dollar business (profit) and that to you is fair? That’s the business’ idea of paying its “fair share” of taxes. I don’t think so. Let me remind you also that these are not “one off” circumstances. This is common place. These things are as sure as the sun comming up tomorrow. For example, it was made public that Trump’s secretary paid more in taxes than he himself did. Really? Thats fair. But wait, he deserve not to have to pay a dime? Right? Based of the sheer factor that he has money?

        The vast majority (notice I didn’t say ALL so don’t twist my words around) of the later generation who hold CEO positions or the similar that are completely loaded hardly “worked up the company ladder” Most of them have either inherited the money, fell ass backwards into the positon, or happened to be lucky enough to “know someone.”

        I don’t even know if I can justify a response to your pro-choice/pro-life debate. Of course he did. Anyone and everyone running does. What else are you supposed to do, ignore the entire population of women voters?

        Also, with the slant you put on everything else I’ve said you also took a slant on how I used the term uneducated. Maybe you’re right I shouldn’t use that term. The term I should have used is ignorant. Democrats and Republicans are both guilty. But I would definitely love to see the stats about how many voters vote based off a single issue rather taking persepective on multiple issues.

        As far as urban areas go most (again, I said most not all) people vote democrat based off racial demographics as much as I hate to say it as I’m not even remotely close to be racisit.

        Natual economics and business cycles could careless if you are a red or blue state. The policies that are implimented based off being red or blue, sure. These things surely advance or impede the progress of these cycles.

        It is what it is.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        Mzdasp304: I have had first hand expereience as a citi mortgage as a loan processor. processing loans of the rich and poor alike buying homes as I see underwriters results from personal/business frederal income taxes and you sir/ma’am are veryoff.

        No, I’m not wrong. What you see falls into the category of “anecdote,” as opposed to “data.”

        Here is the data:

        A majority (51 percent) of taxpayers do not owe any federal income taxes. This is a fact. These are overwhelmingly people in the lower income brackets.

        In 1980, the top five percent of all taxpayers paid about 27 percent of all federal income taxes collected. This was when the top rate was 70 percent. Today, they pay about 40 percent of all federal income taxes collected, even though the top rate is only half that of the rate in 1980 – 35 percent.

        (The top 20 percent of all tax payers pay a little more than half of all federal income taxes paid in 2012.)

        The percentage of federal income taxes paid by the top earners has grown FASTER than their share of income received. How? Because federal income taxes have fallen FASTER on lower income individuals over the years.

        Also note that many small businesses, because they don’t have shareholders, are able to shift corporate income to personal income (for the owners) for tax purposes. The owner is paying taxes.

        Mzdaspd304: The vast majority (notice I didn’t say ALL so don’t twist my words around) of the later generation who hold CEO positions or the similar that are completely loaded hardly “worked up the company ladder” Most of them have either inherited the money, fell ass backwards into the positon, or happened to be lucky enough to “know someone.”

        Proof, please.

        Meanwhile, here is proof that you are incorrect:

        “Most of today’s rich have earned — not inherited — their status. Among the top 1 percent, report Saez and Piketty, more than four-fifths of their income comes from salaries and self-employment. In 1916, the top 1 percent relied far more heavily on income from dividends, interest and rent.” (This is from a Robert Samuelson column.)

        Here is more, from the Wall Street Journal:

        “1. According to a study of Federal Reserve data conducted by NYU professor Edward Wolff, for the nation’s richest 1%, inherited wealth accounted for only 9% of their net worth in 2001, down from 23% in 1989. (The 2001 number was the latest available.)”

        (This supports what I said in my earlier post.)

        “2. According to a study by Prince & Associates, less than 10% of today’s multi-millionaires cited “inheritance” as their source of wealth.

        3. A study by Spectrem Group found that among today’s millionaires, inherited wealth accounted for just 2% of their total sources of wealth.

        Each of these stats measures slightly different things, yet they all come to the same basic conclusion: Inheritance is not the main driver of today’s wealth. The reason we’ve had a doubling in the number of millionaires and billionaires over the past decade (even adjusted for inflation) is that more of the non-wealthy have become wealthy.”

        So, your anecdotes aside, the data shows that people are LESS likely to rely on inherited wealth to get ahead today than they were in even the 1980s.

        Mzdasp304: I don’t even know if I can justify a response to your pro-choice/pro-life debate. Of course he did. Anyone and everyone running does. What else are you supposed to do, ignore the entire population of women voters?

        Whether President Obama is using that issue to appeal to women is irrelevant. You accused several of the people you know of being “ignorant” based on their decision to vote solely on whether the candidate is pro-life.

        Given the president’s decision to highlight various pro-choice positions and turn it into a supposed “War on Women,” one can make the logical conclusion that several people on the other side are also single-issue voters, and this is their issue. So they are just as “ignorant” as the voters you know.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        …….In 1980, the top five percent of all taxpayers paid about 27 percent of all federal income taxes collected. This was when the top rate was 70 percent. Today, they pay about 40 percent of all federal income taxes collected, even though the top rate is only half that of the rate in 1980 – 35 percent……..

        That may be true, but it is a useless metric. How about a comparison of how much money is earned vs how much is actually paid in taxes? Excepting the working poor that pay no taxes, the rich pay far less of a percentage of all earnings in taxes than everybody else. And that is what effects a person’s standard of living. A guy making 120K paying out 35% of his wages in tax is affected far more than a guy who makes a million and pays 15%, even if the millionaire pays more in total dollars. So, this is really the metric that determines if the taxation is fair. Soaking the rich is not fair, nor is it desirable, but everybody should pay their fair share. And that is what is wrong with our tax structure today.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        golden2husky: That may be true, but it is a useless metric. How about a comparison of how much money is earned vs how much is actually paid in taxes?

        Wrong, it is the metric that matters. The claim is that the rich are not paying their “fair share” because of tax cuts by Reagan and Bush. This is false. They are paying a higher percentage of taxes collected than ever before.

        Unless their tax rate is “0,” taxes and everything else will hit a lower-income or middle-class perrson harder than a rich person. The problem with the use of your metric is that we ultimately can’t pay for the federal programs people are always clamoring for by only taxing the rich. If we taxed the top five percent of taxpayers at 99 percent of their income, we would still not have enough money to cover the expenditures of the federal government. Which means that we have to tax middle- and upper-middle income tax payers.

        golden2husky: Excepting the working poor that pay no taxes, the rich pay far less of a percentage of all earnings in taxes than everybody else. And that is what effects a person’s standard of living.

        Based on that logic, Ford should charge an A-list Hollywood movie star $2 million for a new Fusion, and a poor person $200.

        Doesn’t work that way in the real world.

        The tax code is already quite progressive, based on who pays. Ours is actually more progressive than that of several European countries. We aren’t going to keep changing the metric or moving the goalposts because a rational analysis of the facts show that the complaints by the left that the rich aren’t paying “their fair share” is false.

        golden2husky: the rich is not fair, nor is it desirable, but everybody should pay their fair share. And that is what is wrong with our tax structure today.

        Based on the figures I quoted, which are the relevant ones to the discussion, they already are. How about looking at the 51 percent who pay NO federal income taxes? The rich already pay the lion’s share of federal income taxes collected. They do not need to pay any additional taxes.

  • avatar

    a car lasts a long time when one has no job to go to and no money
    to put gas into it.

  • avatar
    AJ

    I have college grad interns at work and all of them are driving used, hand me down cars. Some of them are really bright and I’d like to make employees out of them, but with this economy we can’t afford it. No jobs… certainly no new cars.

    Even I’m keeping my cars longer then I use to.

  • avatar
    Boxerman

    Here is another metric for you.
    The top 20% earn 45% of the money and pay 75% of the taxes, is that fair.
    When did it become compulsory to be penalised for doing well, are the well off to be slaves to everyone else. Surely the goal is for everyone else to do well too, not resent sucess.
    If we now have an ethos of penalty for sucess then no wonder there are no jobs.

    • 0 avatar
      indyb6

      Boxerman – I see your statistic comes from “The Heritage Foundation”. Please do not cite conservative think tanks to further your conservative ideology. (http://www.heritage.org/federalbudget/top10-percent-income-earners)

      Look back through the years and tell me what the top tax bracket was in this country. Then tell me how raising that top bracket by 4.1% will be considered penalty for doing well.

      Heritage Foundation also predicted that Bush’s tax cuts would eliminate the national debt by 2010 (http://origin.heritage.org/research/reports/2001/04/the-economic-impact-of-president-bushs-tax-relief-plan)

      Heritage Foundation also reports the 30 Million Americans Living in Poverty Aren’t as Poor as You Think, Since They’ve Access to Refrigerators, Stoves, TVs, & Things Unavailable to Even the “Richest Families a Few Generations Ago”. (http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2011/07/what-is-poverty)

      Heritage foundation is not a “think tank”. Rather, they are a propaganda machine. Wake up!

      And since you are talking about metrics, here’s one for you – In the median state, Mississippi, the poorest 20% pay twice the tax rate of the top 1%. In the worst states, the poorest 20% pay 5-6 times that of the richest 1%. Not a single state has a tax system that’s progressive. Here’s a scorecard for all 50 states: (http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2012/02/soaking-poor-state-state)

      Did the rich not prosper between 1913-1980? Were they ‘penalized for doing well’? Do you know what the federal tax rate was during those years? How has lowering taxes for the rich worked out for you since the 1980s?? I bet you see trickle down prosperity all around you!!(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:MarginalIncomeTax.svg)

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        I guess it doesn’t take much to fool the progressive hoard, but you’ve substituted the richest 1% for the richest 20% Boxerman used in forming his factual argument. Saying one shouldn’t pay attention to any source that tells the truth under this regime is just pathetic.

  • avatar
    indyb6

    @CJinSD – The metric I tried to point out was not an apples to apples comparison for the metric that Boxerman pointed out. If it came out that way, I apologize. I was just pointing out another metric, like the other person did. Did not have to be related, and was not. But, what it DOES is combat the “the poor don’t pay any taxes” rhetoric we hear a lot of right wing folks spewing. Many don’t pay one specific tax, the income tax. There are many more that they do pay in far greater proportions of both their income and wealth than other economic classes.

    What is pathetic is that there are people out there willing to believe in an organization with such poor track record. Paying attention to is not wrong, but assuming that the information is accurate certainly is.

    What is pathetic is that people are willing do support the idea that ‘tax cuts create jobs’, without thinking that better/innovative products are at the core of increased demand for workers, not tax breaks.

    What is pathetic is that people willingly live in denial because of certain deeply ingrained ideologies in their mind that they are not willing to give up.

    It is not about conservative vs progressive. It is about being realistic vs unrealistic. People on both sides of the political spectrum have unrealistic ideas/demands, but that is not grounds for dismissing any and everything each side proposes.

    You, like Boxerman must be super rich, and thus you support his/her “factual argument”.

    More power to you :-)

  • avatar
    plunk10

    I am at the edge of Gen X and Y, and am not considering a new car, mainly because of the employment instability, with fears of budget cuts all around. After buying this used Accord, I was let go from a company due to budget woes, and now am constantly in fear that it will happen again. While I could easily afford a new $20K car on my salary, I’m not ready to strap down a 5 year loan with the possibility of losing the career, and then the credit.

    More people are now saving for the future than in the past 30-50 years it seems. The economy will be strong again when our kids will grow up with a solid foundation due to our saving. They will then blow the money that we worked hard for over a few decades, and the cycle will start all over again.

  • avatar
    NewsLynne

    Jeez, everyone I know my age (’75) is driving used. I’ve bought cash cars the last two go-arounds and they suit me fine.

    Everyone’s nervous. That’s why very few new cars are being sold.

  • avatar
    Cody

    I’m 30, I own my own company and I’m a part time professor at a university, so I have the cash, but I refuse to buy a new car. I think new cars just flat suck. See, I enjoy wrenching on my own rides, so my last 3 cars have been an 87′ Buick Grand National, a 91′ Buick Road Master wagon, and a 98′ F150 (company truck). My next vehicle will be a 2008 or earlier Dodge Ram with a real Cummins. New vehicles are too unnecessarily complex, too expensive, and uninteresting to this consumer.

  • avatar

    In the last ten years, new vs. used is “more horsepower, better gadgets”. A satnav is $99 at the big box store, and “more power” means a 350 hp minivan…..

    Not compelling reasons to upgrade, so you drive the old one till it explodes.


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