Yet another bit of bleak data from Europe relating to new car sales. A popular school of thought holds that young people’s aversion to cars is largely rooted in economic factors. When everyone under 30 is broke, living at home and wallowing in student debt, the last thing on their mind is a car. But the hope is that once things turn around, it will be time for Generation Y to get motoring again. At least in North America. Over in Europe (or certain parts of it, at least) things are much more bleak.
Youth unemployment in countries like Greece and Spain are at staggering levels. 54.2 percent of Greek youth are unemployed according to the above chart from The Atlantic. Spain is a little behind – or slightly exceeding Spain, depending on your sources. The situation is less severe in other Eurozone countries, but still bad, as evidence by the figures for France, Ireland and the Eurozone as a whole. Germany remains a standout, as its youth unemployment rate of 8.2 percent is half of the United States’ rate and a third of the Eurozone’s.
As the Atlantic article states, the unemployment crisis has been dragging on for years now, and there appears to be little end in sight. A “lost generation” of workers will of course mean a lost generation of car buyers for Europe’s auto makers. If anyone is buying anything, it’s low cost cars, as evidenced by the astonishing success of brands like Dacia, which have cannibalized sales of Renault in France.