By on November 8, 2013

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A study by Edmunds on the buying habits of millennials shows that 2013 was not a particularly good year for young car buyers. Despite making good headway in 2012, 2013 saw those gains practically eroded, as a weak job market and rising home prices helped stymie any growth in market share for automotive consumers aged 18-34.

The Edmunds study adds support to the two major points that Generation Why has been propagating from the start: that the lack of interest in cars among young people is largely rooted in poor economic prospects, and that their interest in the automobile goes beyond utilitarian considerations

Millennials’ car-buying patterns in 2012 and in 2013 both lend support to the theory that their weaker car-buying compared to previous generations stems from economic constraints rather than from a preference to not drive. Plus, what they bought in 2013 continues to suggest that Millennials do see cars as more than a means to get around. Even with their decreased share of overall sales in 2013, Millennials did not slack off on buying luxury and sports cars. The share of Millennial purchases from the luxury segment increased slightly. And, in every income group except the highest ($150,000 and over), aged 25-to-34 Millennials continued to buy luxury cars to a similar extent or more as older buyers with same income. Likewise, in nearly every income group, 18-to-24 year old Millennials continued to purchase a greater share of entry and midrange sports cars than the older buyers. These Millennial buying choices suggest an interest in cars that will translate into more purchases when economic conditions allow, just as in 2012.

Edmunds Chief Economist Lacey Plache raises an interesting point: new car sales among young people could continue to disappoint as the economic recovery passes them by. If this is the case, then OEMs should being to take notice. Not just that the oft-cited meme of “kids aren’t into cars” is false, but that a whole segment of the population is being systematically shut out of buying a new car. Rather than continuing to push high-content subcompact and compact cars at Generation Y, perhaps it might be time to shift gears to something simpler and more robust, but with the “cheap chic” appeal of a brand like H&M or Zara. Perhaps a brand like Mitsubishi could reinvent itself as the “frugalista” option, and borrow some product from that other fashionably cheap brand they are now in an alliance with…

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170 Comments on “Generation Why: 2013 Even Worse For Young Car Buyers, But The Dream Is Still Alive...”


  • avatar
    Dan

    With A) cars that last a reasonably long time, and B) money so cheap to borrow, most of the cost of owning a car already isn’t the car.

    Putting more $13,000 crapboxes on the market won’t do anything about the punitive insurance, taxes, gas, parking, etc. costs that the $13,000 crapboxes we already have don’t.

    And clown cars will never be chic.

    • 0 avatar
      juicy sushi

      The original Mini, Beetle, Fiat 500 were not clown cars. Nor were Alfa Romeo Giuliettas, Giulias, VW Golfs, Honda Civics or the modern Fit, Note, Sonic or Fiesta.

      I find the dismissive attitude of anything in the sub-compact and compact segments by some of the North American commentators to be a little ridiculous.

      People fit fine in them, and looking at the standard equipment they come with, an S-Class Benz from 20 years ago looks like a Mode T. Calling them penalty box, cr*p can or whatever other epithet a given poster can come up with only ilustrates that the person making the comment is either frightened by the notion of a small car and those who buy them, or unwilling to think outside of their own worldview.

      Dan, I am not trying to call you out as such a person, I just couldn’t find anywhere else to say this,and it’s a general theme in several comments. Please, if I offend, accept my apology.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I disagree on the last four, they are entirely too small for mainstream US tastes. I’m no Honda fanboi by any means but look at how larger and heavier Accord and Civic have become since say 1993. They realized a good bit of their US audience wanted a larger Honda and adjusted accordingly. Maybe there are parts of this world where these very small cars make sense but I’d say by and large their proliferation (in the US) is due gov’t interference in fuel regulation and price inflation on C segment models buyers may really want. With regard to the classic models you named, not one of those was designed in or probably intended for US consumption. Europe, Japan, and other regions have different tastes dictated by geography and culture, they are welcome to them but I imagine those tastes are a minority in the US.

        • 0 avatar
          juicy sushi

          Yes, but they are not bad cars. They are smaller than US preferences, perhaps, but not bad. Some have been equating small with bad. That is the reasoning behind the epithets, and which is what I disagree with.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I agree, small != bad. I was just glancing out of the window and as it just so happened a 06+ Civic was parked next to Fit. From two stories above you can see how much different they are, the Fit is much closer to the Civic hatchbacks my acquaintances had in college and were extremely useful when moving in and out of dorms (although the Fit’s overall proportions as a small car look much worse than the 93 Civic Hatchback and the Fit’s rear doors don’t look like they belong). Then I see the 50 something woman get into her Fiesta sedan. I’ve parked next to her before and have seen it up close and I’d argue outside of a small enthusiast community these things would not exist in the US other than gov’t meddling. I honestly don’t know the lady whose driving it but if I had to guess she wanted a new car and for economic reasons this was the best she could afford. I see it personally as a symptom of the great fall the “middle class” has taken in the past ten years. When Golfs, Alfas, and Minis were first imported to the US people bought them because they wanted them. Today I think people buy these very small cars because they don’t have as much choice (or in Honda’s example they changed Civic so much they brought in a new model to in part fulfill what Civic once was).

          • 0 avatar
            juicy sushi

            The Fit traded proportions for vertical space. I think that was the secret weapon that was part of its success, even though yes, it doesn’t look as good as the older hatchbacks did.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            If I could restyle Fit I might leave in the tall factor (as much as I don’t care for it) but I’m losing the rear doors or at the very least putting thin suicide-style ones on, lengthening the front doors to coupe size, and also putting bigger wheels on it (maybe 17s as standard). I think the tall proportions, small rear doors, and small wheels lend to credence the “clown car” claim, it can/could be fixed.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            Agree completely. Small cars are just small. Not crap, and not necessarily cheap. I have both a Range Rover and a Fiat 500 in my garage. They each have a purpose. If I could only have ONE car it would much more likely to be the Fiat.

        • 0 avatar
          cjarcher

          28 cars later, you are an idiot. I recently had the opportunity to sell new Ford products as a salesperson in a rural Michigan community. A car the size of the Fiesta is easy to handle and park, and has plenty of room inside (for a person my stature at least). These sub compact and compact cars are popular with anyone who can appreciate something that gets you from a to b, gets decent fuel economy, and has a low cost of acquisition. This isn’t 1970. People aren’t into American style luxobarges anymore. Thank god.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Given you claim to be a Ford salesmen I’d argue you’re biased. Your job is to convince a buyer like me to spend 15K (MSRP Fiesta S auto 15,390 on Ford.com) on something that and gets marginally better fuel economy (27/38) than my MY98 Saturn (25/35) and has less interior room (85 cu.ft. passenger volume vs 91cu.ft. passenger volume in Saturn SL). The model may have its strong points and can’t be fully judged without a test drive but for what it is its not something to get excited about. I can spend the same 15K on something more appropriate used.

            http://www.cars.com/saturn/sl/2001/specifications

            http://www.cars.com/ford/fiesta/2013/specifications/

            By the way here are some posts from people at Cars.com, whose the idiot now?

            BAD CHOICE

            Transmission problems after week 1

            EVERYTHING IS GOOD BUT THE TRANS NOISE

            LEMON car

            http://www.cars.com/ford/fiesta/2013/consumer-reviews/

            “People aren’t into American style luxobarges anymore. Thank god.”

            Pickup sales beg to differ. How many four door F150s has your shop been moving?

          • 0 avatar
            wsn

            cjarcher: “28 cars later, you are an idiot.”

            This kind of naming calling is outrageous. A Ford compact is just … a Ford compact. I have been in Escort and Focus. OK cars in their first year of being a rental. That’s about it.

            I view it to be pretty stupid in itself to sell Fiesta in “a rural Michigan community” based on ease of parking. I mean, in a rural community, you gotta be a homeless to not have enough land to park a vehicle, any vehicle.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @wsn

            I appreciate your post but its all good, not responding to a logical follow up post is telling in and of itself.

          • 0 avatar
            Detroit-X

            TTAC Law Does this still work?

            Not nice to call people names like that.

      • 0 avatar
        morbo

        There is nothing wrong with a small car or the people that drive them. They are suitable means of transportation for getting from Point A to point B efficiently and in rare cases with a modicum of fun. They are a logical and acceptable transportation option.

        They are also not desirous. I am reminded of the Simpsons episode where the giant is driving a Beetle, and is initially mocked by Nelson until explaining it was the largest car he could afford, then proceeding to mock Nelson in turn. Small cars are penalty boxes; the penalty of being unable to afford a larger car, the fuel consumption of a larger car, in Un-American places like the rest of the world punishing gas taxes, or being unable to afford a sufficiently sized off street parking spot in a city.

        Call a spade a spade. No one really wants a truly small car that’s basic transportation (Note/Versa, Sonic/Aveo, Fiesta, Yaris, etc.). Gimmicky compacts like the 500, Mini, or Beetle play some fashion or handling trick card that increases desirability. Modern ‘small’ cars like the Focus, Corolla, Civic are really standard or mid-sizers from 25 years ago.

        So proclaims the city dwelling American that drives a gas swilling Hemi V8, but only because he bike-shares to work and keeps his monster car (as the fairer sex has called it) in a garage spot save for highway cruising.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Good post Morbo. You can tell the fairer sex she’s right and I’m going to be stealing her term. The world would be a much better place if we could all have access to a monster car now and again.

        • 0 avatar
          juicy sushi

          Not sure if I agree with the logic that no one wants them. It may be a cultural thing, as in Canada small cars sell better than in the U.S., but the sales numbers would say that a lot of people choose them, and of that, a % did so without thinking they were “settling.” Given the option list these cars pack, they’re not really under-equipped.

          I find though that the assumption that because it is not the conventional American choice it is a penalty rather ridiculous, but individual biases are what they are…

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I agree for some its a matter of preference and perhaps a cultural influence. If pickup’s weren’t booming so much I’d say American tastes were shifting but for the time being a good percentage Americans want “big rides” and the industry can’t or won’t build them in car form for a number of reasons.

          • 0 avatar
            Onus

            Here in the northeast where i live ( Connecticut ) i see plenty of smaller cars. I think the trick is the same reason Canada likes small cars, gas prices. The c segment is super popular.

            Let be honest 90% of the time there is one person in your car, yourself, and minimal luggage, when commuting. You don’t need a huge car to commute.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          Of course small cars can be desirable. I have zero interest in a car any bigger than my 3-series. I could easily afford a 5 or a 7, or obviously any number of mid size beigemobiles. But what would be the point? I fit nicely in the 3 (and in my Fiat 500 too). If someone in the back seat doesn’t like the accommodations, they are free to make alternate arrangements.

          This entire line of reasoning is just silly.

        • 0 avatar
          cjarcher

          Wow, that mentality is why manufacturers fail to sell to millennials. We don’t endorse conspicuous consumption for the sake of conspicuous consumption. I’m 24. I don’t work at the Ford dealership anymore because I went back to college. They are a rural dealership and they sell mostly pickups and mostly to older folks. In my 3 months working there I sold 24 cars and the majority were pickup trucks to old white men. I drive a Saab 900. I picked it specifically because it is small and gives the maneuverability and driving dynamic I desire, a dynamic you cannot attain with anything other than a small car. It uses less fuel. I can afford fuel for a v8, but I don’t want to contribute more than I have to to the depletion of the earth’s finite fossil fuel resources. If you want to sell cars to people my age they have to make sense and need to stop pandering to what you think you understand about us.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Welcome to the site BTW and props for driving the Saab 900, there are quite a few commentators who are Saab friendly (also what year is it?)

            I’m 32 and dating a girl who is a year younger than you, when I first met her I jagged her about her seafoam green Cruze. She explained she wanted something bigger but couldn’t afford it. I asked her what she thought of the Spark, she chuckled as the salesman apparently tried to get her into one and her attitude was something to the effect of I won’t be seen in it.

            Enthusiasts of any type whether it yourself, me, or Morbo tend to be in the minority. If I were to imagine so called Gen Y of any type, I picture a person driving either late model Civrolla or leased Hyundai plastered with stickers of the current administration (because they hoodwinked you into the duopoly just as 9/11 did mine) with attention focused on their name brand touch phone toy completely oblivious to the world around them… although I hope that’s not too accurate and younger folks are more with it then I give them credit.

        • 0 avatar
          bkmurph

          “Call a spade a spade. No one really wants a truly small car that’s basic transportation (Note/Versa, Sonic/Aveo, Fiesta, Yaris, etc.).”

          I disagree. For a time, I thought of the first-gen Honda Fit Sport as my ideal car. Now I’m eying the Mazda 2. Some people actually like small, floggable engines; snug cabins; etc.

        • 0 avatar
          ttacgreg

          “Small cars are penalty boxes; the penalty of being unable to afford a larger car”

          Wrong! There are some people, like myself for example who just prefer small cars.

      • 0 avatar
        snakebit

        Dan, not to echo juicy sushi’s comments, but you must step out of your ’83 reardrive Fleetwood, and tea party neighborhood, and see how well equipped current small cars are today. European’s first demanded these, and now American and Canadians are finally getting them, as well.

        Juicy sushi gave you a fine list to start with and check out. Short of giving you velour pillow upholstery like Fleetwood and Olds 98 were, until recently, known for, small cars can be outfitted pretty well these days.

    • 0 avatar

      WOW. I’m truly amazed here. This whole sub-thread is in the vein if I were the ruler of the world everybody would be forced to think like me and do like me. So ego centric, short sighted…Infantile really. I don’t if some of the comments make want to cry or laugh. I guess the best reaction is a long, slow rolling of the eyes, and a slow. long sigh.

      All the best to you. The world is a wondrous place due to its variety. I’m sorry that due to your minset you won’t be able to appreciate it at all.

  • avatar
    jmo

    http://blog.comerica.com/2012/02/14/auto-affordability-improves-in-fourth-quarter-2011/

    Cars have never been more affordable.

    • 0 avatar
      JuniperBug

      That’s true, but housing has never been more expensive, and guess where we place our priorities. When a one bedroom condo on the city outskirts costs me five years’ of my (slightly above-average) gross salary, I’m not going to go sign for a four year note on a new FR-S, even though I technically could.

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        “but housing has never been more expensive”

        Did you just wake up from a coma? There was a giant global financial crisis when home prices fell dramatically all across the country.

        • 0 avatar
          JuniperBug

          “Did you just wake up from a coma? There was a giant global financial crisis when home prices fell dramatically all across the country.”

          That still doesn’t change the fact that five years’ salary will barely get me a decent one-bedroom condo. Things may vary from location to location, but usually where the housing is cheaper, so are the wages.

          Also, many of the older buyers had equity in houses when the prices were more inflated, that they had bought before prices went crazy. With first-time buyers, we’re starting from scratch.

        • 0 avatar
          burgersandbeer

          They didn’t fall far enough.

        • 0 avatar
          kkt

          Actually, housing prices fell dramatically only where there weren’t lots of decent full-time jobs. So, Las Vegas (just to take a random example), lots of service jobs at part-time near minimum wage, but not so many professional jobs, lost lots of housing value. Silicon Valley, lots of high tech jobs, had a mild dip in housing prices that was recovered in 2-3 years.
          Also, farther suburbs fell more and nice neighborhoods in older cities and near suburbs fell less.

          • 0 avatar
            onyxtape

            It’s all about the jobs. Certain neighborhoods here in the Seattle metro had people paying $100k over asking in bidding wars this summer.

        • 0 avatar
          carlisimo

          To my surprise, a house in our neighborhood just went up for sale and the asking price matches or exceeds 2007 prices. They’ll probably get even more – there’s so little inventory that every house for sale gets a ton of offers. So yes, in some areas “never been more expensive” is actually true.

          For many of my friends that means living with their parents even longer. Rents have practically doubled over the last few years, so it’s harder to save for the ever-growing down payment that you need. But that’s what everyone’s trying to do. It doesn’t allow for a new car purchase.

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        Juniper,

        http://www.realtor.org/news-releases/2013/01/housing-affordability-index-to-set-annual-record-for-2012

        • 0 avatar
          Skink

          What has changed over the last two decades is the sense of entitlement infecting so many who don’t deserve it. Whether it’s the everyone-gets-a-trophy-just-for-participating nonsense, the notion that every entry level minimum wage job should feed a family of four, or that everyone who has a job should be able to have a new car or own a home, it’s all indulgent Boomer parents having indulged their children. Here’s a bulletin to Generation Why: shut off your smartphones and get two jobs. Buy an ugly reliable used car if you need one. Save your money for the down payment on a house. Pay your bills on time. Be deservedly proud of your first new car and the house you buy! Good luck!

          • 0 avatar

            At the risk of sounding like a washed up sociology professor, I think this generation has been bombarded with images of obscenely wealthy young people (The OC, Laguna Beach, the Kardashians, Paris Hilton, rappers) and has warped expectations regarding their own accumulation of wealth. This is not an excuse, merely an explanation. There’s a song that was popular this time last year called “Money Trees” by Kendrick Lamar that satirizes the “big ballin” rapper fantasies only to snap out of it and realize that the singer is in fact, living in poverty and headed towards a life of crime. But few really understood the message.

          • 0 avatar
            juicy sushi

            And for those that are doing that, and more, but who face housing-to-income and affordable challenges older generations haven’t faced in 40 or more years, what have you to say?

            Derek and others aren’t whining. They’re simply explaining that consumer behaviour has reasons behind it, and in the case of Millenials there are some major constraints on their lifestyles at this stage in their lives. Constraints their parents generation did not face.

            I’m not entitled to anything, and not asking for anything, but don’t look down on me or blame me for not being able to afford some ridiculous single-family home designed for my parents which I could barely afford to mortgage on twice my current salary (and I’m currently well-above the national average family income here in Canada).

          • 0 avatar
            JuniperBug

            I agree with these sentiments. My car – which isn’t used much, as I use public transit to work and school – is 15 years old. I’m working on a business degree part-time while working a job that pays me above average, even though it’s not necessarily the job I’d prefer to be doing. I have zero debt, a stellar credit rating, and a (barely) five-figure savings account. I’m doing better than a considerable number of my peers. Even so, on the eve of my 30th birthday now, I’ll still be paying rent for a good few years before I can realistically consider owning even a one-bedroom condo with any kind of financial stability, and that’s assuming that the company pension plan I’m paying into doesn’t get completely eroded by the time I retire.

            There is definitely a contingent of my generation which expects Mommy and Daddy (or whoever else) to pay for things, and I have little patience or sympathy for them.

            Even so, at least where I live, real estate has gone up around 300% in the last twenty years (and that’s conservative compared to other large cities), and wages sure haven’t. The proper reaction to this is definitely to save more, strive to gain skills that make us competitive in the job market, and live within our means in this new reality, but we’re not just whining for nothing – things have gotten more difficult for the average person, and buying new cars definitely isn’t on the of the list of an average young person’s priorities.

          • 0 avatar
            gsally

            Not really sure about the sense of entitlement… but purchasing power has declined greatly, taxes are very high.

            I’ll give a personal example: wage after graduating school with a B.S 20 years ago 24K. That was enough to pay rent, my school loans and a cell phone (fancy tech then!) with lots of cash to spare.

            The BLS says my 24K then is 40K in today’s money, but I doubt that would result in same standard of living, as my old apartment that I rented for $240 way back when ($400 in today’s money) is renting for $680 now. I utilities were billed quarterly because the monthly bill was too low to bother collecting. Let’s not even go into the cost of tuition — I found a bill from my alma mater over the summer while cleaning out the garage: ~$3,000 for a 15 credit semester at a private university.

            My compensation also included gilded health insurance, what somebody out of school would be paying a few hundred a month for nowadays.

            > that everyone who has a job should be able to have a new car or own a home

            If you’re willing to work, why not get paid enough to have something worth working for; otherwise, why bother? The US system should be that those willing to work should be rewarded with a great standard of living. What’s so bad about that?

          • 0 avatar
            TW5

            I cursory glance at the history of the federal budget will purge your cultural angst. Since WWII, Americans have been heavily entitled, relative to our isolationist, unsophisticated past. In the 50s, 60s, and 70s the American middle class benefited from government employment as soldiers, infrastructure engineers, construction workers, and small agricultural operations. The middle class was the strongest in the post-industrial history of our nation.

            Unfortunately, government employment can warp the private sector so middle class spending was gutted and transferred to the poor and the elderly. The Great Society took a mediocre situation and made completely unsustainable. The culture of American deficit spending began immediately after a dangerous attempt at inflation-based economic stimulus.

            What economists and reasonable politicians have discovered is that we need provide minimum-wage workers ($15K annual pay) with about $10K in healthcare, food, and education subsidies to get them well above the federal poverty line to reincarnate upward social mobility. Instead of paying $25K for someone to sit on their ass, we pay $10K for someone to produce $20K in economic benefit, while earning $15K in wages. In theory, job creation for the lower-middle class will expand to fill the chasm created by the Great Society.

            This kind of entitlement system mimics the 1950s-1970s, and it spreads wide the benefits of federal spending to improve the plight of the lower middle class with jobs and socio-economic mobility. At some point, politicians will have to tell the welfare demographic that they should work. They will have to tell America’s Greek-societies that students will have to work through school, rather than borrowing and drinking. Someone will have to strip the bejeweled elderly of their lavish entitlements, which are unequaled for inefficiency anywhere on this earth. Political theory will prohibit public discourse and talking points from changing. The reforms will be buried in unrelated bills, and passed under false pretense, which will increase political partisanship as amoral Machiavellian tendencies dominate DC.

          • 0 avatar
            Scott_314

            @ Derek and Sking:

            Also agree, there are some bright ones out there but there are a lot of warped financial expectations. Some examples:

            A guy I know who’s 33 still has student debt from a decade ago, but he wears a $5K watch and drives a new car. Now he’s house shopping using what the bank said he could afford, as a starting point. But the watch was a wedding present from his wife, how sweet is that?

            A girl I know, fresh out of university with a part-time job, looked at new Civics, scoffed, and went for a 3-year old BMW. But she’s gotten quite a few compliments, nice car!

            Myself, I have a kid on the way and have been asked over the past few months by others in their 30’s if we’re upgrading houses AND cars… despite that my house is 1650 square feet and my car is a 2009 (bought used from another 30-year old).

            Uh.. no.. and I also don’t plan on taking a Walmart job at 65 after I run out of retirement money.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            Novelists & script writers get it really right once in a while, and this ties into what Derek is speaking to – often cited by now but only because it’s so relevant:

            “God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need. We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War’s a spiritual war… our Great Depression is our lives. We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.”

          • 0 avatar
            carlisimo

            Skink, we ARE buying ugly and reliable used cars (or none at all), and then getting called out for not buying new sporty cars and hating the automobile.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            @skink

            My sentiments exactly. I graduated Law School in 96 and could not buy a job. Was underemployed for a decade but ended up with a great career in IT. Didn’t even THINK about buying a new car until I was in my 30s. Bunch of whiny spoiled brats!

          • 0 avatar
            wsn

            Skink

            I totally agree with you.

            I don’t know where did the “3 years gross salary buy a house” crap come from.

            Ever since the beginning of human history, it was never easy to buy/build a house, even a shack. It would take an extraordinary individual to be able to construct a decent house in his life time and then pass down for generations.

            Why did we have the 2007 meltdown? Buying/building a house became too easy and created way too much inventory.

            If you look back centuries, buying a house have never been this easy. Buying a transportation (car/horse all included) has never been this easy.

            PLEASE stop complaining and start enjoying this best of all times.

          • 0 avatar
            sgeffe

            A-freakin’-MEN!!

            I was fortunate that my folks were able to contribute half of my college–20 years ago! (They paid for the first year, then half of everything else! With an extra semester thrown in, it worked out to half!)

            I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to live on-campus, so I commuted 30 miles round-trip in a 1978 Cutlass for one year, then saved up enough to trade that up to a 1984 Pontiac Sunbird from an aunt, which blew a head gasket later in my college career; all paid for out of my pocket. Most Saturday evenings, I closed the local McDonald’s!

            Then I got my first job (and only job) out of college, which I still have to this day; bought my first new car (and my dream car), a 1994 Honda Civic EX Sedan, the following year, then moved out of my folks’ house and into a condo (in which I still reside) four years later.

            True, that college path did nothing for my social life (though my folks later admitted that they would have helped with on-campus room & board–thanks). But I skated with no debt! And no excuses!

            Nowadays, you might have to work for a year or so before college, or start out at a two-year school. It feels better to know YOU’VE done it for yourself!

            (And no, the minimum wage should NOT support a family of four!! That’ll squeeze out a lot of small businesses (barber shops, dry cleaners), and drive the price of EVERYTHING up! $10 Big Macs anyone?! How about $100 to take that family of four out to a restaurant which is a step-above fast food (Chipoltle, In-‘N-Out, Five Guys, other), where $40 might do it today, to say nothing of Max & Erma’s, Applebee’s, etc.!)

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      The point being made is that they aren’t affordable to younger people.

      Unemployment rates for the under-25s are in the double digits. That age group will be among the last to recover, presumably because they have little to offer to prospective employers.

      If they are saddled with significant student debt, then the money that could have gone to a car payment may be going instead to payoff those education loans (and unlike other debts, they can’t be discharged in a personal bankruptcy.)

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        True about student loans. On the other hand housing has never been more affordable:

        http://www.realtor.org/news-releases/2013/01/housing-affordability-index-to-set-annual-record-for-2012

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          Things aren’t affordable to people who don’t have money.

          Times can be difficult for others, even if they aren’t difficult for you.

          Marie Antoinette learned about this the hard way.

        • 0 avatar
          JuniperBug

          You can say it’s affordable all you want, but the fact remains that we can’t afford it.

          • 0 avatar

            +1

            Also his data is two years old now…

          • 0 avatar
            Sam Hell Jr

            Oh, we could afford the payment on a crappy condo. It’s often cheaper than rent. Regrettably everything I looked at had been on the market for 200, 300 days. I can’t afford to eat a year’s mortgage if I have to change jobs quickly, and changing jobs quickly is just life as a child of the ’80s.

        • 0 avatar
          jmo

          Derek, it was released January of 2013. How much more up to date do you want my numbers?

          • 0 avatar

            Your car affordability data is from Q4 2011

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The point remains that the data represents a broad average. It doesn’t help to explain all of the demographic groups, particularly this one that has lower workforce participation and higher unemployment rates.

          • 0 avatar
            jmo

            So, you agree that housing has never been more affordable?

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Can we all agree that unemployment rates and wages are not equally distributed across all age groups?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I’m skeptical of data released from NAR simply because its in their best interest to chime in on the “all is well” meme, but I’ll play devils advocate and let’s say its dead on accurate.

            “NAR’s national Housing Affordability Index stood at 198.2 in November, based on the relationship between median home price, median family income and average mortgage interest rate. The higher the index, the greater the household purchasing power; recordkeeping began in 1970.”

            I assume this is for the whole of the US and I could believe housing in highly speculative areas such as California, Arizona, or Florida is priced lower than it was prior to the giant price bubble in 2008. However I’d be curious to see this index by region because in my region it has never been more expensive to own a home. We have always historically had lower home prices than the rest of the nation, and when the nation started to “recover” our real estate and property taxes significantly jumped vs what it was prior to the crisis. Another factor in my region and possibly others is the “out of towner” effect. Our region offers X wages on average and this in turn affected the real estate market. When the economy collapsed there were still available jobs here in the technology, biotech, and hospital industries. Over time I was introduced to a number of new folks from Cali, New York, Nevada etc all of whom lost money on selling their houses or let them be foreclosed. However they all commented how their avg/lower class home in those regions translated into something very nice in this region, so of course the carpetbaggers bought everything up and at least contributed to the new higher price floor in the region. So given the question “is housing more/the most affordable than its ever been?” I’d have to say YMMV.

          • 0 avatar
            JD23

            I still remember the NAR proclaiming nothing worse than a “soft landing” and “reduced rates of appreciation” in 2007 as the subprime bubble was bursting.

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        Derek,

        OK, here is March 2013 Auto Affordablity:

        http://blog.comerica.com/2013/03/20/auto-affordability-slipped-in-fourth-quarter/

        Still near record highs.

        • 0 avatar
          Steven Lang

          It’s a bullshit index. Come to the auctions sometime and I’ll show you the reality.

          Our society has become a credit driven one at this point. Unlike in time’s past, nearly all dealers are going after what I can kindly call the “stupid customer”. Franchise dealerships are running rent to own programs. Former cash dealers like me have gone straight into the world of finance. The only ones to usually put forth cash purchases on average are those who are either professionals or retirees.

          Don’t worry though. The price of used cars is already starting to collapse. That’s a subject for another day.

          • 0 avatar
            burgersandbeer

            Used car pricing collapsing is great news for consumers. Hopefully you have a chance to tell this story soon!

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I look forward to that Hammer Time post.

          • 0 avatar
            jmo

            “Come to the auctions sometime and I’ll show you the reality.”

            I certainly wouldn’t want to let statistics get in the way of a good rant.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            I wouldn’t let your bank produced statistical index get in the way of Steve Lang’s real world experience, jmo.

            “There are lies, damned lies and statistics.” – Mark Twain

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @DW

            youtube.com/watch?v=I859Uym2sAQ

          • 0 avatar
            Onus

            Bring on used car collaps! Can’t wait. I need some cheap, newer wheels.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            When cost of funds is effectively zero, you would have to be stupid not to finance a car. Get while the getting is cheap.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            “When cost of funds is effectively zero, you would have to be stupid not to finance a car. Get while the getting is cheap.”

            krhodes1, I keep reading your comment/opinion on this, and it’s really bad advice, IMO.

            The finance cost is only a partial cost, and if someone has decent or better credit, a small one at that (whether the loan has a 0% interest rate or 5% interest rate), of the total cost of purchasing & owning a car.

            Principal, depreciation, insurance, fuel, maintenance, repairs etc, are all things that are likely to cost far more or at least as much as this “cheap loan” aspect, the benefits of which you are dramatically inflating, IMO.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            @deadwieght

            Those things do not change whether you pay cash for a car or not. What I am saying, is that if you are going to buy a car and pay cash, it makes no sense to do so. Keep your cash in hand for other eventualities. Better yet, invest it. This is assuming you have the ability to get dirt cheap financing, of course.

            What I am not advocating is borrowing to buy something you can’t afford. If a bank or carmaker is dumb enough to give me free money, I am certainly going to take advantage of that fact. If interest rates were at historical norms of 8-10%, I’d pay cash too!

          • 0 avatar
            sgeffe

            Already experienced that this past March, when the best I could get for my 2006 Accord V6 in above-average condition and below-average mileage was only $8,600 instead of the $10K minimum I was estimating based on the various Web sites. (My broker was nearly as pi$$ed as I was!)

            Steven, is there any way to come up with at least a ballpark estimate of a car’s worth based upon those sites (ClearValue, KBB, Edmund’s, etc.?)

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      Median household income doesn’t include data from the millions of discouraged young workers, who’ve either dropped out of the labor market or refused to enter the labor market.

      Life is better if you make median-household income. By definition, 50% of Americans earn less than median household income, and few from the under-30 demographic have achieved median-household income. Improving conditions for the average American household do not translate into Gen Y sales, do they?

      In fact, there seems to be an inverse correlation between average American households and the plight of American youth, which furthers the notion that improving quality-of-life for the average American is most easily achieved by handicapping America’s youth. To be frank, perverse economic planning has been status quo for nearly 50 years, and it’s pathetic that companies are just now realizing the implications. Do they not pay economists and consultants to provide them with forecasts?

  • avatar
    Skink

    Neither a and b, longevity and finance, are the cost of the car itself.

    Shitboxes themselves are more expensive because of all the federally-mandated systems that have been added since we puttered around in Beetles and what have you. Fuel injection and OBD II. Crashworthiness. Passive restraints. Then there are the options such s AC, automatic transmissions, power windows, locks, seats, that are bundled into even the most humble cars at prices that make it almost foolish not to take them. It’s not economical or legal to make a cheap car.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      I think you’ve listed all the reasons they’re no longer “shitboxes”.

      Goofy-ass looking clown cars? Sure. But safe, reliable and comfortable clown cars.

      • 0 avatar
        Kenmore

        “Your comment is awaiting moderation.”

        Hey Skink, did you have to wait in Quarrantine, too?
        Their magazines suck.

        • 0 avatar
          racer-esq.

          Hey George Carlin (at Kenmore), try not to type sh*t, p*ss, f*ck, c*nt, c*cksucker, motherf*cker, t*ts. Jack has sensitive eyes.

          It is hard to tell exactly what gets comments stuck in moderation, but at least the threshold is a lot lower than many other sites.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            Hey, thanks.

            Lemme try that:

            Ob*ma

          • 0 avatar
            Skink

            Only used the term because a previous poster on the topic had used it. Does that message come up automatically when a word of the seven is entered? I can get along fine without ‘em. Was just trying for continuity.

          • 0 avatar
            racer-esq.

            Re Kenmore –

            You don’t have to like the cetrist corporatist, but his last name is not a dirty word (the middle name is the weak spot anyway). However, I have noticed that the moderation does not block words with double meanings, e.g. the “My bush would make a better president” bumper sticker slogan will go through.

            Re Skink –

            I think that they have just turned on some basic level WordPress moderation of, basically, Carlin’s seven words. A comment will eventually go through without an asterisk, but you need to use the asterisk if you want no delay.

          • 0 avatar
            darkwing

            “[C]entrist corporatist”…oh, that’s just precious.

          • 0 avatar
            TW5

            Obama is not a centrist, but the Democratic bureaucracy is forcing him to behave like one. Europe is modernizing the entitlement state for productivity and privatizing ineffective government programs. They have high labor participation, especially amongst young citizens. Silly socialists in the US daydream about universal health insurance, and expanding our unproductive charity entitlements (as if we’re living in the 1960s), rather than creating jobs as progressive European nations are doing.

            The US has virtually no lucid liberals, and I’m happy Obama has been on a short leash since inauguration in 2009. No one needs to leave the 1960s behind more than the geriatric flower-children who lead Congressional Democrats.

        • 0 avatar
          Skink

          Haha Kenmore – you saw that, too? Beats me! Have never seen that before.

          I sent them an email and it had disappeared by the time i got back to check. Go figure.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I’m still driving one of those s***boxes, can I buy a kit to upgrade it to a clown car?

        • 0 avatar
          Kenmore

          12″ wheels from an old Metro.

        • 0 avatar
          Panther Platform

          As a former proud owner of a 78 Mercury Monarch and 81 Mercury Cougar, I have experience with s*** boxes. The Monarch was a gift from my father and I paid about $1200 for the Cougar from a distant relative car dealer. I have much better cars now, but I paid my dues.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            Wow dude, you bought two of Ford’s worst products.

            A renamed Granada and a first-gen Fox Thunderbird! Talk about bad luck.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I have better ones now too the Sat is the winter car now. There’s something to be said in paying your dues.

          • 0 avatar
            Panther Platform

            NoGo – The Monarch was free, so the average cost of the two vehicles was about $600. Not sure if I got my money’s worth, LOL. I have fond memories of trying to get them over small mountains which entailed flooring the car at the bottom, shifting down, and praying half way up when the car came to a virtual stand-still.

  • avatar
    brettc

    I saw my first Mitsubishi Mirage in silver sitting on the nearby dealer’s lawn yesterday so I’ll be checking it out on Sunday. Young people that are buried in post-secondary debt need more inexpensive car options like that. At least they’re no longer penalty boxes like the Chevette or an Escort.

    • 0 avatar
      Panther Platform

      My dad who is almost 90 years old has a 1988 Mirage as his beater car. The car shakes when it idles and looks like it is held together with duct tape. He was a mechanic and an electrician, and keeps the POS going. I’m quite proud of him and intend to keep it going when he passes on.

  • avatar
    racer-esq.

    “Perhaps a brand like Mitsubishi could reinvent itself as the “frugalista” option, and borrow some product from that other fashionably cheap brand they are now in an alliance with…”

    There actually is a car company marketing a “Derelicte” line of automobiles (I’m waiting for Ben Stiller to sue):

    http://www.icon4x4.com/dr/derelicts/gallery

    But if you have to ask you can’t afford it.

    The future in regular transportation for young people will likely move toward a mix of leasing and short term rental. Something like a Mitsubishi Mirage is a fine car. I want to punch the youth of this country in the face when they stand on my lawn calling something like a Mirage a sh*t box when it has AC/Power Locks/Power Windows/keyless entry/ABS/cloth seats/carpet/mirrors on both sides/body color bumpers/a modern safety structure/7 airbags/USB port 4 speaker CD stereo ALL STANDARD. I am gen-y/millennial and can remember NONE of that coming in a base car. But I can maybe kind of see young people preferring to lease or short term rent a Mirage instead of owning one.

    Imagine the marketing. At the end of the lease it can be gone. . . Like a Mirage.

    And the greedy, manipulative behavior of cell phone companies has trained young people to get bent over every month forever instead of making an upfront investment. Except for people that pay full price for their phones up front, and then get cheap monthly service with T-Mobile (the feds blocking the AT&T acquisition is one of the best things that ever happened), nobody in the US is buying their phones like an adult, or a person in any other country. That sets a bad precedent for other purchases, like cars and real estate.

  • avatar
    juicy sushi

    Derek,

    As one of those older 25-34 Millenials I really enjoy these articles as they are some well-researched, thoughtful looks at the reality of life for our generation.

    Headline numbers may scream one thing, but the reality day-to-day can be very different, and by digging deeper you’re doing a service for we the readers and yourself the journalist.

    Thanks for the good work.

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    My question is how are Chinese Gen-Ys doin’?

    • 0 avatar
      juicy sushi

      If they went to a top overseas school (the Premier of China’s kid attended Ivy League under an assumed name) and mom or dad are of good standing in the Party, just fine. For the other 99%, the same as the rest of us, just with numbers adjusted to reflect cost-of-living in their locale.

  • avatar
    burgersandbeer

    If millenials are buying luxury cars and entry to mid-range sports cars at a slightly higher rate than older buyers with the same income, what would a low-content compact accomplish?

    Why aren’t these millenials lining up for a Versa then?

    • 0 avatar

      I’ll explain the low-cost idea in a future column, but as far as luxury/sports cars goes, don’t discount the number of people willing to sacrifice to drive a nice car. Whether that means living in a crappy place, living at home, cutting back on other expenditures etc

      • 0 avatar
        juicy sushi

        …or those with poor financial literacy who get over their heads in debt. That’s not a generational issue, but it is a societal one.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        The most cringeworthy (or laughable) thing I see is younger guys buying used 90-120k mile Audis/BMWs on the cheap, without really wrapping their minds around what a mechanical nightmare they’ve just spent their hard earned money on. Early 2000s twin turbo A6s can easily be bought for $6-9k, same with E38 7 series. My indy mechanic brother and his friend make a good deal of their money off kids like this. They both consider modern German cars as basically disposable lease-centric vehicles that may as well be taken to the junkyard once they hit the 80k mark. First owner runs it from 0-30k miles with the warranty picking up any minor faults at no expense to them. Second owner gets the car CPO, and it still doesn’t have too many age related issues. It’s that third owner (and 4th, etc) that buys the car on the cheap without a warranty that gets screwed big time. Everyone wants to be a baller and drive a status symbol, but there’s no free lunch (unless your parents buy you that snazzy new car).

        • 0 avatar
          NoGoYo

          I forget, is the 2.7TT a bad motor?

          Because I see college students with 2.7TT Audis and I’m not sure they know what they’ve gotten into.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            I almost got sucked into buying a really nice looking black A6 with 106k miles and good maintenance history, it had the bi-turbo 2.7. After a quick look around forums and a chat with my brother, I was scared straight. The turbos are tucked up in a not-accessible region, which shortens their life due to the heat buildup. The labor and parts cost to replace the turbos is eye watering.

            The one thing that the Germans can be commended for is not cheaping out on corrosion resistance and using galvanized steel, aluminum, and other alloys liberally. Not just the body, but every little clip and bracket on the underside of a 1990s Audi that lived its life in the salt belt is usually immaculate, and a pleasure to work on. Those same bolts and brackets on Japanese/American/Korean cars will look like barely recognizable lumps of rust.

            The one specific Audi my brother can recommend with a straight face is a 1st gen A4 with the 5spd manual and the NA 2.8L V6, hopefully one without climate control (if that’s even possible).

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Funny how one team of engineers/product designers can deliver such engineering excellence (corrosion resistance) and another delivers engineering fail (turbo placement).

        • 0 avatar

          I get at least a phone call per week from a friend asking “Should I buy this (Audi/BMW/Mercedes) with (known mechanical issues that costs four figures to fix) and has (insert six figure number) kms on the clock?”

          If you can’t afford it new, you can’t afford it used.

          • 0 avatar
            burgersandbeer

            “If you can’t afford it new, you can’t afford it used.”

            Please stop with this. It is not that bad. Anyone saying this should visit the dealer lot for a reminder of how much these cars cost new, and then consider the depreciation.

            It is true that they are very expensive to maintain and repair, and anyone thinking they can drive a BMW/Benz/Audi for <$10k and running costs similar to a Camry should be warned. That said, I think the real cost of a $10k premium car is more inline with a new, well-optioned Camry, and not the new models from said premium brand.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            It’s not a direct monetary equivalent, but a good rule of thumb to serve as a warning. The wealthy doctor won’t think twice about spending $3000 on a replacement Body Control Module on his beloved W140 Mercedes, the kid who bought his tatty tinted out W140 on craigslist will be left without a functioning HVAC system in the same situation.

          • 0 avatar
            juicy sushi

            This goes right back to your 3-series dilemna. Some of them couldn’t afford them new, and bought them anyway (and the car’s condition is where it shows)…

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          This. You articulate the problem very well.

        • 0 avatar
          ellomdian

          The worst part about young-male-in-100k+odo-luxury 3rd and 4th owner syndrome (and I say this as a hopeful 2-time survivor) isn’t the hidden costs.

          It’s the fact that if you spend 5-10k on your car, and 2-5k/yr on maintenance, you build no financial standing whatsoever. If I had gotten a new Versa instead of either of the e38’s, I would have paid about the same initially, I would have spent less over a 2-3 year ownership period, I would have had more resale value when I sold out, and I would have had better credit if I had taken a loan.

          It’s biting me in the ass now – I would like to make another terrible decision; I’m looking to get an ~08 M6 with less than 60k miles, but my non-existent credit history means even with 50% down, I can’t find a bank to cover the rest.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            E38? Very nice you remind me of, future me.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            I toyed around with the idea of an E38 for the longest time, researched all of the problem spots and their solutions ad nauseum. Gorgeous cars. In the end I listened to the left side of my brain and took out a small super-low interest loan and bought a lightly used 2012 stick shift Civic LX with %70 paid up front. I ended up buying my cherry ,garage-kept, 100k mile ’96 4runner Limited as my tinkering car for when I miss scouring rockauto for spark plugs and shocks.

          • 0 avatar
            ellomdian

            There are still unicorns out there – my ’01 had 78k miles when I bought it – but they are getting harder to find. It’s sad that the engines really don’t survive well after ~120k, and not for built-in obsolescence; there are a few MAJOR flaws (ask me about my timing chain guide…) that make the typical refurb engine replacement more of a risk than it should be.

            My brother had an ’02 e39 540 Manual, and that is probably one of the best cars ever created – all of the best qualities of the 7, generally with fewer options and an engine that is significantly easier to maintain past 100k. If you like the lines on the e38, you should really look for a nice late-model e39. Sometimes the smaller sausage is really better for you :)

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @ellomdian

            I was under the impression the E38 always came with the awesome 4.0 V8 unless you got the 750 but according to the internets it looks like I was wrong, 4.4L what the hell is that?

            “Sometimes the smaller sausage is really better for you”

            That’s what she said!

            Seriously though I’d want the LWB 4.0 E38 with limo tinted windows if I could get it, Transporter 4 here I come. Here’s another future project for you I’ve contemplated, LSx powered Jag X308 (LWB version).

            http://ls1tech.com/forums/conversions-hybrids/1342735-jaguar-xj8-ls1-conversion.html

      • 0 avatar
        TW5

        looking forward to it

  • avatar
    pragmatist

    I consider myself a car guy. But at 64, I have never bought a new car (probably never will) and the last ‘late model ‘ I bought was in ’71.

    There are plenty of cool older cars out there.

    • 0 avatar
      JuniperBug

      There certainly are plenty of cool older cars out there, but depending on your situation, it’s not always a good idea to buy them. I’ll start off by saying only one of my 5 vehicles has been less than 10 years old, but also only one has seen winter use.

      If you live in the rust belt and drive year-round, rust is a big issue. By about 10 years, your car will likely start rusting. Make that 6-7 years if it’s a Mazda. It’s not unheard of to pay 5 figures for a used car that starts rusting a couple of years later, and from then on it’s all downhill until it becomes a structural/safety issue. In the meantime, any maintenance you do on the car is more of a hassle, because bolts seize and break, which does considerably increase maintenance costs on an old car, which will soon be scrap anyway. At the same time, it’s very depressing to look at your still-expensive, rusting car, even while it’s still perfectly functional.

      At that point, it no longer seems like such a bad idea just to replace the thing before it’s 8 years old or so, assuming you have the money or cheap credit to do so.

  • avatar
    mars3941

    With the average new car costing 31K, which is more than a new house cost 40 years ago plus having to finance them at 72 to 84 months, whoever does get a new car had better count on having it 10 years at least. The new cars have a lot more serviceable life span than they did back 40 years ago. I’m talking about the average wage owner not the 5% group.

  • avatar
    TW5

    If the manufacturers want to sell new cars to Gen Y

    1. Tear a page from Subaru’s book
    2. Stop restricting older models from the US market

    Sometimes I wonder why we bother. The manufacturers have discovered that luxury cars make profits, and peddling CPO’s to the middle class helps protect residuals for the elites. The manufacturers have no reason to care about America’s youth or the middle class, in general, until used buyers stop lining up for luxury leftovers. If residual values for luxury cars plummet, the auto business changes overnight.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    The dream is still alive for Gen Y in the form of 90s and early 00s iron but automakers had better find ways to cut costs and pass them onto the consumer if they want to put Gen Y in the driver’s seat.

    • 0 avatar
      NoGoYo

      Tell me about it. I take a walk around the community college parking lot and most of the cars are from between 1992 and 2005, with the occasional newer ride (usually a subcompact or compact) or behemoth truck that’s clearly financed by the ‘rents here and there.

      If I could afford a Mazda3, I probably wouldn’t own my Buick any more. 184 hp isn’t good enough for the 6, but it’s plenty good enough for the 3.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        180ish horsepower is fine for something like the new Mazda 6 or Accord, but only with a proper manual gearbox (of course, I loathe 500 horsepower vehicles with slushboxes).

        I’ve owned cars having from 115 to 360 horsepower, and my current ride has close to 240, and I’d have NO problem whatsoever with a Mazda 6 or Accord Sport, both with the I4 and a stick shift.

        The biggest problem I’m finding, and mind you that I’m fortunate enough to pay cash for any new vehicle that stole my heart, is that the new crop of vehicles is worse than the crop of vehicles that are peers to my now 8 year old car…

        …and this is the reason I am ZEALOUSLY maintaining my now 8 year old car. I literally can’t find a vehicle anywhere that’s even 2x as much as it cost (when I purchased it new) that is nearly as good.

        The Accord 4 banger is doing close to 7 point ish second 0-60 times with the inline 4, which is pretty amazing, IMO.

        Of course, my current ride is also a 6MT, rwd with limited slip differential, sublime handling & steering, so there would be some sacrifice in going with any vehicle pulled by the front wheels.

        • 0 avatar
          NoGoYo

          Eh, I dunno, for a midsizer I’d like to have a V6, because I like V6s, especially a nice smooth V6 like Honda’s been selling since the first Legend. But for a somewhat sporty compact? 184 horsepower is plenty fine, puts you in Civic Si territory at (hopefully) a lower price.

          Now that I think about it, only reason why I don’t own a late 90s Accord Coupe with the V6 is because the only cheap ones have a bazillion miles…

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          What’s your current ride?

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            Sounds like an Infiniti G to me…could understand not wanting to give that up.

          • 0 avatar
            kvndoom

            He has an RX-8. Not sure which year, though from inference I guess a 2005 or 2006.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            Sorry for late reply guys.

            It’s indeed an ’05 RX-8 6MT – bone stock.

            88,000 trouble free miles, tied with a 1994 Honda Civic EX as the most trouble free car I’ve owned.

            It is as rattle free and tight as the day I bought it new, easy to work on in terms of maintenance, and despite driving at least 10 new cars over the last 3 years, whenever the thought of buying something new crossed my mind, whatever I drove didn’t have as good a balance of ride quality, handling, chassis torsional rigidity, steering precision nor as good of shifter/clutch feel.

            It even has more rear seat leg room than many of the sedans I test drove, including the last gen BMW 335, and I even average 20mpg, which is actually good given the thirst of the Renesis, in 50/50 city/highway mileage.

            Best vehicle I’ve ever owned. Period.

            And yes, if I HAD to buy a car to replace it, it would be an Infinity G37 (the new Q50 sucks ass in comparison, and it’s a damn shame to see Infinity go the route of Acura or Lexus now in terms of rolling out new models significantly worse than their predecessors).

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            RX-8? Nice.

            “it’s a damn shame to see Infinity go the route of Acura or Lexus now in terms of rolling out new models significantly worse than their predecessors”

            Sounds like they need an after school special on the dangers of peer pressure.

  • avatar
    CelticPete

    This article again? If generation Y really needed or wanted new cars they would find a way to make it happen. Instead they go with used cars which is a very good option – or they spend their money on Iphones and use public transportation.

    I don’t see why we need so many articles that complain about this. Since they aren’t building more roads – any article about fewer cars on the road is good news in my book.

    • 0 avatar
      juicy sushi

      If you think this is complaining you’re not getting it. It’s not a complaint, it’s an observation that as a consumption-driven economy, the developed world depends on new generations to continue to consume in order to sustain growth.

      For the car industry, this has been a major challenge as their new generation of consumers in their traditional core markets has a lot less inclination to continue this pattern of activity. The debate has been about why that that happens to be the case. Many argue it’s because they don’t want cars anymore. Derek’s making the point that it’s not because they don’t want them, it’s because they cannot afford them now. This isn’t a complaint, it’s an observation about society and the car market going forward. It may be sociology, but it’s also relevent information for people in this industry making decisions about who they can sell to and what they need to build going forward.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        I agree! It’s an observation and from my perspective and personal observation, most young people of today are having a hell of a time trying to make a go of it, by themselves. Some make it, but a very large chunk do not.

        And with our current economic climate and do-nothing government, I don’t believe it is going to get better any time soon. In fact, some analysts are forecasting a subdued Holiday Season this year, and a further downturn in employment rates starting in Jan 2014.

        That’s why so many of my baby-boomer generation are helping out their kids and grand kids to get that ‘leg up’ on their competition, often by buying them cars, houses and paying for their schooling. Anything to get them to the head of the job-applicant line.

        Another reason why so many kids are experiencing “a failure to launch” — they can’t find a job and they don’t have a support structure so they can move to where the jobs are.

        And if the parents and grand parents are unable or unwilling to pitch in, then we can see a lot of hopes and dreams dashed for the Gen Y crowd.

        If people don’t have the money because they have no job, they can’t buy that house or car.

        • 0 avatar
          CelticPete

          There are two meme’s at work here.

          #1. Millentials feel entilted to better jobs then they can get – and so they choose not to work. The feel entilted to better cars then they can afford – so they choose not to buy the ‘penalty boxes.’ THe money they do have the spend on electronics – not cars.

          #2. Millentials are really suffering some kind of unprecedented economic disaster. Of course it was Millenials who voted for Obama and were the lynchpin that brought him into office. So even if they buy into that theory – that Derek seems to – its their own damn fault.

          While guys like Derek are quick to point to option 2 – option 1 needs to be looked at more seriously.

          While their parents weren’t looking, Generation X gave way to Generation Vex.

          “Recent economic woes are partly to blame, as middle-aged workers cling to jobs once held by 20-somethings. But as the recession recedes, it’s getting harder to believe we’ve given millennials the skills and, more important, the motivation to provide for themselves. In MTV’s 2012 study on these “No Collar Workers,” half said they’d rather have no job at all than a job they hate.”

          It’s the same deal with cars. If they really wanted a new car – they would get them. Instead they just have mommy drive them around.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            You’re right. No question about that and I agree that for a very large part of the unemployed youth that is true.

            There are millions of jobs going unfilled in the US, so many in fact that we import people from all over the world to come work here under H1B Visas.

            The irony for instance is that the lines of code written for the website of the ACA is actually written by foreigners working for the contractors hired by HHS.

            My philosophy is that America always gets exactly what it deserves — because we vote for it. This is what the Majority voted for. This is what the Majority gets.

            But we don’t all have to play. There are all sorts of ways to get around the fate that the Majority have perpetrated on us and themselves.

            From my own personal perspective, I do not want my kids, and now my grand kids, to suffer the hard times that I had to suffer as a consequence because my mom and dad were legal immigrants from Europe after WWII, and things were pretty destitute for me until I left home in 1965.

            So I am guilty of “coddling” my kids and now my grand kids because I want them to be the first considered for a job based on their own accomplishments and merits, and not saddled with debt from the start.

            I left home because my folks were poor and couldn’t afford to send me to college. If the military hadn’t taken me in I would have gotten a job, any job.

            The mentality on the part of many youths of today is that a job’s got to pay a ton of money, is easy as pie, and is right here in their ‘hood.

            And they resent those who are getting the big bucks for keeping their nose to the grindstone.

            A vexing generation indeed, especially the OWS crowd, most who are in college, by choice, and by virtue of their parents paying for it.

          • 0 avatar

            And if a junkie really wanted to kick heroin, he would, cold turkey. Except it doesn’t work like that.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Also, let’s get a matching picture for the article. Talking about American Millenials buying tastes and then putting a non-US model Renault/Dacia as the main picture isn’t helping reader clarity.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    @Panther Platform: Always found it funny how, thanks to how hideously gutless it is, the 200/250 I6 was often the WORST choice in any given Ford vehicle, and yet Ford still sold tons of them.

    I’m guessing by your experience that both of your cars had either that horrid I6 or the equally terrible 255 V8.

    • 0 avatar
      Panther Platform

      The Monarch had the 8 and I believe the Cougar had the 6. Both cars were pathetic, but I miss them. My current commuter car (2011 Focus)is like a Porsche compared to them. Everything is relative.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    @Kenmore: Japanese cars from the 80s are some of the most smartly designed cars of all time, even if they aren’t the most exciting. Even though my Nova wasn’t cool, it was a visually well designed little car with good sight lines (for the most part), efficient interior packaging, and a decent sized trunk.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      Couldn’t agree more. If I could have an NOS version of my ’82 Civic wagon I’d drive it till I croaked. I’d just hyper-dose on chondroitin to help with crawling in & out of it.

      Only salt could spoil that love affair and it did. Jack went right through the floor pan, reinforced lift point and all.

  • avatar
    chicagoland

    I still see lots of young teens, 20s and 30s attend the Chicago Auto Show.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    With vehicles subsidised at $3 000 each, barriers, $85 billion a month pumped into the economy, extremely long loans and cheap leases, the US really needs to have a deep and meaningful look at where it is heading.

    Youth unemployment is high and the middle class is declining.

    From what I’ve read second hand vehicle prices are relatively high as well. No longer can you go out and buy that $200 car. Then the cost and expertise required to repair a vehicle to become road worthy costs more due to technological advances.

    The young don’t have the opportunities that were offered to previous generations ie, buy a $hitter and repair it. It’s harder to attain that American Dream.

    How far can the US vehicle sales increase.

    As vehicles become less accessible, they will become more an appliance so you don’t walk.

    The ‘Golden Era’ of the motor vehicle in the US as an expression of the American Dream is changing and transforming taking on a new and different meaning.

    The status of the car in the US has changed. The old and the car enthusiast like on TTAC could be living in the past in some ways.

  • avatar
    danwat1234

    I’m 28 now and I plan on owning a red Chevy Volt with blue plastidipped front grille within a few years when the 2013s get down to 15K or so.

    Young people should buy used cars, and this way it doesn’t have to be an ugly econobox but a sexy one.


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