By on January 17, 2014

deloittestudy

One of the main criticisms of Generation Why is the lack of hard data to support this column’s ongoing thesis: that the lack of interest in car ownership among millenials is related to economics, rather than any sort of anti-car/pro-environment/pro-urban ideological shift among young people. Now, a key study from Deloitte confirms our initial hunch: young people want cars, but cannot afford them, and the notion of a car-free future, with walking, cycling and transit replacing the automobile (whether privately owned or shared via a service like Zipcar) is an unrealistic fantasy that somehow continues to have currency.

Deloitte’s annual Global Automotive Consumer Study surveyed 23,000 people across the globe, representing 19 different countries. The copy provided to TTAC focuses on the 2,000 Americans surveyed by Deloitte, with a subset of those (roughly 700) taken from “Generation Y”, born between 1977 and 1994.

The study’s findings largely confirm what Generation Why has maintained all along. According to the study, 80 percent of millennial surveyed say that affordability is the key factor keeping them out of a new vehicle, with maintenance costs coming in second place at 70 percent. On the other hand, 67 percent said that walking and other forms of transit were sufficient to meet their current lifestyle needs.

The current meme of new cars being homogenous, devoid of character and unappealing to younger buyers is at odds with Deloitte’s finding that 80 percent of consumers are interested in new models available on the market place. The study doesn’t say which models: many of us would love an Audi S4 or a Mustang 5.0, and find something like a Chevrolet Spark unappealing. Considering that Deloitte suggests cheaper, more fuel-efficient vehicles with more affordable payment options as a way of enticing younger buyers, it would appear that expectations may need to be tempered on the part of Gen Y buyers when looking for an affordable new car. The sense of wanting it all without having to pay for it is further reflected later in the study, with millennial buyers expressing a strong interest in advanced safety, infotainment and in-car connectivity features, but with only 27 percent willing to pay more than $2,500 for these features, while 21 percent are unwilling to pay anything extra to get them.

The cost of driving is a pervasive theme throughout. Gen Y drivers are three times as likely to give up their car if the cost of driving becomes too high, and would be willing to give it up if it conflicted with their lifestyle choice (like living in a walkable neighborhood where a car is a hassle or unnecessary). Even the desire for a hybrid powertrain (strong among Gen Y buyers) is motivated by cost savings rather than any sort of environmental consciousness, with 53 percent of young consumers telling Deloitte that saving money on fuel is their primary motivation for opting for alternative powertrains.

Even with affordability emerging as the key factor in getting younger buyers to purchase new cars, 92 percent of the those surveyed plan to buy a new car at some point, with 75 percent planning on purchasing one within 5 years. Based on Deloitte’s findings, it looks as if the mass abandonment of the automobile will continue to be a pipe dream for only the most radical anti-car types, but don’t look for it to disappear from public discourse any time soon.

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141 Comments on “Generation Why: Deloitte Study Shows That Money, Not Ideology Is The Biggest Obstacle To Car Ownership...”


  • avatar
    hreardon

    Thank God someone is injecting some rational discourse into this conversation. Of COURSE the limiting variable always has been and always will be cold, hard cash. If Milenneials were landing cushy jobs like we did when we left college during the technology boom of the late 90s they too would be enthusiastic.

    But, reality is what reality is and that means ALL of the costs of transportation add up to make it a very hefty expense. We’re not just talking the cost of purchase, but licensing, insurance, registration, gas, etc. It’s a major problem for everyone.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m 25 and I’ve always known this from observing my friends and the different outcomes they’ve faced post college. It’s just been hard to find data to support my gut instinct. And constantly asking people to trust me, in the absence of data, is a hard sell to say the least.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        For something like this, it would be helpful to have a ranked preference study, which helps to identify priorities.

        Cars have always been expensive as a percentage of total income. Complaining about affordability sounds like code for not being terribly motivated to change one’s lifestyle enough to prioritize it.

        • 0 avatar
          Lorenzo

          Actually, PCH, cars are MORE expensive relative to income. In 1971, I was making $1.85/hr. and the cost to replace an engine mount in my 6 year old Impala, a 10 minute job, was $24, about $126 in today’s dollars. The cost to replace the front engine mount in a 2008 4-cyl Camry is $152 for the parts alone, with 1.5-2.5 hours labor; back then, gas cost 32 cents, about $1.85 in today’s dollars; my insurance back then was a bare bones $96 a year for a 23 year old, $555 in today’s dollars, while as a senior with an unblemished record, I’m paying $880/year, and that’s cheap! I also put over 300,000 miles over 16 years in three cars that cost me $250, $400, and $300. That’s $1400, $1520 and $1140 in today’s dollars, and all three lasted at least 4 years, passing all inspections, and all still ran when I got replacements. Good luck finding reliable cars at those prices today.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Median household income in 1960: $5,600
            Converted to 2010 dollars: about $41,000

            Median household income 2008-12 average: $53,046

          • 0 avatar
            probert

            @Pch101 – this logic reminds me of the joke where 2 hunters go out for rabbits. upon seeing one, one hunter shoots twice – wide to the right and then wide to the left – and puts his rifle down. The other asks him what he’s doing and he replies:”on average he is dead.”

            We live in a time of income disparity unseen except in banana republics. Something like 90% of capital is held by about 3% of the population. I would suggest your median income is misleading.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Real household incomes (adjusted for inflation) in all five income quintiles increased between 1967 and 2010.

            Income inequality increased greatly; the top 20% got far more of the benefit. But everyone benefited from some increase over that time period.

            Cars aren’t more expensive. However, healthcare costs soared in the US, well above the CPI; those are the costs that you should be worried about.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “But everyone benefited from some increase over that time period.”

            1967 was a long time ago. People that started working in ’67 have either hanged it up or are about to. For recent workers, the best thing about increases since ’67 is that their parents have big enough houses for them to move back into after college.

            The people Deloitte surveyed were born between ’77 and ’94. How has the average household done since about ’98 or so?

            And you mention medial costs, how about student loan debt?

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Above, Lorenzo claimed that cars cost more relative to household incomes.

            They don’t. Cars in similar classes have generally increased with inflation, while household incomes have risen. Put that math together, and it means that car prices for similar vehicles are about the same as or cheaper than they were before.

            However, we are spending a lot more on cars. That’s a self-inflicted choice; we are buying more car than we need or than we have to.

            As an example, the Nissan Versa doesn’t sell at nearly the rate that the VW Beetle did, even though the Versa is about the same price. And the Versa has more power and equipment, and is much safer, so it’s really far better value for money than the Beetle ever was.

            We have all sorts of issues at work here, but (a) we are not earning less than we were and (b) cars aren’t getting more expensive.

        • 0 avatar
          EchoChamberJDM

          PCH -
          Household incomes in the 60′s were also a function of only one person working. Fast forward to today, you have to have both mom and dad brining home a paycheck to afford a home and put food on the table. So, are we really any better off? 2 harried parents working crazy hours just to keep up with the average American household? Sounds like the feminists of the 70′s and 80′s sold us a bill of goods…..

    • 0 avatar
      Kinosh

      It’s like asking “Do you support the troops” and “Do you want to ensure the poor have health coverage” and “Do you want to fix national infrastructure”. If we didn’t live in a world of scarce resources, all of these things would get done. But they don’t.

      A lot of the things you see (cell phones/tattoos/gadgets) that millenials buy are a lot cheaper than a vehicle with a much smaller operational cost. Buying a car requires a budget and financial discipline. Cell phones (for the most part) don’t.

      • 0 avatar
        chuckrs

        Cellphone unlimited data plans can exceed the cost of the car nav/info system over a few year period, if my daughter’s plan is any indication.

        Make your choices, pay the piper.

        • 0 avatar
          bryanska

          An unlimited data option in 2014 shouldn’t cost more than $30/month.

          • 0 avatar
            chuckrs

            Can’t dispute that, my daughter is no longer on the payroll.
            If car manufacturers want more 20-something buyers, a few years of $30/month might be a good benchmark for what they will spring for – discounted to reflect that unlike the phones, your car isn’t permanently glued to your person.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          Over a few years, perhaps. But that also means the cost is spread over a few years, too. Any car that an entry-level employee can afford has to be cash up front–they ain’t got any credit yet.
          (Bad grammar intentional.)

    • 0 avatar
      David Walton

      I’m fortunate to be fairly young (24) and have a job that allows me to spend a bit more than strictly necessary on transportation. So I indulge and drive a 993, because I want to.

      My peers in my office (none of whom are remotely interested in automobiles beyond their status signaling properties) drive an E92 335i, B8 A4, RR Evoque, etc. All purchased brand new at local dealers.

      Money is the limiting factor, period. I can reasonably expect to have a fairly nice car – and I’m an obvious enthusiast – so I spend lots of time thinking about them. I have essentially zero expectation of purchasing a yacht, a rare Patek Philippe, etc. in the near or medium term, so I don’t devote much mental bandwith to those types of fantasies.

      My friends who took 5 or 6 years to complete a degree (or quit before finishing) and have mountains of student loans to extinguish don’t think about buying a new car; they know that they cannot. They think about getting a slightly better job and maybe buying a handle of liquor to drink over the weekend while they play video games at home.

    • 0 avatar
      ward

      Amen to that!

      I am in a unique position as I have driven/restored vehicles from every era including the 19th century, but as a 20 something, my priorities are “what, exactly, can I afford over the long haul?”

      That makes my must haves:
      fuel efficiency
      low maintenance cost and High wear/longevity of it’s parts.

      Beyond that, I need a car that can fit me (6’6″ here), after that, hopefully it will be fun to drive.

      After that, insurance cost.

      As an example, I had to make a very tough choice last week on do I get 4 new tires for my car, which even at the cheapest are well over $400.00 or do I risk death and only replace the one.

      I went with the 4 but that means that I have to make other choices, like not eating as much food for the month. Most of my peers face similar choices. I have 3 degrees, and that has not made life any more affordable or easy than someone my age who has 1 degree and a nice corporate job.

      I think that most people my age would be more than happy with a car of good quality and longevity with roll up windows, a heater and radio. Lets be honest here, my generation cannot really afford transportation(ever buy road bike tires?!) no matter what it is. What we really need is our own peoples car. Basic quality, great design(which doesn’t cost anything extra), and flexibility. For those of us in cities it turns out that right now the bicycle fits that much better than the automobile.

      Our parents are building automobiles for people like them: rich, lazy, suburbanites.

      They need to design vehicles for their children: poor but highly educated and active.

      In other words we need cars designed for the second world because we cant afford to keep up with our parents tastes in the first world.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        You used to have one available. It sold under the brand name Saturn. They destroyed that paradigm when they shifted to just rebadging more expensive Opels with the Saturn name and then finally killing the brand off altogether.

        Affordable, reliable and durable.

      • 0 avatar
        toplessFC3Sman

        It seems like those options are out there already, but as Derek pointed out, expectations of Gen Y need to be tempered & brought in line with the realities of vehicle pricing & requirements to be sold in the US. What’s wrong with a no-frills Sonic, Fit or Versa (or the upcoming Mirage)? If you need more space, why weren’t the old W-body Impalas or base-model Caravans flying off the lot?

        • 0 avatar

          What’s wrong with it? Objectively nothing. But it’s not cool in the eyes of the peer group.

          • 0 avatar
            Lorenzo

            That IS a complication. The 3 cars I mentioned above were a ’62 Buick LeSabre, a ’63 Dart Wagon (brown but slant six and pushbutton torqueflite – keep your diesel-manual), and a ’63 Chrysler Newport with 257 dents. A 20-something today wouldn’t be caught dead driving any of them. A young friend I knew 30 years ago drove a ’64 Rambler Ambassador, and he always parked it at the end of any lot so nobody would see him in it. This “youthful expectations” thingy has been around for quite some time, while those of us who got licenses in the mid-’60s lusted after GTOs and Chargers, but would drive whatever we could get our hands on.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    Well of course it’s money, no revelation there. If someone is too lazy to get a job, they won’t have any money to buy a car. Not to mention one less place to drive said non existent car.

    • 0 avatar

      yes but auto companies keep touting their new super tech features that tweet when you change lanes and post on Facebook when you go through the Starbucks drive through. And the reality is that nobody cares about these features if they’re only available in cars they cannot afford. Never mind the fact that the cars don’t need these features in the first place because the Gen-Y crowd already have cell phones that do that for them.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      Honestly, I haven’t heard anyone say that money isn’t the reason. Sure, they say there are other reasons, and of course there are, but only an idiot would think money isn’t a significant one.

  • avatar
    trackratmk1

    “67 percent said that walking and other forms of transit were sufficient to meet their current lifestyle needs.”

    Wow that is high. Was this a truly nationally represented sample? That seems to be a figure I would expect of urban areas only.

    • 0 avatar

      I thought this was high too. Maybe “bumming a ride with parents/friends/relatives” counted as well?

      • 0 avatar

        Another thing is the difference between what they want to be true and what really is. Most of them are still brainwashed about this walkability nonsense.

        • 0 avatar

          Yes, they conflate their utopian notions of new urbanist, transit centric communities with what’s actually happening. I live somewhere that truly is walkable, and a car is still important for when you want to leave the small radius of your local neighborhood.

          • 0 avatar
            Kinosh

            Walkability is critical from not only a transportation standpoint, but a health/fitness one too. Just like cars, it’s another tool in the transportation portfolio. It’s possible to severely reduce VMT by living somewhere where most of your needs are local.

            The walkability argument isn’t about eliminating cars, but reducing their usage. This has great affects in terms of infrastructure cost, health, and (in my opinion) the desirability of a place.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Derek – transit centric communities are NOT a utopian idea by any stretch of the imagination. We have any number of such communities here in Denver popping up along the light rail system. What’s utopian is the idea that somehow these communities will replace the “standard” suburban model we know now. But who’s really proposing that with a straight face? Probably the same folks that dream of putting us all in 300-story megacities.

            But none of this means that having transit-centric communities where possible wouldn’t be a good idea. If I worked downtown, I’d live in a community like that – it’d save me boatloads of money on parking, gas and car maintenance.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            For most, a walkable distance for work, food, etc. has to be less than one mile or about a half-hour’s walk at most. Any more and it’s simply faster and easier to drive or ride a bike and you STILL need a way to carry your purchases home. So forget the weekly run to the grocery store–you’ll be dropping half of what you bought on the ground through those flimsy bags.

            Convenience is less than ¼ mile, where it’s only a 10-minute walk to everything you need–including a bus stop.

        • 0 avatar
          Astigmatism

          Considering that these people are _actually living_ without a car, I’m gonna take a flyer here and assume that “what really is” is that they don’t need a car to meet their current lifestyle needs.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            You realize a lot of these young people are still living with their parents because they can’t afford to rent or buy their own place PLUS own/operate a car. It’s one or the other–and it’s certainly not due to a lack of willingness to work. Problem is, all our jobs have gone overseas except low-scale public-facing or high-scale corporate. There is no middle ground any more.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          That depends on where you live.

          If you live in a large Eastern city like New York, Boston, or DC, a car isn’t really needed. Everyone knows you can’t “walk” everywhere there, but many places ARE walkable, and the transit options really obviate the need for a vehicle. Indeed, if I lived in New York, I’d skip car ownership altogether.

          People living and working in the urban core of other large cities probably have extensive public transportation options, or can use bicycles. They probably don’t need cars either.

          The unrealistic “no car” scenario comes into play when you live in a far-flung suburb. The fact is that this scenario does resonate with young people for a simple reason: millions of them live at home in the suburbs with Mom and and Dad. In suburbs like this, there are often commuter options to the central city, but if you’re trying to get from one suburb to another without a car, you’re screwed, and biking or walking isn’t an option when you work 10 miles from where you live.

          The problem with the “utopian” solution is that it tries to fit a NYC-style, all-transit solution on suburban areas. No one’s building any subways from your subdivision to the mall any time soon. But there’s no reason not to offer enhanced bus service.

    • 0 avatar

      I would have said the same thing in my 20s, and very early 30s, that I didn’t need a car to support my lifestyle. (Actually, it was bicycle and walking. I didn’t bother to take transit, as I could get anywhere in DC a lot faster by bicycle than transit. I rode the subway maybe a couple of times a year.)

      Anyway, I finally bought a cheap car when I got involved in a project where it was a bit too far to bicycle to the work site. My lifestyle quickly changed, and it took me a couple of weeks to realize that I didn’t ever want to do without a car again (and never have).

      Judging by the small sample of kids I know, which is probably not statistically significant, they are less interested in cars and driving than we were. But in most parts of the country lack of a car is still a major handicap.

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      I think that the phrase “sufficient to meet their current lifestyle needs.” is a nice little code for “dealing with reality.” As in, “I don’t have the money for a car, so I’m going to get used to walking/cycling/taking the bus – whether I like it or not.”

      I was there at one time. 1968-69, to be exact. Erie, PA had a good public transit system, there was no way my folks were going to give me a car, and I hated riding the bus (the other people who ride it – yeech!). So I dragged my childhood Schwinn Mark IV Jaguar to school and had private transportation from that day on. And have considered a bicycle as a decent commuter vehicle ever since.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Right. I live in a large, but non-major city. It is so spread out—one of the largest in the country in terms of land area—that public transportation is a moot point. What little we do have will only get you around in small, upscale communities, places in which you’d probably do just as well to walk or bike your way. Public transportation won’t help you if you need to get across town, and won’t even be accessible or relevant if you don’t live in a fairly nice area. Trust me, none of my car-less peers are saying that their situations are a result of adequate public transportation.

  • avatar
    dwford

    In other news, I (44 years old) will be buying my million $ mansion – as soon as I can afford it. This is one of those studies that just states what was obvious in the first place. And people get paid to produce these studies

  • avatar

    “plan to buy within 5 years”.

    It’s easy to say because it’s far enough away that there’s no recourse if it doesn’t come true. The fact is that unless these people are making more money in that 5 year time frame they won’t be buying any new cars. And while that’s entirely possible it’s not going to be 75% of them that find that cash.

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    I smell a Nobel Prize in Economics here.

    The discovery that money is required to enjoy an upwardly mobile lifestyle, is as momentous and important as the discovery of the Higgins Boson.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    The data here would suggest that it isn’t just a matter of money.

    It would appear that this group sees the car as a nice-to-have, not as a must-have. They like cars, but they aren’t willing to stretch to get into new cars because they’re not an overwhelming priority.

    They don’t hate cars, but they are losing interest. They aren’t completely uninterested or opposed, but the priorities have changed. If it’s a choice between smartphones and lattes or cars and gasoline, more of them are inclined to dump the latter, and that reveals itself in the form of these somewhat contradictory purchase criteria.

    • 0 avatar
      David Walton

      It’s a bit out of reach, too fantastical for the average striver.

    • 0 avatar
      Astigmatism

      I think this is precisely right. Your average 20-something would still love to have a car if someone gave them one (which, frankly, isn’t uncommon with my generation), but are getting along just fine without one, so why spend thousands of dollars on a car at all, even if they could afford one?

      Related: in my old company, of six Gen-Y associates, all of whom were making six figures (comfortably), two had cars – one my CPO Acura, one a Matrix that had been gifted by parents when they were done with it.

      • 0 avatar
        David Walton

        “Related: in my old company, of six Gen-Y associates, all of whom were making six figures (comfortably), two had cars – one my CPO Acura, one a Matrix that had been gifted by parents when they were done with it.”

        What city?

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Sounds like these folks need a little B&E in their lives.

        Eh my bad I’m sorry I’ve had a rough week. I find it curious people with at most 5-7 years experience can command such high salaries. I’m nearing nine years experience and if I not screwed around so much and skipped junior college would have been out two years sooner and I still don’t think I could crack six figures in this town outside of management. The girl I’ve been seeing (who is 31) just got a job in a doctor’s office for a whopping $10/hr and this was a *good* job from what I was told. I’m aware medical billing and medical office work isn’t going to make you rich but having been through both an associate’s and bachelor’s program, a bachelor’s isn’t that much more difficult (albeit typically more expensive).

        • 0 avatar
          Astigmatism

          Believe me, I have a very healthy sense of survivor’s guilt – I survived three rounds of layoffs within a year of each other back in ’08/’09 which claimed most of my peers. I’m keenly aware of how lucky I’ve been.

        • 0 avatar
          jmo

          “I still don’t think I could crack six figures in this town outside of management.”

          What town and what industry are you in?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            IT in Pittsburgh.

          • 0 avatar
            jmo

            28,

            I have a friend who did network security for the army and no he’s in his late 20s an in the private sector and he makes almost 300k. You need to get into a more lucrative niche.

            IIRC, anyone who gets some data center experience in college can start at $100k right out of school.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            You may not need to crack a hundred grand to live pretty well in Pittsburgh.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @jmo

            Thanks for the advice Jmo, although your friend might have a very expensive “military grade” skill-set which keeps him in the benjamins. My expertise is database development although currently I’m paid to maintain .NET code. I toy with the idea of an MBA and management in the next five to seven years.

            @FreedMike

            This used to be true but much has changed in the past five years. As long as I can remember we’ve had cheap real estate but high property taxes, your basic 2BR townhouse sets you back two grand, houses three to four. However now our once “cheap” real estate is getting ridiculously priced. Food and fuel aren’t going down and our glorious legislature just hiked our gas tax, again. Some things are still cheap compared to the rest of the nation but I believe our local economy is not growing fast enough to keep up with increased outside costs. For some more perspective, one of my friends landed an “omg how did you get that” level job downtown (highest parking taxes in the nation plus additional wage taxes) doing some kind of development for a bank, they started him in the mid 80s in the beginning of 2013. If I left tomorrow I could probably swing around that number in a salaried gig, I just honestly don’t hear much about six figure jobs among non-mgt folks in my age bracket (32). Jmo’s giving me ideas though.

        • 0 avatar
          dts187

          I work in IT so maybe my experience is different. That said, a degree is only what you make it. I only have an associates but am moving closer to the six figure mark each year. I’m under 30 and have about 4 years of continuous experience in the field. I live in Appalachia so it’s not exactly an area with high cost of living.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            You’re living my dream, high salary low cost of living.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            I agree about the degree. I have two degrees, neither of which has the slightest bearing on what I do for a living. My undergraduate degree in accounting was useful at my last job, which involved inventory control and point of sale systems, but it mostly meant I got to teach everyone else in the company the basics of double-entry accounting. My law degree just means I get to laugh at how silly all the courtroom scenes on TV are. Luckily, I had a GREAT scholarship so it cost me almost nothing. :-)

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          All depends on where and what field. But most places where you can make a six-figure salary that early in your career also have utterly insane housing costs. Not unusual to be making six-figures by 30 in legal or finance though. I’m in IT Consulting, had I started my current job right out of college I would have been there too most likely. We have a new guy on my team at work who is 22, technically same job as me, Jr vs. Sr. Consultant. If he stays 8 years I have no doubt he will be there, probably and then some. It’s taken me 7, and I suspect they started me around the same salary. This is a Boston-based company, I’m lucky, I live in Maine so my CoL is a fraction of my coworkers. I also bought my shack pre-bubble. Good to be older sometimes.

          Personally, where has there ever been an expectation that young people buy new cars? I bought my first new car at 31, and I was by FAR the first of my entire fairly large circle of friends to do so. Most of my friends are just buying their first new cars NOW, when we are in our early-mid *40s*! Maybe I just don’t get out enough, and I do certainly live in a poor state, but this has been the norm my entire life. My Grandfather did not buy his first NEW car until he was in his 50′s, and it was a 1980 Subaru hatchback. And he was a very successful man. Cheapskate Yankees?

          • 0 avatar
            jmo

            “Personally, where has there ever been an expectation that young people buy new cars?”

            If a new Civic is 18k (after cash back, recent college grad cash, 0% etc. and a 5 year old one with 60k miles is 12k – it doesn’t really make sense to buy used.

            About half the people at my first job bought new cars – Focus, Civic, Corolla, Impreza, etc.

    • 0 avatar
      dts187

      I’d like to see a study along the lines of this broken down by region. I live in Appalachia. If you don’t have a car you’re basically SOL when it comes to getting a decent paying job. Public transportation is essentially non-existent. A car is a necessity and highly valued. Otherwise you’re options are to not work, work someplace you can bum a ride daily, or work at the gas station or fast food joint within walking distance.

      I’ve also lived in some large metro areas. I’d go a long time without needing my vehicle. I was within walking distance to any kind of food or shopping I could imagine. The office was a 15 minute bike ride away. My car was only used when venturing to new spots on the other side of town. Even then, there was efficient public transportation to get me there if I didn’t have access to a car.

      ‘Murca is a large and culturally diverse place. Not every millennial is a latte sipping hipster glued to their iPhone.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        I can relate, living in semi-rural Pennsylvania. Unless your housing development is right next to a shopping center, you’re driving to work, and since a lot of people my age make between minimum wage and $9/hr, we’re all stuck driving either utter crap or cars financed by mommy and daddy. I’d rather be the second camp, at least then I could have something decent like a Mazda3.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Deloitte is selling consulting services to the automotive industry. These studies necessarily skew toward urban/suburban areas, because that’s where most of the population, jobs and growth are.

  • avatar
    Dingleberrypiez_Returns

    Why can’t it be both? To me, there is no question that driving doesn’t have the same mystique as it used to. I’m 30 years old, I think I was really on the tail end of the driving-as-pleasure swing… growing up during the time of now-legendary Japanese sport cars, Gran Turismo for PS1, I couldn’t wait to get my drivers license. I suspect these feeling were even stronger for people who grew up during the 50s and 60s, if movies like American Graffiti reflect a true reality. I do agree that growing up with technology that connects us so thoroughly has diminished the need for freedom that a car can provide in the eyes of young millennials. Also, roads are much more congested than they used to be, DUI enforcement is much stronger (as it should be), and as pointed out, driving is much more expensive then it used to be (I think when I got my license gas was less than $2/gallon)… all this makes driving much less entertaining.
    That being said, I think pretty much anyone, regardless of age, would love to have a dope ass ride if money was no object. Without question.

  • avatar
    The Heisenberg Cartel

    Speaking as someone who works with almost entirely millennials, most of whom can afford new cars (military), most of us don’t have new cars. 90% of us would rather buy fast cars or luxury cars used, or used trucks and SUVs.

    I fall into this boat too. Between military and side business ventures I can afford multiple new cars or one new Panamera and I would rather buy cheaper used cars and do whatever maintenance I need to do. Same reason I wouldn’t want a 3,500 dollar mortgage per month. I like being financially free and the money could all go away faster than it started rolling in.

    • 0 avatar

      Servicemen and women seem to be in a better position to afford a new car than civillian millennial. A substantial number have poor paying jobs and lots of debt.

      • 0 avatar
        The Heisenberg Cartel

        Definitely, and I think that’s a part of what nobody is discussing: we want cool cars, but we don’t necessarily want new cars. Maybe we have less of a used car ‘stigma’ than previous generations? Dunno.

        • 0 avatar
          Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

          Used cars since Cash For Clunkers have been a bit dearly-priced. They’re finally starting to come back to ‘normal’ tho.

          I didn’t get my first new car until I was 27, and then it was a lease. My second new car came at 38. Ain’t nothin’ wrong with buying used, as long as you don’t mind factoring in fixing the odd really expensive thing from time to time.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            Used cars are more gearhead friendly, since most used cars that are cheap are at least 10 to 15 years old.

            Hence why previous generations bought up tons of GM F and RWD G body cars…cheap and gearhead friendly.

            Of course, for non-gearheads who don’t want to fix anything on their cars, at least old domestics usually have cheaper parts…

      • 0 avatar
        hreardon

        #1 to this, Derek. Never underestimate the power of debt to destroy your future. I have no doubt at all that student loan debt is a major burden preventing automotive purchases.

        • 0 avatar
          Kinosh

          Student loan debt is a major burden to a lot of things, many of them smaller expenses than a car.

        • 0 avatar

          I was fortunate enough to graduate debt free and I pay my CC in full every month. Frankly the idea of shelling out $100k-$200k for an MBA is what’s holding me back from doing so.

          • 0 avatar
            Kinosh

            Ouch, where are you looking at that costs that much? At the University of Cincinnati (chosen purely for convenience), I’m seeing an MBA cost of ~30-40k.

          • 0 avatar
            onyxtape

            I was just shopping around for MBA’s last night. An executive MBA at my local public 4-yr institution is $90k. About 10%-20% cheaper for the more nominal MBA programs.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @Kinosh

            That’s still entirely too high. Cut off the unlimited federal lending and watch Big Education squirm, they would have no choice but to become more effeciant and cut tuition costs.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        I wanted to get fired from the Navy once, but they made me stay in for my full enlistment. That’s how service members can afford new cars: guaranteed income with job security, and an allotment to the seller straight out of the paycheck.

      • 0 avatar
        jetcal1

        Wow, times have changed! I had NCO’s on food stamps. However, bear in mind that a few of those new cars may have been purchased because of a deployment with hostile fire pay and a tax free imminent danger location.

  • avatar
    Boxerman

    Money is certainly a barrier, but its not the only issue by far. I see it in my chilldrens egneration, a lot of them dont even bother to get a license untill its a necessity, like to get to work.

    Lets face it most cars, and certainly most affordable cars are little more than transport module blobs, its not like you really want to own it. The roads are heavily regulated today, so a car is basicaly a transport tool, not a lifstyle passion or pride of desreable object. If there are transport alternatrives why would kids want a car.

    Now add in that most can comunicate and even socialise through facebook, parents are pretty tolerant so you dont have to escape the house, and all the hassle of owning a car, payments insurance, service inspections, would you own a boring car or drive unless you have to.

    Money, if you really wnat somethign you find it. Kids find money for cellphones tatoos and otehr gizmos. They buy what is important to them, for most a car and driving, all the rules and reguklatiuons are a hassle. So the kids who really want cars today are natural born gearheads, for the others its just a hassle vs necssity question.

    Lets face it, its pretrty hard to have fun with a car these days, unless you go to a track, and most cars are dull as dichwater anyway.

    This study is an example of how buisnesses go bankrupt by hiring consultants. Of course its money, but by far not only money. If mabnufatueres want to sell cars to kids, they need to start inspiring them to own cars. That means appealing product(ie not nscreens) and a regulatory enviroment that is not such a hassle.

    • 0 avatar
      Hillman

      +1 It is very expensive to drive so why bother until you need to. Any attempt to have fun on the road has been stopped by our regulatory environment so the only fun can be have on the track. The safety lobby got what they wanted and the result is now that the younger generation is priced out of driving.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        You try to pin the unaffordability of cars on regulations, but that’s a gross oversimplification. Yes, the government now tells manufacturers what they HAVE to put in cars, but ultimately, consumers tell them what they WANT, and that probably costs just as much (maybe more) than all the required items.

        Put differently: 30 years ago, you could buy a Toyota Corolla with no air, no radio, crank windows, vinyl seats and rubber floormats. Today, even the most basic Corolla comes standard with stuff you’d have only found on the near-luxury cars of the day – multiadjustable seats, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, power windows and locks, a four speaker sound system, and on and on.

        And qualitatively speaking, those two cars couldn’t be more different. Could you imagine packing a family of four into that early-’80s Corolla for a 500-mile trip in August? It’d be hell on earth. But in the current model, no problem.

        Now, presumably, if Toyota thought it could actually sell a true strippo version of the Corolla today – a model with all the same safety equipment as the current model, but without any luxury features – it would. But it doesn’t, and we all know why – no one would buy it.

        This has more to do with consumer wants than government demands.

        • 0 avatar
          NoGoYo

          The bundling craze is all on the automakers, though.

          Sometimes you don’t want a damned moonroof.

          • 0 avatar
            Kinosh

            It’s not worth paying someone to put plugs into the hole in the door trim where the handle crank would be for the 199/200 cars that DO have power windows. Nor is it worthwhile to pay salaried staff to put part numbers into the repair system, or physically store window cranks, or do durability testing, or the whole mess of stuff that comes with adding an option/part number in your average OEM’s playbook.

            If it costs half as much on a per unit basis but you only move 1/200 units with the stripper options, just throw in the power windows and AC and be done with it.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I haven’t driven or been inside a MY14 but am familiar with the previous spec. Unless that family were 50% toddlers I wouldn’t dream of it (and even then its not big enough for children’s equipment and other associated bs plus adult luggage).

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            I did a 2000-mile, week-long round trip from Denver to Chicago with my ex and two kids, aged 7 and 11 at the time, in a 2005 Ford Focus, which is about the same size as a Corolla. My kids are pretty lanky.

            It was a bit tight, but definitely doable. I imagine the same trip in my strippo ’81 Rabbit, and phrases like “first circle of hell” come to mind…

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          Both are certainly a factor. Mandated equipment and other standards certainly does prohibit the continued production of legacy vehicles and the strippiest of strippers. So the consumers (however few they are) who actually do want such vehicles are left out of the new car buying pool.

          Have a look at the legacy vehicles that continue to be built for decades with few updates in loosely regulated markets to get a picture of what might be available in that case.

          For example, Ford would continue to produce the Ranger for this market if it weren’t for the increasing regulatory requirements.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Point taken about the Ranger, but the basic design for it was at least 20 years old (if I’m not mistaken), so the argument could also be made that certain vehicles can be made under the same regulations for literally decades, which undermines the original argument.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Ranger sales were on the decline. The low price points don’t provide for good margins.

            But probably the greatest factor was the move to crossovers. The Ranger used to share a platform with the Explorer; now, the Explorer is on a car platform.

            Without a platform mate to amortize the costs, the small truck begins to make even less sense. Ford has since shut down the factories where the Ranger was built in later years, as the capacity wasn’t needed.

          • 0 avatar
            sunridge place

            Amortization is there when you factor in a global small truck platform but a local platform-mate would definitely help with plant utilization.

            The 2015 Colorado/Canyon steals a bit from the Silverado as well.

        • 0 avatar
          TheyBeRollin

          They clearly don’t know us very well. Want to sell a shit-load of cars? Make one that has an interchangeable smartphone mount that adapts any common smartphone to serve as the “infotainment” system.

          The only thing we really care about in our cars is that they take us where we need to go, look decent (negotiable), have A/C (negotiable in some places), and have aux ports. If you upped the ante on that last one and made our ubiquitous smartphones into the interface for music and navigation, we’d buy your car.

          The day I can buy a decent car for under 20k with a magic phone charging mount and bluetooth that runs on electricity (preferably inductively-charged in my garage), you’ll start selling us new cars.

          At the least, these would be a great choice for coop-owned cars at condo towers aimed at my generation.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        The base MSRP of a Nissan Versa today is about the equivalent of a base VW Beetle in 1964.

        Back in 1964, the MSRP of a Ford Falcon ranged between $15-20,000 in today’s dollars. There are quite a few cars available today in that price range.

        (Gas averaged about $2.25 per gallon in current dollars. When you consider the better fuel economy of the newer cars, the cost of fuel per mile would have been about the same or less today than it was fifty years ago.)

        In spite of all of this, the average price of a new car today is over $30,000. People buy more car than they have to. At this point, the safety equipment is essentially being thrown in for free.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          Agree with this 100% and then some. Cars are STUPID cheap these days. And then you can buy a 10yo used one for peanuts that will be as reliable and long lived as a new car from 35 years ago. My Grandfather’s first brand-new car was a 1980 Subaru DL hatchback. 1.6l carb’d motor with 70hp, five spd, AM-only radio. No A/C, no power anything including steering and brakes. Failed inspection due to rust at age 3, junked due to rust at age 7, with barely 100K on it. This was very much the equivalent of a new base Imprezza today. And cost just as much. You get ALL the toys for free, plus reliability and durability.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Exactly. People buy more car than they have to, mainly because they intend to keep it a lot longer than ever before. A young couple buying a vehicle, for instance, would probably wonder whether it would evolve into a kiddo-mobile someday, so instead of that Corolla, they buy a Camry, which is a bit bigger, “just in case.” And when you’re buying a car for the long term, it needs to be very well built, and having a full load of toys helps make up for being stuck with an older vehicle down the road.

          All that costs money.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            I doubt that the longevity of today’s vehicles is much of a factor. People buy more expensive stuff because they can, and because they want to.

            They want nicer stuff than they used to have, and there are lenders who will provide them with the money. Very few Americans today want the equivalent of a new ’64 Beetle; they would never put up with its faults or its lack of toys.

  • avatar
    Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

    If your car payment + insurance runs you more than, say, 15% of your net income, you’re spending too much, and 15% is actually fairly high IMO.

    (If all goes well, I’ll likely be breaking that rule myself for a Model X :p)

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      I don’t think you can really say that as a straight percentage of income. Basic cost of living does not really increase with salary. My basic cost of living is the same at $100K plus as it was at $40K, which is what I was making when I bought my house back in 2001. But no kids, nor will I ever have any. You can buy some pretty nice cars with what some of my friends are socking away for college.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      $92 a month is my total finance/insurance bill for my paid-off LeSabre. And the kids wonder why I don’t want a new car right now?

  • avatar
    Kinosh

    I love studies like these, because they never say anything different. This applies to everything from cell phones to cigarettes to cars.

    Researcher: “Hmm, see this desirable thing? Why don’t you have it?”
    Participant: “Cost”
    Researcher: “How much would you like it to cost?”
    Participant: “Free, or, better yet, the companies pay me to own it”
    Consultant: “They want your products for free! Get to it!”

    Another issue with the money side is that it is really pretty impossible to only own “a bit” of a car. The fixed costs are ginormous. Once a week I have to drive a relative’s car 3-4 miles to get to the airport so I can complete flight lessons in winter. I keep a full insurance policy so I can do so. I pay slightly more than $7.00/mile in insurance ALONE for the amount I drive.

    Again, I don’t keep a car down in Cincinnati right now. So I still save on fuel and parking.

    Question, what do the red names signify?

    • 0 avatar
      Toad

      Kinosh, if you are paying $7/mile just for insurance why don’t you just take a cab? Not that it’s any of my business, but you can contract a tractor trailer to move your entire household for less than $5/mile.

      • 0 avatar
        Kinosh

        There are no cab companies willing to move my ass at their normal rate at 9am in the morning in Fairfield, Ohio. Unfortunately, it’s that or bike in winter, and I’d rather not do that.

  • avatar
    TheEndlessEnigma

    This headline, stating something which is breathtakingly obvious, falls in the same category as one which appeared in health journals about 30 years ago, “Study Concludes: Over Eating Contributes To Obesity”.

    In a word….DUH!

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    We live in a debt based economy and the young’ns have far too much debt.
    In debt from birth to death- but we’re not slaves (technically). Looks like the recurring revenue plan worked all too well with run-of-the-mill degrees running into six figures, mortgages that take forever to pay off and of course fuel being prohibitively expensive. I would walk too if I could.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    *VERY* interesting responses here ! .

    I guess the greater amount of the B and B here are College Educated and good on you for doing so .

    The rest of us however , made do just fine having fun in boring old flat head head Chrysler products , slow as dirt and didn’t handle for spit , or older Granny Mobiles that were floaty land barges that sucked up enormous amounts of .32 CENT / gallon gasoline , we loved being mobile more than anything else so we made do with whatever cheap piece of junk we could afford and limped it along , dreaming of working harder and saving $ to buy a better vehicle .

    I look forward to seeing how this thread meanders along , I learn so much from the younger folks here .

    -Nate

    • 0 avatar
      Astigmatism

      “we loved being mobile more than anything else…”

      I’m massively oversimplifying things, but I think one of the things about being an employed, college-educated 20-something is that you probably already are where you want to be, geographically at least – New York or LA, if that’s what floats your boat, or maybe you’re a chemical engineer and you’re in Midland, MI, but it’s still a place you have actively chosen to relocate to after college. Springsteen songs, classic movies and novels about young people, etc. all share the theme of trying to escape from the town you grew up in, which a car, any car, provides in the most literal sense.

      When I was living in Brooklyn, everything I cared about most in the world (my fiancee, my brother, my friends, my job, restaurants, museums, bars, parks, even the beach) was reachable by subway. I went to high school 3,500 miles away from home, so I “escaped” at a pretty young age, and by my 20′s I’d wound up exactly where I wanted to be.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Great article in an already interesting series. Affordability is key and 96 month loans are not an answer. Auto mfgs need to find ways trim their own costs and be able to deliver profitable but durable product at lower price points.

    • 0 avatar
      NoGoYo

      Here’s a question…it might sound really obvious, but I don’t know the answer so I’m asking anyway.

      Do new car MSRPs “depreciate” after a few years on sale? The retail prices of electronics decrease the longer said device is on the market, but I would be a fool to say it’s exactly the same for cars.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Typically the MSRP goes up, but MSRP, like invoice, holdback, and incentives is simply a variable. Now as a model ages to move it an automaker might increase incentives, which effectively lowers the transaction cost of the car but I don’t think there is a direct comparison

        • 0 avatar
          NoGoYo

          That makes sense, games consoles and smartphones and other such devices probably have a fixed price mandated by the manufacturer (why else do you think an Xbox One costs 500 dollars when not on sale at EVERY STORE?), while cars…don’t.

          I was just curious because maybe a more rigid pricing structure with a price drop after a few years might sell more cars, but I say that as an industry know-nothing.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Why? You can already buy a car that is better than a luxury car from 30 years ago in most ways brand new for $18K or less. Or as I wrote previously, a used car that is better than ANYTHING you could buy new 30 years ago for peanuts.

      Porsche had it exactly right when they said that the entry-level Porsche is a USED Porsche. Why on earth would you want some penalty box Tata Nano wannabe for $6-8K when $8K buys you a nice used Camry, Miata, truck, whatever floats your boat. Just plain silly.

      Kids today are just plain spoiled rotten little twits, on average. And they need to stay off my $@@#$@#$ lawn!

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        The problem is over-inflated used car prices, in this young man’s opinion. 15+ year old Hondas have no business being 4000 dollars with over 100,000 miles, but people still try and sell them for that much.

        I wouldn’t be driving a product from GM’s dark days if I could have afforded, say, a Civic hatchback that didn’t have 200k miles. Maybe I should try auctions for my next car, might be able to get a good deal.

        • 0 avatar
          izzy

          I would say 4000 is a relative bargain for a car that has about 50K-100K serviceable miles on it.
          Look at it this way, it’s about that same as 8 xboxes, or x latest smartphones.
          No, it doesn’t enhance your life in the way that you smartphones do. But it lets you traverse the actual physical world. I don’t know about you but it seems like a bargain to me.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            I’m not paying 4k for a 15 year old compact car, but there are people who will ask that much for late 90s Civics.

            Hell, my one neighbor managed to sell a 245k ’98 Civic for 1800 bucks! Honda people are nuts!

            Most I would pay for a late 90s Civic with over 100k miles is about 2 grand, sorry.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        That depends on your definition of “Better”. True, it’s safer, it’s more economical to operate and in many ways it’s more convenient–but is it as comfortable? Is it as reliable? Is $18 REALLY “cheap”? My first brand-new car only cost me $5200 and was much bigger, comfortable and more powerful than its final descendant which was priced at $23,000 when the brand was shut down. As for the reliability of a 10-year-old used car–sorry, not accepting that. I have NEVER ONCE purchased a used car at even 6 years old that didn’t cost me as much to maintain it as buying brand new would have saved. Even my latest purchase–a now 25-year-old pickup truck–cost me more to make it roadworthy than I originally paid for it. The last used car before that had a sensor break on a regular basis, costing me hundreds of dollars to replace every time and finally shredded its timing gear forcing a valve job as well as the gear replacement after only 2 years of ownership. People on a low income simply cannot afford that kind of ongoing expense.

  • avatar
    Scott_314

    I disagree with some comments that it’s the same as it’s always been.

    Before: most people buy a car when they generally can, starting with something basic.

    Now there are increasingly two groups of non-buyers:

    Group 1) – downtowners that hate cars and typically want to hold off until they have a kid.

    Group 2) – the middle segment of people who somewhat want cars but realize that they are stupid expensive to own, and therefore decide to live without it. NOT HELPED when many young people get in a minor fender bender and find that the consequences (at least here in Toronto) are car insurance rates of literally $4500 per year.

    Sure there is the rest of us who typically desire cars and know how to do research to find something that fits in our budget/needs/wants. But it’s a smaller group than it used to be.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Here in the US, I can’t imagine any teenager/young adult NOT wanting their own car unless they live in an area where it’s simply not practical–like a crowded city. On the other hand, with car prices what they are today, it’s no wonder cars like the Kia Soul, Scion xX series, etc. are so popular among younger people. They can almost afford them.

    (Also a huge potential market for really compact pickup trucks!)

    • 0 avatar
      Astigmatism

      As others have pointed out, teenagers “want” many things. What young adults are prepared to pay for with their own money, when they’re also paying their own way in rent, etc., on the other hand…

    • 0 avatar
      NoGoYo

      Funny you say that, small trucks sell really fast around here, especially 4wd ones. Even a 2WD 4 cylinder stick shift Ranger can sell in a couple of days.

      People drive S10s/Sonomas, Dakotas, pre-Tacomas/Tacomas and Rangers/Mazda Bs into the ground around here, many an ancient Iron Duke S10 still rolling around.

  • avatar
    iMatt

    For me, the decision was between earning an education or having a reliable car.

    With insanely high insurance rates (in the GTA), it was impossible to carry living costs, tuition, and all the associated costs that come with a car at the same time.

    Post graduation, I’m still paying for upgrade courses just to simply find an entry level job and a reliable car is still out of the question.

    Recently, my situation changed such that I absolutely needed a car, so I bought one – for $600.00. Tool set was not included.

    Lucky for me, my girlfriend went to work right out of high school and is in a position where she was able to afford a new car.

    One more thing, I don’t believe it’s fair to assume all Gen Y’ers carry around large cell phone bills or other needless frivolities. Some of us actually despise that crap, you know…

  • avatar
    jbreuckm

    I don’t at all doubt that cost is the primary driver here. But there are so many variables in this equation that it’s hard to predict where things are going to go. To wit:

    1. Is the “system” sustainable? In that, I mean will it be fiscally possible to maintain the infrastructure that we’ve built?

    2. If we are willing to maintain the infrastructure that we’ve built, will those costs represent an opportunity cost for making public investment in other places that would have a higher return? (for instance, any city can only get to a certain level of density based on car travel alone. that point is gridlock. but transit allows cities to break through the density ceiling allowed by cars, and we know that productivity and economic activity increase with density).

    3. Will job opportunities be available to millenials that markedly increase their earning prospects? Note that I do not at all buy the idea that the “kids these days” are lazy or feckless. It’s not true today, just like it wasn’t true when the Greatest Generation were saying it about us Gen Xers, and when whoever was saying it about the Boomers.

    4. Will cars even be affordable anymore, or will all of the various regulations and industry one-upsmanship price out large segments of millennials? This should self-correct once millenials start to represent a higher and higher share of the pool of potential buyers.

    And there are more, but all of these interact with each other.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    My cousin lives in the older part of Paris. He doesn’t have a car. If he did he couldn’t park it.

    This indicates that with more money he could buy a parking spot. How much will this cost?

    The world is urbanising. This will make it very expensive to own even a modest vehicle. Many cities are now taxing driving a motor vehicle within city centres as well.

    I just hope governments improve public transportation if they don’t want people driving.

    Modern societies can’t survive without effective and efficient transportation.

    This model which includes the infrastructure and systems to maintain it cost significant amounts of money.

    How much money and energy is spent in a modern economy to maintain everything from your garage, roads, services to maintain our lifestyle. These are all mainly based on the automobile/truck.

    We need to encourage our young to buy a vehicle, as this will spread the cost of vehicle/transportation ownership, making everyone else’s life easier.

    • 0 avatar
      Hillman

      Why should we encourage young people to drive/ buy new cars? Public transit works well in cities where parking is absurd and used car buyers help keep residual values high. I know my opinion is not what this site wants to hear but the purpose of a car is to move people from place A to B. Public transit is a great option for those who do not have the capital to buy a car.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        @Hillman
        How much will it cost if public transport was user pays?

        Public transport is heavily subsidised.

        If public transport was that good it would have already replaced the automobile.

        • 0 avatar
          Hillman

          We could get into the debate of urban planing and the benefits of cities being set up with public transit in mind vs the vast suburban sprawl but I don’t think this is the place. I also don’t feel like doing research. I do know that the places that have it have property value increases around 15 % plus less congestion as well as a better downtown. Rail and buses should not replace the car but coexist to move people in the most efficient manor.

        • 0 avatar
          shaker

          The money used to subsidize public transit is probably much cheaper than having to deal with the damaging effects of increased traffic on infrastructure and the clogged streets on commerce.

      • 0 avatar
        badcoffee

        Public transport works great in highly urbanized dense cities. I live in a small middle-america city that sprawls too much to be walk/bikeable, and has a highly ineffecient bus system as the only public transport option. If you want to make more than a fry cook, you need some sort of reliable transportation

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    Many young people buy cars through their parents with established credit to take advantage of 0% APR deals and such.

  • avatar
    nrd515

    I work with a lot of 20 and early thirty somethings, and several of them would love to have a car that drives itself, but they realize it will be some time before such a car would be available, let alone affordable. None of them is carless at present though, using the local bus system would and should be considered torture, and cabs make no sense. Economically, they would be better off staying home and not working if cabs were involved. Some live at home with their parents, a few are married, most are single, driving POS cars. A lot of those POS cars are old Taurus and Sables, for some reason. Avengers are common too. Several of them have serious lust for my Challenger, and just about any RWD car presently made. They want better cars, but when your insurance costs what a decent car payment is alone, you probably can’t afford much of a car, unless you have parents who can help. One kid’s insurance and car payment on an old Camry is almost double what my car and insurance cost me. It’s insane, but it’s his own fault, he is on the verge of license suspension constantly, and drives totally cluelessly. His credit is as bad as his driving.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I agree with most of the comments above and do feel there is a need for a basic car with few extras, but also many of today’s youth move back home after graduating from college. Many simply don’t have a desire to work. I know many families in my neighborhood and at work where this is becoming more typical. In order to own a car you need to have money for fuel, insurance, and maintenance even if that car is a gift.

    • 0 avatar
      badcoffee

      I know very few people my age who don’t want to work. Sure, there are a few- every generation has them. When your options are fast food or not working, then yes, not working looks more appealing. The simple truth is most people in their 20′s arent making more than 20-25k annually.

  • avatar
    Hemi

    I agree that obviously money is a huge factor, however most car enthusiasts will find a way. I will use my example living in NYC, I spend an astronomical amount just to keep a vehicle. This includes my car payment, insurance, gas prices and a garage spot. Most people in other cities probably spend the same or less on a mortgage.

    Now most friends I have, do not have a car and use the subway. I also use the subway, but love driving and taking road trips. My friends will still criticize me and say I can use Zipcar and the subway like they do, and save thousands a year! Sometimes I want to make a quick trip at night to eat, grab ice cream or just go for a drive. It brings me a smile to drive every time I do.

    Now on the other hand I know a couple of car guys, that don’t have the best jobs, but will work overtime and seconds jobs. Why? Just because they are car nuts and that’s what it takes. Most “men” I meet here can’t change a flat tire, let alone check the oil level on a car. People get angry that I drive a V8 when they drive a Prius, they don’t believe I can’t get almost 30mpg on the highway with a full size V8. The more I talk with people I realize that the car enthusiast is a dying breed, especially in major cities. I’d love to buy a hybrid, but until I get 100mpg, I find them useless. I can get decent mpg with an small econobox….

    Other people in major cities, you should try the same. Anytime you meet any guys, see how many of them are enthusiasts. I bet you will find a lot less than most. Most people continue to see cars as appliances and same goes for the new gen.

  • avatar
    Joss

    ” and the notion of a car-free future, with walking, cycling and transit replacing the automobile (whether privately owned or shared via a service like Zipcar) is an unrealistic fantasy…”

    It’s not unrealistic. The traffic in most large cities is friggin awful. It’s easier & less stressfull to live close to work and walk/bike/transit. Which reveals a car’s only needed at the weekend for a few hours to shop/visit relatives. The savings in vehicle ownership by young people should be placed towards their retirement. Not thrown in the road as depreciation or to big oil. Play the banking/insurance industry at their own game – own their stock, don’t feed their services.

    Autoshare programs like ZIP may be the embryo for dial a (driverless,) ride in the not too distant future. Goodbye Taxi, goodbye private ownership. Hello efficiency and savings.

  • avatar
    HotPotato

    Vulpine is right: there was once in recent memory a people’s car, the Saturn. First-gen ones were crude and loud, third-gen ones were soft and sad, fourth-gen ones were Opels…but the second gen hit the sweet spot. My ’96 SL2 provided the fastest 0-60 of any economy sedan, a buttery clutch and shifter, 4 wheel ABS discs, a responsive yet supple 4-wheel independent suspension, well-weighted steering through a nice fat wheel and big analog gauges. It was also sold at a very reasonable price with no BS haggling, had a handsome body that would never dent or rust, used ridiculously little gas, was inexpensive to insure, and required no repairs of any kind ever. Cheap to buy, cheap to run, and fun to drive! Of course, the from Day One the engine at idle sounded like an elderly person being strangled, and drank oil, and the amount of driveline slack and slop was embarrassing, and the headlights were dubious, and women tended to say “is this a rental?” on dates. But it was the right car at the right time for me, and something like it might be for young adults today.

  • avatar
    mikefitzvw

    It’s interesting how they claim we want all these silly features. I’m 21 and drive a ’97 Sentra, a gift from my grandma, and due to a combination of finances and it being an otherwise pleasant car, I have no plans to get rid of it after now-5 years of driving.

    Sell me a stripper car that doesn’t look angry and has decent visibility, and let ME choose the options. I’d take crank windows and seat warmers. I wouldn’t want to buy a car that costs a ton of money and has features I didn’t want in the first place.

  • avatar
    Jethrow

    The ideology take is interesting. I think we have a similar thing here in Australia, where there has been a marked shift to smaller cars. Of course this has been very detrimental to Holden who used to make Australia’s best selling car in the Commodore. Now it barely makes top 5.

    Of course everyone criticized Holden for now making a car no one wants because current thinking is everyone WANTS a smaller car. But like here, the truth is I do not think everyone wants a smaller car at all. It is just all most can afford right now ….


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