Generation Why: Industry Blames 4G Generation For 2 Million Missing Car Sales

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
generation why industry blames 4g generation for 2 million missing car sales

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

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

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

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

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

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4 of 213 comments
  • Plunk10 Plunk10 on Aug 16, 2012

    I am at the edge of Gen X and Y, and am not considering a new car, mainly because of the employment instability, with fears of budget cuts all around. After buying this used Accord, I was let go from a company due to budget woes, and now am constantly in fear that it will happen again. While I could easily afford a new $20K car on my salary, I'm not ready to strap down a 5 year loan with the possibility of losing the career, and then the credit. More people are now saving for the future than in the past 30-50 years it seems. The economy will be strong again when our kids will grow up with a solid foundation due to our saving. They will then blow the money that we worked hard for over a few decades, and the cycle will start all over again.

  • NewsLynne NewsLynne on Aug 20, 2012

    Jeez, everyone I know my age ('75) is driving used. I've bought cash cars the last two go-arounds and they suit me fine. Everyone's nervous. That's why very few new cars are being sold.

  • Cody Cody on Sep 02, 2012

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

  • Speedlaw Speedlaw on Oct 01, 2012

    In the last ten years, new vs. used is "more horsepower, better gadgets". A satnav is $99 at the big box store, and "more power" means a 350 hp minivan..... Not compelling reasons to upgrade, so you drive the old one till it explodes.