By on June 29, 2015

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Allegedly, Millennials care only about the latest iPhone, and not the i8. Nine out of 10 Millennials would disagree, and consider car ownership important.

The statistic comes from a study by rental car company Enterprise Holdings, The Detroit Bureau says, with the indication Millennials are renting cars they might want to buy later, per fleet operations boss Kurt Kohler:

When we provide our customers with a great rental experience, it doesn’t just keep them coming back to us – it clearly sends many of them into their local dealer showrooms, as well.

Though studies like Enterprise’s are seen more as marketing tools benefiting the company than the consumer, other studies and reports point to the same conclusion: young adults want to drive, and want to own what they drive. One analysis by J.D. Power found Millennials account for 27 percent of all U.S. new car sales at present, with the cohort overtaking Baby Boomers on the sales floor by the 2020s.

Returning to Enterprise’s study, the company found 92 percent of Boomers and Millennials believe owning a car is important, compared to 73 percent in 2013. The spike is likely the result of improving fortunes among the younger cohort alongside the economy following the end of the Great Recession.

Regarding rental-to-showroom sales, 32 percent of Millennials said a positive renting experience led them down the road to their new vehicle, while 30 percent of Gen-Xers and 23 percent of Boomers though the same. Additionally, 45 percent of those surveyed said renting a car prepared them for the technologies they would find in their own vehicle.

The study is more good news for automakers as they seek to bring in more potential customers. Rather than build fleet-ready models for the sake of keeping the lights on, automakers could use the opportunity to claim those sales as marketing for the real thing, especially if they decide to add more technology to a base model to show off what they can do when it comes time to turn the renter into a buyer.

(Photo credit: Mercedes-Benz USA/Facebook)

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69 Comments on “Study: Nine Out Of 10 Millennials Consider Car Ownership Important...”


  • avatar
    mmreeses

    newsflash from the Institute of Common Sense: 9 of 10 millenials live in areas that are non-walkable or with little/barely tolerable public transport.

    stereotyping “Millenials” makes as much sense as stereotyping the tens of millions of “Baby Boomers”

    now excuse me as I yell at some kids are on my lawn.

    • 0 avatar

      I wish MY lawn were emo so it would cut itself.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Stop making me laugh.

        • 0 avatar

          Somewhere, that joke triggered someone about something.

          While it’s true that the joke may sound cruel to someone who self-harms, it’s still a very funny joke.

          “All my humor is based upon destruction and despair. If the whole world were tranquil, without disease and violence, I’d be standing on the breadline right in back of J. Edgar Hoover.” – Lenny Bruce

          • 0 avatar
            OneAlpha

            “I wish my lawn were emo, so it would cut itself.”

            Musical, those words are.

            Personally, I only laugh at things that are individualistic, dangerous, antisocial or well said.

            I’m that guy who’ll be doubled up on my side in agony, on the floor, tears streaming down my face, while someone is standing over me yelling,

            “That’s not funny! THAT’S NOT FUNNY!”

      • 0 avatar
        JimothyLite

        Ouch. Ouch-ouch-ouch-ouch-ouch-ouch…

    • 0 avatar
      Xeranar

      Based on current transitions it’s probably closer to 5 out of 10 live in a low-transit zone. But yeah, this idea that ‘millenials’ don’t want cars is a bit obtuse and largely brought upon by the fact that my generation didn’t have money until they’re approaching 30 so as they increase their income they’re more inclined to buy personal transit.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        I’m with you. All life events seem to have been pushed out later in life. I know more people getting married after 30 than before. I’m sure something similar will happen with people having children as well.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          I’m living proof. Graduate degrees at 28 and 32, married at 36, first child at 38.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Yep. I’m not surprised.

            I got married at 25, and no one in my family has gotten married since then. All of my cousins are over 25, and a few are over 30. I’m the only one that is married or has a kid.

            I do need to go back and get a graduate degree though…sigh. Isn’t it enough that I am Six Sigma certified? Boo more school!

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          @bball

          This is the trend and I can certainly understand why.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I completely understand. Being married and having a kid makes it more difficult to go where the work is. When I had my job change this year, I found jobs outside of the Detroit area way faster than in the Detroit area. I had to take a lesser job to bridge the job I had and the job I wanted.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            That’s a good point about career. I was thinking more along the lines of many of us are either products of divorced homes or our older Gen X friends/relatives went through one and some of us thought twice.

            Additional: I also think people used to marry too young but society for the most part enforced the marriages (right or wrong) and this support started to erode in the late 70s.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            It probably has more to do with the reasons you’re talking about, but being able to be mobile certainly should be taken into account. My sister can pretty much go anywhere her Alero V6 will take her. She’s in Africa now, so I guess even farther.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Africa? That’s one hell of an Oldsmobile.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Once you replace the LIM gaskets…

            She has an internship at the UN for something that has to do with pollution ending up in the ocean from land based sources. Her actual title is over ten words long.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            She should probably nix Africa and check out the ocean floor pollution coming from a land based source named Fukushima.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Well, the UN’s program for that is in Nairobi, so that’s where she is. Her big crusade is against the microbeads in soaps, certain chemicals, and garbage that affects marine life.

            FWIW, her current employer, the UN, doesn’t think the Fukushima disaster is a priority right now and that the disaster won’t increase cancer rates in the area around the plant. Instead, they are worried about my soap.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Priorities. Minor marine life trumps a whole ocean of marine life I suppose.

            I guess I didn’t realize if you ignore a problem long enough it eventually goes away.

          • 0 avatar
            healthy skeptic

            >> I guess I didn’t realize if you ignore a problem long enough it eventually goes away.

            With Fukushima, yes. With microbeads and other chemicals, not so much. Unlike fissile products, they don’t have a half-life.

            The UN likely has its priorities straight on this one.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            @28

            Agree entirely with the “socially enforced” marriage. Don’t need none of that now, women can work and have their own lives independent of their husband. Husband doesn’t have to have a wife to take to business dinners and maintain the house, there are fancy condos for that.

            My grandmother married my grandfather at age 17. It was the only way she was gonna get out of the Ozarks. They piled eight people into a Nash and eloped to somewhere outside Las Vegas, IIRC. This would have been around 1959.

  • avatar
    Czilla9000

    Millennial here – I own a car, but wish I didn’t have to. But where I live (Texas) it’s all but required. Back when I lived in DC I never owned a car, I just took the Metro everywhere.

    I like cars (I read this blog, obviously), but wish I could get away with driving solely for recreational purposes: My ideal relationship with the automobile would be getting to rent one for tracking purposes on the weekends and the rest of the time taking public transport.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      How would you go to Costco without a car?

      • 0 avatar
        Richard Chen

        Millennials not hitting Costco as often as us older folks:

        http://time.com/18671/costco-is-facing-a-looming-bulk-sized-problem/

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          I am a millennial. Eventually, we will go to Costco. Because formula, diapers, and wipes are all so much cheaper there. Then we will all be hooked.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            Sometimes a couple of the reproducers in my family stop by with gifts from Costco.

            Man, have we got ketchup, mustard and La Croix sparkly water now!

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            That is the most Costco gift ever given.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            Seriously, stuff had to get all rearranged to make room for it.

            Made me feel nostalgic for Old America where everyone understood mass production.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I have never been to Costco in my life! Only Sams Club, as we did not have Costco locally until pretty recently, last five years or so.

            If I start shopping there, I’ll buy a large SUV to put things in from there. Ha.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I like Costco but every time I go there it seems like they are closed while Sam’s is still open (Costco likes to close at 6 on the weekends and stay closed on some holidays).

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Costco is now the largest seller of organic food. They are responsible for over 10 of the organic food sales in the US.

            They are fishing for millennials.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            They should probably stay open long enough for said Millennials to shop there on weekends (or at least on Saturday, Sunday I understand).

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I agree. They should stay open until 8:30 PM, like they do during the week.

        • 0 avatar
          MBella

          Single millennial here, and I frequent Costco. So do my friends and similar aged coworkers. You don’t even have to listen to people trying to guilt you like with Wal-Mart since Costco pays it’s employees a living wage.

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        Zipcar.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        I used to live in the Upper East Side of Manhattan, where there was a newly built Costco (and Target along with other big shops in a new shopping center). I shopped one of two ways. I would hop on my motorcycle with either a big backpack or huge saddlebags, or I would ride up with my wife, shop, and load up a cab.

        I would love to shop at Costco now but it’s too far. Their meat is super high quality and very reasonably priced, and I feel like I am changing the world shopping at a place where employees are making a living wage. I will have to settle for BJs

        The repeated assertion that millenials don’t want to own cars is ridiculous. The cottage industry of racing simulators (as well as the hilariously immature level of dialogue by players), the continued success of karting facilities, and just the very structure of the US speaks otherwise. Never mind the fact that urban living and complete dependency on public transportation is miserable, even in cities with the absolute best PT systems in the world.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Housing prices mean I don’t have storage space for Costco-size packages of stuff. Costco is really better for people with giant suburban houses. These days, that means the boomers who got in and then shut down all development through the political process.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          I have a 1300-1400 sq ft bungalow. There is plenty of room for Costco sized packages in there. A chest freezer is a must though.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Chest freezer? Everyone make sure to head over to Bball’s house for the cookout.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I have three grills and a smoker. I have a problem…

            But my problem can be everyone else’s good fortune. As long as they like steaks, ribs, and a Founder’s keg.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            You’re only problem is right now you’re not using those grills to cook something for us to eat.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Hahaha.

            Fair point. I’d offer you a nice porter or Session IPA if possible.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I’ll be right by, the Pontiac needs a nice cruise.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Haha. I should try suggesting to my wife that I put a chest freezer in our condo, for two reasons. First, her reaction would be funny. Second, by comparison, it might make her more receptive to other proposals like replacing her Forester with the hated EcoBoost Flex.

            She does like my (one, gas) grill, though.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Haha.

            We have a garage and lots of shelving. I built many shelves in out basement and garage. I also built a storage loft in our garage. If I had a condo, I could not build as many things.

            My wife drives the even less attractive MkT (because cheap). Just remind her that the Flex is really nice once she’s inside.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            bball40dtw – same here. My house is 1280 sq.ft. Plenty of room for Costco stuff. My 11 and 13 yr. old boys consume a ton of food. We have a small freezer too.

    • 0 avatar
      Cactuar

      No children yet I assume?

    • 0 avatar
      madman2k

      Interesting perspective and probably not too common on this website, but fair enough.

      Public transit can be fun at times but in most cities it’s not very extensive.

      I lived in San Diego for a while and for about a year took public transit to get around because I didn’t have a car. Sure spent a lot of time waiting at bus/trolley stops that year. Then again, I also spend a lot more time walking and I was in much better shape.

      I am a ‘millennial’, born in 89. I’ve had at least two vehicles for about two years now, and three vehicles for a bit over a year, although the third vehicle has been traded twice over now.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Minus the track, this is basically my life. My weeks consist of public transport to work (and for various other errands) in my large city. But I live in an inner-ring suburb, own two cars, and enjoy driving them on the weekends. I’d enjoy driving a lot less if most of my driving consisted of my soul-deadening commute. Instead my commute barely exists because I’m absorbed in reading on my phone.

    • 0 avatar
      elimgarak

      You took the words out of my mouth. I’m in the same boat as you. While I love cars, owning one is out of necessity not because of want. Ideally I would live in an ultra-walkable neighborhood of a top class city.

  • avatar
    Mattias

    Inevitable, we millenials were highly battered during the recession. Now we have money and will own cars. Generation Why was redundant ages ago

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    The stereotype that Millennials don’t like cars is part of the larger, mistaken idea that EVERYONE in that age group wants to live the life of a 23-year-old San Francisco software engineer.

    The assumption seems to be that everyone in that age group wants to live in a little apartment in a big city, is utterly spellbound by the latest computer technology, wants to work for Google or some other “cutting edge” and “relevant” employer and (by extension) holds all sort of progressive ideas like “cars hurt the planet.”

    Apparently, according to this line of thought, no Millennials want to live in the suburbs or country, own their own house or have a garage full of cars, and there apparently aren’t any that don’t care about the latest smartphone.

    Personally, I think it’s about money.

    When you got sold a bill of goods regarding the value of a bachelor’s degree, live in a hideously expensive and crowded corner of the world and aren’t sure if you’ll have a job next year, you’re not gonna be browsing the showrooms too much.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Yep, exactly. As soon as I had a chance to leave a big city, I did. And now I have a car and a house, like a big boy lol.

      Most people who live in big urban nuclei are not there by choice. They may have chosen to go there, but leaving becomes pretty much impossible.

    • 0 avatar
      gpolak

      Software engineer living in San Francisco here: everyone I know, myself included loves cars. The fact that a “parking fee” for most apartments is more that than full rent in most cities puts a damper on car ownership.

      On the other end of the spectrum, you could pretty much throw a rock anywhere in the city and it will land on a McLaren after bouncing off a Ferrari. Teslas as far as the eye can see.

  • avatar
    energetik9

    Major new cunsumer study— millennials are idealistic and don’t worry about cars when they are 14 years old. Shocking findings: they get older, not quite as idealistic, need cars, lose some of their tolerance, and become more affuent as they get jobs.

    -Now where is my research funding grants?

  • avatar
    SlowMyke

    I guess being born in 1984 makes me a millennial… I can’t imagine not owning a car. My wife and I each have or our vehicle and I drive 20-22k miles a year. Last August my car was totaled and I went about three weeks without a car, and am now on track to only drive about 18k miles in the proceding 12 months due to all sorts of circumstance. It had been the oddest feeling logging so few miles in the last 10 months. Cars are part of my identity and I imagine I’d have a full stable were I able to accommodate the lifestyle.

    I travel to Boston (via car) each year for a few days and take full advantage of the mbta, not touching the car until I leave. I admit the prospect of not fussing with a car is really nice, but I think I would feel trapped without a car and the freedom to go where I want however and whenever. I imagine I’d feel differently had I grown up with effective mass transit and not in the Detroit area.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    News Flash: Absent some major single demographic-changing event (such as the end of WWII), the idea of a “Generation” is a fiction created by marketing consultants to sell stuff.

    I have yet to read an article about “Millenials” that couldn’t be begun with “Kids These Days…” And similar articles about “today’s young adults” have been written about as long as there have been newspapers. I’m fairly certain one could recycle articles from the early 1900’s, update any date cues, and say the same damn thing today.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @sirwired – case in point:

      “The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.”

      SOCRATES (469–399 B.C.)

  • avatar

    Boomer here: I LOVE owning a car. it’s my favorite possession. I did go without for the first decade after college. I lived in DC, and rode my bicycle everywhere, in all kinds of weather. Ultimately, I began working on a project where I needed a car for the commute. Before I bought it, I wondered whether I’d keep it when the project–which took six months–was over. It took me about two weeks with the car to realize that I never wanted to live without one again. But it was another eight years before my childhood love of cars returned with a vengeance, after I got on an antidepressant that worked.

    A day I don’t drive is a day I feel deprived.

  • avatar
    JimothyLite

    My oldest son is 19. He loves his ’99 Civic. All of his friends love having cars. He’s a postmillennial car-loving nut who’d rice out the Honda were it not for his porridge budget.

  • avatar
    Compaq Deskpro

    22 year old which I think qualifies as millennial, or am I too old?

    Don’t know but I grew up in an urban area and taking the bus was the worst thing in the world. No privacy, deathly cold air conditioning, weirdos and homeless people everywhere, late all the time. Quality of life went up hugely when my mom started making enough money to own a car, and now I absolutely love my Grand Marquis and couldn’t get anywhere without it.

  • avatar
    Reino

    It’s about time that journalists figured out that 9.999 out of 10 millennials don’t live in New York City.

  • avatar
    MBella

    When I moved to the Seattle area, I was all happy to live in a place with decent public transportation. A couple of bus rides, and I realized that as long as I own a car anyway, I don’t really save much by riding the bus. I’m stuck in the same traffic jam regardless, and the bus isn’t really that cheap anyway. The only time I take a bus now, is when I go to a sporting event. Otherwise I drive. Even parking isn’t as bad as everyone makes it out to be.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Depends where you’re going. In the downtown building where I work, parking is $300/month. I also cross 520 on my way there, so if I drove add another ~160/month. Meanwhile, after work kicks in a chunk my bus pass is $67/month. No surprise I take the bus.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    This is in direct conflict with those other studies which say car ownership isn’t important for said group of people, and they shun ownership and don’t want to drive or get a license.

    Depending on framing, you can get whatever results you desire. All these studies are just a joke.

  • avatar
    nrd515

    I work with a lot of much younger people, I’m over twice the age of the guys I work directly with, and a couple of the things they want/wish for concern me, even though I won’t be around long enough to have them affect me.

    1. A couple of them really really want self driving cars, where they can sit back and play their games without having to pay attention to what’s going on outside. I tell them I would probably kill myself if I had to do this, to me, driving IS the ultimate video game!
    2. They don’t seem to care about power at all. Or if it’s decent looking. In fact, they seem to go out of their way to buy old ugly beaters that last a few years at best, and then they scrap them and buy another. A couple of them don’t even know (or care) about their car being FWD or RWD. I don’t think any of them have a clue about the advantages of either one. Almost everything they have ever driven is FWD and 4 cylinder. Ugg! I call these penalty cars. One guy is driving a car almost as old as he is, a 1993 Taurus, a green base car with a ticking time bomb of a motor, I keep waiting for it to finally do whatever it’s going to do, but it seems to keep on going.

    I’m so happy I can afford to buy what I want that’s new and not some throw away beater that will eventually develop some fatal motor or trans issue that will end up with it being sold to one of the recycle yards in the area, and a new beater taking it’s place.


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