By on October 21, 2016

By Ceyhun Kavakci/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Baby Boomers are getting too old for traditional sports cars. Their purchasing power may have ushered in the initial success of the muscle car (as well as its resurrection), but no 70-plus-year-old wants to obliterate their pelvis crawling into a low-slung coupe or have its rock-hard suspension rattle the dentures out of their mouth.

That leaves the younger generations to champion the sports car going forward, and — I am very sad to say — they will not be up to the task. 

While there are still younger consumers who enjoy the pursuit of speed, males born between 1946 and 1964 buy most of the sports cars currently on the market, and their peak spending years are rapidly fading in the rear-view. They also are becoming less interested in uncompromising sports cars when there are performance oriented SUVs and crossovers at the ready. These are options that offer expanded practicality and comfort at the moderate expense of performance. It’s a tempting alternative for someone who grunts in discomfort every time they are required to stand up.

The proof is in the sales. Porsche, for example, has suffered an eight percent drop in passenger car sales from 2015. But their Macan crossover has grown by 30 percent this year, making it Porsche’s best selling vehicle. Speaking to Bloomberg, company spokesman Christian Koenig attributed the decline in car sales to replacement of the 911 and Boxster, which caused an inventory shortage, and the announcement of a new Panamera. While that could be true, it doesn’t mean everyone who was waiting on a new sedan or coupe decided to buy a crossover to tide themselves over. That isn’t how things work.

In the United States, Camaro and Corvette sales were down last year and look to stay there for the rest of this one. Ford just stalled plant production on the Mustang due to reduced demand. And, in a good year, Mazda’s new and highly praised Miata can only expect to bring in half the sales it would have received in 2006.

The winds have shifted, unequivocally. Boomers are getting away from the sports car and there is no one to fill the void. Generation X doesn’t have the numbers and Millennials may not be up the the challenge financially.

The automotive stereotype of Millennials has been that of a college-educated urbanite disinterested in anything but public transportation, perpetually scoffing at your antiquated transit practices. In reality, the average 29 year old is not college educated, lives in the suburbs, and needs to have access to a car just to get downtown, according to statistics published by The Atlantic. Unfortunately, that doesn’t make them good candidates for future sports car ownership, as they also only rake in about $35,000 annually and don’t have the job security or disposable income necessary to feel comfortable buying one.

CarLab, a consulting firm in Orange, California, told Bloomberg that research shows 20-somethings still like sporty cars, but they can’t afford them yet.

Even when presented with a moderately affordable option, Millennials have taken a pass. Subaru’s BRZ and Toyota’s 86 are sister cars that couldn’t be more clearly marketed toward younger buyers on a reasonable budget. Both have suffered a diminishing return on sales in the U.S. since 2013. And it isn’t like every one of previously mentioned American muscle cars doesn’t offer an affordable smaller-engined alternative. In fact, one of the few performance oriented vehicles that has remained popular with younger buyers over the years is the WRX — a practical sporting car that doesn’t have two doors or rear-wheel drive.

With boomers moving over to premium branded crossovers and Millennials too poor to afford even a base model Camaro, let alone a Corvette at twice that price, the mid-range sports car market is going to have some extremely awkward years ahead of it. It’s hard to imagine, but we may actually see the Mustang become a discontinued model someday. I just hope they replace it with something a younger person can actually afford.

[Image: Ceyhun Kavakci/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)]

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143 Comments on “The Sports Car Market Will Be Atrocious After the Baby Boomers Die...”


  • avatar

    This may well be true, and traditional sports cars may dwindle in their percentage of the marketplace. But remember, it is no longer necessary to buy a 2 seat sports car or a car like the Mustang to get that type of performance. Practical and modest priced cars like the Fiesta ST, Focus ST, Mazdaspeed3, and similar models match or outperform the sports cars and pony cars that were around when the boomers were young. It is easy today to buy high performance in a practical body shape at an affordable price.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      This is really all that needs to be said on the subject, as it’s 100% correct. Only the sports car form factor is missing.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        @CoreyDL
        Traditional Sports Cars are alive and well in Europe, Sportscars in Europe are like US Pickups in the US,very specific too European tastes

        • 0 avatar
          stuki

          Where in Europe are you hanging out? The only traditional car shapes I ever see there, are hatches and wagons. With an increasing share of of CUVs and vans in the mix.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @stuki
            Caterham, Aston Martin, Ferrari, etc. They all make traditional Sportscars. A lot of manufacturers, not counting the many prototypes that appear on a regular basis.

          • 0 avatar

            Probably he means Moscow. There are plenty of people driving Lambos, Ferraris and so on. Very popular. Yes it is Russia but European part of Russia.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      Some folks here are fond of saying that the answer to every automotive question is “Miata” but I would say that “GTI” is a much better answer.

      Speaking of GTIs, I think if VW the 2017 Jetta GLI is as good as its hatchback sister, that might help VW lure some buyers back into its dealers. A genuine sports sedan available for under $30k should appeal to more than a few buyers.

      • 0 avatar
        jeanbaptiste

        I’m gonna go all internet crazy on this comment!!! :)))

        1. The GTI is a Boy. Mine is named Rojito!
        2. The Jetta has a little way to go before it get’s to GTI levels. Maybe a change to the MBQ would help along with the new E888. GTi’s are going $5000 off of sticker just to get them to move. That speaks to how bad it is. I don’t know if a Jetta is going to fix it. I think they just need time.

    • 0 avatar
      Higheriq

      All true, except that some of us really don’t care about “practical”.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      Seems kimd of odd to say todays,passenger cars offer performance comparable to performance cars from 50 year’s ago and ignore the difference in performance that todays,performance cars offer over thier more plebian stable mates.

      You can lock horns in a GTI all you want with even a base C6 or C7 Corvette and it’s going to walk that GTI all day long.

      Probably better to say that today’s sport hatchbacks and sedans offer good performance and practicality for thier time.

      In any event it’s all moot. Tech God Elon ” I will save humanity ” Musk had told the unwashed masses that doing anything other than passively riding in one of his robo-cars makes them a murderer.

      • 0 avatar
        Mandalorian

        Forget the compacts, sports sedans are what’s really done sports cars in. These days an E550 or 550i can smoke or tie just about anything short of a Ferrari.

        • 0 avatar

          What world are you living in where they accomplish this task? In a straight line on the highway to 120 mph, perhaps, but sports cars are used in motor sports, and I have yet to see a bloated family sedan such as a 550i or E550 perform anywhere short of comically in any sort of motor sport.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        No, not Musk. It’s those darn kids – they ruin everything! Seriously, if you read comments and articles on websites like, for instance, a site called TTAC, you get accounts of small low-powered coupes and sedans that are “tossable” and “fun to drive”. That’s the essence of a sports car, not a $80k-$200k two seater with stiff suspension and massive power. Jcwconsult had it right: The subcompact with the biggest optional 4-banger and a manual transmission or shiftable automatic is the new sports car.

  • avatar
    spookiness

    On the other hand, if you want to buy a Harley or a Chevelle SS or something, it will be a buyer’s market.

    • 0 avatar
      brenschluss

      The entire premise of the article is questionable because the bounty of low-mile Corvettes entering the market and driving prices down should make up for a lack of buying power.

      • 0 avatar
        thattruthguy

        It’s implicit that this is about the new car market.

        The market for new sports cars has been saturated, and anyone who wants an inexpensive toy can find a used one.

        • 0 avatar
          brenschluss

          It was also implicit that I was making a bad joke about Corvette buyers to which you’ve responded with ASD-level dourness, but I’ll ignore that and pretend to take this seriously for a moment.

          The discussion is around why young people aren’t buying new sports cars. A large percentage of the population is getting old and many are sedentary, have neglected their bodies, and can no longer get into the sports cars they lusted after and bought not that long ago.

          This doesn’t apply just to millennials; if you have $30k to spend and you have the option of a previous-generation Corvette that’s seen nothing more trying than a time-out doll on its bumper, or a new Miata, what’s your choice?

          • 0 avatar
            Joe Btfsplk

            I can’t make up my mind, so a happily enjoy one of each. My morning mood determines which one I slide my 67 yr. old body into for my day’s adventures. It’s good to be retired.

          • 0 avatar
            brenschluss

            Well you sir, have won the game.

          • 0 avatar
            Tosh

            I had to look up “time-out doll.” What’s your definition/purpose of one?

          • 0 avatar
            brenschluss

            Well, if you’ve looked it up you probably know the definition: It’s a fake child you lean against your car.

            As for purpose, you got me. I have to assume it’s to let everyone at a given car show know that you have very poor taste and some social perversions.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s–iTOaqMJe–/gt5tl8zpxdj7q624uf7l.jpg

            hooniverse.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Time-out-doll1.jpg

            I’ve long thought extreme car guys were butch gays but it’s evidently worse than that.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    As a late Boomer (1963), I’ve never owned a sports car, nor had a serious interest in one. I can’t afford an impractical vehicle.

    My kids are/will be saddled with college debt, so impractical vehicles have no place in their driveway, either. Debt load is probably the biggest demographic barrier to sports car ownership.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      And as mentioned above, fun and fast cars today don’t -have- to be impractical.

    • 0 avatar
      MerlinV12

      Yeah, 1965er here. I’d love to have an SS Camaro more than my base model Fusion (I have no brand loyalty). But I am not willing to take the hit on higher purchasing price, higher insurance, higher gas bill and higher upkeep and maintenance. Any one or two of those, fine, but roll them up all at once and it’s no longer an option. I have a guitar habit that could be fed with the money I’d save.

    • 0 avatar
      thattruthguy

      A Miata is a very practical car for a single person, unless they’re in the snow belt. They’re inexpensive, reliable, and easy to repair.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        Most, or at least many, young and single people tends to move a lot. Meaning, furniture buys, trades, storage etc…. A Uhaul is OK for the move itself, but changing residences brings with it a long tail of larger stuff that needs transporting. Miatas really work best if accompanied by another vehicle that at least comes equipped with a tow hitch, if not some actual luggage capacity.

        For “real enthusiasts”, a Miata is worth sacrificing for, and I see them all the time with aftermarket hitches towing race tires and a tool chest/cooler. So it’s not like you can’t. But it does involve a good bit more effort and sacrifice than getting a CX-5, or even a 3.

      • 0 avatar
        Tosh

        I couldn’t even take myself (and a bag) to the airport or make a grocery run in a Miata. Now, if the Miata had a hatch it would have some utility, and we could consider one…

    • 0 avatar
      Slocum

      I’m about the same age. I could afford a sports car and wouldn’t have any trouble getting in one, but I’m really not interested. I do drive in the back country and to the slopes but never on a race track. I’d much rather have ‘go anywhere’ than ‘go fast’.

      • 0 avatar
        Mandalorian

        It’s all about practiciallity. I don’t think people are balking at the prices, they’re balking at how useless sports cars are on a day to day basis. A sports sedan gives one 90% of the performance + a back seat and trunk. People are paying top dollar for SUVs and KingPlatiunmXXL pickups, those at least have a lot of utility.

  • avatar
    John

    As a boomer, I am always impressed with the way millenials know exactly what I want, but insist I know nothing about what they want.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I don’t feel safe when you talk to me that way!

    • 0 avatar
      Higheriq

      Comment of the day. +++++

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      It’s because “you” have told them in no uncertain terms. They have to pay for your sports cars. The ones you bought when you were their age, and kept upgrading as you got older and your “assets” kept appreciating on the back of the greatest debt runup in history.

      That the government then “had to”/”has to” bail out. With more debt. That won’t be paid off until you and Paul Krugman are retired. So that millennials are the ones stuck with the tab. It’s hard to afford much in the way of your own sports cars, when you are born with the “obligation” to pay for your grandpa’s as well.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @John – As a boomer, you don’t need to worry about Millennials since they are your grandchildren. I’d worry about Gen X since they are your children and will be picking your nursing home ;)

      • 0 avatar
        hglaber

        As a gen-xer, I can tell you that’s not generally how it works. The nursing home you get is the one that has a bed and takes Medicaid when your insurance stops paying for the hospital (or rehab). You’ve nothing to fear from us. Pops is till up front, still driving, and whining about how much whining there is; the kid is in the way back throwing a tantrum because pops is lame, doesn’t understand, and ruins everything; and we’re slouching down in the middle row, relieved everyone stopped talking about us about the time we passed the first Gulf War.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    “Why would I buy a sports car, when a GTI/WRX/3-series/Focus ST are almost as fun on the street and nowhere near as much of a PITA to live with?,” said nearly every car-interested millennial EVER

    “Nobody cares about Brembo brakes and Ring times when you’re SITTING IN TRAFFIC,” said BTSR

    Etc…

    Baby boomers love sports cars because back in their time those were the only way to get driving thrills. But even then, they had cars like the BMW 2002 and Datsun 510 which were the first nail in the sports car’s coffin. That was the point when sports cars went from cute and feelsome like the Elan to asphalt rippling monstrosities like the C7 Z06.

    I recently took a ~2013 Camry SE V6 down a backroad on my commute… while it didn’t make my hairs stand on end and curl my toes like my motorcycle or put a crap eating grin on my face like my coilover’d Civic… it was much better than bad. It held its own at a decent pace.

    Plus tires have advanced so much that a non-sport Camry is outgripping a lot of sports cars from the heydays of boomers.

    What can a sports car do as a daily driver that a sporty 4-5 door can’t? Nothing.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      “What can a sports car do as a daily driver that a sporty 4-5 door can’t?”

      Styling that gives me an erection?

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      One thing about the 510 is that it was a roll your own sports sedan. Delivered from the factory it was pretty much a straight up economy car. Nissan (Datsun) had a catalog full of hot rod parts that you could use to make it into something fun.

      The 2002 was the complete package as delivered.

    • 0 avatar
      Chan

      Pure sports cars offer poor marginal utility over a hot hatch or sports sedan.

      That narrows the market to pricey products that few can afford.

      The other part of the equation is the poor purchasing power I have relative to my parents.

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      If you don’t care about what a sports car provides relative to a hot hatch, sports coupe or sports sedan then the solution is simple, don’t buy one.

      This is the same concept for most cars. If you don’t care about those things that a premium/luxury car provides then save your money and buy something else.

      If a Camry V6 floats your boat then that’s what you should get.

      For me, driving a sports car is invigorating. You ride motorcycles (as do I) so you know that feeling. But it’s not like I don’t like the other options. A hot hatch/sports sedan, a sport car, and a pick up make up a very nice garage (and a couple of bikes).

      It’s also possible sports cars just don’t do it for you anymore. I’m not a fan of cruiser motorcycles. Just not my thing. I know you had a 350Z. Test drive a C7, or a late model Boxster/Cayman, or a 124 or Miata.

      Yes, there not as practical as a sedan but they’re fun. And if you don’t need the rear seats the Corvette and the Boxster have plenty of room.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Well said. And a sports car is not about performance, per se. You literally cannot buy a car as slow as my Triumph Spitfire anymore in the US, but you have to spend a ton of money and risk your license to buy something new that is as fun to drive.

        My two Land Rovers, BMW wagon, BMW coupe, and the Triumph make for a garage with something for every mood and need.

    • 0 avatar
      Frylock350

      “What can a sports car do as a daily driver that a sporty 4-5 door can’t? Nothing.”

      Not exhibit torque steer?

      Not look like a boring wedge of cheese?

      Barring the Dodge Charger every sporty 4-5 door that isn’t expensive torque steers like a mofo and looks like an ambien with wheels.

      • 0 avatar
        eldaino12

        So many opinions! Torque steer is actually mitigated pretty well in fwd hot hatches/sport compacts.

        A lot of them have this crazy awd mumbo jumbo going on too.

        I’ve even heard that some people like the way they look….I guarantee it.

  • avatar
    NoDoors

    I’m pushing 50, kids in college. Ideally in a few years I’d be the prime market for a sports car but to be honest the market’s out of my price range. Would I like an air-cooled Porsche? Sure. Priced out of my range. Old muscle cars? WAY out of my range thanks to the Barrett-Jackson crowd making everyone with a muscle car/etc think that it’s worth a bajillion dollars.

    I’ll keep my Jeep. Maybe later when prices have completely bottomed I’ll pick up something.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      Looking at Barrett-Jackson will give you a distorted idea of what collector cars are like. Watch a Mecum auction, you’ll see you can get a nice driver classic for less than what a new Corolla goes for.

      • 0 avatar
        Dave M.

        The Leake auction is reasonable as well. That’s my little “man-cation” every year – driving up to Dallas for the weekend and checking out the iron.

        It doesn’t even have to be “classics”….when I turned 50 I bought an off-lease European convertible that also serves as our “back-up car” for when one of the daily drivers is in the shop. My only planned upgrade from there is a Mustang GT convertible when the kid gets out of college and I’m ready to downsize everything….

    • 0 avatar
      Chan

      Yeah, unless you’re looking for a Concours-quality show car, Barrett-Jackson is usually not the right place.

  • avatar
    runs_on_h8raide

    Click-bait headline and article. There will always be a plethora of rich people who buy sports cars and plenty of sports cars in the market. Ferrari, Porsche, MB, BMW, Audi, Lamborghini, Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Aston Martin, etc, etc….will ALWAYS be making sports. Sports cars have never been about the peasants anyway since the dawn of the automobile (ex. Vanderbilt Cup).

    • 0 avatar
      thattruthguy

      Big volume super sports cars are a relatively recent phenomenon. Autonomous cars will be the death of super sports cars.

    • 0 avatar
      Tosh

      This was click-bait before there even was a clicker; 30 years ago I read in a reputable car magazine (sorta like a newspaper, but in glossy color) that the Mustang was soon going to be replaced with a Mazda-made fwd hatchback called Probe! Back then, as today, a mix of outrage and hillarity ensued. Probe indeed…

  • avatar
    ajla

    “less interested in uncompromising sports cars”

    There aren’t that many “uncompromising” sports cars left for sale in the first place. Lots of AWD, dual-clutch, mega-tech, fake exhaust note status/track machines with diesel-style power delivery.

    I’m not saying more hardcore models would help sales (it almost certainly would not), but I hope the last sports car is a Lotus or Miata so the segment doesn’t die like a b*tch.

  • avatar
    Wagoon2.7TT

    As a Millennial (early ’90’s) and a sports car owner, this makes me sad. But, I think that the article and first comment are both pretty much spot on.

    Cars like the FiST, FoST, and WRX are at the top of our lists (almost went for the FiST myself) because for “enthusiast millennials” that want to own a car in the first place, they are relatively affordable fun cars that do most everything well in one single package.

    If the selection of affordable AWD hot hatches was more than just a used WRX (FoRS, Golf R, and RS3 are too expensive for us), I would be inclined to move from an AWD wagon and purpose built sports car combo to a one car setup.

    But I’m extra weird because I’m a millennial who likes cars, and on top of that likes wagons, so go figure.

  • avatar
    Nostrathomas

    I hope this applies to air-cooled Porsches!

    That and the fact that Boomers seem to be the only generation where a good chunk of them still know how to drive a stick.

  • avatar
    mikey

    I’m nearly 63 , I’ve owned 2 Camaro’s , a Firebird , and presently driving my second Mustang. I think of the Mustang , as more of a “Sports Coupe”., than a Sports Car.. Yeah , the Mustang has its limitations, basically a two person car with lots of space for stuff.

    To this point , I haven’t seen an SUV / CUV that would interest me. I’m still in good enough shape, to get in, and out of the Mustang. I suppose the day will come, when I may need to think of something more practical. I’m just going to delay that day, as long as possible. But I have to concede , that I won’t buy another one.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    I just wanna see the auction prices of old muscle cars crash and burn so I could get a 1970 Olds 442 for 20 grand or something.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      You got 20 grand? Why you still Thunderbirdin?

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        I don’t!

        But right now 1970 442s go for more money than I’d likely be able to spend on a car ever, so I’m hoping 20 years from now when all the old boomers are stone dead their kids will be offloading these cars left and right.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          I would like a tidy low miles C4 Corvette, I think.

          OR

          A stock 300ZX.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            I can’t remember the last time I saw a 300ZX, RX-7, or Supra.

            The last two door 90s Japanese sports coupe I saw was a Ford Probe, LOL.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            In the summer I see the RX7s belonging to the guy who lives near me, who was trying to sell one on ebay and ended up on the article here that Chris Tonn used to do.

            And I get to see a red basket handle Supra at least a couple times a week, as a guy uses it as DD and drives down my street!

            Someone also DDs a black, tidy 300ZX t-top here at work, though I haven’t seen that in a little bit.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            C4, C4!

        • 0 avatar
          2manycars

          With modern medical technology you may need to wait just a little longer than that. Someone born in 1964 will be 72 years old in 20 years. It’s not unusual these days for people to live into their 90s. Don’t hold your breath for that 442 just yet!

  • avatar
    LS1Fan

    Money’s only part of the story. Culture has a bigger part to play here.

    The traditional ride of single macho men back in the 70s and 80s was the low slung sports car, full stop. The generation of old guys today buying Shelby Mustangs grew up with 5.0s and IROCs.

    Now, the games different. Between the IROC era and now, we had the “Fast and Furious” times. Everyone and their brother between 2001 and 2008 was maxing out credit cards and pumping money into used Civics and Accords and Eclipses and whatnot. Owning a go-fast car wasn’t just the domain of the niche ; it was a mainstream phenomenon .

    Then 2008 happened. The ride was over. The generation of kids who strapped nitrous tanks to their parents Maximas and Civics had to survive. Can’t mod your car on unemployment checks, as it were.

    Present day. Years after the culture went bust for lack of funds the Fast and Furious fanboys have grown up. No more nitrous tanks and “Race Wars”. They’ve grown up, gotten adult jobs and adult responsibilities. Not only do they have to accommodate family life -which tends to override the desire for enthusiast cars- but to them a “Fast Car” is a been there done that thing. They already did the high speed car thing , scratched the enthusiast itch, and have moved on.

    Which leaves the modern day young macho man driving used European cars with tacked on PepBoys wings, or lifted pickups with Tapout window decals. Go fast cars have returned to the domain of the niche, and the niche market it shall remain for the foreseeable future.

    That’s half the story. The other half is the other gender: women.
    With more women graduating college and earning more money in the workforce then back in the Fast and Furious I days , the overall auto market will have to shift in order to accommodate their tastes.

    Which data-wise is more towards the practical. Frankly on balance that’s a good thing. Say what one will about a Cayenne, but it’s a superior family vehicle then any Cayman could hope to be. With more younger women buying cars in the market young guys used to, it makes sense the sales charts will skew towards practical cars rather then the bragging rights macho man vehicles of yore.

  • avatar
    probert

    Dunno. The idea that the Mustang and Camaro are sports cars is debatable. Most of what I see out there is old guys driving old sports cars 10 mph below the speed limit.

    Maybe a reboot in America is in order. My guess is in Europe, where people have job security and Rally racing, small fast cars are probably doing just fine.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Simple, you always prefer the music, styles and type of vehicle that were current when you had your first sexual experience.

    There will always be a market for Grand Tourers and Supercars. And for the ‘best of the best’ Duesenbergs, Bugattis, Cords, Superbirds, Cobras, etc.

    However once the boomers are too old, then the market for 50’s to 70’s muscle cars and their modern resurrected imitators will die out with them.

    Just like it has for the most common remaining pre WWII vehicles.

    The era of ‘Rice Rockets’ will come, when those who grew up wanting them will finally have enough money and time to buy one, re-store it and turn it into a garage queen.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      It’s already here. Integra Type Rs are selling for close to 50 large. Even GS-Rs have climbed back into five figures. Watch for some of the other ’90s-
      ’00s Japanese favorites to get more and more valuable.

    • 0 avatar
      Nostrathomas

      “Simple, you always prefer the music, styles and type of vehicle that were current when you had your first sexual experience.”

      I must’ve unconsciously had sex as a toddler, because I sure do love me some 80s cars and music.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Most of the demographic that previously went for sports cars is now going for lifted trucks and jeeps. That’s really the difference. It was a small market even in its heyday and now it’s small enough to make it really hard for a manufacturer to succeed.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      True dat. I enrolled my daughter in a Skip Barber class, and at the beginning they asked each student what they would buy if they had won the lottery. Most of the under 25 students wanted a dressed up truck or a Jeep, save for a couple of guys who wanted a Nissan GT-R.

    • 0 avatar
      pragmatist

      Had a few sports cars (and bikes) over the years, but at 67 I have the most fun with my Jeeps (wife and I do some real fender banging off roading on vacations). You don’t need to go fast to have fun. Navigating a ravine is adrenaline pumping at 4 mph.

      But, with a flood of cash, I’d probably look for a Morgan Plus 4.

  • avatar
    PeriSoft

    “no 70-plus-year-old wants to obliterate their pelvis crawling into a low-slung coupe or have its rock-hard suspension rattle the dentures out of their mouth.”

    My dad’s 74 and drives a 350Z. My uncle’s 68 and he races a Miata with me in ChumpCar. Maybe you guys just know the wrong old dudes. ;)

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    So, the solution would be for the Boomers to a) finally retire, and b) take their collective financial boots of the necks of their antecedents and pay their fair share of taxes.

    I have to say, after watching enough Boomer-age senior execs dangling six-month contracts and low salaries at new grads—and in STEM and business, not just creative work—I can’t say this shocks me one bit.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      It’s a power thing, not an age thing. There is such a thing as age discrimination, it’s not too easy to find employment when you’re over 50 either.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Some Boomer conduct makes me want on a visceral level to impose a high estate tax. In particular, their habit of buying and holding all the land in growing metro areas; organizing politically to pass heavy restrictions on development; charging the younger generation exorbitant rents to live in the resulting supply-constrained housing; and then blaming that younger generation for not being able to save any money.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        +100

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Stop making sense!

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        What should be happening is a rapid depreciation of value because the amount of actual citizens to purchase properties is on the decline and their purchasing power is diminished (by just how much is debated). I think in order to prevent this from happening, the uniparty plans to import as many new debt slaves as it can to artificially keep prices up and keep the ponzi going. They do not care on any other consequences, its all about economic indexes. True price discovery will not be allowed under any circumstances.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          You’ll have an easier time understanding this stuff if you let go of the conspiracy theories.

          The population is growing. The quantity of available land, not so much.

          In addition, the country is becoming more urban and suburban, with some areas growing in desirability more than others. So in effect, demand is increasing and supply of the better stuff is decreasing at the same time.* It’s just basic econ.

          *”Land” can be effectively created by building greater density, but higher density housing doesn’t tend to be cheap — it costs more to build vertically than horizontally.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Tea Party Animal: “I hate Democrats/Socialists. I believe in the Free Market Economy! Get government off the backs of the people and free the capitalists.”

            Reality: “So you believe there should be returns to capital, such that assets rise in price?”

            Tea Party Animal: “Damned straight.”

            Reality: “So you understand that land is an asset, right? Which means that housing values will increase.”

            Tea Party Animal: “Which is excellent; homes should increase in value to reward hard working home-owners.”

            Reality: “Which also means that people without lots of money will no longer be able to afford housing.”

            Tea Party Animal: “Wait, what?”

          • 0 avatar
            2manycars

            DemocRAT/Communist Animal: Make them pay!!!! Gimmme!!! Gimmmee!!! Gimmee!!! Gimmee!!! Make them pay!!!

            Reality: Money and property are the result of human work and ingenuity. When you lay claim to someone else’s property via government violence and coercion you are no better than a random mugger in the street.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “The population is growing… It’s just basic econ.”

            So wait for a plague or peasant revolt to cull some of the population?

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Guess my lengthy retort didn’t post from the airport last night. Oh well.

    • 0 avatar
      Felix Hoenikker

      Can you explain just how as a Boomer I can escape paying my fair share of taxes? Last year I paid the Feds the equivalent of a new, loaded MB C class because I had a one time income bump.
      Look into US income tax laws to see just yow Uncle Sam can get back a lot of the money accumulated under IRAs and 401Ks.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        By investing most of your money in land in the ’80s when it was cheap, hanging on to it as it has appreciated into today’s red-hot market, and then taking advantage of the one-time exemption from capital gains tax when you sell it. Boom, most of your wealth turned out to be tax-free. This scenario is not uncommon at all.

      • 0 avatar
        Fred

        income averaging

        • 0 avatar
          DC Bruce

          which was shut down in the 1986 Tax Reform Act. I just bought Uncle Sugar a high-end German luxury car . . . because I sold the house we had owned for 20 years, even though my income has been on a downward trajectory since 2010 and I “retired” in 2015 at age 66.

          • 0 avatar
            Fred

            That long ago! I used it when I got my first good paying job after years of not working. Isn’t there still a one time capital gains exemption for selling a house?

      • 0 avatar
        DC Bruce

        Well there is the one time $250 per person cap gain exemption on the sale of your personal residence. But for someone not covered by a defined benefit pension plan (which is most of us who do not work for one goobermint or another), that’s hardly riches.

  • avatar
    Fred

    I realize there is nothing I can say or do to convince you that an old sports car is actually enjoyable pursuit. It’s going to be a lovely weekend here and I’m pretty sure we will be going for a drive.

  • avatar
    skor

    “They also are becoming less interested in uncompromising sports cars”

    Murica never was interested in ‘uncompromising sports cars”. True sports cars have always occupied a niche in the the US auto market….a very tiny niche. Nope, Mustangs and Camaros never were sports cars, certainly the original incarnations were nothing like sports cars. They were re-bodied Falcons and Chevy IIs with pickup truck V-8s shoehorned in between the shock towers.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    A lot of the 60s “sports cars” were just sheep in wolves’ clothing. You can buy a family car today that will keep up with or outperform most of them, and without any loss of practicality.

    And it’s debatable that pony and muscle cars were
    “sports” cars. A family car chassis with sloppy handling and fair-to-middling acceleration isn’t a performance car simply because it doesn’t have four doors.

  • avatar
    Higheriq

    I’m 55 with a kid in college (paying her own way) and no wife. By this time, I’ve had sports cars (two Miatas, Mustang convertible), four-door sedans, minivans, pickups, two-door coupes, hot hatches, SUVs, muscle cars, new cars, beaters, and fixer-uppers. My desire for four-wheeled vehicles which excite me has run it’s course. I’m moving on to boats and two-wheeled (NOT a Harley) excitement.

  • avatar
    hawox

    what can you do with a modern sportcar on the street? can barelly use 10% of it, it makes no sense.
    even if you go track day every week you’d better start using somthing cheap

  • avatar
    dabossinne

    Late “Boomer” here… We shall see. Clearly the demographic disparity of far fewer X-ers than Boomers alone will drive the overall car market to offer fewer model choices, especially in lower volume sectors like sports/performance-oriented cars.

    Meanwhile, Millennials, as the post states, while numerous, generally aren’t in a position financially and won’t be for at least another 20 or so years, until they begin to hit their peak earnings years. But they will eventually, as they “inherit” those well-paying jobs from Boomers who by then will either be dead or long-since retired, and Gen X-ers who’ll be starting to enter their retirement years.

    I’m skeptical that Millennials aren’t interested in cars. I think they are, but for now it’s simply about lack of money. They’ll be buying nice cars just like previous generations when and if they can afford to. If the large numbers of younger people I’ve seen at multiple car shows, cruise nights and vintage races are any indication, the car hobby should thrive in the future.

    The collector car market is what’s really going to drop off in the coming years as the Boomers who have driven the market to recent stupid-money price levels age and die off. Again, the <1 X-er to Boomer replacement ratio seals this fate, along with Millennials being years away from having the financial means. And, of course, X-er and Millennial tastes are different than us Boomers, so of course they'll go for the cars of their youth, not ours. Blue chip collector cars with serious pedigree and provenance, as always, will remain highly sought after. But 50s and 60s Detroit iron, including most muscle cars, forget about it.

    As for aging Boomers losing interest in sports cars, maybe some, but you’ll have to pry this aging Boomer’s cold dead hands off the Momo steering wheel of my sports car. I’ll be driving a “fun” car as long as I can turn the key or push a starter button, even if I need help getting in an out of the damn thing. I have a friend whose 88 year old dad still drives his ’98 Viper daily. Now, that’s my kind of “Golden Years!”

  • avatar
    MWolf

    I’m a millenial. I’d love a nice little sporty car alongside my practical SUV. But the SUV is all I can afford at the moment. I do have an Olds Toronado as a project car, and I’m pondering getting rid of it and maybe (big maybe) getting a toy that’s a bit more fun and a bit less work to find parts for.

    My problem is it has to be cheap, it has to be 2 doors (unless it’s just that cool), and it can’t be too new. My dream at the moment is an early 80’s Z car. Or maybe a 90’s Japanese sporty car that hasn’t been molested by ricers.

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    Die, sports cars, die!

    They’ve already killed serious floaty boats, why should you be any different?!

    *cathartic crying jag*

  • avatar
    dwford

    Today’s sports coupes have become too purpose built. To the point that many are useless except for Sunday drives. That’s why they don’t sell. Few people can afford to have a real car and a limited use car as well.

    As people have migrated to more practical 4 and 5 door sporty cars, it seems like the sports coupes have gotten more aggressive, less interior room friendly designs, more power, more noise.

    Reminds me of the midsize car market. As sales dropped, the designers responded with swoopier, less practical designs, more and more power, and now we have less useful sedans, so the migration to crossovers is happening even faster than before.

    This has all happened before. Remember the 90’s Japanese sports cars – Supra, 300zx, RX-7? All became more and more outrageous and expensive with each new generation, until they just went too far for the market and died.

  • avatar
    walker42

    File this under the no shit tag. More and better looking hot hatches would cover the guys who still want sports cars, need more room and have a limited budget. The VW Golf is fine but the quality is garbage and the Fords all look like insects. Those hot hatches could have more of a luxury bent i.e. be shooting brakes.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    I’ve only owned one sports car, a 2007 MX5 sport for a little over two years. Larger cars have always been my preference, having learned to drive in my parent’s 1960 Impala. My first three cars were full-size Chevys, a 1952 DeLuxe, a 1961 Bel Air and a 1964 Impala.

    I’m almost 66 and will retire in 5 months. My current ride and last are also Impalas. Wifey drives a CR-V, so there you go.

    I’d love a Camaro, but can’t see out of it and would be a danger to myself and others, plus I don’t want to drive a bunker.

  • avatar
    Pan

    Oh well, I guess I’ll continue driving and enjoying my 1974 TR6 which I’ve has for 41 years. It’s reliable and fun.

  • avatar
    theoldguard

    I’m 59 and am right in the middle of the Boomer car-nut generation. Muscle cars in the 70’s, BMW’s in the 80’s, even a tricked up Ford Focus with “sport-compact” suspension that neighborhood teen-age boys installed. But I’m the end of the line. My two sons, 21 and 18, care nothing about cars. Cars are to them nothing more than household appliances.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      “Cars are to them nothing more than household appliances.”

      Gives me faith in the younger generation’s priorities.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        My 14 year old loves anything with an engine. My 12 year old son has zero interest in motor-vehicles.
        I’m not being a very good father if I see parenthood as a way of extending my life by placing my wants and desires upon their shoulders.
        All I can do is guide them in exploring the world and discovering who they are.

        • 0 avatar
          Kenmore

          What the…?!

          I shudder to think of my life if Beethoven’s old man had felt that way.

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          It also takes time. My father’s into tractors and other old farm equipment like I’m into cars–but I know more about the tractors now than I ever did before I got into cars. Before then all I could do was smile and nod; now I actually kinda know what he’s talking about.

  • avatar
    nemosdad

    The problem with the premise of the article is that the money is gone, baby gone.
    It’s not. Boomers (all the wealth, all of the good jobs) will pass these things down. Millenials will get the money, Gen X will finally get good paying jobs (they’ll be porked on the pension but it is what it is).
    Once the evil that is “the boomer” is gone, North America will be flush with money. Vehicles will be one of the purchases.
    If it were me, I’d be fostering all kinds of love with these groups in the form of profit losing kick ass cars. ’cause I know I’m gonna make a fortune ten years from now.

  • avatar
    mtunofun

    As a 27 year old millenial who finally has a good job (making a liveable wage with a little bit of disposable income), I would love to trade in my plain Jane camry for a sports car but it would be more prudent to pay off my student debt and save for a down payment for a house. All good things for those who wait…

  • avatar
    jhefner

    Remove “Sports” from the title and just leave “car”, and the same is true. My wife loves the son’s Altima, but drives a Rouge because it is easier to get in and out of.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    I think you’ve missed the real change. As a member of the leading edge of the boomers (born 1949), the “sports cars” of my youth and early adulthood were European creations that were, objectively, slow but much more responsive than the typical American sedan, most of which would easily smoke them in a straight line. I’m talking about the various Triumphs, MGs, Alfa-Romeos and Porsches. Their preferred environment was a twisty two-lane (like you can still find in parts of the rural US) where, absent a death wish, one rarely exceeded 60 mph. The exceptions would be the E-type and, to some degree, the post ’62 Corvette that replaced the solid rear axle with IRS. These cars had handling which ranged from “darty” (Triumph) to vicious (Porsche 911). So that was a lot of the “entertainment” in driving these cars.

    The only modern analog to those cars is the Miata (an express imitation of the classic British sports car, right down to the sound of the exhaust) and the Toyota 86. All the rest of the sports cars from the last 15 years or so, feature much more potent engines and, of course, much higher “limits.”

    So, it’s the “little” sports cars that already have died out.

    The BMW 2002 was such a sensation because it had 4 doors, could suck the doors off a TR4 or an MGB in a straight line and could, at least, keep up with them in the corners. As others have said, lots and lots of sedans now have more performance capabilities than their untrained drivers can safely use. And, with the ubiquity of air conditioning and generally increased urbanization of the US, the pleasures of open air motoring in a little, darty car like the TR4 are pretty elusive.

    I have to say that my Z3 roadster, which I enjoyed immensely and owned for 10 years, was just unpleasant at triple digit speeds with the top down, even with the windows up and the windblocker in place. But, at 50 mph on a sunny, warm day, it would put me on top of the world.

    • 0 avatar
      hawox

      toyota gt86 is a brilliant car, but it’s too expensive for vast majority of young europeans.
      i love cars but i can’t spend the money for the gt86. it also wouldn’t be enjoiable as daily driver with traffic jams and speed limits.

      i’d like to buy a car for track day if i had occasions to use it.

      sorry but baby boomers here in italy don’t buy sport cars, they buy a status symbol. if the car is capable of great performance it’s a coincidence. infact a diesel mercedes outsells mustang 100-0

  • avatar

    I’ve hung out with the Elio Motors folks at some of their road tour events and, in a completely unscientific process, it seems to me that most of the people who seriously check out the prototype are, in fact, millenials.

    A cheap vehicle with a warranty that will get you to work reliably has some appeal. If what some of the comments say is true, that millenials see cars as appliances, odd styling or just three wheels shouldn’t put them off.

  • avatar
    Johnster

    I wonder what baby boomers are buying? Back in the day they would have wanted a luxury car (Cadillac) or maybe a personal luxury coupe (which they don’t make anymore, but they would settle for full-sized car.

    Sales of full-sized and even mid-sized sedans are falling. Maybe they’re all buying crossovers and SUVs?

    • 0 avatar
      philipwitak

      “I wonder what baby boomers are buying?”

      [b. 1949] i haven’t bought any sort of motor vehicle in a long time and it will be just fine with me if i never buy another one again. here is why…

      i purchased my most recent car almost ten years ago, a lightly-optioned 2007 cayman. and ten years before that, i had just acquired a similarly-equipped 1997 boxster. now, all these years and almost 135k miles later, i am still enjoying both, more than i could have ever imagined.

      two mid-engined porsche sportscars, each with a manual transmission. i have been blessed.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Many baby boomers are buying Honda CRVs, Toyota RAV4s, Subaru Foresters and Outbacks, all sizes of trucks, and many other truck like vehicles. Boomers are buying empty nest and retirement vehicles.

  • avatar
    akatsuki

    While there are plenty of great hot hatches and amazing sports sedans the real missing piece is a cheap Silvia like rwd sedan. Take the damn GT86 and add some rear doors and a bit of length. Up the engine power 20hp and call it a day.

  • avatar
    Drzhivago138

    Does this mean car shows will no longer be row upon row of Corvettes, Chevelle SSs, Starsky-and-Hutch’d Gran Torinos, and GTO clones? Sign me up! Bring on the Datsun Fairladys, Fox-body Mustang Ghias and Cougar XR-7s, Cobalt XFEs, Syclones, and Turbo Caravans!

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