'They Will Grow Older': Jaguar's Product Boss Is Damn Sure Millennials Will Eventually Choose Self-Indulgence

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Teen car culture is dying a swift death, The Atlantic claims, but Jaguar Land Rover’s head of product strategy feels the youngsters of today will eventually outgrow their desire for hassle-free autonomous commute pods.

As a great Jaguar print ad in the 1990s once stated, “Live Vicariously Through Yourself.”

In Hanno Kirner’s mind, this mantra will guide more than a few Millennials to take over the driving duties and indulge their innermost desires. It had better.

Kirner made the comments during an interview with Britain’s Autocar, in which he tiptoed around the possibility of a high-performance, stupidly fast SVR version of the I-Pace electric SUV.

“Yes, we can make it do 0-60 mph in 1.8sec,” he said on that topic. “It’s a good headline, but once you’ve done it once or twice, and lost your eyes in the back of their sockets, you might not want to do it again.”

To Jag’s product chief, the onset of autonomous driving will only spur the production of go-fast machines. While self-driving cars, either leased or owned or shared, will tackle the day-to-day drudgery of commuting and errands, automakers will unleash specialty human-driven automobiles to fill the enthusiast void.

“Whether it is [Jaguar’s Special Vehicles Operations] recreating classics to modern standards or creating track-day specials, I think it will grow as autonomous driving becomes a regular part of lives,” he said. “I don’t for one second think we’ll see a generation appear with no interest in cars. Driving enthusiasts will still exist and we’ll want to engineer cars for them.”

This jibes with Porsche’s recent promise to manufacture vehicles with steering wheels for as long as it’s legal. To a lesser degree, Rolls-Royce recently claimed it won’t abandon V12 engines until the government forces its hand.

With age comes a growing desire to use one’s earnings to cut loose and have a little frivolous fun, Kirner implies. There’s also the go-anywhere/do-anything element.

“Today, we have more demand than we can satisfy for such cars and I don’t expect that to change,” he said. “Yes, there is a generation that is more interested in their phones than anything else today, but they will grow older and want to drive one day.”

[Image: Steph Willems/TTAC]

Steph Willems
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  • CarnotCycle CarnotCycle on May 30, 2018

    Teen auto-licensing and car ownership tracks a different declining trend, and that's teens who have a job. Either daddy buys kid a car - and "those" kids still have cars and drive - or kid buys kid a car. Amassing a grand or two to go buy a car cash-money requires a job; and for me that meant stints at Taco Bell, mowing lawns, etc. Kids don't do that work anymore. Latin immigrants do those jobs (they have cars...and licenses in various jurisdictions lol). I bet these facts of immobility and idleness segues pretty well into the burgeoning 30-still-living-with-mom demographic.

  • Sub-600 Sub-600 on May 30, 2018

    I love going to the Syracuse Nationals car show at the NYS fairgrounds every summer, the draw for most is to check out the cars from their youth. The styles are extremely varied and then, of course, there’s the allure of the raw power. I cannot envision people queuing up in 20-25 years to look at Elantras, Cruzes, Fusions, Passats, and Civics. Cars were “social networking” technology in the “old days” with hardwired phones providing little privacy and no internet. I think this is why kids aren’t as interested in cars as they used to be.

    • Scott25 Scott25 on May 30, 2018

      If you’re listing the utilitarian cars of today, how many 6 cylinder Valiants, Falcons, basic stripper trucks and vans, etc are at those car shows? A small percentage, same as those modern cars will be at future car shows. Apples and oranges, comparing them to the muscle and pony cars and V8 coupes and sedans that populate most car shows

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