Six reasons Gen Y isn’t interested in cars

Howard Tullman gives 6 reasons in answer to the question “Why doesn’t Gen Y care about cars?

Emotional ties…

Mechanical abilities…

Technical constraints…

Economic realities…

Environmental considerations…

Political and regulatory changes…

If I had to vote for one of these reasons as being most important, I might go with number four. Owning a car is simply expensive and requires a long-term investment. Cheap reliable cars, say, under $5,000, can be difficult to find and the costs of insurance, maintenance, and depreciation are very real on top of expensive gas.

But, I think there are a few other reasons Tullman missed that could fit under his first and fifth reasons. Under emotional ties, it isn’t just that people don’t see owning a car as a “civic duty” but that Generation Y and younger have emotional ties to other objects like computers, video game consoles, and smart phones. Additionally, an interest in living in more urban areas might fit under environmental considerations plus the other bonuses such as culture and “scenes” present in big cities that are much more difficult to find in suburbs. Living in denser areas is seen as greener and such areas often offer more opportunities for mass transit or walking and biking.

A few other thoughts about the six reasons:

1. I think the interest in mechanical abilities has definitely shifted from analog objects, like cars, to digital objects. Generation Y is interested in “mechanical” activity but in a very different way.

2. Political and regulatory changes may discourage driving to some degree with stricter standards but this could also work in the favor of cars. If gas mileage increases significantly in the coming years, cars could be greener and small ones, in particular, could fit an urban ethos. The trick here might be making sure that these regulations don’t increase the costs of cars in such a way to discourage purchases. And, it remains to be seen if the federal government will significantly shift money toward mass transit and further encourage people to drive less.

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