An interesting story I found today states that younger people are increasingly likely to put-off purchasing a personal automobile. As the story points out, this is likely to have dire long-term consequences for an automobile industry already devastated by the “Great Recession.”
This is not surprising. The downturn in the economy has been especially rough for younger people. There’s still a lot of uncertainty about the future out there and purchasing a car is often a long-term financial decision. People are unlikely to make such a long-term commitment in a car when they are worried about losing their job.
But as the article points out, there is another shift going on that I think is more interesting. When compared to earlier generations, this generation of 18-35 year old’s seem to be less and less interested in cars. Younger people these days are more interested in spending their money on socializing with friends or the latest technology. They are more and more likely to put off buying a car and take public transit. Some young people are making the decision to forgo driving altogether.
I also think there is a shift going on in terms of what is an acceptable and “cool” car to drive. People in my parent’s generation wouldn’t be caught dead when they were younger in some of the cars that are perfectly acceptable to younger people now. Younger people are shifting their priorities, tastes and concerns and this is reflected in the type of car they purchase and drive.
Finally, I would point out one comment toward the end of the article that I found particularly interesting. David Cole, the chairman of the Center for Automotive Research, said that as younger people age, they will eventually be forced to buy an automobile of some kind. I don’t argue with that assertion though I do find it interesting that we, as a society, have made the collective decision to design our cities in such a way as to essentially force citizens to make a substantial private purchase in order to function. Actually I think it’s more accurate to say that several generations ago people made that collective decision and we are now all living with it to this day.