Here’s a really interesting article from the L.A. Times. A new study points to the fact that teenagers in America are much less interested in cars than they used to be.
The goal was to gauge the perceptions of Generation Y (those born in the 1980s and early 1990s) toward the automotive industry in general as well as toward specific vehicle brands. The analysis focused on “teens” (ages 12 to 18) and “early careerists” (22 to 29).
According to J.D. Power, “online discussions by teens indicate shifts in perceptions regarding the necessity of and desire to have cars.”
American teenagers without a set of wheels? James Dean, who drove a ’49 Mercury to fame in the 1955 movie “Rebel Without a Cause,” must be spinning in his grave.
Part of the reason could be economic, the study said. During the worst recession since the 1930s, the cost of owning a car probably makes less sense than it did when gas was 30 cents a gallon and every red-blooded American teenager yearned for a Chevy Camaro or a Pontiac GTO.
Later the article points out that China is wild about cars and could save the auto industry. I have a friend at work who is Chinese and he told me as much. He’s lived in the U.S. since he was 16 and recently went home to visit. He said everyone from his family wanted a car and talked a lot about cars. He described feeling the need to try and convince them that cars weren’t really that big of a deal once you had them. He wished he could get them to just trust that eventually the country would get tired of the automobile.
It’s funny, isn’t it? We’re riding our bikes more here, and China is driving cars more.