Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Generation Y: Cars Suck

Detroit has spent decades refusing to make more fuel-efficient cars, claiming it's too expensive and besides, consumers don't want them.

That effort is finally making a difference -- but not in the way automakers expected. Seeing it as a polluting waste of time, driving is down sharply among young adults:
Selling cars to young adults under 30 is proving to be a real challenge for automakers. Unlike their elders, Generation Yers own fewer cars and don’t drive much. They’re likely to see autos as a source of pollution, not as a sex or status symbol. [...]

“This generation focuses its buying on computers, BlackBerrys, music and software and views commuting a few hours by car a huge productivity waste when they can work using PDAs while taking the bus and train,” says [Learning Resources Network President William] Draves.

Moreover, in survey after survey, Gen Yers say that they believe cars are damaging to the environment. Even hybrid electric vehicles don’t seem to be changing young consumers’ attitudes much.
True low-polluting vehicles like the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt are finally getting ready to hit the market. But is it too little, too late to sell Gen Yers on the idea that you can be green AND drive? And if this generation really does hate extreme commuting, what does that mean for distant suburbs that have sprung up to support Baby Boomers' craving for a white picket fence no matter how long the drive?

Via Greater Greater Washington 

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I think this is a case of self-reporting not actually reflecting reality - my commute this morning gave me all the evidence I needed that car usage ain't dropping 'round here. I put this in the same category of the frequent polls that say "ooh yeah, I'll buy healthy food at fast food restaurants if they offered them!" and, er, male self-reporting of their own penis size.

I *do* think that the trend for younger folks to be totally cool with keeping cars an awfully long time rather than buying into the cars = status symbol baloney is real and pervasive - and not just due to the crappy economy.

Brian (representing a household with 430,000 original miles on their 2 cars)