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We had a discussion some time ago about the younger generation and their interest or lack of, restoring cars. Some thought that it would continue and others, like myself, believe that as the boomers died off, the classic car restorations will follow.


Why Are Young People Driving Less?

Young people really aren't interested in cars anymore.

Numerous studies suggest Generation Y is giving up the automobile in favor of public transit and bicycles. And it's a trend that spells big trouble for manufacturers.

The facts
From 2001 to 2009, the average number of miles driven annually by 16-34 year old dropped 23%. That's three times larger than the decline in all other age groups.

Today, 26% of Millennials don't have a driver's license. That's up 5% from 2000.

Increasingly, Generation Y is turning to other transit options like buses, trains, bicycles, and walking.

The consensus reason for this decline? The recession.

Generation Y was hard hit by the recent economic turmoil with the unemployment rate for those under-25 hitting 16.2% in April.

Debt is another common explanation. According to the Project for Student Debt, the average college graduate has $26,000 in student loans, up 24% since 2004. Don't forget an additional $10,000 in credit card debt.

Throw in the fact that inflation adjusted gasoline prices have doubled in the last decade, plus skyrocketing insurance premiums, and you have a recipe for delayed car ownership.

Marketers assume that as the economy recovers young buyers will return to their show rooms.

Perhaps. But what if this assumption is wrong. What if rather than a temporary symptom of this recession, this trend represents a permanent change in buying habits?

What if this is something bigger?

Here's the problem. Driving usage has still declined even as the economy recovers and gas prices stabilize. Even among employed Millennials, annual miles driven has declined 16% over the past eight years.

Unlike previous generations which developed their driving habit in high school and college, Gen Y is comfortably cruising through their 20's on bikes and subways.

Here's a scary thought for auto executives: after missing this generation during their formative years, maybe they'll never buy a car!

What if falling car ownership isn't just a symptom of higher gas prices and a poor job market, but a rejection against the hassles of parking and traffic?

There's some evidence to back this up. According to the National Association of Realtors, six out of 10 Americans prefer walkable communities led by young people.

Of Generation Y, only 15% consider themselves car enthusiasts versus 30% of baby boomers.

How are manufacturers reacting?

General Motors (NYSE: GM) has hired MTV Scratch, a Viacom consulting service, to make its product offerings for appealing to this demographic. The company is favoring subcompact vehicles with sophisticated user interfaces, social network connectivity, Bluetooth, USB ports, and Pandora music services.

The problem once you include many of these features, the vehicle is suddenly out of the typical 24-year old's price range. A loaded Chevrolet Cruze can cost up to $24,000.

Ford (NYSE: F) has revamp its marketing efforts to target younger buyers. When the company launched its super-mini Fiesta in 2009, it developed an innovative marketing campaign. Ford gave out 100 cars to influential bloggers for a free six-month test-drive plus airfares and hotels to attend launch events.

Can tech bloggers drive car sales? Maybe. The Ford Fiesta sold 90,000 units during its first 18 months after launch. But that momentum was difficult to sustain and sales fell 30% the next year.

Toyota (NYSE: TM) has been the most aggressive in trying to appeal to the Gen Y crowd.

Ten years ago the company created its Scion division to specifically target this demographic. The median age of a Scion buyer is 34 which is the youngest in the industry.

A big part of Scion’s mission is to capture a new buyers and not cannibalize sales from other brands. In this respect, it has been successful. About 75% of Scion’s customers have never owned a Toyota product.

Generation Y is too big to ignore. This demographic is the largest U.S. history accounting for nearly one in four Americans today. Whichever automaker is first to crack the Millennial code will have monopoly-like access to a massive market and earn the highest returns for investors in the decades to come.

Of the large manufacturers Toyota is probably the best positioned to exploit this demographic. It's Scion brand was recently named the most popular among Gen Y buyers according to J.D. Power and Associates. And while this division may not move the needle in the company's financial results, Scion sales today translate into Matrix and Camry sales down the road (pun intended).

If General Motors and Ford can't convert Millennial customers today, they may lose those buyers forever.

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By Robert Baillieul - June 14, 2013
The Motley Fool-Multimedia Financial-Services
 

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I don't see hot rods (as we know them) staying around forever. Today's kids don't even look twice...well that's not true, the girls seem to like the older cars, but the guys seem more wrapped up into themselves, and the unattainable cars the "stars" are driving...

It is more than just a money thing. I mean, kids are spending good sums of cash on phones, tablets, games, computers, higher end cloths, shoes...etc, so some money is there...they just seem to not really care about owning a car...never mind a classic car...

These cars we see now selling for high 5 to 6 figures, will be a lost investments in due time, as there will be no one willing to buy them when we are done...but that is not why we love these old cars, so we're good! :)
 

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Kids are interested in sound and electronic gadgets. Those interested in cars can only afford used rice burners....:tu
:gba:
bowtie-trifive
 

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What's keeping them up at night???? Gunfire comes to mind!
 

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sad to say, but when the boomers are gone this hobby won't be far behind. :sad0049:
 

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sad to say but you all are right.i have 3 sons and i can not for the life of me get them interested in my 55 project.i have bought them all cars but they dont care what they drive as long as it gets them there.niether one of the 3 got there drivers license till they were at least 20.im lost as to what to do guess when i get to old to drive my 55 ill just sell it to someone who will enjoy it.
 

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sad to say but you all are right.i have 3 sons and i can not for the life of me get them interested in my 55 project.i have bought them all cars but they dont care what they drive as long as it gets them there.niether one of the 3 got there drivers license till they were at least 20.im lost as to what to do guess when i get to old to drive my 55 ill just sell it to someone who will enjoy it.
Both my sons started driving later in life than I did. I think on reason is they got so use to being taken every were they wanted to go. Oldest son only got his licence because I was going out town on business and he would had to quit his sports team. If I want to go somewhere as a teen, I had to get there myself. I was ready to drive and get off the bicycle. Even once Kids got a car it was not as bad a old beater as I had to drive and work on. I see some kids these days with new cars what I use for a driver. Plus most kids can't can't work on most their cars if they want too. You can't hot rod most newer cars because you mess up pollution control crap. Both my boys talk about having cars but nether has a job that will support that habit. I feel I may have made it too easy for them already.
:anim_25:
 

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I am amused by GM's response: We'll make an electronic device for the kiddos because we can do it better than anyone else, and, btw, if we have any more of those remaining car parts to unload, we'll attach them to the device.
 

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A friend of mine bought his son a black 57 2 door belair, and the car has sat in the barn for years. The kid has no interest in the old car hobby, and still to this day, he still hasn't touched it.
 

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I figured it was their receptionist, assistant or page.
 
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