Hold Onto Your Cars

Lies and propaganda are unleashed on a regular basis. Sometimes, it seems nearly impossible to know what to believe anymore. One whopper being touted by someone (environmentalists?) is that Millennials don’t drive cars.

There have been a number of articles that indicate that Generation Y are not embracing automobiles like previous demographic groups, especially the Baby Boomers, who cut their teeth riding around in the backseat of gas guzzling behemoths built in Detroit. Some of this may just be wishful thinking. Progressives are notorious for this. That and demanding one thing for you, and another for them. But that’s another blog post for another day.

Since August, I’ve been writing articles on cars for a trade magazine group out of Dallas, Texas. It started with a book review, and moved on from there. I enjoy the work, and as a result, I’m paying closer attention to what’s going on in the automotive world.

I happen to like cars—I always have. It saddens me to think we’re heading into a world of driverless cars, ruled by Google. But maybe the scenario of “Peak Car” is further down the road than we think.

According to J.D. Power, Millennials are actually the fastest-growing class of car buyers. Who knew? Perhaps now that they’ve been able to find a job that pays more than coffee barista wages, they’re thinking about big ticket items.

Millennials want cars, too.

Millennials want cars, too.

Even more interesting, Millennials aren’t flocking to cities, like we’ve been led to believe. No, they’re planning a move to suburbia, just like their Boomer parents.

So what other shibboleths should we take with a grain of salt?

Not your father's Toyota.

Not your father’s Toyota.

4 thoughts on “Hold Onto Your Cars

  1. They have to have cars. How are they going to get to work so they can pay off their student debt?

  2. Sally hit it on the nail. There simply is no public transit in most of the country, and no way to get to work, otherwise. Your grandfather could walk to work. Your father could have, had he moved down the road a little ways. You? My grandfather worked at Bath Iron Works for a long time, commuting all the time by “light rail” from Lisbon to Bath and back. (Ironically, both our grandfathers kept farms, being of the generation that understood real property to be wealth; both our fathers washed their hands of that as soon as easy wages let them.)

    What is also skewing the numbers is that total new car sales have plummeted over the past decade. Old folks don’t buy new cars every other year, folks like us don’t have the money for new cars. As a result, Ygen rises to the top as a group of buyers, and aren’t 20-something suckers always the biggest market for new cars?

    What does stand out is the assertion that Ygen is moving to the suburbs (source?). Back to their parents’ basements? The closest thing to a “town” they ever knew? Is there really that much job generation, even for baristas and Panera peddlers, in the burbs? Cities are ghastly expensive, and even in most of our cities you can’t entirely survive without a car (we only drove my roommate’s car just once a week to get grocieries, but I don’t know how we would have gotten groceries otherwise). So what is in the burbs that they are moving for?

  3. @Sally Yes, get that “great” college education and there’s bound to be a great job waiting for you—making designer coffees for others (like this young Portland woman, serving special brews and saving the environment, simultaneously). There’s probably at least three blog posts residing in your comment. Stay tuned!

    @LP Yes, the Ygens are the target of car marketers and what’s driving much of the shift in how cars are being sold. I just finished a feature story on this for VehicleMD that will run in December.

    I don’t post every link because no one ever clicks on links. I’m not sure most readers bother to read to the end of a short blog like today’s, around 300 words. However, for you, I’ll post the link to an article drawing on Census data, showing Millennials moving to the suburbs.

  4. Thanks for the link. Given the ambiguity in the census data, it seems that the younger crowd is indeed moving back home, and the mid-20s crowd isn’t moving much at all except for the newlyweds ’cause more debt is what they need, and the burbs are safe and the schools are so much better, right? And with the burbs comes the Urban Assault Vehicle purchase, too. Hardly the surge towards the cities of the media narrative.

    To your original point, have you noticed the resurgence in fake muscle cars? Car models named after or designed to look like the old, heavy, big-block muscle cars of the early 1970s are all over my neck of the woods. I’m still trying to figure out the marketing on them.

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