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Automakers are struggling to capture this particular age group as sales drop

Automakers are starting to see a shift in the priorities of potential young car buyers today. Gone are the days of late teens and twenty-somethings rushing to buy their first car for a taste of freedom. Instead, this age group, or Generation Y, would prefer the latest smartphone or tablet. 
"A vehicle is really a discretionary purchase and a secondary need versus an iPhone, mobile phone or personal computer," said Joe Vitale, an automotive consultant with Deloitte. 
The car is no longer a teenager or 20-year-old's only chance at freedom. This generation can now connect via smartphone, tablet or laptop no matter where they are. 

Generation Y seems to be more into fancy gadgets than monthly car payments [Image Source:]
The other issue here is that members of this age group don’t typically have fat wallets. A cash-strapped twenty-something will choose the latest gadget to keep connected with friends and family rather than buy a car, pay to keep it maintained, purchase car insurance, etc. This is obviously much easier for those that live in large cities with reliable public transportation.
But having the latest device over a car isn't always a frivolous choice. Many companies today keep employees connected through email, a company website or other networks. Having a mobile device almost essential for the employed or even job seekers that need to have a way for potential employers to contact them at any time.  
So what does this mean for the auto industry? It means that automakers have to find new ways to capture this audience. The number of U.S. auto buyers ages 18-34 dropped to 11 percent in April 2012, compared to 17 percent in April 2007, which was before the recession. A total of 14 million U.S. auto buyers ages 18-34 are expected to make a vehicle purchase in 2012, which is the best year yet since 2007, but is still a drop from the annual average of 16.8 million from 2000-2007. 

Scion xB
Companies like Ford and Toyota have built inexpensive, subcompact cars like the Ford Fiesta and Scion xB/xD for the frugal youngsters that make up Generation Y. Automakers have also tried to lure this age group by adding increased technology for music and social networking in their vehicles, although the U.S. Department of Transportation has been trying to eliminate unnecessary technology in vehicles to reduce distracted driving. Automakers, however, have been rebelling and adding new tech anyway in order to give the public what it wants and increase sales. 
But the issue remains that if this generation just doesn't have the cash or the need for a car, automakers may have to find other ways to sell to this age group. 

Source: The Detroit News

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By Natch on 8/14/2012 9:56:50 AM , Rating: 3
That's the liberal arts push that colleges have gotten away with, for too long, IMHO. What kid wants to hear that, in order to get an engineering/science/doctor's degree, they'll have to work for it? To heck with that, take our underwater basket weaving course of study, and you'll breeze your way through our $20K/year tuition school!!

Of course, they find out afterwards the difficult lesson that you reap what you sow. While this recession has had it's share of engineers that were laid off, I'd be willing to bet that they find good paying positions faster than the hoards of liberal arts degree holders that were laid off.

By teldar on 8/14/2012 10:50:39 AM , Rating: 2
You are a poor, sadly mistaken fool of you think your college career what you take. The colleges i went to had multiple schools available and offered many fine courses.
The engineering school basically had its own campus with a nuclear reactor, two aerospace engineering buildings, a naval architecture program... They also win the yearly solar race. Like the last 7 years in a row. You may get the idea. They spend a lot of money on engineering. I think they would be unhappy if nobody went there. They also have a top 5 medical school. And a top 3-5 business school.
I don't think they are forcing people to English and history degrees.

By Odysseus145 on 8/14/2012 1:07:37 PM , Rating: 2
If you want to blame someone, blame the high schools for de-emphasizing science and critical thought for so long. Colleges don't force majors on anyone.

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