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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 tayb on 8/14/2012 2:48:21 PM , Rating: 2
I worked the entire time I was in college. The first job I had (and one I still do part time to this day) was test prep instruction for the Princeton Review. On the very first day of class I would ask the kids why they wanted to do well on the SAT, why they wanted to go to college, and why they wanted to study what they wanted to study. I could tell the things I said were things that they had NEVER heard before. And when their parents found out the things that I had told them, I received angry phone calls.

It's a systemic problem. From an early age kids are taught that the ONLY way to ever be successful is to get a college degree. The public education system has been catered toward preparing kids to go to college as opposed to preparing them to enter the workforce. When my parents were growing up they took shop, business, and other such classes that prepared them to be productive immediately following high school. College was recommended but completely unnecessary if you didn't desire increased learning or an advanced position. You could go grab a white collar job or an office position immediately. Now? I have several friends that spent $35,000 a year going to a private school to get a degree in business who now sell insurance full time. Why do you need a degree, much less a degree from a private school, to sell insurance? A 16 year should be able to sell insurance.

Fast forward to 2012 and college is an extension of high school. You aren't prepared to enter the work force and college is just the next level just as high school was the next level from middle school. Demand for college has increased dramatically and the flow of money has increased dramatically. Institutions have continued to increase their tuition as the laws of supply and demand dictate they should. What was once a $15,000 degree is now $60,000 at a public school and $100,000+ at a private school... and it's still rising.

Then you have high school advisors, university advisors, and parents telling naive kids that they should "follow their dreams" and study whatever they think will be interesting. The same people who should be looking out for their interests are the same people sending them down a path to nowhere.

And at the end of the day the kids are naive enough to believe it, the parents were stupid enough to perpetuate it, the advisors failed to do their jobs, and the banks and universities and government were all too willing to take and give the money all along the way. More often than not the outcome is a combination of the outcomes I mentioned above. And the failure is systemic.

By Ammohunt on 8/14/2012 9:25:17 PM , Rating: 2
I agree the said part is that we get to fund the welfare system that will allow these kids from starving that is if everything doesn't crater before then.

"Well, there may be a reason why they call them 'Mac' trucks! Windows machines will not be trucks." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

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