Make us your home page
Instagram
Autos | Generation Y

Generation Y shows less interest in cars

Is the love affair between cars and young people starting to cool?

That could be the case, according to a recent study of auto-related online commentary among teens and young adults by J.D. Power and Associates.

Between January and August, the market research company analyzed hundreds of thousands of "conversations" on auto-related sites such as Autoblog, personal blogs and social networks such as Twitter and Facebook.

The goal was to gauge the perceptions of Generation Y (those born in the 1980s and early 1990s) toward the automotive industry in general, as well as toward specific vehicle brands. The analysis divided Gen Y into teens (12-18) and "early careerists" (22-29).

According to J.D. Power, "Online discussions by teens indicate shifts in perceptions regarding the necessity of and desire to have cars."

Part of the reason could be economic, the research company said. During the worst recession since the 1930s, the cost of owning and maintaining a car likely makes less sense than it did when gas was 30 cents a gallon and every red-blooded American teenager yearned for a Chevy Camaro or a Pontiac GTO.

"Also, with the advent of social media and other forms of electronic communities, teens perceive less of a need to physically congregate, and less of a need for a mode of transportation," the study concluded.

That can't be good news for the auto industry. "The negative perceptions of the automotive industry that teens and early careerists hold could have implications on future vehicle sales," said Chance Parker, vice president and general manager of J.D. Power and Associates Web Intelligence Division.

"Generation Y could have the greatest spending power of any generation — even surpassing that of the baby boomers. It will be essential for automakers to earn the trust and loyalty of Gen-Y consumers, who are particularly critical of brands and products."

In Japan, the first major developed country to actually experience a decline in car ownership, disinterest among young people in owning cars — especially in urban areas such as Tokyo — is cited as one of the factors behind "demotorization."

The trend already is having a serious effect on the Japanese auto industry and poses a threat to car-dependent businesses such as restaurants and retail establishments away from public transportation lines.

A J.D. Power analyst, however, told USA Today a few months ago that China's 1.3 billion people "are simply wild about cars." In January, monthly auto sales in China surpassed those in the United States for the first time.

U.S., Japanese and other automakers increasingly have been looking to China for sales growth, although the nation is also rapidly developing a homegrown stable of car companies.

Generation Y shows less interest in cars 11/10/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 10, 2009 3:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Los Angeles Times.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Last orca calf born in captivity at a SeaWorld park dies

    Tourism

    ORLANDO — The last killer whale born in captivity under SeaWorld's former orca-breeding program died Monday at the company's San Antonio, Texas, park, SeaWorld said.

    Thet orca Takara helps guide her newborn, Kyara, to the water's surface at SeaWorld San Antonio in San Antonio, Texas, in April. Kyara was the final killer whale born under SeaWorld's former orca-breeding program. The Orlando-based company says 3-month-old Kyara died Monday. [Chris Gotshall/SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment via AP]
  2. Miami woman, 74, admits to voter fraud. Does jail await, or will she go free?

    State Roundup

    MIAMI — An 74-year-old woman pleaded guilty Monday to filling out other people's mail-in ballots while working at Miami-Dade's elections department.

    Gladys Coego
  3. Bigger ships carry Georgia ports to record cargo volumes

    Economic Development

    SAVANNAH, Ga. — Bigger ships arriving through an expanded Panama Canal pushed cargo volumes at Georgia's seaports to record levels in fiscal 2017, the Georgia Ports Authority announced Monday.

    The Port of Savannah moved a record 3.85 million container units in fiscal 2017, the state said, benefiting from the larger ships that can now pass through an expanded Panama Canal.
  4. Dragon ride in Harry Potter section of Universal closing for new themed ride

    Florida

    Universal Orlando announced Monday that it will close Dragon Challenge for a new "highly themed" Harry Potter ride to open in 2019 — sending wizard fans into a guessing game with hopes for a Floo Powder Network or the maze from the Triwizard Tournament.

    Universal Orlando announced Monday that it will close Dragon Challenge on Sept. 5 for a new "highly themed" Harry Potter ride to open in 2019. The ride, originally the Dueling Dragons roller coaster, was renamed and incorporated into the Wizarding World of Harry Potter when the hugely popular area opened in 2010.
  5. Would you let your company implant a chip in you?

    Working Life

    Would you ask an employee to get a chip implanted in her hand? Sounds invasive and intrusive. But come Aug. 1, one company in Wisconsin will be giving it a try.

    Three Square Market - a developer of software used in vending machines - is offering all of its employees the option to get a microchip implanted between the thumb and forefinger. [Photo from video]