There has been a stream of conflicting messages coming from the motor industry recently. Every analysis of the global market for selling new cars seems to be saying something a little bit different. Here’s a glimpse of some of the most popular narratives:
- Motor industry responds to needs of an ageing population, paying attention to developing cars with easier access, high seating positions, driver aids etc.
- Young people are not interested in cars preferring to spend money on latest tech than on a new car
- Retirees buy more cars than young people
- Motor industry responds to needs of smartphone generation by installing touchscreens and sophisticated multimedia systems in new cars to make every millennial feel right at home behind the wheel.
It’s as if the motor industry cannot decide if the future of their industry will be dictated by the baby boomers or the smartphone generation.
I don’t for a minute think that young people are any less interested in cars than their parents. Sure, living an urban lifestyle might make car ownership slightly redundant but we’re not all urbanites and a car is still a huge symbol of independence and adulthood.Of course it’s quite obvious that the only reason why young people may not be buying cars as enthusiastically as their parents is because they have an extremely low paid, precarious job or none at all.
Yes alternatives to car ownership like car-sharing sound great and will suit some lifestyles. But we can’t stamp our personality onto a car we just rent for a few hours.
The reality is that many of us are just too broke to consider buying a car – that could mean living at home jobless or struggling to pay the rent and hang onto that last shred of independence before moving back in with mum and dad, while at the same time saving for our own bricks and mortar.
But carmakers won’t be giving up on young people anytime soon because once we are financially stable, we will be making that new car purchase.
Cultural shift away from cars? I don’t think so.