According to a report by CNNMoney published yesterday, it seems that America’s young people just aren’t buying cars. In fact, people ages 18-34 are forgoing cars – the share of new cars for this age group has dropped by 30% over the last 5 years.
The article proposes several reasons as to why – primarily citing social shifts as the main reasons. Certainly the re-urbanization of American cities provides increasing access to public transportation, less reliance on cars, as well as increased difficulty in having a car. The article also notes that the emergence of Zipcar and car sharing companies has made it easier for city dwellers to get by without having a car around every day.
But the article focuses mostly on the emergence of social media, claiming that the rise of social media has obviated the need for cars among members of this age group. Social media, and by extension owning a smart phone, has become the new mechanism of freedom. Likewise, social media has made it easier to meet and interact with people, reducing the need for cars.
I find the idea that social media has made it easier to “meet” people slightly ridiculous. Interact perhaps; meet – not so much, as you are not in fact meeting anyone through social media. You only meet people when you actually see them in person. I digress…
The article seems to downplay the idea that the economy has had a major effect on car buying patterns of young adults. But even more so the article seems to dismiss the notion that young adults, saddled with debt from college, can’t afford to purchase cars.
I may be biased since I a) own a car and b) have lived in cities for the past 12 years with decent access to public transportation. But I’m curious what people out there think. Why do you think young adults aren’t buying cars?
Is it the expense of buying a car, the expense of owning a car, access to public transportation or lack there of, deferring car ownership until later in life, or the rise of social media? Or is it something else entirely – are car companies not making cars that young adults want?