Carmakers don't know what to do to get young people interested

american graffit
Screen capture American Graffiti

Cars used to be a big deal for young people' they were the way you got out of the house, how you met people and had a social life. It is less so now; Lisa Wright of the Toronto Star quotes a perplexed president of Toyota:

“In the past, if you wanted to date someone, you couldn’t ask her out if you didn’t have a car,” Akio Toyoda, 57, told a packed auditorium of about 900 Meiji University students in Tokyo earlier this fall. “It’s all changed now. Money goes on monthly phone bills. Also, parking’s expensive and it’s easy to get around . . . on public transport.”

None of this is news to TreeHugger readers, we have written before that Staying Connected May Be Worth More To Young People Than A Set Of Wheels. But the evidence isn't just anecdotal, it is piling up.

The percentage of 19 year olds with drivers licences has dropped from 87% to 69% in thirty years. Even those who drive have different priorities.

A future roadblock for carmakers is that a whopping 46 per cent of drivers ages 18 to 24 in the U.S. said they would choose Internet access over owning a car, according to research firm Gartner Inc.

Chrysler/Public Domain

The Toronto Star article suggests that car marketers are trying just about anything, including trendy colors and comedians like Will Ferrell, trying to appeal to a younger audience by having Ron Burgundy peddle a very big truck. It will take more than that.

Tags: Electronics | Transportation

Best of TreeHugger