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Why America stopped driving

Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 39,059
edited February 12 in General
Tweaking the discussion title; this one was originally called "New Car? I'd Rather have an iPad".

"There's kind of almost every force working against the young driver right now", said Karl Brauer, senior analyst and editor-at-large at, an automotive research website.

That could be a problem for automakers, which are still reeling from the Great Recession that sorely damaged their industry. Now, they may find that their youngest generation of potential customers will either purchase fewer cars, put off buying cars until later in life or they won;t end up buying cars at all."

Carmakers' next problem: Generation Y (MSNBC)

Got near grown kids? Do they want a car? Do they even want a driver's license?


  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,120
    What you say applies to the U.S. and Japan, from what I've also read. I wouldn't be surprised of a similar trend were true for Western Europe. Taking a global view, however, slowing or stagnant sales in mature markets are more than offset by growing auto sales in China, India, Latin America and other emerging markets. Auto companies, including the Detroit three, are thinking globally more than ever.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 32,946
    edited November 2010
    And will it even make up for population increases in general...I suspect we'll have no less cars on the road. Not to mention, being car-less only works in more built up areas. Much of the continent has threadbare if nonexistent public transportation - as that ideal is evil and socialist, of course :shades:
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,077
    ...when I came of driving age almost 30 years ago, I couldn't wait to get a car. If you live in the city and are intimately familiar with the public transit system, you can almost get away without having a car, though grocery shopping would be very burdensome. I have a store withing walking distance of my house, but I can only carry so much - even with a grocery cart. I'd have to make several trips. For other items, I'd have to take a bus or train downtown or to the suburbs.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,120
    Another alternative that some younger people, especially, for whom car ownership doesn't mean as much as it does to us, are services like Zipcar.

    The main point of this discussion really comes down to competing wants and needs. There's more competition for peoples' discretionary money than there used to be. Also, cars are less of a status symbol in increasingly crowded cities, where people are more transient and annonomous than in the past.
  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,730
    Good insight.
    " Also, cars are less of a status symbol in increasingly crowded cities, where people are more transient and anonymous than in the past."

    According to the 2008 government report I was reading 82 percent of the US is now urban living. That gives people other options in their transportation needs. And from everything we read about gen Y they are not interested is the traditional status symbols of the boomers or even gen X.
    Add that to the crashing of the economy and the falling of the housing market and you have the possibility that cars simply are not as important as they once were, at least in the US. Also with the release of cars like the Leaf and the demonizing of gas powered vehicles or even lawn equipment and you have a society that will begin to move in a direction that we or our parents would never have imagined.
    I think that the movement to “Green” vehicles is going to take a lot of the charm out of cars in general and we just might see fewer and fewer Gen Ys giving up their Iphones, Ipads, Ipods and social networking. You might also see fewer and fewer people getting cars.
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 39,059
    "Advertising Age recently reported that the share of automobile miles driven by people 21 to 30 fell to 13.7 percent in 2009, down from nearly 21 percent in 1995. In that same period, the proportion of people 21 to 30 increased in the population from 13.3 percent to 13.9 percent. The recession could be blamed for some of the decline, but younger Americans clearly aren't as keen on cars as their parents were."

    Millennials Driving Less, Citing Cost, Digital Alternatives and the Environment (Edmunds Daily)
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,405
    edited February 2011
    82 percent of the US is now urban living. That gives people other options in their transportation needs.

    Yes and no, I'm not sure what their definition of "Urban" is but I'm sure it includes many areas that are what most of us would consider suburban or exurban that do not have a comprehensive public transportation network.

    That said, I think it's great if young people and others use cabs buses and light rail in lieu of private cars. That means less traffic and easier parking;
    I'll believe it when I see it.

    BTW-I lived in Manhattan for nine years ('67-'76) and kept my own car on the street the whole time. I don't know if I'd care to repeat the experience nowadays but people where always borrowing my car or bumming rides to out-of-town destinations.
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 39,059
    edited February 2011
    "Millennials demonstrate less raw enthusiasm for driving than any generation since the popularization of the automobile. The notion of camping out in the parking lot of their local Department of Motor Vehicles office on the eve of their sixteenth birthday, as many of their parents did, is alien to most in the new generation. Several tendencies of Millennials feed this trend. For one, “teens are able to connect in so many other ways” than physically, through their smartphones, Honda’s Marie noted. "

    For Millennials, It's Apps More than Acceleration (AutoObserver)

  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,120
    edited February 2011
    I wonder how many Millenials participate in Edmunds discussions, and whether the participation rate is lower than for other age groups. They probably choose different topics, proportionately, than older participants.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 32,946
    From how so many I see of that age group drive (and I myself scrape by right at the beginning), might not be a bad thing.

    Less distracted uninvolved idiots on the road, could be good.
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 39,059
    edited March 2011
    A reporter is interested in speaking with anyone who is willing to share their recent (last 6-9 months) experience with ANY of the following systems: adaptive cruise control, collision warning/crash avoidance, blind-spot warning, pedestrian detection, self-parking, Ford MyKey or MyTouch, Ford Sync's cloud-based voice-activated features (directions, weather, sports, stock quotes, movies, restaurant/hotel info, etc), in-car on-demand iPod downloads.

    If you are interested in commenting on your experience, please reply to no later than 5pm EST on March 16, 2011 and include your name, state of residence, the model year of your vehicle and your phone number.
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 39,059
    edited April 2011
    "The Edmunds app for Android combines pricing, research and new car inventory in one powerful car shopping app to help you find and buy the new car you want at the best possible price. You can research new-car pricing, configure a car to your requirements, read Edmunds Car Reviews and find regional True Market Value® pricing. Then you can locate a car at a dealer, contact the dealer for a price quote and have the research at your fingertips to help get the best deal on your car."

    Edmunds App for the Android is now live!

    Android Market

  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 39,059
    "Automakers have all sorts of ideas, but what kind of technology does Average Joe really want in his car? Well, premium audio came in second and wireless connectivity finished third to the frontrunner -- remote vehicle diagnostics -- in J.D. Power and Associates' 2011 U.S. Automotive Emerging Technologies Study. Based on responses from nearly 18,000 car owners, the study measures interest and purchase intent of 21 automotive technologies before and after the price is revealed.

    After knowing what it would cost, 55% of those surveyed were interested in remote vehicle diagnostics. This compares to 52% that were interested in "non-branded premium sound systems" and 50% for "wireless connectivity systems."

    Remote Diagnostics Top Car Tech Among Consumers (Straightline)
  • imaginaryimaginary Posts: 58
    edited June 2011

    It's nice to have more up to date technologies in vehicles. I think it's a bit far fetched if people believe that is the main issue keeping us from buying vehicles unlike the older generations though. Surveys give a general idea but not a proper explanation, especially concerning a buying trend examined by older generations that observes younger generations. Parents play a big role in the things we all want in this world when we're not old enough to legally work (in the U.S.). After all, they're the ones who buy that shiny toy for the well-off kid we all see in elementary school playing with his shiny new toy. When it intrigues and piques our interest, our parents have to decide whether or not to buy it for us.

    Heads-up Display (HUD) is a great example of a safety feature taking away the added danger of distracted driving towards giving your peripheral vision all it needs to drive a vehicle. Not only is it a "new" technology but it's a safety feature. Airbags might not be able to tweet to your followers when they deploy (YET) but they help increase your chance to be able to keep tweeting after an accident. No longer having to dart down or quickly glance at your vehicle speed as much as you would have to with a HUD compared to the standard speedometer is a nice safety feature that I believe should show up more on vehicles. It'd most definitely keep certain people entertained rather than distracted too.

    At the same time, adaptive cruise control, collision warning/crash avoidance, blind-spot warning, pedestrian detection, self-parking and similar technologies need to be carefully implemented. It's a great safety feature for those who don't depend on it IN ORDER TO avert their attention elsewhere. Just like how a certain group of drivers are fully aware less vehicles are being offered with a manual transmission (or that standards have lowered somehow in that field of driving), I just worry that some people, eventually younger people than me, expect the car to drive itself, sooner or later, with all of these technologies. Then they can go back to what they were doing without being as alert as we were without those technologies.

    That's great if an autopilot is advanced to the point where we no longer need to drive on specific types of roads or to wherever the GPS has mapped that road. Car manufacturers have done well with giving the appropriate disclaimers for these new technologies but I only hope that trickles down into an eventual moral belief, common sense, etc. rather than a law/rule.

    Creating an unhealthy dependence that decreases your ability to drive a fully functioning vehicle meant for citizens is definitely a way to increase how civilization declines if we're still dependent on automotive vehicles.

    I'm not even in my mid 20's and I can already see the trend. It's nice to see younger generations and my peers so much more informed than my parents and elders were when it comes to just information overall. However it's nerve-racking thinking about civilization declining because everyone just becomes so lazy and unprepared when someTHING else does the work for you. It gives "driving to your death" a whole new meaning.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,606
    Heads-up Display (HUD) is a great example of a safety feature taking away the added danger of distracted driving towards giving your peripheral vision all it needs to drive a vehicle. Not only is it a "new" technology but it's a safety feature.

    My 2000 Park Ave has the HUD, and I have my doubts about any safety improvement. One of my friends drove it, and said he didn't like it because he said seeing the number on the windshield made him want to aim the car towards it! Not that that makes a whole lot of sense, as the number is stationary on the windshield, so it's going to go where you aim the's not just going to lead you off into the wild blue yonder or something!

    I have found it to be a bit of a distraction, though. Even though you might be more likely to look out the windshield than down at the speedometer, it gives you something to focus on, when you should be focusing on the road ahead! Oh, and when it gets low on fuel, the HUD also displays the message "check gages", and then that distracts me because of the spelling error! :P
  • fintailfintail Posts: 32,946
    I think some things, such as parking aids, will hasten the decline of some driving skills - when people become dependent on cameras and sensors, they lose ability (if they ever had it to begin with, thanks to our hilariously lax drivers training standards). Driving on this continent has become some kind of idiocracy...I believe the automatic transmission doesn't help either.

    Head up is cool though, esp how BMW does it with also putting navigation directions on the display, and in Europe anyway, even the speed limit.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,120
    The misspelling would bother me too.
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,077
    What IS the proper spelling?
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,120
    I agree that some aids will reduce driving skills. I'm not that this is necessarily applies to automatic transmissions, though. Some people would never learn to drive a manual well, for different reasons.

    As for the latest electronic aids, I just don't care for some of them, or the way they function on some models. For example, a buzzer bothers me more than a vibration of the steering wheel. I understand that Infiniti uses a buzzer for its lane drifting device (don't remember the proper name for this safety feature at the moment), while BMW employs vibration. I suppose that's an individual preference.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,606
    What IS the proper spelling?

    "gauge". Another GM idiosyncrasy I get a kick out of is the idiot light with the lightning bolt that says "GEN" under it. My '76 LeMans has that, although I don't think GM cars had generators since what? 1961 or 62?
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