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Boom or bust? It all depends on where you live

Just as many industry observers are predicting that in 2022 car sales in China will top 35 million units annually, the U.S. Public Research Interest Group (PIRG) is saying that America’s love affair with the car is cooling.

Their data indicates that while all demographics are participating in this shift, it’s the Millennials who are driving it.

They are the ones moving into urban areas where car ownership is more of a negative than a positive.

Furthermore, the study says that if this trend continues it will be one of the most significant shifts in American lifestyle in over 100 years.

While some are saying that the trend is a one off generated by the GFC and rising fuel prices, the research indicates that it is a long term shift and reflects a massive change in the nation’s youngest generation of motorists.

It found;

  • Motorists 16 – 34 logged 23% fewer miles behind the wheel in 2009 than the same age group recorded in 2001. Also, unlike previous generations who couldn’t wait to get their licenses, this group is not rushing to do so instead they are opting to use public transport more often.
  • Across all demographics, Americans of driving age who were licensed fell to only 86% in 2011 – a 30 year low. 19 years ago it was 90%.
  • The number of cars owned by Americans is also dropping.
  • For years there have been more cars than licensed drivers and that is down too, by 4% compared to 2006.

According to one chief economist, younger people aren’t buying cars because they are suffering financially. He added: “If and when the economy recovers, they will buy cars at the same rate as other generations.”

Other analysts believe the trend to inner city living by U.S. Millennials (a trend that is being mirrored globally) will continue which will mean that local governments and state and private authorities will need to rethink their urban transportation policies.

This trend is being recognised by some OEMs who have responded by moving into car sharing services as a substitute to owning a car, hoping that when the Millennials marry and move to the suburbs their brands will be top-of-mind which will be reflected in sales. Only time will tell.

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Tags: advertising, auto, dealers, email, for, internet, management, marketing, media, online, More…pr, reputation, salefest, social


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