In the ongoing quest to understand mysterious Millennials (who, BTW, are in their 30s now so, you know, you can just ask us if you don't understand what drives us or what we want), Deloitte surveyed 23,000 consumers, including our generational forebears the Gen Xers and Boomers.
What they found was that Gen Yers don't really care all that much about cars, which is a huge departure from, say, my uncles who were born in the 60s and had hot rod bikini girl posters in their rooms until they went off to college:
Referred to as the “technology generation,” Gen Y has grown up in a connected world that has changed how they interact with friends, family, and the world around them. Their ability to immediately connect with anyone they desire—at their convenience—has to some degree also offset the need to own a vehicle to engage with people in their lives. That need has been replaced by email, texting, video chats, and other connected technologies.
If I'm reading this correctly, they are saying that Millennials don't really need to go outside, actually. And I would agree with that, as my young neighbor spent no less than five consecutive days this past week holed up in his apartment playing some type of online game that must be terribly engrossing and satisfy his need for human companionship since he only left the house once per day to briefly walk his dog. To quote the late Going Concern troll Miss India: sad, really.
OK, well, it's not that Millennials are holed up in their apartments like my pathetic neighbor, but they aren't so convinced they actually need their own cars to get around. Seriously? Driving around your parents' beat up Honda (or, in my case, my grandparents' beat up Buick) and saddling yourself with more car loan debt than you can possibly handle in your 20s is the American way! What better way to tell the world "I am an adult, damnit!" than signing your soul on the dotted line at the car dealership for that first car?
Millennials aren't having it. And why should they? Just like some of us grew up with parents to donate that first car of ours, kids these days have Zipcar and Uber. Back in my day, we had Kevin the creepy alum of our high school who still hung around with high schoolers even though he was in his early 20s.
Not only is increased access to alternative transportation a factor, but many of them can't afford a vehicle of their own. No, I'm not talking about your nearest intern who is probably driving his Civic to grab lunch for the office right now. I'm talking about the philosophy majors who can't find jobs.
For a generation first hit by the dot-com bubble, and then one of the deepest and prolonged recessions in recent economic history, it is no surprise that affordability and operational costs are the biggest criteria influencing Gen Y consumers’ vehicle purchase decisions. More than three-fourths of Gen Y respondents in the United States who don’t currently own or lease a vehicle said they can neither afford to buy nor maintain a vehicle. The availability of public transportation and the choice of walking instead of using a personal vehicle rounded out the top three reasons US Gen Y consumers cited for not owning a vehicle.
Gone are the days when we'd throw away money on a fancy vehicle without regard to gas mileage or long-term ownership costs. Nope, Millennials want fuel economy AND lower prices because of course they do.
Gen Y consumers across all of our six focus countries want less expensive and more fuel-efficient vehicles. They want to spend less on vehicle ownership, both with respect to the initial capital to purchase a vehicle, as well as ongoing maintenance and operational costs such as fuel, parking, and repairs.
Maybe these kids are onto something. My car is my second biggest expense after the roof over my head and for what? I work from home. The poor thing sits depreciating in my parking lot most of the day. When I'm in NYC, I need to pay some dickhead $45 a day to stash her in a Midtown garage. How dumb.
Lastly, proof that kids these days love their technology:
They report a very strong desire to buy vehicles that don’t crash.
Don't we all, you guys. Don't we all.