This morning, Chevy held a drive event for the Chevy Spark, the latest and smallest car on the market from the automaker.
And from the moment I got to the event, two things were made immediately clear:
1. If you aren't a millennial between the ages of 16 and 31, you won't understand this car or anything we did today.
2. If you are a millennial, GM basically assumes you are the most annoying kind of tech-obsessed, PBR-drinking, perfume or cologne-wearing hipster.
It all started off like any auto presentation I've seen. The chief engineer talked us through this throbbing 84 horsepower beast of a car. But then the millennial portion began when we started talking apps.
The Spark has a 7" touch screen with smartphone integration.
Why? To run apps, silly! All millennials love apps!
Just plug in your iPhone or Android phone and nav runs right off it via the hiply named "BringGo" app. It's a good idea and it costs $50 per year. It's easy and intuitive to use, and a true pleasure. It can also stream music from Pandora, which means the car doesn't have a CD player in it at all. All good things.
But when this point in the presentation came up, a millennial anecdote was used to explain why. The Global Program Manager for GM Infotainment, Sara LeBlanc, said she had given a CD to a relative, and was horrified when it was just put into a computer and onto an iPod instead of listened to first.
Those darn millennials!
During the presentation, the older folks in the crowd look like they'd been beamed from the comfortable surrounds of a Denny's into a place best described by Stefon. New York's hottest club is Spark, apparently.
One asked if the car had multiple "UBS ports" and others couldn't believe the nav was solely on a driver's smart phone. The word "millennial" was uttered nearly 47 times in 15 minutes.
We then went on to drive around New York to sample the Spark, and the route only let me learn that 84 isn't enough horsepower for a car and it has a good suspension that can handle bumps. I drove one green example and rode in one that is colored "Techno Pink," a color named for two things that millennials love.
The Spark also had an iPhone with music loaded so we could sample integration. It seemed the only songs on the phone were "We Are Young" by Fun. and "Bulletproof" by LaRoux aka bands that seem hip to people who know little about what's actually hip.
On the drive, our first stop was, you guessed it, Williamsburg, Brooklyn. For those of you that don't know, Williamsburg is the hipster capital of the world and is the place with the most tattoos per capita in the nation.
We were herded into Pete's Candy Store, a former candy shop turned bar and sound stage. And of course MTV was there filming their newest and probably coolest program. Kids love the stuff.
Next was Milk, which is a dive bar version of Starbucks run by people that wear headbands ironically. We sampled truffles that tasted like cake that truly befitted my millennial sensibilities.
After that, it was a drive back to Manhattan and a stop at the ultra hip Bond no. 9, a perfumery. There, an impossibly cool perfume maestro was shocked to learn I don't "wear a fragrance."
Clearly, I can't be a millennial. It must be some mistake.
The whole drive was intended to "spark our senses," but it also gave me a window into how narrow GM is marketing the Spark. It's a car made specifically for an age group that doesn't give one shit about cars and would rather ride a bike. It's a shame, because older folks like a grandmother would love this little economy car. It's a great "last car" and first car.
But that, unfortunately, isn't hip.