How Do You Get Young People To Care About Cars?

Illustration for article titled How Do You Get Young People To Care About Cars?

It came up again this week — the Millennial Question. You know, the issue that automakers and car enthusiasts alike have with young people. They don't care about cars, and if this data is to be believed, they're part of the reason Americans' driving has dropped off in recent years.

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The Detroit News had another story about it this week. Road & Track recently looked at what it takes to get a young dude interested in cars. We've examined the Millennial Question many times now as well.

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Conventional wisdom is that teens and young adults don't want cars because their lives revolve around social media and smartphones, and if they do need to go somewhere, they can just get mom and dad to drive them.

Further, the weak economy means they can't afford new cars, and many of them would rather live in walkable cities anyway unlike their famously suburban parents and grandparents.

All of these are valid reasons. But there's just a total lack of interest in cars among many young people that I understand about as well as I understand the whole "Brony" thing — not at all.

And I'm one of these people. (A young person, not a "Brony," smartass.) I'm under 30 and I live in a city where I don't have to drive much. But I love driving more than just about anything else and prolonged periods away from a stick shift and a clutch make me go crazy. Then again, I'm not most people.

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So here's the question this weekend: what can we do to get the kids into cars?

I have a very broad definition when I say "we" here. I mean fellow hoons, parents, young enthusiasts who want to get their friends into cars, car companies, marketers, city planners, whatever. Everyone who wants to see the next generation enjoy the stuff we do.

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It's too easy to blame it all on cell phones. There's many factors at play here. How do we take them on? Cheaper cars? Cheaper gas? Microvans designed by Jason Torchinsky? Cities that are more car-friendly? A lower cost of entry into motorsports? More cars that revolve around smartphones like the iBeetle, even if we think they're awful? Rad marketing campaigns that revolve around hip shit and perfume?

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I want to hear your ideas. Maybe the car companies will listen to this. Who knows. Tell us your theories on how to build a new generation of gearheads.

Photo credit Shutterstock

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DISCUSSION

billcaswell
Bill Caswell

I think its because the OEMs built boring cars for the last 10-15 years. When I learned to drive we all got cars that were very used and that collection of cars kind of sucks currently in a 16 year olds budget is simply boring. The ones that were cool, like say, a 300zx cost a lot to make nice or safe to drive. Like what cars can a 18 year old buy for $3k or less that are awesome yet wont require them to swap a motor or even and alternator the first time they drive and are still cool enough that you would spend your money on it? All the ones I come up with are what we(old people) bought when I turned 18 and till what I would recommend to friends.