"Millennials are buying few cars and that has automakers turning to social media. TheStreet's Ross Urken has more on why Gen Y and hipsters hate cars." Or so goes the description of the video that appeared on USAToday.com this morning.
I was struck by a few things:
- The people being interviewed were all in New York City. Well, anyone living in New York has to think carefully about buying a car and the costs involved in owning it beyond the purchase. This includes all generations I suspect. I have no evidence, but it seem reasonable there are tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of New Yorkers who have never owned a car. So, this seems disingenuous. They didn't think of paying a producer to interview a few Millennials in Kansas, Arizona, or even California? Analysis: This piece is a sweeping generalization. The clown pictured below simply does not represent America or the world's youth.
- The report suggests getting an iPhone or Android phone is the new rite of passage. Well, my 10 year old son has an iPhone. That saves me a lot of money then, I'm sure he won't want a car when he's 16 or 17. Nah. That phone opens up his horizons. He doesn't need to go hang out with his buddies, they can just FaceTime. Right.
I realize that cars are more expensive and that a lot of young people are not getting them on their 16th birthday like many of us did back in the 80's for instance. But, this site demonstrates to me that there are plenty of young people who not only want a car, but are obsessed with them. This goes back a long time in our history. Perhaps the NYC-based "journalist" hasn't seen American Graffiti or other iconic films depicting angsty youth and their desire to own a car, and preferably a fast one at that.
Update: I heard from Mr. Urken. He did have a more comprehensive piece here, and it has some interesting tidbits, in some ways he expresses some of the views in comments below referring to Millennials as "navel gazers." I think the dependence on marketing data, not just by Mr. Urken, leads company's like Ford to odd conclusions. If 41% of people are going to tune out your message, go after the other 59%. Read his piece in its entirety to be fully informed. You'll find some of his readers have similar conclusions to those of you below.
By the way, I saw his video only on USAToday and it frustrated me that the paper didn't bother to print any of the text from Mr. Urken's article at the time.