It looks like auto makers have a problem beyond the current state of the economy: Generation Y is pretty disinterested in cars and in buying vehicles and has a penchant for connected gadgets instead of vehicles. Why? The recession and increased concern over the environment are keeping teens and young adults from rushing to get their driver's license and purchasing their first vehicle. With a lot of young people unemployed and many parents facing economic hardships, the cost of car ownership is simply unaffordable. Also, nowadays, the general population is more aware of the impact of driving on the environment. Further, as we previously mentioned, in his study called 'Pink' Chris Bangle, a former BMW employee who worked on the GINA Light Visionary Model, learned that these teens and young adults believe that future products should, "have an identity, it should only be there when you need it and it should be for sharing and bringing people together." How does a purchased vehicle fit within these parameters? It doesn't. An electric vehicle in a car sharing program, though, does.
To appeal to Gen Y, some automakers are trying to capitalize on their love of gadgets. Ford's new Fiesta, apart from being rated at 40 miles per gallon highway, also includes the latest technology such as audible text messages. Then there are the plug-ins like the Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Volt. These electric vehicles are a bit closer to the battery-powered gadgets Gen Y owns while also having less impact on the environment and their pockets (due to lower cost of driving). Throw in a car-sharing opportunity and you've got a way to get young people interested. Still, Dave Cole, chairman emeritus of the Center for Automotive Research, believes that this young generation may only be delaying purchasing a vehicle and will inevitably buy one because it's a necessity. He told MSN, "The dependence on personal transportation in this country, outside of major urban areas, is still pretty profound, so there's really no alternative." Is the energy source all we can change?