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Cars losing connection to today's youngsters

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Cars losing connection to today's youngsters

So what is modern car culture? The question comes to mind after a recent story in Advertising Age suggested that the digital age is killing young people's interest in cars.

According to the magazine, "the automobile, once a rite of passage for American youth, is becoming less relevant to a growing number of people under 30."

Determining the validity of that statement depends on finding out what it is about an automobile that really interests young people. And that is notoriously difficult.

One element of this debate is clear: Today's youths have a great many more other things to draw their attention besides cars, especially compared to the baby boom generation.

Sure, we 50-somethings had television but nothing like the viewing choices of today, and more importantly, the Internet was not around.

The average teenager today might have a laptop, an iPhone, or other smart phone, each capable of browsing the Web for a variety of purposes, from reading to listening to viewing videos. They may also have an iPod or MP3 player, or any number of portable video game players to wile away the hours.

In my youth, a portable cassette player was considered to be pretty cool, and when CDs and the Sony Walkman came along, we imagined it couldn't get any better.

Modifying times

So it's true that baby boomers were not nearly as distracted by electronic gadgetry as today's youngsters, and therefore had more time to dream about cars and how they could change one's life. What's more, until the vehicle emissions equipment and laws of the '70s and '80s made it virtually impossible for car owners to tinker with their vehicles, it was fun to modify your engine or exhaust system and eke out more performance.

Inside the car, the big deal was upping the output of the usually pathetic standard audio system with an aftermarket stereo or even a trendy cassette player with a graphic equalizer; remember those?

Now, while some young car owners will still revamp their sound systems with more powerful amps and speakers, the big issue for most of them boils down to one question: Does the car have an auxiliary input?

This need for an AUX jack is not to be underestimated. I recently witnessed a 20-something couple at a car rental counter whose only requirement was that the vehicle be able to connect to their MP3 player. On the same topic, I asked my 18-year-old daughter, what's the first thing you look for in a car? Her answer: "A place to plug in my iPod? Oh, and I want good gas mileage."

I remember thinking how neat it would be to have a V-8 rather than a V-6 engine, plus a five-speed manual. Today, I believe the subject of engines and transmissions barely crosses a teenage driver's mind.

One theory on why teenagers are less interested in automobiles holds that in this digital era, staying connected and communicating, by texting rather than voice, is all important and is difficult to do -- legally at least -- while driving.

Instant communication

My generation wanted a car in order to meet up with friends and talk face to face. We didn't have smart phones -- or any kind of mobile phone, for that matter -- so the car was our communication device.

Today a smart phone and a Facebook page make that communication possible in a different, but much more flexible and expansive fashion. Consequently, for tomorrow's younger consumer, the car may eventually become more of an option than a necessity.

From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20100610/OPINION03/6100458/1320/AUTO04/Cars+losing+connection+to+today+s+youngsters#ixzz0qY6K70j6

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I'm definately old-fashioned for a 26-year-old.

I really don't care about a AUX jack. My iPod sits there with a dead battery for months at a time and I couldn't care less. It's a 1Gb model that's 3 years old at this point, and if it died I wouldn't buy a replacement. I have no interest in owning a smart phone, and barely use text messaging.

Then again, I'm also not like the car buyers of the '70s or '80s either. Give me value - fuel economy and price - in something that's designed nicely enough that I won't be embarrassed to drive it and I'll be happy.

Not sure how important it is for automakers to cater to people like me, but it seems that they are, more and more.

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Not this 26 year old. I just got back from driving a 10 mile loop through curvy roads in the countryside for the hell of it. Say what you will about the priorities of gen Y and all that crap...nothing can replace the sensations you get with a rear driven V8 driving through twisty roads on a cool summer night.

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What a fluff piece, there are no stats, just someone writing another "kids today don't know what's good" article. Head to a drag strip, autocross event, or car show, and tell me there aren't any young people there(not that the article ever defined what age was "young"). Sure there are plenty that don't care about cars, but there have always been plenty of kids that don't care about cars. Are there fewer that care about cars today vs 20 or 30 years ago? Gee, that could've been a good statistic to make the article actually meaningful, huh? There may very well be fewer, but the article makes it sound like there are no young people interested in cars, which is just not true.

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I think the majority of 20 young people all into this category. Remember there's plenty of enthusiasts but we are the minority, especially us younger ones.

I personally wants looks, power, and performance first, but at the same time if I'm going to spend thousands on something I'm going to live with every day, so I want it to have goodies like a good stereo, leather, air conditioning, brakes, etc. That way I can have my cake and eat it too. I don't want a stripper.

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I've definitely noticed less young people actively care about their car. I'm certainly in the minority but I like my car and would have to put serious thought into any future purchase (Tough call between used CTS, new Cruze/Excelle, Malibu) because I want a car that I can really like- but most people my age would fly into a Honda dealer, look at a Civic or Accord, ask if it's good on gas- perhaps examine its carbon footprint and buy it. No emotion involved in that purchase, people like us are in an ever-shrinking minority. Then they drive the piss out of their cars until the wheels fall out not performing any type of maintenance outside of oil-changes and tire rotations unless it won't start.

Take my brother for example- he's getting his license this summer and I've tried to get him all excited about it but he just doesn't seem to care that much. Yeah there's cars that he likes (1st Gen CTS, Camaro) but he doesn't seem to get excited about it. He's on a pickup kick lately but he doesn't understand power-train options etc... and shows no interest in learning. Also shows no interest in learning about basic maintenance stuff either. Oh well.

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I've definitely noticed less young people actively care about their car. I'm certainly in the minority but I like my car and would have to put serious thought into any future purchase (Tough call between used CTS, new Cruze/Excelle, Malibu) because I want a car that I can really like- but most people my age would fly into a Honda dealer, look at a Civic or Accord, ask if it's good on gas- perhaps examine its carbon footprint and buy it. No emotion involved in that purchase, people like us are in an ever-shrinking minority. Then they drive the piss out of their cars until the wheels fall out not performing any type of maintenance outside of oil-changes and tire rotations unless it won't start.

Take my brother for example- he's getting his license this summer and I've tried to get him all excited about it but he just doesn't seem to care that much. Yeah there's cars that he likes (1st Gen CTS, Camaro) but he doesn't seem to get excited about it. He's on a pickup kick lately but he doesn't understand power-train options etc... and shows no interest in learning. Also shows no interest in learning about basic maintenance stuff either. Oh well.

will all those things be paid for by him or not? I've been taking care of my car for, almost as long as we've had it, washed and paid for gas in my regal, finally have legal ownership of my Monte. if he has to pay for those things he'll either care a lot about his car/truck or it will quickly be a beater if it already isn't.

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*like*

Like, look around

What was that article posted on this site where the US Army made a statement about the condition of enlisties? I'll guess they didn't get that was from being at the drag strip.

Edited by RjION

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I've still got hope for the young & yes those at the track events will be fine but the others well this economy will instill conservation in them. Through away cars will be a few years away (Indian & Chinese's) but we need to instill sustainability in our youth and drive our cars longer & being frugal isn't a bad thing saving more using less. Then striving for that NEW car purchase. Maybe a whole new generation will embrace the auto technology(mechanics) field. It's a fast dieing career, the money has dried up and the cost of entering is sky high with the tools & education. It's been the same route as the medical field, though a mechanic now has the use of diagnostic computers to follow the flow charts. No one wants to get their hands dirty for a living anymore but the jobs go unfilled, same in building maintenance other than A/C work.

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Like, look around

What was that article posted on this site where the US Army made a statement about the condition of enlisties? I'll guess they didn't get that was from being at the drag strip.

That's not the fault of electronics. That's bad parenting.

  • Upvote 1

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That's not the fault of electronics. That's bad parenting.

What ever you say my friend ........... then maybe some should do a better job. But is it the job of the parent or should the schools do it?

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will all those things be paid for by him or not? I've been taking care of my car for, almost as long as we've had it, washed and paid for gas in my regal, finally have legal ownership of my Monte. if he has to pay for those things he'll either care a lot about his car/truck or it will quickly be a beater if it already isn't.

My parents paid for my insurance only for the first year and I always paid for my own gas, maintenance etc- so I don't see how it's going to be different with him. For now even though the insurance is rape he'll be driving the Cobalt at least for a while until we sort something more permanent out.

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The digital age is killing young people's interest in everything.

I have to agree- I just watched a young girl on both her smart phone, and labtop, drinking a monster in between at a red light!

She didn't pay attention when the light went green, got honked at, but still just took her time and gave everyone the finger........

I'm starting to see things like this more and more...

Also have to see a poor 01 Auora being destoryed down my parent's street....lots of tech, no common sense.....

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I would agree with the OP's concept, even tho I saw a sweet '68 Camaro pulling out of my street tonight, raked with 50s on the back, skunk stripes, loud pipes, and the driver looked to be about 23.

Hm-mm... maybe it's just the cars that are the problem... ;)

Edited by balthazar

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What a fluff piece...

Exactly what I was thinking even half way through the article. I'm familiar with quite a few many teens and twenty-somethings whom are interested in cars and trucks. It's things like the lingo that has faded with the modern vehicle. Sure, kids still throw around terms like, V-tec and Rotory, but only the tuner crowd. Hell, a couple guys a know tossed out the Vortec V6s in their Sonoma and S10 and swapped in 350 V8s. They might not know everything, but they learned a lot and they love their trucks even more now. This story has some points, but it doesn't make any solid ones.

IMHO, while the internet and cell phone have given kids far more to waste their time with, I don't think comparing the 70s with a decade forty years later is worth comparing. The world changes, who says the automobile always has to be of any significance to anyone?

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nothing can replace the sensations you get with a rear driven V8 driving through twisty roads on a cool summer night.

AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!

Had the Monte Carlos out today ... and holy crap ... guess I'm not going to sell 'em after all......lol

Cort | 36.m.IL | 5 Monte Carlos.1 Caprice Classic | pig valve.pacemaker

MCs.CC | models.HO.legos.CHD.RadioShows | RoadTrips.us66 = http://www.chevyasylum.com/cort

"What kind of love keeps breaking a heart?" ... Brooks & Dunn ... 'Long Goodbye'

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