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Deferred dream: Fewer teens getting their first car

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Deferred dream: Fewer teens getting their first car

08:46 AM

Work hard all summer, save up and buy your first car. Generations of teens have followed that formula to gain the freedom that comes from getting behind the wheel. But in this recession-troubled year, the ranks of new teen motorists appears to be shrinking dramatically.

Five years ago, 7.5 million used cars were sold for use by teenagers. This year, the market has shrunk to 4.2 million, according to CNW Research. It's not just because fewer used cars are being sold overall: In 2005, 17.4% of used cars were destined for teens. Now it's 10.9%.

"Reflecting the jobs market, there has been a serious decline in the number of teens who make a full payment for their vehicle to parents -- down from 21% to 16% while parents are paying the full price in 44% of the cases vs. 43.5%," CNW states. More than 27% of teens haven't worked part or full time in the last 12 months, more than double the teen unemployment figure of 2005.

Part of the problem might be that teens aren't as interested in driving. The Colorado Springs Gazette reports that from 2004 to 2008, the number of licenses issued to minors fell by 9% in Colorado, from 65,243 to 58,994 even as the number of 15 to 19 year olds by U.S. Census Bureau estimates in the state grew by about 14%.

One of the newly minted drivers there is Sarah Marron, pictured at right, who told the Gazette she didn't mind waiting until she turned 18 to get her license:

Among other things, she avoided the restrictions put on younger drivers.

There is one bright spot for the U.S. automakers: CNW says those teens who do end up in used cars are getting ones produced by the Big 3 Detroit makers in larger numbers. Reason: they're cheaper than most Asian or European models.

Though they might crave a used Ford Mustang or BMW 3 Series, more teens are being forced by drive whatever they are given, or can afford, rather than their dream set of wheels, CNW adds. Oh, the horror.

link:

http://content.usatoday.com/communities/driveon/post/2010/07/deferred-dream-fewer-teens-getting-their-first-car/1

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Fewer teen drivers on the road? Awesome!

Work hard all summer, save up and buy your first car. Generations of teens have followed that formula to gain the freedom that comes from getting behind the wheel.

That's for noobs. Try making money with an advertising affiliate program at 14 and saving up thousands of dollars to buy your first car with cash at 16.

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Or rather just dumping it into gadgets like smart phones and mp3 players.

I don't think you're giving a lot of teens credit where it's due. The cost of gadgets still pale in comparison to car ownership. Quite a few of my younger coworkers from my old workplace were very smart with their money, often sending it to the bank for either school, or for large purchases in the future. Not a wide sample of course, but I think the notion that older teens are frivolous with their cash doesn't hold as much water as people think.

Of course, mass transit access is likely another reason for a drop in purchases. Fewer cars on the road, and more people on the bus is good for everyone anyways.

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There's also the simple fact that jobs are fewer and far between, as well as being harder to get.

In fact I got my car when I was 20, although I was very eager to get it.

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I think this is the important part:

They're talking about teens buying their first cars, which presumably means the car is titled in their name and the teen is paying the insurance. Given that insurance companies actively try to screw anyone under 25, I think what may be happening is teens still have cars to drive and insurance to pay, but the car and insurance is under their parents name. That's what many in my high school and college did; have a car in a parent's name to take advantage of better insurance rates.

That's what I did until I was past 25...through high school, college and grad school my cars were in my Dad's name..a Mustang GT was cheap to insure for a 67 yr old, but not so for a 17 yr old..I didn't title or insure a car until I got my first job out of grad school.

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