Millennials are just as not into cars as much as the baby boomer generation

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Millennials vs Baby Boomers 

Millennials and Gen Z are not the motor industry’s favourite bunch. The reason for this being that they, unlike the generation labelled as Baby Boomers are not as interested in driving or even having their own car.

Car sales purchases by this bunch are dropping significantly and it is evident that owning a car is not high on their list of priorities. Not only this but the younger generation is not pursuing getting their drivers licence. If they can get around having to drive or own their own vehicle they will find a way to do this. 

This is in huge contrast to the previous generation as they grew up believing that being able to drive and owning a car was a necessity. It was almost like a rite of passage, you would get your drivers licence, then your car, this would signify the move from childhood to adulthood. Back then this was something to be proud of and a big achievement. You were free!

You can throw out these classic thoughts now as this is not the case nowadays. It is an odd mindset change to have but I suppose it's just something to accept now. There is no one specific reason why this has occurred but here are some of the methods behind this madness. 

Less enthralled by making a big capital purchase - nowadays many students have student loans and do not have money lying around to make such a big purchase. They are just trying to live from day to day. Even if they do, investing it in a car is not what they deem to be the smartest option knowing that as soon as they drive off the car depreciates in value. 

Lift sharing seems like the smarter option - if one of your friends already drives and goes the same way, whether it be to college or to work, then why not just hope in with them and throw them some money for fuel. Also although it may not be big in Ireland at the moment the use of ride-sharing could potentially be on the up, this is where people (who you may not know) share the same vehicle if they are going in the same direction, it picks you up right outside your door with the click of an app. 

Do not want the worry of car issues - there are so many things to consider when you own a car. Where to park, how much will it cost you? Car insurance, tax etc. the list goes on and on. You also need to be equipped in case anything goes wrong with the car. Not only are all of these things expensive but can cause a lot of stress and are a hassle. So why deal with this when one can avoid it. 

Driving is not fun, its a chore - you have these notions that you are now free and that you don't have to rely on anyone and can go wherever you want. While some of these things are indeed true, it is also very tiring. Especially if you are the only one of your friends etc. who can drive. The novelty wears off very quickly. 

You could miss out on things - if you are the driver on a road trip, evening out for dinner or anywhere for that matter and it turns into ‘lets have a drink’ or ‘lets go out’ well then you as the driver are unable to do these things as you are stuck now with this vehicle. It puts you in a not so fun situation while everyone else has not a care in the world.   

Getting a car is a long road - there are so many things you must consider when purchasing a car- choosing the right make and model, where you buy it (from a dealership or privately), inspecting the car, getting a good deal etc. You need to be smart so that you don't get taken advantage of. 

Car mechanics are a mystery - it seems that less of the prior generations are passing along less and less about how to go under-the-hood of a car, eventually leading to current generations not knowing how a car works. More than that but they actually don't really care how it works just once it works. They have someone that can do all that for them. 

Traffic is unbearable and driving is tiring - the days are gone when you could drive your car freely on an open road, now you can barely drive 200m without running into traffic. In recent years, there are more and more cars on the road with little road changes. This no doubt leads to today's road users being stuck in traffic. 

Ecosystem awareness - current generations are growing up with the looming threat of climate change. The increased awareness that petrol and diesel-fuelled vehicles are harmful to the environment. Although they are now much improved they still release an awful lot of harmful emissions. Electric vehicles are on the rise however there are still many details that need to be ironed out before they take over the roads. Millennials are not willing to commit to either just yet. 

With all of these reasons, why would anyone want to buy their own car? Millennials will find ways to avoid driving for as long as they can this includes purchasing their own car. So what does this mean for the motor industry? 


Justin Kavanagh
Justin Kavanagh is a recognised leader in automotive intelligence and vehicle data supply to the entire motor industry. He has almost 20 years experience in building systems from the ground up. As the Managing Director of Vehicle Management System, he understands the need and importance of trustworthy and reliable vehicle history and advice to both the trade and the public.
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