"DETROIT (AP) — Millennials were once a source of panic in the auto industry. Dubbed the "go nowhere" generation, they weren't getting driver's licenses, never mind buying cars. Headlines declared it was "The End of Car Culture."Another interesting article is The baffling reason many millennials don’t eat cereal by Roberto A. Ferdman of The Washington Post.
New data suggests at least some of that worry was misplaced. Millennials — especially the oldest ones — are these days buying cars in big numbers. They just had a late start.
Now the largest generation in the U.S., millennials bought 4 million cars and trucks in the U.S. last year, second only to the baby boomers, according to J.D. Power's Power Information Network, which defines millennials as those between 21 and 38 in 2015. Millennials' share of the new car market jumped to 28 percent. In the country's biggest car market, California, millennials outpaced boomers for the first time.
Industry watchers say it's been hard to get a read on millennials because the generation is big and diverse, ranging from recent college graduates to settled-down suburbanites. Automakers were also unsure about the impact of new transportation choices, like ZipCar and Uber, which helped millennials delay car buying. But as they got jobs and started families, millennials headed into car dealerships just like previous generations.
"This whole idea that they're not going to need cars is absolutely ridiculous," said Steven Szakaly, the chief economist for the National Automobile Dealers Association. "The new car buyer age is just happening much later."
It's a very different story from 2010, when millennials — who make up around 30 percent of the population — bought just 17 percent of new cars. Auto executives wondered aloud if the trend would be permanent.
In 2011, a University of Michigan study showed a steady decline in the number of young people getting their driver's licenses. In 1983, the survey found, 87 percent of 19-year-olds had a license. By 2010, that had fallen to 69 percent. Millennials told the study's authors that they were too busy to get licenses and were happy to hitch rides from others.
But there was more to the story. The advent of graduated licensing laws — which make teens practice driving in stages before granting a full license — was one reason millennials were getting their licenses later. An even bigger reason? The economy.
For many millennials, the Great Recession hit just as they were getting their first job or graduating from college. By 2010, millennials' unemployment rate reached 13 percent — four percentage points higher than the national average — according to a report by the White House Council of Economic Advisers. For teens, things were even worse. The teen unemployment rate rose from 15 percent to 26 percent between 2006 and 2012.
Millennials' unemployment rate has improved to around 8 percent. Add low interest rates and low gas prices to the mix and the car market suddenly looks more enticing to young buyers."
Thursday, April 21, 2016
Are Millennials Buying Cars Again?
See Millennials are finally arriving in the car market by DEE-ANN DURBIN of AP. Excerpt: