Millennials, a dilemma for automakers

Jan. 16, 2012 at 11:23 AM
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DETROIT, Jan. 16 (UPI) -- Young adults are pushing U.S. automakers to think very differently about how to make and sell an automobile to a tech-savvy audience, experts said.

As 18-24-year-olds -- the group known as millennials -- enter the workforce they present a new dilemma to automakers, The Detroit News reported Monday.

This is an age group that is used to having the Internet in their lives. Because of that, the urge to get a car at a young age to stay connected with friends is diminished.

Youths still want to stay connected with friends, but they can now use the Internet to accomplish that. Owning a car becomes less relevant.

"There's simply new and better and, frankly, more efficient alternatives to communication and getting that freedom that they used to rely on the auto industry to provide," said Chevrolet's senior manager for global marketing at John McFarland.

"We are very tech savvy, so we need a car that's tech savvy, too," said Tasnim Rahman, a 19-year-old University of Michigan student.

A survey by Deloitte found that owning a hot car was not the top priority for young drivers. Nearly 60 percent indicated that in-dash technology was their top priority. At the same time, 73 percent indicated a touch screen interface was at the top of their list for a vehicle's features.

"Having a car is not the same priority anymore for young people," said Moray Callum, Ford Motor company's head design for the Americas.

Putting it in perspective, "Adults are worried about texting being a disturbance while driving. A lot of kids think that driving is a disturbance to texting," he said.

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