Actually, Millennials Love Their Cars


Millennials have been dubbed the “social generation” and have spurred this lifestyle of sharing. They share everything, from political opinions to photos of their precious pets. But are they willing to share their cars, too?

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As a college student, I understand how easy it can be to become enveloped within social media and how satisfying it is to share your everyday thoughts with anyone who is willing to listen to read what you have to say. With all this sharing going on you would expect millennials to share their rides as well, via ride sharing, but this may not be the case, because let’s be honest—why would you share your car when you can own one? There has been a long, ongoing debate of whether or not millennials are using and buying cars. Let’s dive in and take a closer look at what these two opposing views have to say.

(The Myth) Millennials Couldn’t Care Less About Cars

Millennials are stereotyped as lazy, cheap, constantly socializing over digital media and avoiding major milestones in life. This is the generation of technology and there is nothing more important than that. If millennials are going to spend money they are going to go buy the latest, trendiest gadget, not a car. But the fact is, millennials aren’t spending money, and in this society, not buying stuff is basically just the same as punching good ol’ Uncle Sam or Lady Liberty right in the face. To be a true American citizen you must buy things and you must buy these things frequently. Millennials are constantly criticized for their lack of consumerism and their non-existent efforts to contribute to our nation and help the economy thrive.

Also, millennials are not following in their parents’ footsteps. Generation X-ers spent most of their paychecks on cars and homes but millennials couldn’t care less about those things. Millennials would rather spend their time on their smartphones, living in cyberspace.

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The Detroit Free Press conducted a study on reasons why millennials do not have driver’s licenses. 600 Americans between the age of 18 and 39 were surveyed and the results are as follows:

  • 37% said they are too busy to get a driver’s license
  • 32% said costs of owning a car are too expensive
  • 21% said they can catch a ride from someone else

Bottom line, millennials don’t care about cars, they would rather socialize on their smartphones and computers, right? No way Jose! This is not true (anymore). Millennials are on the defensive and are explaining why buying and using a car is more important than ever during this pivotal time in their lives.

(The Truth) Millennials Love Their Cars

A recent study conducted by MTV proves that millennials are looking to the future and their cars are going to help them get there. (Ahem, we aren’t lazy; we are planning). 63% of millennials say that their car is important to helping them become who they want to be. Instead of ‘avoiding major milestones’, millennials are preparing for them. Millennials weren’t ready to buy cars in the past but they are ready now. Two-thirds of millennials are more open to spending money than they were in the past couple of years. This change in consumption can be backed by the fact that millennials are younger, more likely to be unemployed and are spending more money on education than their parents ever did. But the truth is, millennials are growing up fast and having a car is a big part of growing as a person. Also, as the economy recovers from the Great Recession, millennials are ready to start buying more, and cars are on the top of their list.

Millennials are looking to the future and their cars are going to help them get there.

90% of millennials say having a car means having more freedom—and who doesn’t want more freedom? This newfound freedom is allowing them to grow as individuals and start to contribute to our economy. TrueCar released a study proving that millennials will become a huge force within the U.S. car market. The car-buying site found that millennials will purchase approximately 4.24 million vehicles this year, which forms 25% of the car market. This in turn will generate $135 billion in revenue in 2015. According to Cars.com, millennials are more likely to buy a car in the next six months than any other generation group. So much for millennials not contributing to the economy—they are practically holding the economy on their shoulders, thanks guys.

The Debate Is Over

Well finally, this debate has come to a close and the results are in: Millennials do love their cars and don’t want to part with them (especially not now).

Getting to school and work seems a little more important than tweeting about playing hooky (because you couldn’t drive to school/work), doesn’t it? Millennials seem to think so. According to the MTV study, 72% of the 3,610 millennials surveyed would rather give up their smartphones for a week over their car. In other words, millennials don’t just want their cars, they need their cars. 80% of millennials get around by car and 70% of millennials enjoy driving. A millennial study participant, from the study conducted by Autotrader.com, said the following in regards to his car.

“My vehicle is critical to so many parts of my life. I need it for work, sports, friends, family, etc. I am lost without it. I would put it on a level with my phone. They are both critical to me, but in the end it (car) is slightly more important.”

 

Instead of nagging on millennials, maybe we should be thanking them. Millennials are buying cars and using them to their full advantage as well as our full advantage. They understand the importance of the purchase and what it means to them and their futures—and that goes hand-in-hand with the nation’s future. So no big deal or anything.

Millennials out there: Car or phone? If you had to choose, which would you?

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I'm an adventurous Austinite, studying Corporate Communication at The University of Texas. Currently, I am learning the ins and outs of all things PR, marketing and writing related. Things that I love range from playful puppies to Alamo Drafthouse milkshakes.