New Cars Must Be Green, Say Young Buyers In Study

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Read between the lines, and it isn't surprising that large carmakers are starting to get more involved with car sharing schemes and similar.

They're essentially preparing for a future where upcoming generations of drivers simply aren't as interested, or willing, to take the plunge into car ownership. Car-sharing will try and fill that gap.

The young drivers that are interested in cars are now more excited about green concerns and connectivity, says The Detroit News.

A recent study from management consultants McKinsey & Co suggests a car is now less of a status symbol than it was 20 or 30 years ago, but instead a symbol of independence and an advanced life-style.

To some degree, that means cars need to be an extension of the sort of devices we're becoming increasingly familiar with--tablet PCs and smartphones. Older generations might prefer simplicity in their cars--and maybe a healthy dose of horsepower--but for the increasingly car-disinterested, it's technology that'll sell cars.

Enviromental awareness is important, too.

Hybrids, plug-in cars and gas-sipping small cars may save you money on fuel, but they also make a statement about your attitude towards the environment. This is something younger buyers are becoming quite keen on.

McKinsey & Co's survey revealed that 47 percent of the young--those between 18-39 years old--showed greater willingness to pay extra for an electric car, and are keener to use low-CO2 vehicles.

The younger generations are also more aware of alternative-fuel vehicles. While electric cars have been relatively slow, they're also increasing steadily. There are still concerns over price (always a factor with younger drivers) and for electric vehicles, range anxiety--but the research suggests that once these barriers have been overcome, there's little really stopping an increase in popularity of plug-ins.

The McKinsey findings broadly echo other recent surveys of younger drivers, particularly "millenials" or "Generation Y" customers.

Last year, Deloitte revealed that 6 out of 10 younger drivers worldwide would prefer to drive a hybrid than most other kinds of vehicle.

Another, by GfK, revealed that while many aren't actually that interested in outright fuel efficiency, younger buyers are very much interested in the latest generation of small cars--which are fun to drive, and--wait for it--packed with technology.

Broadly, much of the research seems fairly consistent.

While opinions vary on how important fuel efficiency is, the image of hybrid and plug-in vehicles seems as important as the economy--if only to show off the high-tech nature of the cars. And they need to be technologically advanced, and packed with connectivity kit.

That, of course, is if younger buyers can afford those cars in the first place. But with more technology filtering down into more affordable cars, perhaps the future for carmakers isn't so gloomy after all.


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Comments (5)
  1. If battery technology and infrastructure were to the point that owning an electric car wasn't in some ways a sacrifice, the choice between ICE and electric would be a no-brained. An electric drivetrain is simpler, smoother, has a much better torque curve, it doesn't generate as much heat, doesn't smell...

    The one thing a survey can't capture is that if the range, cost, and charge times of batteries weren't valid issues, nobody would buy an ICE in the first place. If a buyer could test drive two identical cars, except that one was electric and one ICE, nobody would buy the ICE. Because the electric-powered car just drives better.

  2. "if the range, cost, and charge times of batteries weren't valid issues, nobody would buy an ICE" - first, because of those issues electric car is absolutely irrelevant to anyone thinking through about purchase of one. Second, even those poor young people who are bamboozled into wanting them due to marketing "because they are green" forget one fact of life that is staring them into face: your other consumer items with rechargeable batteries need a new ones after 300+/- charging cycles. This fact not only makes long term maintenance of current electric cars astronomically expensive but kills other two important issues for Green people: total cost of power (electricity and batteries) and GREEN(not) in a worst way (heavy metals in batteries).

  3. "If a buyer could test drive two identical cars, except that one was electric and one ICE, nobody would buy the ICE. " - in the real world, customer can test drive almost identical Chevy Volt and Chevy Cruze. Compare their prices 41000$ to 17000$ and long term cost of ownership (after 60000 miles, Cruze is still in warranty, Volt needs new 20000$ battery pack...; say that gasoline is 5$/gal and electricity is free and batteries are free and Volt never used any gas: 200000+ miles of driving would make the deal even...). In the real world only reckless would chose Volt. Confirmation from the real world: I bike throughout Long Island NY. The only Volts I have ever seen are in ritchy Hamptons. Cruze I stumble upon every few minutes, everywhere.

  4. I wrote a similar piece not too long ago that show how this generation is more interested in continuing their uninterrupted social connected life, especially as they move form point A to Z. A car is not longer a car but an extension of their connectivity. And can you blame them for not wanting something a little more interesting? They are living in a sea of look alike, bland cars that are mass produced, designed to grab the highest market percentage but not enlisting passion anymore. It all makes sense they don't care about owning an expensive machine in a shoddy economy when they can share a connected mobility platform.

  5. Young people awearness and perception of climatic change should be much stroger then the old generation. They want to live their life on a friendly climate planet.
    The old guys don't care what they do to the climate. And if they do the same for another few decades, they may not live long enought to harvest what they seeded.
    And the most of us don't think about the heritage we let our children.
    Famous quotes:
    'After me the flood'
    'Fortunately I won't live to see it'

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