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When did automakers start hating young people so much?

I found this topic really interesting in that only a couple of weeks ago I was lamenting the loss of getting to pick and choose options on cars and being able to order a car from a manufacturer. Many of you will remember this. For example in the 60’s, you found that if you wanted a 68 Mustang, it came with about 9 engine/power options You wanted a 390 4V but your dad says no way, but you can get that 289 2V. OMG, everyone knows you have the little engine because of a single tail pipe, You liked the green but did not like the white interior, etc. You could tell the dealer what you wanted and it took about 2 - 3 months to get it in from the factory (with duals). Today, the manufacturers decide what you want and put them on the lot. I would love to buy a 2020 green Mustang, something in the area of what I call British Racing Green. They do offer a neon green, and you can get a Bullitt for 70K. Why can’t I order a green car? The carpets in any green will be black. Why can’t I order green carpets to match the exterior. Because Ford and everybody else does not think there are enough people to want that combination. I almost bought a Ford Ranger p/u in 2010 but went with a car. Ford quit making them. I emailed Ford and asked why because they were selling a lot of them. They told me, “We want you to join the F-150 family”. I am not kidding. I told them I wanted to be in the Ranger family. All the other manufacturers loved Ford’s idea.

I think younger people, not all by any stretch of the imagination, understand that what is on the lot is what they get. You either compromise and get something you really do not care for that much, or you don’t buy. Ford/GM, Chrysler do not care. It is the bottom line running the show. These manufacturers do not put the profit into R and D, they reinvest in the market because if they do not show X% profit, the CEO is out with a multi-million dollar chute. I am a teacher and one of the things I always ask my students is what kind of car would they like? Most shrug their shoulders, but I remember one about two years ago who said, "late 60’s Camaro Z28. Wow! Those kids are still out there.

Has anyone considered the Subaru WRX? Here in the Northwest, where every other car is a Subaru, every other millennial is driving one and many of them are customizing their cars. They seem to be the Mustang for the newest drivers. I don’t know what they cost new, but my 23-year-old nephew, who doesn’t have much money, is on his second used one. He had to buy a better one once he had a family. He has added performance upgrades and belongs to a car club for his peers.

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Firstly, you don’t reach young people with printed brochures. You do it with social-media advertising.

Second, auto makers tried to guess what young buyers wanted. When the ugly Honda Element was launched, the magazine articles said it was targeted at unemployed buyers in their mid twenties. That seemed stupid. How do unemployed people buy cars, let alone new cars?

As galling as it is to us car-folks, the statistics show that teenagers are in no hurry to get their drivers licenses. And when they do, few of them are putting any effort into making their cars fun.

As for trashing electric cars, you have to understand that they came out as a way for car manufacturers to meet the stiffer Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards. Also, the Chinese government is pushing for electric cars, and China is a huge market.

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Uber has become the new generation of car for the young. No payments, maintenance etc. Then if they do own a car, it’s just some plane looking cheap Honda Civic or its equivalent. As a young guy, a car was everything to me. I worked on it, added accesories, kept it clean. Really took pride in my car. The times they are a changing. (Bob Dylan 1964)

Agreed. Plus GM is on life support, and Chrysler is hanging on by it’s fingernails. Ford needs to be even more conservative than usual to survive.

I’m hoping for the financial collapse of Tesla to wake up the woke generation that the future really isn’t here yet, and probably won’t be for a while, and that starry eyed unicorn loving fast talkers are actually selling you snake oil. One can hope.

Call me crazy but I’m sure the Calais was an Oldsmobile, not a Cadillac. Is the author thinking about the Cimarron?

I’m not young, but then I’m not really old either being a GenXer. What do I want in a new vehicle? Simplicity and a low price to match. I guess the author and I are on the same page. The new Jeep Gladiator pick-up is what I have been dreaming of since I owned a Comanche pick-up back in the 90’s but do I want one? Not at $50K (Canadian) for a base model, which is a base model in name only. It’s a Jeep, people! Where is the rubber floor covering? Where are the roll up windows? Where are the vinyl seats? Can I delete-option the radio because I certainly have no interest in a complicated info-tainment system in my new Jeep. Traction control? No thanks, that’s what the floor-shifted part-time transfer case is for. Drive by wire? Rather have a throttle cable, thank you.

I want a new vehicle that I can rely on without fears of expensive electronic failures. One that, if it does break, I can fix with the tools I have in my garage. Maybe what I really need is a brand new Jeep YJ. Hey Jeep, can you build me one of those? I’m sure you still have the tooling kicking around but do me one favour, can you bolt in round headlights instead of square?

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Have you ever driven a Civic? Manual transmission Civics have been the golden standard for fun to drive entry level cars for many decades(except the 9th gen which was admittedly terrible) A car doesn’t need 400hp to be “fun”

Those things aren’t available because the people who have been buying jeeps since the TJ(which was the last good jeep. Period. ) don’t want them. They want the look, and nothing else. Even hardcore “jeep people” that bought JKs with dealer installed lifts and 35in mud tires only ever drove their kids to the mall with it. Also, square headlight YJs look great.

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In my sixtys and still love cool cars. I have owned a lot of interesting vehicles over the years but could not afford to be a collector so I call myself a toy rotator. And I still can not bring myself to spend more for a toy then what I paid for my first house. Affordable fun is important for all age groups. My latest is a 2003 Thunderbird, needs a little TLC but for $7000 I can afford to get it in shape in no time. It will be headed out west for a three week tour shortly. That is what I call fun!

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WOW! Lots of comments here, from all different points of view. I firmly believe that the average millennial, or of driving age gen z person Does Not give a $h1t about cars. My millennial daughter and her boyfriend both drive high mileage sub-compacts, when they rented a compact CUV for vacation last year, they were ready to buy it, because they thought it was the greatest thing since sliced bread. I was lucky enough to retire at 45, and have relocated to the south, and taken on a part time job at a golf course. The boss is a few years older than me, and I work with another retiree who is in his 70s, the rest of the employees are 17-36 years old. The boss drives a pickup to work, but he has a 69 Boss Mustang at home. I drive my 17 GTI daily, and have my Firehawk in my garage. There is a 24 year old guy who just bought a used Civic SI, and a 33 year old who just traded a home built motorcycle for a 17 WRX. The rest of them all drive jacked up pickups with LOUD exhausts and stereos, or mid to large SUVs (all with oversized fancy chrome rims), and they laugh at our 3 “Little” cars. They are clueless, and cannot fathom what those cars are capable of, and how much fun it is to actually accelerate, corner, brake, etc. SAD!!

Your right. A car doesn’t need to be 400hp. It needs to be a 600+hp 427 stroker. The need for speed.

Lots of barely-hidden cynical remarks aimed at what is likely perceived by the author as “clueless liberals”. Things change; markets evolve, and while it might not be the same as what you valued as a young person, don’t underestimate the auto industry’s ability to produce what young people want. “It can’t be an electric car; that’s been tried before”…really? Technology evolves and gets better - Tesla’s “insane mode” silent rocket blast will trickle down and kids will still get their speed thrills, while polluting less. That’s progress, whether you can relate to it or not.

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Question, do they have a high mileage subcompacts because they don’t like cars or because that’s all they can afford? I’d imagine that assuming you shared your enjoyment of the hobby there’s at least appreciation. I don’t know your situation, but in general there s a difference between appreciation and not being able to afford and indifference. That said, I think the perception that millennials don’t care about cars is false. I personally know a multitude of millennials who do.

As much as I dislike bro dozers, I’m actually gonna side against you on your coworkers. I’d argue that they are enthusiasts although lacking in taste or understanding of other cars.

It’s long past time to end this mindless nonsense of empty cold war rhetoric about climate change.

  • It’s real. Not like there’s a question.
  • It’s human caused. There are No - as in None Whatsoever - other variables that would account for it.
  • There are No scientific peer–reviewed data to suggest otherwise.
  • The ice Is melting. Trump himself has requested a new seawall to protect one of his golf courses in Scotland against rising sea levels.
  • The nonsense about Manhattan overlooks the recently announced project to protect Staten Island against rising sea levels. Manhattan is only a matter of time.
  • Capitalism as currently practiced does Not repeat Not deal with the interests of consumers – the customers that are core to making it work.
  • I mean “agitprop?” A term that only means someone says something with which someone else doesn’t happen to agree.
    The upcoming changes in the vehicular market are Not the result of some insidious plot against an economic regime, or a deep conspiracy to ignore climate change as real, or an anti-car agenda.
    Every.Single.Manufacturer is now looking into EV’s, and those folks are capitalists of a very high order. They are Not being forced into it by government regulations – though there is a lot to be said for being able to breathe actual Air or being safe on crowded roads.
    The current change now underway is comparable to the change from horse-drawn transportation in the early 20th century, and much of the current rhetorical nonsense follows what was being said at the time. Even the pollution problem of horses was mostly about manure – a genuine large public health hazard that required governmental moves to deal with.
    Those of us in the car hobby are Not “the market.” We are a very small slice of it. We see the cars as worthy objects in their own right, when the actual market is not interested in owning cars – it is interested in transportation.
    Transportation doesn’t and wont depend only on cars or trucks now, any more than it required trains and horses in 1900. It just requires mobility – nothing more.
    Capitalists will do as they have done before – move to exploit the new and changing market to come up with new an interesting ways to transport people and generate wealth in the process. That’s how Capitalism works – not by glueing itself to old outmoded technologies, or by complaining that the old ways are disappearing.
    Cars replaced trains and horses.
    Airplanes replaced ocean liners.
    Cars changed over the years, and will some more.
    A real capitalists will see that and move to react to the market. That’s what makes capitalism such a useful and effective economic regime.
    Standing on the sidelines complaining about it is a sure way to abandon a dynamic and interesting industry As it was always going to change, as it has before and will again.
    My wife’s horse was her hobby for 25 years. But no one would ever suggest she should have saddled it up and ridden it into town. She showed it at shows, rode it in closed events but enjoyed the hell out of it nevertheless.
    Over time, the same thing will happen with our petrol-powered cars.
    The smart people will make money by reacting to what the market will demand.
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Yes, they drive what they can afford, and what they can afford to put gas in, maintain, insure, etc. My daughter has liked all of my “Fun Cars”, but she has no desire to maintain a cars appearances, or mechanicals (she just views it as a means to an end, an appliance). My more than likely son-in-law to be, could care less, he sees no value in any car. They like SUV/CUV for the ride height, and because they are trendy right now, and even as they get older and earn more $, I don’t see them spending much on any vehicle, and definitely not a new one (they like most millennials prefer experiences, not possessions). To each their own I guess.

If we humans are responsible for global warming (I believe in climate change, as it has always changed, but I don’t believe in global warming), then how do you explain all the changes that happened over and over long before mankind walked the earth?
In the mid to late 1970s, many parts of the U.S. experienced major winter blizzards, and they claimed we were entering a new ice age, but a few years later into the early 80s…suddenly it’s global warming! The air we breathe in this country is Far cleaner than it was even in the 70s, and besides, how can you call electric cars cleaner? How do we produce the electricity to charge them? This planet has survived for Many, Many, Many years before mankind, and it will continue to do so long after we find ways to kill our selves off.

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Kindly suggest a Mazda CX-3 or 5. Ticks all the boxes they want, but they also happen to be great drivers. Once they get used to a car that handles well and is fun to drive around they may start to look for more engaging cars in the future.

My wife has a CX-5, and you’re right, for the price, it is the best CUV if you’re looking for a fun to drive vehicle. That being said, my kid liked the Nissan Rogue that they had as a rental last summer better!? I drove it, and thought it was a soulless pile, especially hated the CVT (but I’ve never driven one that I liked, or would own/buy, even Honda’s, that the motoring press seems to like).

How about that 64 1/2 Mustang. Affordable, Good Looking, Fun, Reliable. You put all 4 of those things in a car and it’s a huge win for everybody- SOMEBODY PLEASE DO THIS AGAIN instead of the toasters we are forced to choose from!

Oh well… I guess having one less fossil fueled car on the road is better then the tons of plastics we use without thinking twice about. NO I didn’t read the this article from start to finish but I do notice young people and their shopping habits when it comes to the need of doing less and letting their shopping come to them. For every one car on the road polluting the air there are billions of plastic bottles, plastic bags and coffee cups being produced that creates pollution as well…Its just like the young people to complain about something that’s gone on for years but not see what they have been doing is just adding to the evil we are doing to this planet…I know I know off topic here but its all is leading us to the same ending…WE are a throw away society and always will be from now on because its so easy…I.got to have the newest smart phone model,I got to have my liter bottle of water with me every second of the day and I got to stop and get the 5 dollar latte mocha so everyone see’s me looking the part… I guess we know that auto makers are letting us all down then too, you don’t need to “ORDER” that car you want because they have so many built already that they are hoping they can get us to buy one with a few of the options we might want on your $23.000 dollar car. I know its not in them to wait for anything…I mean the younger people…They have grow up with this ability to figure out that nothing else is more important than their time complaining!!! Oh… and its not about anything specific, just the topic of the day on FB… The auto industry is falling on its face now…after about 2 or 3 years of level gas prices and a so-called “better economy” the small car market beating over the last 7 or 8 years has taken its toll…The younger people have lost out on that option of an economical car because the auto industry lost that bread and butter segment to the SUV craze…When push came to shove on the show room floor, SUV’s got us believing more is better!!! I know “to each their own” is a good rule to stand on but the market can’t follow theses young people ideas because they have so many of them and they are all self absorbing interest…If and when they look up from their smart phones and are told “take it or leave it” or “I have to order that” or " this is the only color it comes in" well I guess we know that they will get a ton of replies to their post about how rude they were treated at the_______ ( fill in the blank ) I was at a 16 year olds birthday party this weekend, the only thing that stood out to me as unusual was the fact that the younger people that were there seemed to only be concerned about having enough outlet to charge their phones…a dozen or so kids all with that phone glued to their hands…Yes the auto industry does hate younger people so much, and a lot of us do as well…