Social Media Drives Youth Auto Trends and Leads to More Safety Concerns
When I was in high school there was one event we all looked forward to more than anything, maybe even more then graduation, and that was getting a driver’s license. We all longed for the day we could hop behind the wheels and drive to the mall, our friends, or wherever we felt for that matter. While I didn’t have a cool car, I sure as heck wanted one and it was certainly a status symbol. Kids these days are spoiled to the point where many don’t really care much about what they drive and some are even waiting longer to get their license.
Kids 18-24, often called Millennials, are forming a disturbing trend to automakers. They are far more into gadgets and the internet than cars. In fact, a recent survey even revealed many would rather go without a car than without the internet. This disturbing trend has left the auto industry scratching their heads wondering what to do.
More so, the Millennials who are into cars are steering away from the traditional high school muscle cars and SUV’s. Most prefer a more compact, urban, hip and green vehicle over their predecessors taste. Case in point, smaller cars like Fiat and the Ford Focus have had tremendous success over the more traditional sedans. Another trend is that many are opting for used cars instead of new ones.
So what automakers to do? Most are looking to social media to help market to Millennials. With smartphones, wifi and social media, kids are constantly in communication with each. It’s that communication that they look for the most. When I was that age there was nothing I would rather do then go hang out with friends. The same holds true with Millennials, only now they do it virtually as well. They are more interested in anything that allows them to stay connected to each other.
This, of course, presents huge problems for carmakers as more and more accidents occur due to phone use on the roads. Numerous laws have been passed and even the Department of Transportation is trying to find a way to force car manufacturers to inhibit a drivers’ phone use. Is this unfair to automakers who are merely responding to the public’s demands? The problem is that it isn’t their fault and they can only do so much. While they are investigating options like voice activation and docking stations, ultimately the decision is the individual drivers to make and nobody can control that.