You know you are getting older when you start an article talking about “How it was when I was a teenager.” But that is what this article is all about.
In my era, the late 60’s and on, all the guys and girls could not wait to get a car.....preferably a muscle car or sporty convertible......and how that was the main goal as a kid. Getting a drivers license and a car was the ultimate achievement as it provided the freedom for us teenagers, allowing us to go meet our friends, establish independence and separate us from our parents. It was the critical right of passage to drive your own car, go where you wanted, play the radio loud, and just have a blast. The American love affair for cars was everywhere, movies, songs, TV, and it defined an era.
Today that just doesn’t seem to be the case with teens. It seems like computers, the internet, cell phones, and social sites are all that matters to them and that is where they meet, talk, plan, and communicate, instead of doing it in a car.
According to most sources, they are a lot of recent studies showing a huge decline in auto sales among the millennial marketplace, and it’s no wonder auto manufacturers are in a mild state of panic, realizing they’re missing out on a generation that wields $200 billion in purchasing power. Numbers don’t lie, and over the last few years statistics have shown a significant drop in young people who own cars, as well as those with driver’s licenses--and that decline continues among the youngest millennials, meaning this is not a trend that’s going away anytime soon.
From 2007 to 2011, the number of cars purchased by people aged 18 to 34, fell almost 30%, and according to a study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, only 44% of teens obtain a driver’s license within the first year of becoming eligible and just half, 54% are licensed before turning 18. This is a major break with the past, considering how most teens of the two previous generations would race to the DMV for their license or permit on the day of their 16th birthday.
Unlike us Baby Boomers, who gained their independence and individuality from movies, music, cars, and motorcycles, older teens and young adults today are expressing their freedom through social channels, these are their new wheels and they get the keys now starting at about age 9 or under.
Today’s teens use technology in every thing they do, from mobile phones to tablets and laptops, and connect with friends, family, or to get work done, the tech gadget is their most prized possession, instead of a car.
Teens today game together and hang out virtually, they don't have that same need to drive over to see friends like we did in the past, their popularity and relationships are defined by their online status, not the muscle car or convertible like we wanted, and they make all of their connections online. They prefer to date online, and meet people through websites and apps.
And this is not all the fault of today’s teens. You have to blame the price of cars today from the factories in comparison to what they cost us back then. I have always looked at the cost and affordability of cars thru the years. I was a stock boy at Kroger’s when I was a 17 year old and made minimum wage back then, $1.65 an hour. That turns into $66.00 a week at 40 hours total. Take that times 52 and you get the princely sum of $3432.00 a year. Doesn’t sound like much does it? In 1968 you could buy 5 different versions (mostly different engine options) of a Camaro SS from $2881.00 to $3539.00!
So in effect, if I just worked a little overtime and saved all my money, I could buy and pay for a brand new Camaro in just one year!
Try that today if you are a teenager or for that matter, anyone else. A new 2014 Camaro SS will set you back over $45000.00. If you do the math, a teenager working today at the minimum wage of at $7.25 an hour would make $290.00 a week, times 52 and that ends up at $15080.00. That would take today’s teen almost three years of every dime they make to buy that same Camaro SS today.
Cars are just not as affordable to teens today as they were back then. Let alone the extra cost of gas, insurance, maintenance, etc. And the job market for teens has been bleak as well. All of these things have led to the demise of teenagers not wanting or buying cars. And the manufactures have been in a frenzy trying to figure out how to change that downward trend.
So is the era of the car as the most prized possession of a teen over?
Although manufacturers can’t expect to recoup the sales of cars to teens like it was years ago, they have tried to sell and promote cars that have features that meet this generation’s interests, such as tech-enabled cars with voice-activated communications and entertainment system and in-car connectivity as an extension of their phones. I am sure we will be seeing even more versions of these connected cars and apps in the future.
They cannot change the social patterns of teenagers and their wants, desires, and media fixations, so they will have to come up with better ways to deal with the problem.
Today’s teens do not feel the same empowerment we felt when we got our drivers license and first car, they feel that same thrill with the mobile and tech world that has developed.
I just hope that the smart phone does not replace the car as the most important vehicle for teenage freedom.
Me and my first car 1965 GTO in 1965.
I do think that the cars of today are too sophisticated as far as repairing and upgrading the vehicles power train for anyone without serous education and tools ,especially when it comes to the computer diagnostic scanners required . I'm 51 yrs old now but when I was...
I do think that the cars of today are too sophisticated as far as repairing and upgrading the vehicles power train for anyone without serous education and tools ,especially when it comes to the computer diagnostic scanners required . I'm 51 yrs old now but when I was working on the first few cars I owned as a teenager I could easily diagnose and afford to buy most of the tools required to fix and/or upgrade most cars made then. Now with all the necessary computer systems and sensors all cars come with now will make repairing them extremely difficult when the cars get older , automotive manufacturers will not keep making sensors and computers for cars that are considered obsolete once they get 10 to 20 yrs old . Imagine trying to find parts for a 2015 auto in 2030 . And due to emission laws that limit what can be modified and still be street legal . the ability to keep a car like a challenger hellcat still running when it's over 20 yrs old is going to make it very expensive and in many cases not worth fixing compared to buying a new car . I like my Cadillac Escalade but I doubt it will be on the road in 20 yrs but my 67 Chevy will not only be still easy to fix but also emission exempt and street legal.
Had some of my most memorable encounters in my 1966 nova!! Caught a lot of unsuspecting muscle car owners!! It was quite fun!!and there is an Acadian that makes the car scene down here in orlando....
Those cars were legends!!!
What would you do if you found a 1969 Pontiac GTO Judge covered in cow manure and mud in a barn? We're assuming many of you would get really excited because the car is most likely forgetten.Well that isn't the case here. The current owner purchased the car over 25 years ago, and then put it in the safest place he could think of, an old cow barn. Since then, the owner has planned on restoring the car, but unfortunately...
What would you do if you found a 1969 Pontiac GTO Judge covered in cow manure and mud in a barn? We're assuming many of you would get really excited because the car is most likely forgetten.Well that isn't the case here. The current owner purchased the car over 25 years ago, and then put it in the safest place he could think of, an old cow barn. Since then, the owner has planned on restoring the car, but unfortunately his job hasn't left him any time to do so. The car is covered up to the rockers in mud and cow manure, as well as rat remains all over the interior and exterior.The owner has yet to say when he plans to restore the car. What would you do if you found this GTO in its condition?Read more about this at Popular Hot Rodding.
That is a lot pine tree air fresheners!!!!!
Pitiful -What a waste