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Kids today aren't buying cars like their parents did

Cyclists ride past a Bixi bicycle stand in Toronto, Ont. Tuesday, April 16, 2013. Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail)

Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail

Young people are not particularly interested in cars, and that presents problems for the auto industry.

"(Young) people will not so much want to spend their money on cars but on the experience; car ownership will no longer be the rite of passage that it once was. We can see this trend on its way in Europe and the United States and car makers are going to have to look at how they manage this," Dale Harrow, head of the automotive design school at the Royal College of Art in London, told www.just-auto.com.

Boston College professor Juliet Schor, meanwhile, says kids are actually falling out of love with the motor car. They are instead giving their affections to social networks or computer screens, she told just-auto, adding that "Fewer than one-third of 16-19 year olds are applying for their driving licence in the U.S. now, compared to almost 100 per cent in 1978."

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Harrow says the world still has "petrol heads," and you'll find them in emerging markets such as China, not so much North America and Europe. It's enough to make baby boomers such as me weep at the realization that what was a passion of our youth is for many of today's young people little more than an expensive inconvenience.

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About the Author
Senior writer, Globe Drive

In 25 years of covering the auto industry, Jeremy Cato has won more than two-dozen awards, including three times being named automotive journalist of the year. Jeremy was born in Montreal and grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. More

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