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The Pony Wars of Gen Y

Posted by Bill Prosperi on February 17, 2011

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Detroit is in the midst of a revival.  The auto industry that some had left for dead, pulled a ‘Monty Python’ of sorts and proclaimed ‘I’m not dead yet’.  It seems they may have been right.  After quite a few years of some lack luster offerings, the Big Three are flexing their American Muscle that we all knew was still there. They just needed to go on a diet and shed some of that excess fat that was hiding that toned body.  While not quite chiseled at the moment, there is a glimmer of hope starting to shine through.

I have always been a fan of American Muscle.  There is just something to the battle of the Mustang vs the Camaro. Let us also not forget Dodge has rejoined the picture with the Challenger. Every year they trip over themselves trying to out do each other. But things now are different. These beasts not only compete for top horse power but also try to nudge the other in the now ever present battle for best in class mpg and tech amenities. I always thought the purpose of these machines was to get somewhere fast and as brutal as possible, regardless of what it took. I know, they still do that but the mpg argument and tech brings a chuckle to me. They still are machines of brute force.

Which brings me to my main thought, what will Gen Y have for this purpose when they become sad thirty somethings in need of a hobby? The industry now is all about how much tech can be crammed into a small shell that can get a million miles per gallon. Is that bad? No. I am a tech geek for all intensive purposes. With the route Gen Y is taking, could horsepower change to RAM? Will we see a battle not betwen engines or halo cars but what mobile operating system their PEV is running? Social media is now a top priority it seems. Many will chat via text, Twitter, or Facebook instead of going down the street to just chat on the front porch. All I had as a kid was a phone attached to a stretched out twenty foot cord. Al Gore had not yet blessed us with this internet fad thingy.

To meet regulations, many manufacturers are subplanting their lineups with various subcompacts, hybrids, and plug-in electrics. Couple that with the lack of desire in younger generations for things like a good halo car, what type of battles could we see on the streets in the future? Will the music of a well tuned engine be replaced with some futuristic spaceship sound on a PEV? How about Windows vs Android vs iOS instead of Ford vs Chevy vs Dodge? With the ever evolving role of technology and the push away from the internal combustion engine in our daily drives, these are valid arguments.
There hopefully will still be the pockets of enthusiasts who will find something and mod to within an inch of its life. Maybe the new war will be the subcompact battle between a Fiesta, Spark, and a rebadged 500. I am sure they can pack a massive hard drive to sync up to their pear pods. The kids still do that right?

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One Response to “The Pony Wars of Gen Y”

  1. Bill – I think you definitely have a point here about Gen Y. At the DC Auto Show, Rebecca Lindland shared some very interesting stats on the generational shift in car purchases. Gen Y will be the first ever to ALWAYS have the option of a hybrid or electric vehicle when car shopping. Isn’t that crazy? I don’t think that Gen Yers would not LIKE to drive a Mustang with lots of gusto, but it’s just that they’ve been socialized differently than generations before them. Either way, it’s up to the marketplace to determine what automakers should build and sell, and I think there’s room for everybody. We don’t need to force car makers to build and sell ONLY muscle or ONLY SUVs – and I would venture to say that applies to tiny electric and hybrid vehicles as well.

    Read more here: http://becarchic.com/2011/01/27/automakers-news-fuels-public-policy-day-at-d-c-auto-show/

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