It seems that every other day some old fart with a soapbox from which to shout from has figured out why young people aren’t buying cars like they used to. The general consensus from the all knowing over the hill crowd is that we don’t fancy the four wheeled freedom machines. According to them, we’re a bunch of cheap, eco-conscious, bike loving, CVT adoring, car haters, and you know what? They’re right, well, they’re sort of right, they’re in the general vicinity of being somewhat correct. We’re not cheap so much as we are increasingly savvy. We’re not going to fall for the gimmicks like the last couple generations, pleather does not a premium offering make. I don’t want interior lighting that flashes with the beat of some god awful music, I want soft touch surfaces and real stitching on my doors, dash and seats. I want all my windows to be one touch up/down (how is that not standard in EVERY CAR?!) and while they’re at it, LED map lights. There’s no reason even the cheapest of the cheap cars should not have these simple touches but for some reason, they don’t. I blame it on parents who buy their teenage kids cheap new cars instead of used cars. This gives the illusion that young people want the cars that they’ve got when in reality, it’s just what they’ve been given. No one and I mean no one needs a new car for their first vehicle. I know that the nouveau riche won’t stop flaunting their dough by sticking their brats behind the wheel of something fresh of the lot. If I was a kid I’d way rather have a used Bavarian machine than anything currently coming off the boat from Japan or Korea. Sadly most teenagers are still in the “ooooo shiny” phase and don’t realize that their new Scion, with 13 USB ports, a Jack In The Box app and AXE scented exhaust is just a Toyota that’s been “youthified”. Some people fall for that bullshit, but more and more people are realizing that these turds are beyond polishing. We don’t care how good the gas mileage is, if it looks like the accounts won (which lets face it, happens WAY too often) we don’t want to drive it. Some companies are catching on and making cars that are fuel efficient yet something you actually want parked in your driveway (Ford, GM, VW, Subaru). It’s about damn time they realized that the average person doesn’t want to brag about how eco-friendly they are, they just want to quietly reap the benefits. We want to love our cars, companies just have to make more cars worth loving. Otherwise we’re going to keep buying used because the benefits of buying a new car are rapidly disappearing. Sure there’s lots of new rides I lust after but when I realize that a.) they aren’t available with a manual transmission or b.) they’re over-engineered and therefore more of a wallet dagger when something inevitably breaks. Yes, there are great warranty’s and no cost maintenance offers available from many companies but look how much it costs to get into a vehicle from them. Make no mistake, when it comes to buying a new car, there is no such thing as a good deal, just good marketing. You’re still going to be the same old you whether you’re driving a CPO Audi or a brand new one, but there’s a vast amount advertising that’s telling you otherwise. Sadly it works and it works well. Most of the premium segment vehicles I see rolling around are low mileage leases driven by college grads who have added to their mountain of debt. They couldn’t care less about brand heritage or performance, they just want the right logo on the hood because that’s the next step on their path to success. Brands should be above pandering to this crowd but they’re not, just look at the BMW 320i, Mercedes Benz CLA or Acura ILX. There’s a reason these cars are so “cheap” and it ain’t because the friendly folks on the companies’ respective board of directors felt like hooking us up with a discount. These models represent the willful ignorance of youth at it’s worst. They’re the bottom of the barrel vehicles being built by brands to specifically target those young people who don’t know any better. How could you not know any better? Do you live under a rock? Do you not have any basic understanding of how advertising works? How can you not see right through what they’re doing. There’s no excuse for being a sucker, you’re making the rest of us look bad and making it more difficult for those of us who want things to change. What is the change that we want you might ask? The change we want is simple court us the same way you do other demographics, like adults. Adults get all the good advertising for all the premium products. We want that too, the advertising aimed at us sucks almost as much as the product it’s intended to sell. If you want to try and sell us a watered down version of an awesome car, don’t try to identify with us by having some haphazard “zany” commercial with which we’re supposed to relate. That shit is just going to piss us off because all of the sudden we realize, “that guy is the same age as I am, why am I not doing what he’s doing”. It’s not inspiring, it’s pathetic. If you’re a premium brand, be a premium brand, give us something to lust after, an ideal to aspire to. We’re not stupid (for the most part), we want the deserve your respect (or at least some of it). We’re a bunch of debt laden underachievers (according to market research) and yet we still want to what boils down to glorified money pit. We’ll work the extra hours, the sacrifice the trip abroad, pay the gas prices, the crazy insurance premiums, we’ll do it and we’ll do it happily if you’ll just build a better product. So stop dicking around and get to it, we’ll be here waiting to be impressed.
*The Friday Rant is a new column in which Andrew Maness gets to blow off some steam at the end of the week so he does not alienate his girlfriend, friends or family over the weekend. The royal we is always in full effect and he realizes that the views expressed do not reflect those of young people everywhere, just those with some common sense and basic understanding of how the world works.