Next generation 'will snub cars'

2011-10-26 10:56

In the land of Mercedes-Benz, BMW and VW, the next generation is snubbing a cornerstone of its economy - the auto industry, according to new research.

Martin Kagerbauer, of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), says people younger than 30 are buying cars when they are much older and even taking their driving test much later in life.

Kagerbauer said: "The generation aged under 30 drives fewer cars than it used to."

KIT  researchers has analysed the transport used by 1500 people during a one-week period each year since 1994. With annual sales of about 315 billion euros in 2010, the auto industry is a crucial pillar of the German economy. In 2010, German automakers produced about 12.7-million cars worldwide with 709 000 employees, or one-seventh of the German workforce.

The survey showed that 18 to 30-year-olds are driving four km a week less than they did in 1995, while their weekly distance travelled on public transport has increased by 5.5 km.


Kagerbauer cited better public transport in cities, car sharing, bike rentals and online shopping as some of the reasons fewer young drivers were on the road.

Thies Hansen (26), a student at Humboldt University in Berlin, prefers to travel by bike and train and does not possess a driver's license or a car.

Hansen said: "It's not for ecological reasons or anything - driving a car is just really expensive and as a student I can't afford it,"

Eckehart Rotter, a spokesman for the German Association of the Automotive Industry, is not worried about the impact fewer young drivers might have on the future of the car industry.

Rotter said: "More and more young people are completing their degrees and don't need cars while they are living in university towns - it's not that we are losing clientele, they are just buying at an older age."


  • Eddy - 2011-10-26 13:24

    Not to mention the current generation cars lack character, 4-cylinder FWD econoboxes aren't gonna get the blood of any youth running, are you listening BMW?

      Jango - 2011-10-26 18:10

      BMW will always be known for their silky-smooth sixes and RWD. You should be pointing finger at other econobox manufacturers.

      Vickers - 2011-10-27 09:27

      @Jango: "Silky smooth sixes" are almost something of the past. New 3 series engines: "A choice of 11 powerplants has been earmarked for the F30, comprising five turbocharged four-cylinder petrol units and six turbodiesels" If we are lucky we may get the 335i with a straght 6.

  • naolifant - 2011-10-27 13:36

    in 10 years time they will be equipped with three cylinders and 20 turbos and the Mini will havee a single cylinder and 10 turbos. Welcome to the future.

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