Generation Y: they are the children of the Baby Boomer era. They are a large and growing population connected to the latest smartphone and technology pieces. They do not drive. They do not want to drive. Car culture, the freedom of the open road, and the camaraderie that comes from being an automobile enthusiast is lost on the Facebook and Twitter generation. Perhaps it is the ease of connecting with friends all over the world that lessens the desire to drive and visit them? Regardless, the automobile industry is worried, and is launching a new series of advertising campaigns to help make the youth interested in autos again.
Audi is attempting to stay relevant by offering technology rich vehicles like the R8 supercar and technology like LED taillights. Also, they are active on social media, trying to keep people engaged. Scion is using a different approach by offering special movies to entertain. Scion, a brand already targeted at young people, are trying to appeal to the youth through entertainment. Then, if they think about a vehicle, they’ll think a Scion.
Scion’s parent company, Toyota, has also announced that they will be purchasing advertising for the first time in Teen Vogue. Their “Arrive in Style” campaign encourages mothers and daughters to sign a pledge to not drive while distracted. Showing distracted driving off as being not-cool will hopefully cut down on the distracted-driving teen related deaths.
Automobile makers always have had to adapt and change to the demands and tastes of drivers. With many more young people being technologically savvy, inexpensive vehicles now feature technology like Siri Eyes Free or Ford Sync. The technological progression has expanded to the use of technology to keep people safe (lane departure warning, blind spot mitigation, pre-collision intelligence). Technological advances have also come to the transmission itself. Automatic transmissions deliver better fuel economy and sportier performance than a manual transmission. Manual transmission drivers are not giving up without kicking or screaming, but their numbers are small.
Automobile makers have some of the largest advertising and marketing budgets in the world, and they will surely find a way to stay relevant in the Generation Y future. But it will be interesting to see how car culture evolves over the next few decades compared to how it has evolved in the past.
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