There’s been a lot of recent noise how the “Millenials” or “Y Generation”, who we’ve been told aren’t buying cars because they aren’t interested or too busy with their smart phones, are actually on the sidelines because they can’t afford a car.
Really? You mean due to the fact the unemployment level for people 16-24 years of age being twice the national average, plus their backlog of student loan debt has been the real reason all these years that they haven’t been in showrooms?
Thank you talking heads, but I have known this for the past five years. While new car sales have been at an all time high, and getting higher, there is still a vast majority of Americans who aren’t buying a new car.
It’s not only the Millenials, but a wide swath of Americans – millions of them, who have been hobbled by the economic downturn of the past five years. Many people have decimated credit ratings having lost homes to foreclosure, had cars repossessed, or gone bankrupt after losing their job.
They might like a new car, but they haven’t rebuilt the stability, income and credit required to walk into most new car showrooms today. This is why the used car market is so strong. Have you priced a 5-10 year old car lately? You might be surprised.
All said, it’s an interesting dual universe to watch Nissan relaunch their old Datsun brand name in emerging markets like India, Russia and ASEAN. In these markets they saw a deep need for a sub-entry level car. So Datsun comes back to enter into a white space, the under $10,000 market where few car makers exist “over there”.
Up front Nissan said they had no intent on bringing Datsun to the North American market. Citing no need for such a foray, Nissan says their current brand and model strategy is plenty fine here.
When you listen to Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn wax eloquent about the nobility of offering a quality, affordable, modern car to young up and comers in other parts of the world it makes you kind of tilt your head. Yes those markets are in need of a car the youth can afford and want to buy – a car they’d be proud to own.
I suggest that while car makers here in the States are riding their wave of denial that millenials simply don’t want cars, perhaps they ought to look at the reality of the math. Perhaps they well want them, but we have the very same white space in our market here that exists in many emerging markets.
Here, the sub $10,000 market is loaded with older used cars that young people don’t want. These cars require more expensive financing, are a risk in the long term reliability sense, and often aren’t that efficient.
I say Nissan needs to take a strong look at bringing their sub-entry level Datsun brand here. They have an existing dealer network, a brand identity and it appears product that has a good future. They can soak up the white space that Scion lost and Smart never even tried to get.