(Editor’s note: The Classic Car Trust publishes its annual report in the form of a magazine-style book, The Key. For 2021, the publication spans 273 pages and a series of interesting and important reports. We’ve previously shared its list of the world’s top-100 car collectors. Today we report on “Cars and young people. A revival.”)
“Young people love automobiles and desire them,” is how The Classic Car Trust’s annual publication, The Key, begins its report on a scientific survey it commissioned to see if it was true, as many people, that “younger generations are no longer interested in cars” and are “far more interested in their mobile phones than getting a driving license.”
And not only do young people love cars, the report continues, but they “are attracted to the Classics, (and) they love the sport that surrounds cars and with it, video games which provide an indirect promotional tool.”
To determine what young people actually think about cars, the Trust’s Market Intelligence department and IPSOS, an international market and opinion-research institute, surveyed 1,700 young men and boys aged 15 to 21 in the US, Europe and in China, Japan and South Korea. A year earlier, the Trust conducted a similar survey among women.
Among the findings in the recent survey of boys and young men are how often Americans have different positions compared to Europeans and Asians and, the editors note, “how they are more attached to the internal combustion engine.”
While 75 percent of Asians and 71 percent of European surveyed consider the environment a priority, only 67 percent of Americans agreed.
Overall, only 16 percent of those surveyed said cars were the main cause of environmental damage. “Road transport” (semi and other delivery trucks) also were given 16 percent of the blame, while “industry” was cited for 40 percent, aviation for 9 percent, livestock for 8 percent, heating and air conditioning for 7 percent, and non-livestock agriculture for 4 percent.
In regard to driving, 92 percent said they already have a license or plan to get one as soon as they reach the legal age. Sixty percent said they like cars, around a third are neutral and only 6 percent said cars provide them with no pleasure.
Asked about propulsion systems for future cars, most expect electrification or at least hybrids, though some — and Americans in particular — see the continued use of internal combustion engines made more efficient or using biofuels or liquid hydrogen. There was unanimity on two questions — all said so-called city cars would be electric powered while none see a future for electric-powered off-road vehicles.
According to the survey, Asian youngsters have much more say in a family’s choice of vehicle than in the US or Europe, and Asian youngsters are far more interested in vehicle performance thatn Europeans or Americans.
About a quarter of those interviewed participate in some form of motorsports (primarily go-karting) while more than half said they follow one or more professional racing series. However, if you include the playing of auto-oriented video games, participation soars.
An alarming finding involved classic cars. While most express an appreciation for classic cars, 28 percent said they have no interest and 25 percent said they should be destroyed because of how they pollute. Those figures are overall results, but among Americans, 29 percent expressed no interest in classic cars and 28 percent would have them destroyed.