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Is Britain's love-affair with the car really over?

Posted: Mon Sep 26, 2011 5:50 pm
by falkor
Young people today would rather have the latest smartphone than a flashy car. And the number of them who can drive is plummeting. Is Britain's love-affair with the car really over?
Alex Rayner guardian.co.uk, Sunday 25 September 2011
Liz Parle can't drive. "I did try to learn," says the 24-year-old, Birmingham-born cafe owner, "but I failed my test a few times." Then she moved to London, where running a car can be a nightmare. Instead she cycles everywhere. "It's cheap, keeps me fit, and is of course better for the environment."
Image "we've reached a tipping point"
Parle is by no means atypical. In Britain, the percentage of 17- to 20-year-olds with driving licences fell from 48% in the early 1990s to 35% last year. The number of miles travelled by all forms of domestic transport, per capita per year, has flatlined for years. Meanwhile, road traffic figures for cars and taxis, having risen more or less every year since 1949, have continued to fall since 2007. Motoring groups put it down to oil prices and the economy. Others offer a more fundamental explanation: the golden age of motoring is over.

"The way we run cars is changing fast," says Tim Pollard, associate editor at CAR magazine, "Car manufacturers are worried that younger people in particular don't aspire to own cars like we used to in the 70s, 80s, or even the 90s. Designers commonly say that teenagers today aspire to own the latest smartphone more than a car. Even car enthusiasts realise we've reached a tipping point."

As hi-tech research and development budgets source to keep pace with the iPhone generation, Pollard says carmakers are also coming to terms with less possessive buyers. "Towards the end of the 20th century, manufacturers cottoned on to the fact that we were owning things for shorter periods."

Re: Is Britain's love-affair with the car really over?

Posted: Tue Sep 27, 2011 12:41 pm
by mj12cz
I think the usual high insurance costs for young drivers and sully fuel costs are making some young drivers think twice before learning to drive.