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Millennials Value ‘Public Transportation and Car Access’ vs ‘Car Ownership’

Zipcar.inddLast week, The Rockefeller Foundation and Transportation for America highlighted that the Millennials place high value on public transportation. More than half of respondents said they would consider moving to another city if it had better access to public transportation. At the end of the day, it comes down to priority, cost and lifestyle.

Auto companies are scratching their heads, trying to figure out how to win the large and influential Millennial generation who are showing little interest in car ownership. While a car used to represent ‘freedom’, Millennials are finding the ultimate freedom in their technology devices as well as low cost access to means of transportation with the rise of automotive sharing services like Zip Car, which are conveniently concentrated in the downtown core.

The stats are clear – there’s a steady decline in car ownership as well as driver’s licenses, which are driven by Millennials. Between 2011 and 2007, car purchase rates within the 18 to 34 year old category fell by nearly 30% accordingly to AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

Are auto OEM’s doomed? No – Millennials are delaying, not eliminating, car ownership. Car sharing platforms provide a unique test-drive opportunity for this audience to build brand consideration and preference. Rather than ‘competition’, auto OEM’s need to find creative ways to develop win-win partnerships with these thriving operations.