Google the phrase “America’s love affair with” and the search engine will suggest three dominant items: “racing”, “guns”, and “cars”. Two of those answers obviously have something — nay, everything — to do with automobiles.
A changing dream
Historically, Americans have always had a strong predisposition to own a vehicle — at least before the recession of 2008. That period delivered a blow to the American dream, which to many included ownership of a machine worthy of being fitted with the “baddest” American Racing wheels for sale. There was not enough money for tuition, student loans felt heavier, if that’s possible, and Millennials were suddenly facing a bleaker future with sorely limited job prospects and no savings at all. If they can’t even move out of their parents’ house, how can they be expected to get a car loan?
A changing car landscape
At a time when the cost of car ownership averages about $9,000 a year, people are not looking for “pony cars” or V8 trucks. They want durability, safety, reliability, and fuel economy — not speed, noise, and flash. There was a time when a Mustang was the cool guy’s ride; now pedestrians struck with auto-envy is quicker to tag that guy as something a lot less flattering.
A change yet still
Lately, however, things are picking up in Detroit and the rest of car-crazy America. Fuel prices are lower, so car buyers are looking at SUVs and full-size sedans once again instead of focusing on smaller, cheaper cars or hybrids alone. The job market is growing, and the start-up environment may be just a little kinder.
Millennials are still too busy with their iPhones and happy with Uber to even bother getting a driver’s license, but things are finally looking up for the car guy. It may not be like the old days, but at least, there are more options than ever before, both in make and model, and in the parts and accessories market. The car guy may be a rarer breed now, but there’s no reason to not hope for better in the future.