The fact that 'millennials' make up a fast declining proportion of the car-buying public has been bothering car makers for years, more so in recent years because all sales have been in the doldrums.
Marketing types have been wondering whether the recovery – when it came – would involve these people, and whether there was anything they could do to rekindle their interest.
The problem is real enough. Figures I’ve seen suggest that the proportion of under 25s buying new cars has fallen a third in 15 years, and that 20 per cent fewer 18-year-olds currently hold driver’s licences than they did in the 1960s and ’70s, when my friends and I aimed to sit our licence test on our 17th birthday.
The Japanese have been so alarmed by the retreat of young buyers that they’ve been producing concept cars whose décor and dash graphics mirror those of smartphones and computer games (whose popularity is not in doubt). “Today’s young people don’t want a car,” says one expert, “they want an experience.”