For better or for worse, I am part of generation Y.
You know, the generation that apparently puts avocado sandwiches and flat whites ahead of car ownership and saving for a mortgage. But in all seriousness, for a generation seen as anti-automobile, plenty of us love writing about cars.
A large proportion of the Haymarket Automotive team – including more than half of the Autocar news desk – is made up of writers that are under 30 years of age.
Which puts us in a unique position. When we’re not in the office assessing cars (that in reality, we can’t afford to buy), we’re on launches listening to PRs telling us how they’ve finally solved the puzzle that’s been bewildering every automaker from Munich to Martorell - namely, how to sell cars to millennials like us.
Every manufacturer at one time or another thinks they have it cracked. Toyota tried it in America with Scion, offering buyers’ unique body styles and bold colours at a low price point. In the end, it turned out that these easily modifiable econoboxes were more popular with retirees than young buyers. And the same cycle seems to be taking place in Europe. In its marketing materials, Citroën genuinely uses the words ‘fresh’ and ‘stance’ to describe its new C3 Aircross. Now, I’m not entirely sure when ‘fresh’ was last present in most people’s lexicons, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t in this decade.
And yet manufacturers keep at it with their focus group based advertising and then scratch their heads when each new model fails to land. Oh, and for a bit of perspective here, on almost every launch Seat's PR team can’t wait to wax lyrical about how the company has the youngest buyers in Europe and one of the highest conquest rates. Want to hazard a guess at the median age? Mid-twenties, early thirties? Ok, low forties? Nope, forty-two! Forty-two years of age. In the Victorian era you’d have been considered a living miracle.