An opinion piece that originally was published in our sister publication Advertising Age makes a good case that today's teenagers might not be as easily seduced by cars and car culture as earlier generations were.
There are several factors that may erode the automotive interest of teenagers, but many relate to communication technology, the Internet and the need for seemingly constant social connectivity. Staying connected isn't as easy or as safe while driving a car as it is while, say, riding on a bus.
It behooves automakers and suppliers to develop vehicles that appeal to and satisfy the next generation of drivers, which will mean dealing with the issue of connectivity.
Sync, the Ford-Microsoft hookup, appears to be a success. But the industry must be wary not to go too far pandering to the iPad generation and its penchant for texting and multitasking behind the wheel. It is important to emphasize safety, fuel economy and the freedom offered by automobiles.