Can you hear that?

It is the sound of the automotive industry's screeching brakes.

In a very intriguing piece on the lagging auto industry, it seems clear that there is a "reset" in process. Not only has the industry taken a large hit from the macroeconomic times, but there is an overwhelming paradigm shift in the attitudes towards autos. Add in the possibility of even more restrictive CAFE standards and we're looking at scary times for the manufacturers.

They just aren't essential anymore, especially when the initial investment continues to rise, servicing isn't getting any cheaper and gas prices continue on its upward trend.

If you have heard the Spies say it once, we have said it a 1,000 times. The enthusiast is a dwindling majority.

What say you Spies, are we in store for a new social norm?

The Atlantic reports:

Are we moving beyond the auto age? Writing in Esquire, Nate Silver provides hard statistical evidence that America's once-overwhelming car-culture and driving habits have peaked. This article in Advertising Age (h/t: Patrick Adler) provides additional evidence that we may well be in the early stages of a reset in attitudes about driving and car ownership, especially among younger folks. Here are some key statistics from the article:

  • "In 1978, nearly half of 16-year-olds and three-quarters of 17-year-olds in the U.S. had their driver's licenses, according to Department of Transportation data. By 2008, the most recent year data was available, only 31 percent of 16-year-olds and 49 percent of 17-year-olds had licenses, with the decline accelerating rapidly since 1998."
  • "Twenty-somethings went from driving a disproportionate amount of the nation's highway miles in 1995 to under-indexing for driving in 2009."
  • "It's not just new drivers driving less. The share of automobile miles driven by people ages 21 to 30 in the U.S. fell to 13.7 percent in 2009 from 18.3 percent in 2001 and 20.8 percent in 1995."

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The GREAT Auto Industry RESET: Is The Car On Its Way To Becoming Extinct In 100 Years?

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