Teens want smartphones over cars – a move that baffles this car guy

I just came across an article in the New York Times entitled, “Teens desire smartphones over cars.”

For this car enthusiast all I can say is, THAT’S CRAZY!

One of the biggest thrills of my life was getting my driver’s license. Finally I didn’t have to rely on my parents to drive me all over the world at all hours of the night. YIPPEE! There’s no denying the freedom that comes along with finally depending on yourself and being responsible for more than just cleaning your room. It’s the start of adulthood and one of the first signs that you’re no longer a little kid anymore. So you can imagine how surprising it is that teens want smartphones over cars these days.

But then again, I was always into cars, maybe that’s why this new revelation is so bizarre to me. But when I was in high school, it was those who didn’t have cars who were the minority. Granted that was almost 20 years ago now and a lot has changed since then. Cars didn’t have all the fancy gizmos they have today and yet that didn’t make them any less desirable to new drivers just entering the roadways.

“The car used to be the signal of adulthood, of freedom,” Sheryl Connelly, Ford Motor Co.’s manager of global consumer trends and futuring, said. “It was the signal into being a grown-up. Now, the signal into adulthood for teenagers is the smartphone.”

A recent survey revealed that 46 percent of people ages 18 to 24 would choose Internet access over access to their own car. Comparatively, only 15 percent of the baby boom generation would say that.

Thilo Koslowski, lead automotive analyst for Gartner said, “Mobile devices, gadgets and the Internet are becoming must-have lifestyle products that convey status. In that sense these devices offer a degree of freedom and social reach that previously only the automobile offered.”

I know I’m in the minority here, but I have yet to catch on with the smartphone craze – and there’s a very good chance I never will. I’ll admit, driving around on congested New Jersey roadways is not as pleasurable as it once was, but my love of cars still remains.

I have no doubt that smartphones can do a lot of things, but they’ll never be able to take you out on one of the first days of spring when the sun is shining and a soft breeze is blowing through your windows. Those are the times when I remember the excitement I had on my 17th birthday. Smartphones over cars? Nah!