Is Buying A Car Worth It? Yes, but not for everybody


Millennials and Gen Z have experienced record unemployment, pandemic ravaged economies, and a lot of uncertainty. They are tech-smart use their smartphones to make well-informed decisions before spending their money. To the Millennial, the vehicle has to be worth the expense and fit in with their mobility and lifestyle needs.

Millennials need mobility just as much as they need connectivity. There will be no need to buy a car in the future, where ninety percent of the world population lives and works in urban centers. Unlocking and starting a car with their cellphone and getting billed as they drive will become the norm.

The future city will offer modern and convenient transport solutions where the tech-savvy city dweller uses their smartphone to make payments, buy food, find efficient transport options, and access entertainment. Let’s have a look at why buying cars has become an outdated concept?

First time driver

How Does Owning A Car In A City Make Sense?

The daily commute from the suburbs to the downtown city is a dreaded reality for many. Congested roads and highways result in road rage and stress before the workday has even started. Millennials and Gen Z have grown up with their parents driving them to school and frustrated by the rush hour.

City planners have seen that for the city of the future to function. The traffic problem has to be solved. Not just due to the congestion caused by millions of cars, but due to the pollution caused by traffic. For older cities, the transformation will be costly but essential.

Modern cities have already designed mobility solutions that will reduce the need for privately owned cars significantly. Cities such as London have made it increasingly difficult to own and drive privately owned cars in the city center. High toll fees and parking fees make it prohibitively expensive to own a car in London.

The public transport and transport on-demand services have made owning a car redundant. Some families in London have resorted to car sharing. They take turns using the car when a car is needed. The cost for the car and parking and all the other associated costs are shared.

The new cities rising in Asia are designed with public transport systems and extensive pedestrian walkways. The use of bicycles is safe due to the lack of cars and busses in the city centers. The space previously wasted on roads is now used for gardens and walkways. Underground, a network of tunnels connects the city metro to the suburbs, where bus lanes take people home to the outlying residential areas.

The city has become a safe, clean, and pleasant place to live, work, and shop. It is no longer deserted after the 5 PM exodus to the suburbs. At night the city is alive with shops, bars, and restaurants, and the nighttime and daytime productivity is the same.

Future cities currently under construction are mainly in Asia and the Middle East and designed to be carbon neutral and self-sustaining.  These are some of the future city projects currently under construction: Liuzhou Forest City; Malaysia Forest City; Dubai Sustainable City;  Masdar city, UAE; Self-Sufficient City, Beijing; Oceanic, BIG; New Clark City, Philippines; Amaravati, India; Net City, China.

When Does Owning A Car Still Make Sense?

If you live in a town or suburb where public transport, ride-sharing, and on-demand-mobility services are limited or do not exist, leasing or owning a car may be your only alternative. You should thoroughly exhaust all the options before deciding to own a car.

Once you have decided on owning your transport, carefully analyze where and how you intend to use the vehicle. Which type of vehicle will suit your needs best? Today, more than 45% of new or used vehicles sold in the U.S. are crossover vehicles, and pickup trucks account for another 18%. The small car segment has retracted to below 10%, and the SUV segment is flat at 9%. Midsize cars and Luxury cars have retracted to 8.4% and 4.5%, respectively.

In 2020, used vehicle sales of 39,3 million units were registered with the department of motor vehicles versus new vehicle registrations of 14 million units. It makes sense to consider buying a used vehicle with a complete service record and low mileage. If you can do your services and repairs, you should also look at vehicle auctions or private sales. Get a good valuation assessment done before committing to buy the vehicle.

Select a vehicle that best suits your needs. Don’t view the car as a fashion statement but rather a means to an end. If you are going to spend many hours driving, makes sure that the car is comfortable and reliable.

Crossover vehicles are light and spacious cars built on a mono-frame design with small but fuel-efficient engines. The crossover offers a high seating position for good all-round visibility and can comfortably seat four people.

Owning a car offers you the freedom and convenience of unlimited mobility. If you only require your car for a few hours per day, consider registering your vehicle on a ride-share or mobility-on-demand service. Your car could be earning some money for you instead of taking up space in a parking lot.

Conclusion:

The powertrains deployed in cars have undergone a significant transformation in the past decade. The Toyota Prius, the first commercially sold high-volume hybrid, has been in the market for twenty years. Some car manufacturers have already announced an end of their production of vehicles powered by gasoline and diesel.

The future cars will be advanced hydrogen or electric platforms with zero emissions and far lower maintenance requirements. These cars will feature autonomous driving and may offer us better mobility-on-demand functionality.

We may still see the internal combustion engine in cars in the developing world, where the power network does not yet support zero-emission vehicles. Individual ownership of cars will reduce as people become accustomed to the convenience and cost-efficiency of mobility-on-demand services.

Car ownership will become the domain of the wealthy and will thus always be an aspiration for many, but the rational reasons for ownership will no longer exist.

If you are about to pull the trigger on a used vehicle, it’s worth investing just a few dollars to check the VIN number against the vehicle database. An audit with a company like VinAudit (links to VinAudit) will guard against Mileage fraud, Salvage rebuilds, Title washing, Vin cloning, and a ton of other uglies.

You may find the following posts useful also:

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Should my first car be auto?

Is an old car a good first car?

Is SUV good for first-time drivers?

Should I buy a car?

John Cunningham

John Cunningham is an Automotive Technician and writer on Rustyautos.com. I've been a mechanic for over twenty-five years, and I've worked for GM, Volvo, Volkswagen, Landrover, and Jaguar dealerships. My passion is cars. I use my knowledge and experience to write articles that help fellow gear-heads with all aspects of car ownership, including buying advice, maintenance, and troubleshooting.

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