Is Technology Killing Our Passion for Cars? - BodyShop Business

Is Technology Killing Our Passion for Cars?

BSB Publisher Scott Shriber discusses those Generation Xers and Yers out there who consistently show that the automobile is losing ground to those pesky little devices known as cellphones.

"You just don’t care anymore."

I don’t know about you, but when I hear those five words, I get a sinking feeling. Someone who should know you do care is feeling like they’re not important. What ensues is a long period of clarifications and heartfelt pleas, and then probably a follow-up jab of, “Yeah, whatever!”

For those of us in the car business who have the passion for the object that’s at the center of our hobbies and livelihoods, there’s a growing segment of our population that’s saying just that. Who would dare say that, you ask? It’s those Generation Xers and Yers out there who consistently show that the automobile is losing ground to those pesky little devices known as cellphones.

Before we get too mad at our old friend Alexander Graham Bell, I really don’t think ol’ Alex is to blame. After all, he and Henry were buddies and hung out with Thomas Edison, who also had an electrifying personality. No, I’m going to choose to blame the Internet. That wonderful tool that has made the art of keeping our beloved looking good and running better than ever is the very cause for our younger generation lacking passion for vehicles.

When you and I were kids, the car meant independence. It allowed us to go see our buddies, and it was also an item that we could fix up and use to display our own individuality. Today, kids don’t need a car to get together; they can jump on Skype and can have a community party where they can both see and hear each other without ever leaving their rooms. If they have a smartphone or iPhone, they can see and chat with others wherever they are.

So that’s the problem: kids want to show their individuality and be social. Thus, new cars are almost all the same. A recent study showed that brand is becoming less and less important because the user sees that item as a commodity, just an end to a means. No emotion and no passion. I predict that soon, cars may all be one color (just kidding). Cellphones are just the opposite. You can accessorize your phone in any color you want and get so many gizmos for it.

I wish I had a solution for this dilemma. Sadly, I think we’re going to just deal with it and move on. For those of us who make a living repairing cars, our business won’t really change much. They’ll still break and need to be repaired. The automobile will still be needed just as much, but people just won’t have the same excitement about them as they used to.

As far as the hobby end of it goes, I’m not sure what’s going to happen. I know how passionate I am about ’70s muscle cars. Of course I am; I grew up when they were king, and I dreamed about one day having one. Heck, I still want one! I guess us 50-somethings just need to enjoy our hobby and carry the torch for our beloved automobiles as long as we can. When the last of us are gone, the youngsters can use them as yard art.

Skype me when you get a chance!

Scott Shriber is publisher of BodyShop Business. Reach him at [email protected].

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