Premium Rush opens soon at a multiplex near you.
The action thriller -- with its "Ride Like Hell" tag line -- follows a bike messenger around Manhattan being pursued by seedy types.
A bike messenger? Really?
We haven't entirely lost our appetite for cars. The Fast and the Furious 6 is still slated to hit theaters next year. However, younger viewers seem to be less interested in fancy rides these days -- and it's not just a timely cinematic debut that's nudging me to that conclusion.
A Bloomberg article earlier this month had plenty of tantalizing data points.
- According to R.L. Polk & Co., just 11% of this country's auto sales in April were to buyers between the ages of 18 and 34. Six years ago that group made up 17% of the industry's sales.
- The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute concludes that just 81% of 20-to-24-year-olds had driver's licenses in 2010, down from 92% in 1983.
- Deloitte studied U.S. consumers born from 1981 to 2001 to find that smartphones are more desirable than cars.
That last point is important. The unsure economy isn't helping, but cash-strapped Millennials are prioritizing their expenditures and costly wireless data plans are winning out over car loan payments and auto insurance.
This is unwelcome news for automakers, and it could even potentially be a sticking point for Sirius XM Radio
However, the smarter trend would be to bank on the country's youth flocking to metropolitan cities with improving mass transit systems to get around. Car-sharing services will also continue to benefit.
Despite its stock taking a beating since going public last year, Zipcar
This could all be an economic hiccup. It's the country's youth that's saddled with steep student loans and fighting to land low-paying jobs. How can they be expected to get around in even secondhand rides? When prosperity returns, maybe they'll stop cheering on bike messengers and swearing off gas guzzlers.
However, for now this has all the makings of a legitimate shift in consumer value perceptions and the prioritization of gadgets over cars as icons of freedom.
Shifting into gear
I recently put out a premium report on Sirius XM Radio, detailing the challenges and opportunities that await investors who are either long or short the dynamic media giant. A year of updates is also included with the report. Check it out now.
The Motley Fool owns shares of Ford Motor and Zipcar. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Zipcar, General Motors, and Ford Motor. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a synthetic long position in Ford Motor. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz calls them as he sees them. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story, except for Zipcar and Ford. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.