My parents went through the Great Depression. They were thrifty, to say the least, and we were recycling before we knew what the term meant.
Now, we and our children have been through another seminal economic event. Some call it the Great Panic, others the Great Recession.
No matter what you call it, the economic meltdown of 2007-2009 changed a lot of attitudes in the United States, including the way some people feel about the role of automobiles in our lives.
I look at the impact of the recession on driving in our new ebook. While it may not be the top factor why people are “driving light,” it’s definitely one of the considerations that plays into how they view cars.
The changes these consumers made during the worst of the recession have become permanent parts of their lives. Even as the stock market soared in 2013 and 2014, and as some economists declared that America had recovered (statistically at least), the feeling that all could be lost at any moment still resounds in a number of corners.
Read more about the economy and how it changed peoples’ attitudes in this excerpt from the book in Forbes.
You can buy Curbing Cars: America’s Independence From The Auto Industry at Amazon and Apple now.
Millions of people are driving less, and some are even giving up their cars all together. In our new eBook, Curbing Cars: America’s Independence From The Auto Industry, published Tuesday by Forbes, I make some suggestions on how the auto companies can play a role in the new transportation reality.
One idea: create a new Model T, a car that that can appeal broadly to the public, and yet be affordable and efficient. That’s critical, given that the average new vehicle now costs around $33,000. Parking, repairs, insurance and maintenance all add up to the expense of owning an automobile.
Here’s what I say in an excerpt on Forbes.com.
“There’s an opportunity for some smart company to build the next car for the masses. There is certainly a precedent for doing so. The original Model T put the car within the reach of the American middle class for the first time, and as cheaper used versions became available, the demographic got pushed down even further to the working class.
From 1910 through 1930, the automobile industry attracted new customers and auto sales boomed. But then there came a 15-year period in which auto sales stalled, first because of the Great Depression, and then because cars weren’t available during World War II.
What happened to revive the American car market? Prosperity returned, of course, but there was also a successor to the Model T that put millions of people into cars they could afford: the Volkswagen Beetle. It was a global, not just American, phenomenon and caught buyers’ attention for a number of reasons. Continue reading →
Curbing Cars: America’s Independence From The Auto Industry is the result of our Kickstarter-funded project looking at why people are driving less. You can buy it now from Amazon.com, on iTunes and other sites where eBooks are sold.
Check back regularly as we post our analysis and predictions about the historic shift in attitudes among Americans about their transportation needs.