MTV: millennials are driving more

Michael Martinez
The Detroit News

San Francisco – — Music videos were so 1990s. Today, MTV wants to study automotive trends.

The TV channel, a division of Viacom, said Friday at the National Automobile Dealers Association convention that 75 percent of those between the ages of 18 and 34 — commonly known as millennials — would rather give up social media for a day than forgo their car. About 72 percent agree they would rather give up texting for a week than their car.

It's part of a study called "Millennials Have Drive," the first of two car studies Viacom will release this year.

"The insights gleaned from this first auto study show a generation that emphasizes car ownership and the critical role it plays in their day-to-day lives," said Berj Kazanjian, senior vice president, ad sales research, for MTV. "Millennials, like other generations, see car ownership as a way to establish independence, but millennials also see car ownership as a way to craft their unique adult identity."

The survey was conducted in spring 2014 and included 3,610 millennials, 400 gen-Xers and 403 baby boomers.

MTV's study differs from recent thought in that it found young people tend to drive — a lot. The study found 80 percent of millennials get around most often by car as opposed to any other form of transportation.

MTV said the shift in driving behaviors and attitudes towards automobiles can be attributed to millennials aging into car ownership, an improving economy and the fact that more of them are able to afford cars now than a few years ago.

Other findings include:

■82 percent of millennials find buying/leasing a new car exciting.

■75 percent feel like they couldn't live without their car.

■85 percent are looking forward to owning the car they've always wanted, versus 59 percent of boomers and 72 percent of gen-Xers.

■73 percent of young people love learning about new car models and functions versus 69 percent of Boomers and 54 percent of gen-Xers.

"Millennials are perhaps the most sophisticated consumers the world has ever seen — highly educated, demanding, and incredibly adept at using technology to make thoughtful purchases," said Jeff Lucas, head of sales, music and entertainment for Viacom Media Networks. "We want to understand how millennials' attitudes toward car ownership are changing as they grow older, the economy improves and the auto sales landscape evolves."