Skip to main content

You’ve heard it from Millennials, Generation X, and baby boomers: Generation Z hates cars. The four-wheeled faithful tout that the current generation of young adults reject vehicle ownership and, in some cases, abstain from getting a driver’s license. However, the reductionist statements claiming that an entire generation of “Zoomers” hate cars simply isn’t true. In fact, some Zoomers prefer Japanese cars, like the Nissan Skyline R32, at a higher percentage than previous generations.

Generation Z car fans not only want cars, they want Japanese cars

As with any other generation, young adults from Generation Z have their tastes and preferences. And, as with Millennials before them, Zoomers start car clubs, participate in the culture, and collect their favorite rides. 

According to Hagerty, Gen Z-ers are asking for quotes to insure classic Japanese cars and Asian imports more than European cars. They’re the first generation to do so. Specifically, 19% of Generation Z buyers opt for Asian cars, 3% more than European models. What’s more, they’re more disinterested in American cars than previous generations.

A red Suzuki Cappuccino, like the model that Generation Z loves, takes a corner
Suzuki Cappuccino | Sue Thatcher via iStock

“Gen-Z especially loves Japanese cars that were never sold new in the United States,” said Adam Wilcox of Hagerty. “Gen-Z represents fewer than 3 percent of the people calling Hagerty for quotes on insurance—but more than 19 percent of Suzuki Cappuccino shoppers.”

Zoomers might not pine after cars like previous generations, but necessity might change the narrative

Granted, many potential drivers from Generation Z fall in line with the counter-car chronicle. After all, 40% of 16-year-olds in 1997 (Millennials) opted to get their driver’s license. That figure dropped to 25% for 16-year-olds in 2020. 

That’s not necessarily a negative; the fewer drivers on the road, the fewer harmful tailpipe emissions and less traffic. Sounds good to you, right, fellow car enthusiast? Well, it’s not that simple.

While many urban Zoomers would prefer to take rideshare (Lyft, Uber) or mass transit options, others don’t have the resources to purchase, register, insure, and maintain a vehicle. They simply can’t afford a car in the same way that previous generations could, per Bloomberg. 

However, as with the apparent decline of interest in driving with Millenials, the trend shifted over time. As incomes rose, so did vehicle ownership. Aging Zoomers will likely buy everything from commuter cars to collector cars. Who knows? You might be the person to sell a Gen Z buyer their first Mitsubishi Lancer.

Source: Hagerty, Bloomberg