The generational divide

Oct. 4, 2018

A new generation of adults brings new ideas and values to the road

Death of the salesman

There’s an old joke that goes, “How can you tell when a car salesman is lying? Their lips are moving.”

A new study shows that this is exactly how millennials (19-36 year olds) view car sales jobs, and they want no part of it.

According to research by talent and management firm Hireology, nearly 60% of new hires at car dealerships are millennials, but more than half of those hires turn over annually.

Nissan actually reported a full 100% turnover at its dealerships last year.

It’s not just the long hours and weekend shifts that turn off these young workers.

The typical commission-based pay doesn’t work for a generation entering the workforce with more debt than any other.

Millennials also say that the typical image of the slick-talking salesman trying to pressure buyers or trick them with bait-and-switch advertising doesn’t fit with their values.

Some dealers are trying to change this perception with no-haggle pricing, higher pay and shorter hours.

Perhaps the punchline to, “How can you tell when a car salesman is lying?” should be updated to, “Check their birth certificate.”

Keeping up with the Joneses

If you want to learn more about millennial values, look no further than social media.

While at first it may just seem like a giant collection of pet and food photos, social media has been shown to influence everything from fashion trends to personal health decisions.

Now new research from Admiral Car Finance shows that social media also plays a significant role in millennials’ choice of car.

More than half (53%) admitted to buying a car for status or prestige, double the number of Generation X drivers (37-54 year olds).

Facebook impacted 22% of millennials’ car choices, and Instagram influenced 16%. For Generation X, only 6% were influenced by Facebook and 4% by Instagram.

Once millennials have their car, social media is a key way for them to show it off. Nearly half (47%) post photos of their cars, or themselves in their cars.

The one bright side of this status pressure is that it persuades younger drivers to take better care of their cars. One in three report that they clean their car every week, compared to just 10% of Gen X.

Lay waste

It’s not just the younger generation that’s on the cutting edge of technology.

In fact, an intriguing new solution to sustainable road design comes from a 73-year-old professor in India.

Dr. Rajagopalan Vasudevan has developed a unique method of reusing plastic waste to construct roads that are more durable and water resistant.

The idea began in 2001, when Vasudevan was experimenting in his workshop with new ways to dispose of plastic.

Noticing that molten plastic had a binding quality, he combined it with gravel and bitumen to create a more flexible and durable road pavement.

Since then, Vasudevan has provided his technology to the government of India for free, and it has been used to lay more than 6,000 miles of road across the country.

Now known as the “Plastic Man,” Vasudevan says that each mile of his road surface is able to repurpose 1.6 tons of plastic waste.

Pave the way

Of course, plastic waste also is a problem in the U.S., but not as much as the potholes, cracks and bumps in our roads that are causing irreparable damage . . . to our pizzas.

Fortunately, Domino’s Pizza began the Paving for Pizza grant program this summer.

Now through Dec. 31, you can nominate your town at to receive free road repairs and ultimately a smoother ride home for your pizza.

Revealing the true impact of America’s pothole pandemic, more than 137,000 nominations from 15,275 different zip codes have already been submitted.

Domino’s has committed to donating funds to repair roads across all 50 states, beginning with Bartonville, Texas; Burbank, Calif.; Athens, Ga.; and Milford, Del.

And yes, the potholes are being filled with asphalt, not anchovies.

About The Author: Matthews has been chronicling the unexpectedly humorous side of transportation news since 2000. The stories are all true.