It was intriguing that General Motors ran an advertisement last week depicting the bicycle as the inferior competition to its product. Instead of trying to compete with Honda or Toyota, they chose the bicycle.
Although GM was shamed on Twitter into pulling the ads, the concept makes sense if you look at it from an automotive manufacturer`s point-of-view. Young people are driving less, and presumably buying fewer cars than they used to. Increasingly young Americans are saying they want to live in walkable urban communities and get around on foot, bicycle or by transit. If they need a car, they belong to Zip Car or another sharing equivalent (not much data on young Canadians, but anecdotally it seems to be similar).
Is private automotive ownership going to diminish? Have we passed peak car? By this I mean automotive ownership per capita is probably on the way down. Soon a typical American couple or family might only own one car–and some urbanites no cars!
We could see all of the automotive companies fighting back with ads that glorify automotive travel and ridicule the other options. Maybe they’ll form an industry alliance to promote their sector (like more nascent groups will sometimes do).
I can certainly tell that my Walkscore-98 neighbourhood has passed peak car. There are many more open parking spots on the street at all hours than there was when we moved here 10 years ago.
What’s happening in your community? Has it passed peak car? And should we shed a tear for GM?