Teen car culture is dying a swift death, The Atlantic claims, but Jaguar Land Rover’s head of product strategy feels the youngsters of today will eventually outgrow their desire for hassle-free autonomous commute pods.
As a great Jaguar print ad in the 1990s once stated, “Live Vicariously Through Yourself.”
In Hanno Kirner’s mind, this mantra will guide more than a few Millennials to take over the driving duties and indulge their innermost desires. It had better.
Kirner made the comments during an interview with Britain’s Autocar, in which he tiptoed around the possibility of a high-performance, stupidly fast SVR version of the I-Pace electric SUV.
“Yes, we can make it do 0-60 mph in 1.8sec,” he said on that topic. “It’s a good headline, but once you’ve done it once or twice, and lost your eyes in the back of their sockets, you might not want to do it again.”
To Jag’s product chief, the onset of autonomous driving will only spur the production of go-fast machines. While self-driving cars, either leased or owned or shared, will tackle the day-to-day drudgery of commuting and errands, automakers will unleash specialty human-driven automobiles to fill the enthusiast void.
“Whether it is [Jaguar’s Special Vehicles Operations] recreating classics to modern standards or creating track-day specials, I think it will grow as autonomous driving becomes a regular part of lives,” he said. “I don’t for one second think we’ll see a generation appear with no interest in cars. Driving enthusiasts will still exist and we’ll want to engineer cars for them.”
This jibes with Porsche’s recent promise to manufacture vehicles with steering wheels for as long as it’s legal. To a lesser degree, Rolls-Royce recently claimed it won’t abandon V12 engines until the government forces its hand.
With age comes a growing desire to use one’s earnings to cut loose and have a little frivolous fun, Kirner implies. There’s also the go-anywhere/do-anything element.
“Today, we have more demand than we can satisfy for such cars and I don’t expect that to change,” he said. “Yes, there is a generation that is more interested in their phones than anything else today, but they will grow older and want to drive one day.”
[Image: Steph Willems/TTAC]