SEMA Panel Says Going Green an Effective Way to Reach GenYers


Gen­er­a­tion Y con­sumers are putting off their driver’s licens­es, with just 49% of 17-year-olds have a driver’s license, a sharp drop from the 79% fig­ure of 1978. Are teens los­ing their fas­ci­na­tion with cars? There were many opin­ions about this trend expressed at the recent annu­al show of the Spe­cial­ty Equip­ment Mar­ket Asso­ci­a­tion in Las Vegas. SEMA has depend­ed on a steady stream of young dri­vers and their inter­est in auto per­for­mance and appear­ance prod­ucts. Experts on the SEMA Rac­ing & Per­for­mance pan­el said that the indus­try was tak­ing no chances on los­ing GenY, and that it was tak­ing steps to keep the teen-and-lat­er audi­ence think­ing about cars until finan­cial­ly ready to buy. Along with it, the pan­el has been mak­ing new efforts to appeal to Gen Y’s inter­est in “going green.”

At NASCAR, Steve O’Donnell, senior vice pres­i­dent of rac­ing oper­a­tions, not­ed that the orga­ni­za­tion has numer­ous part­ner­ships and pro­grams in sus­tain­abil­i­ty under the NASCAR Green label, which was launched in 2008. The lat­est, with Green Earth Tech­nolo­gies, fea­tures that company’s pres­sure wash­ers and envi­ron­men­tal­ly safe clean­ing prod­ucts. NASCAR has accu­mu­lat­ed more than 3 mil­lion miles on Suno­co Green E-15 ethanol. These pro­grams explain why younger fans now are twice as like­ly as before 2008 to look at NASCAR rac­ing as a green sport, O’Donnell said.

Michi­gan Inter­na­tion­al Speed­way has a mul­ti­fac­eted pro­gram to appeal to the younger audi­ence. One is par­tic­i­pa­tion in the For­mu­la SAE Series, an SAE Inter­na­tion­al pro­gram in which col­lege-lev­el teams are formed to devel­op For­mu­la-type rac­ing cars. For Gen­er­al Motors, the company’s “E-Rod” green pow­er­train line is a way to reach out to this mar­ket, said Jim Camp­bell, vice pres­i­dent for per­for­mance vehi­cles. The E-Rod ver­sion of each pack­age car­ries full Cal­i­for­nia Air Resources Board approval for low emis­sions.



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