SAN FRANCISCO — Veering away from the common belief that the Millennial generation prefers technology over wheels, a new MTV study , announced this week at the 2015 NADA Convention & Expo, found just the opposite.
Millennials want cars, the study found, as it debunked "major myths about young people and the auto industry."
"Young people not only like cars but are passionate about them," said the study, dubbed "Millennials Have Drive."
But MTV researchers warned that the auto industry and dealers need to win over this influential generation — some 100 million strong — with more targeted car advertising, increased customization options and a more transparent buying process.
Among the major takeaways from the study:
*Driving is still Millennials' go-to mode, with 80 percent of Millennials getting around most often by car.
*Millennials want to drive, but state laws are holding teens back as they now have driving restrictions placed on them that other generations did not.
*Young people are passionate about cars, with three in four saying "they couldn't live without their current car."
*Millennials are looking to buy cars, with eight in 10 seeing cars as the one big-ticket item people in their age purchase.
*Millennials see both their car and their phone as a necessity to social connection.
"Overall, Millennials value their cars and phones for similar reasons of accomplishing tasks, freedom, exploring new places and learning new things," the study said. "They also agree that both allow for them to interact with friends and family and protect them from the fear of missing out."
When it comes to car shopping, the study found that Millennials want instant communication with brand experts who are separate from sales people to answer questions.
They also love learning about new car models and functions, but they often find ratings and comparisons among different vehicles to be unclear.
"Make the process overall more enjoyable and a celebration," researchers said.
MTV said it will release a second automobile study later in 2015. The first study was conducted in spring of 2014 and included 3,610 Millennials ages 18-34.
Edmunds says: The Millennial generation is up for grabs when it comes to the car-buying process.