Should Millennials Be Early Adopters of New Car Technologies?

Is it smart to buy a smart car? Will a green vehicle save you some green? Are the benefits of self-driving cars self-evident?

There are a wide range of new car technologies designed to entice millennial consumers, including autonomous cars, smart cars, electric vehicles and other innovations. These advancements present shoppers with many new conveniences, leading to exciting, novel driving experiences. But are they worth taking out a new car loan to acquire? For shoppers with bad credit, are they even a viable option?

For millennials who are preoccupied with managing debt, improving bad credit scores in order to afford major life purchases, and advancing in life, there is some serious doubt. There are many benefits and drawbacks to being an early adopter, as well as some shopping strategies you should keep in mind when making this decision.

Benefits

Early Adopters Can Beat the Rush
New technologies require new manufacturing processes. These can take several years to perfect and scale to the level to meet consumer demand. As a result, when exciting new features are involved, there are typically a highly limited supply of cars available upon release. Elon Musk is contending with this problem now, as Tesla struggles to build enough electric cars to meet demand. As an early adopter, you are much more likely to secure such a vehicle sooner.

Benefit From Advanced Features Sooner
From advanced safety features to improved fuel efficiency, and even some snazzy IoT innovations, millennials who quickly adopt new car technologies can benefit from these conveniences sooner. Since these features are new to the market, your vehicle will likely stand out from the crowd. This makes the driving experience that much more unique and exciting. It appeals to our need to express our individuality — at least, until the trend catches on.

Drawbacks

New Car Technology May Not Be as Advertised
New, untested vehicles may not be as advantageous as advertised. For example, the Smart Fortwo (one of the most well-known smart cars), is marketed as a safer, more fuel-efficient alternative to traditional compact or subcompact cars. However, analysts argue that conventional compacts are actually equal or even better in both fuel efficiency and safety than the Smart Fortwo. Cutting-edge vehicles may not live up to their lofty expectations — so it is important that millennial consumers wait until the true efficacy of new car technologies are tested before trying to secure larger car loans to purchase them.

The High Cost of Innovation
Innovative new car technologies are not necessarily cost-efficient. Electric cars are a great example of this; such vehicles represent another relatively new field of car technology that is growing in popularity, but it may also be a bad investment for some shoppers. In a bid to capture the attention of technophile millennials, auto manufacturers regularly introduce new innovations to electric vehicles.

These cars are certainly cheaper to operate and maintain than their gas-guzzling forebears, but do these savings justify the higher upfront cost and associated car loans? For infrequent drivers, and shoppers with bad credit, the math may not add up. When it comes to shopping for a vehicle, it may be more prudent to seek economically viable choices, rather than buying the latest and greatest tech.

Smart Shopping Strategies

When shopping for a car, it is wise to keep these two important tips in mind:

  • Do some research: Thanks to the internet and social media, it is easier than ever to do research on auto lenders, car dealerships, or on any particular car model. Indeed, most of the legwork when it comes to buying a car nowadays is done at home. This a vital process when it comes to buying cars with new features. It may be easy to be swayed by fake reviews, but many consumer watchdog sites provide impartial, unbiased reviews of every type of product, including cars. Furthermore, you can get some insight on any product through its reputation on social media.
  • Negotiate for a fair price: Negotiating for a better car price is a bit of a lost form of art. Don’t let new features blind you when it comes time to negotiating a fair price. As noted by Consumer Reports, the best way to negotiate is to establish that you are an informed shopper: Demonstrate that you know the cost of the vehicle to the dealership, you know exactly what trim level and options you want, and you have a clearly established budget, based on your guaranteed approval for a loan. Dealerships need your business, and they will accommodate.

With these strategies, nearly any young adult — even those still establishing or rebuilding their credit scores — can get a deal on a reasonable car. Keep in mind, however, that the higher sticker price associated with new car technologies can lead to unmanageably high monthly payments. Many young adults realize this, and have instead embraced the used car market, seeking the best value for their dollar. Even if you need to finance a vehicle with poor credit, bad credit car loans are available.

New car technologies can be exciting, but you shouldn’t let gimmicks entice you into a hole that you can’t get out of. For millennials struggling to make student loan payments, smart or autonomous cars may not be a reasonable choice. Traditional, dependable cars are much wiser investments for millennial shoppers. Above all, keep in mind that being a smart shopper is far more important than buying a smart vehicle.