There is a interesting shift in our American culture...away from cars. Teenagers and twenty-somethings are less inclined to purchase wheels than their parents, and less likely to acquire a drivers license. Instead, many opt for public transit, cycling, or walking to their chosen destinations. Is this a result of high student debt, becoming more green-conscious, or living a more metropolitan lifestyle? Research would indicate more young people, while they may have large piles of student debt, are moving to the innercity and finding cars to be less of an asset and more of a burden.
Will this trend continue, resulting in the death of the auto-mobile, or will these kids surge to buy cars when they start families?
It's not just the youngens of today moving away from cars. The expense of owning and maintaining a vehicle may start to slow down production of cars. As well, areas with high internet usage show less cars on the road...perhaps due to the ability to work from home = less of a commute? This article in the Economist gives some great insight into the future of the car: http://www.economist.com/node/21563280