The Endangered Sports Car

As soon as there were cars being built, there were people racing them. Why? Well for a myriad of reasons, but primarily because it was fun. After all, before the advent of personal transportation, the fastest a human could be propelled was some 30-40 MPH (on a train)–not exactly a thrill ride. After the development of the automobile it was different.  Many loved the thrill of high speed driving and this led to the development of performance versions of standard cars or "sports cars."  The rest is history, of course, performance cars and dedicated sports cars have been in constant demand now for over 120 years.

But that seems to be changing. It appears that sales of sports cars are losing momentum in the U.S. as of late. In fact, sales in the segment have declined for the past six quarters. Last year, nearly one-third of premium sports car purchases disappeared according to Edmunds.com. And the trend is only accelerating in the last half of 2016. Century 3 Kia of West Mifflin, a local Kia dealer in West Mifflin, PA, says sales are down a significantly over 2015 sales numbers.

Part of the reason is likely due to lack of utility.  Let's face it, most sports cars, certainly the smaller ones, are terrible at a lot of things. They aren't very good for carrying the family (no room inside), they aren't good for trips to the grocery store (small trunks) and they are often so low to the ground that they aren't even safe on unpaved roads. Oh, and let's forget about earning a little extra Uber money, there's not enough room to pile in a bunch of Uber riders.

SEE ALSO: VOS Performance showcases new Lambo Huracan project. And it is astonishing!

Another reason is a shift in demographics.  America's obsession with all things automotive seems to be cooling down. American car culture is a far cry from the 1950s and 60s when having a car to drive was a major deal for young people and working on them on weekends was simply what you did.  It was different back then. Gas was cheap and America made the best cars. And they were relatively simple to repair and work on. Today, cars are very complex, computerized machines and aren't DIY friendly at all.

And, car ownership isn't quite the passion that it used to be.  Millennial drivers view cars more as devices to get from point A to point B than older generations did. For older generations, automobiles were sort of like clothing. The car you drove said a lot about you and it was important to broadcast the right image. This included things like what kind of car you drove, how old it was, how sporty it was and, of course, the color. Sort of like colored plumage in the avian world. Younger car owners see automobiles less like a reflection of personal appearance and status, and more like a statement of values. Consider the enormous green car movement. Sales of hybrids and electric vehicles (EVs) are on an upward slope and this shows no evidence in slowing down.  Younger drivers are far more concerned about the impact on the environment than previous generations and this certainly shows in the demand for green cars, not performance-oriented sports cars.