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February 19, 2022

Do you really need a second car in the driveway?

North America's economy would take off like a rocket if only consumers bought not just one, but two, cars.

A full recovery from the economic downturn “relies on a lot of people buying that second car,” maintains Itay Michaeli, who follows the auto industry for Citi Investment Research. “It reflects consumer confidence, not just the buying of a replacement vehicle.”

He expects younger buyers to take the lead in boosting vehicle sales. “We consistently see in surveys that 18 to 34 year olds say that when the economy gets better, their households will have multiple cars.”

Really? The fact is, today’s young people simply don’t drive like their predecessors did. At least city dwellers don't, says Jordan Weissman in the Atlantic.

"Urbanites may embracing mass transit, biking, and car sharing services like Zipcar. Other young people may be gravitating towards walkable suburbs, where cars are often optional," he maintains. 

"But it's not far fetched to think that the ability to connect with friends and family, shop, and entertain ourselves online has contributed to the trend."

Even an extra little clunker would run most people around $3,500 per year, barring what you paid for it in the first place. That’s a quite a chunk of money for any age group, let alone most members of Generation Y, many of whom are still struggling with overwhelming school loan debts and record underemployment. 

Use this calculator to estimate the total monthly household expense of one car, let along two, and how much you'd be saving each month, which is what anti-debt crusader Travis Pizel is trying to do.

Of course, he doesn't live in rural Manitoba.


Do you see a second car in your future? Or are you even managing without the first one? 

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...