Jargon Watch: Demotorization

Demotorization is the term coined by Japanese car-makers to reflect the turn away from motor car ownership by Japanese consumers (its most pronounced in younger consumers). Young people’s interest is shifting from cars to communication tools like personal computers, mobile phones and services according to Toyota.

Nissan claim that it is a societal shift in values that has occurred over time. Younger consumers see see cars purely in terms of their utility value, rather than a reflection of their identity, tastes or income level. Add to this a decent public transport system and general lack of rampant materialism amongst many young people and you can see why Japanese car manufacturers are afraid. They are trying to fight back with displays of kawaii accessories and celebrity endorsements in order to lure consumers back into the dealerships.

(Kudos to the Salt Lake Tribune – Japan’s auto sales plunge as youth tune out By Yuri Kageyama for The Associated Press January 3, 2009).