20 years ago, a young intern at a leading investment bank was asked for his views on the future of the media industry. His published thoughts included the suggestion that his generation never watched TV. This came as a complete shock to the older generation of analysts and fund managers. Could this apply to the car industry?
The following article results from an interview between the Hardman & Co analyst, Derek Terrington, and his son, William (age 23). Derek is famous for his research note exposing Robert Maxwell in the 1990s, when he was the leading media analyst at UBS. The note was entitled Couldn’t recommend a purchase, the acronym of which has been quoted ever since in the City.
Derek Terrington (DT): When I was growing up, most of my generation, and that of my parents’, thought of the car as the prime object of desire – it was the aspirational consumer good above all others. To the post-War generations, it replaced reliance on crowded, infrequent (and often dirty) public transport, it opened up a new era of go when you feel like it to wherever you want. You could go for day trips to the coast, as well as complete holidays in the car, and getting your shopping wasn’t dictated by the bus timetable. Some families graduated from a motorbike (possibly with a sidecar) to a car – the number of motorbikes on UK roads peaked in 1950 at 1.58m and, by 1995, had fallen to just 0.59m.
It was not only families that loved cars; so did teenagers, and getting a licence, and even a car, was a rite of passage.