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Rebel Without a Car

Young people are turning their back on the car. Tom Heap asks how manufacturers are trying to bring back youthful allure to their products.

The car was once the symbol of youthful cool. From James Dean through Steve McQueen to Ayrton Senna the car was a symbol of freedom, daring and sexual allure. Today the young of the western world have turned their back on the car. Half of American 17-year-olds have a driver's licence today compared with three-quarters in 1998 and in Europe car sales are down whilst public transport use is up.

Is it simply that insurance costs have rocketed for young drivers? Is it because the young remain in education for longer? Are our youth becoming more environmentally aware or is it because cars have become safe, reliable and downright dull?

In 'Costing the Earth' Tom Heap takes to the road from the Streets of San Francisco to the inner ring roads of the West Midlands to find out if the age of the car is coming to an end. He meets the marketing men, the manufacturers and the innovators struggling to retain a place in our affections for the motor car.

Producer: Martin Poyntz-Roberts.

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30 minutes

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