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Can auto makers entice Millennials to buy cars earlier with the offer SmartCars?

I heard this NPR radio article “To Attract Millennials, Automakers Look To Smartphones,” about car makers looking to Smartphones to attract Millennials to buy cars, because the adoption rate of millennials for cars has reduced. One concept floated in the article is that Millennials aren’t enamored with car culture as their Grandparents once were because they have more ways to connect socially online instead of using cars. The article was part of a series on the topic, “Millennials and The Changing Car Culture.”

AudiMillennials are taking longer to get a driver’s license -- but rather than being distracted by technology, the reason for the people taking longer to get a license or buy a car may have more to do with changing state laws for people under the age of 18 in what they must do to get a driver's license. As well as the higher costs associated with buying, maintaining and running today's vehicles. I was thinking about writing an article about customer experience and innovation, where I’d suggest the car makers were developing technologies to incorporate into cars that resemble the technologies available in a Smartphone, or maybe the military (one company provides night vision) in order to attract Millennials. But now I'm wondering if there's a misinterpretation of these cultural patterns. Is the higher age for American's getting driver's licenses and buying cars more to do with the change in the State Laws, and also the costs of car ownership and the economic downturn, rather than the enthrallment of technology, or is it a mix of several issues?

I read down the comments on several of the blog entries associated with the radio articles, and fuel efficiency appeared to be the key driver of purchase amongst the readers. It would be good to learn the most important attributes Millennials seek in buying a car.

Image: Audi's night vision assistant, an example of how car companies are making cars that are part of drivers' digital lives.