The auto industry has a lot of problems.
It has to worry about workers' pension and health care costs, too-frequent recalls and the rising cost of gas. Here's something else that should concern the automakers.
Teenagers love smartphones, and getting one has become a rite of passage. A driver's license? Like, whatever.
It seems unlikely, but at least one auto company is paying attention.
"The car used to be the signal of adulthood, of freedom," Sheryl Connelly, Ford Motor Co.'s manager of global consumer trends and futuring, said in a recent phone interview. "It was the signal into being a grown-up. Now, the signal into adulthood for teenagers is the smartphone."