Still, Dorsey thinks something's got to give eventually in the economy, and these Millennials will reach a point when they're ready for a car.

"There's a whole other group that really lives up to the stereotype--being entitled, and being lazy, and taking selfies all day," Dorsey said. "Millennials don't fit that one box. You're seeing a whole group here that is poised to buy cars, eventually get houses and move in that more traditional path, and the other group is just delayed... The bigger market opportunity is there; it's just been delayed, skinny jeans or not."

Beating Gen Y At Its Own Game

All Ford can do is give city denizens exposure to the brand.

"One of the things that are said about Millennials is that they're born with a silver spoon in their mouth," Connelly says. "And now these kids are at a crossroads where they have an appetite for the finer things, a very sophisticated palate, but Target has taught them they can get designer goods at discount prices. And so the way that they have access to these things in the face of limited financial resources, is to rent, is to share, is to borrow." Ford's response to that is to partner with Zipcar if its potential consumers are going to be using car sharing services. To date, 145,000 have driven Ford vehicles through Zipcar.

"We're still engaging those potential consumers even if they're not in the six month buying purview," Connelly said. "And they may never leave Zipcar, but if they do find themselves in a life-stage or regional situation where they do need their own car, we know that our vehicles are more likely to be at the top of their consideration set, because of that exposure."

--Written by Ross Kenneth Urken for MainStreet

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