TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Young people have been buying fewer cars since the Great Recession, but the auto industry predicts they'll be back in showrooms once their financial circumstances improve.

One popular theory says younger people aren't interested in cars because they can meet via social media. The auto industry thinks these potential buyers do want cars. They just can't afford them at the moment.

Analysts at a big auto industry conference in Northern Michigan say people age 18 to 34 accounted for more than 14 percent of U. S. auto sales just five years ago. But that has fallen to 11.5 percent due to lack of jobs, high student loan debt and other factors.

The analysts say they're confident that as the younger people get jobs and start families, they'll buy more new cars.

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