The automotive industry closed out the 2017 fiscal year with the first sales decline in seven years – only 17.1 million units sold. So how are automakers responding? By creating new trends? By piggybacking off of emerging trends from last year?
Here are 9 of the biggest auto trends to watch out for in 2018.
The Domination of Crossovers
Crossover vehicles are the perfect “middle of the road” car for someone who wants the comfort and space that an SUV provides, while experiencing the cost-effectiveness and fuel efficiency of a sedan. Offering practicality and a sleek look, crossovers have been dominating the market, accounting for almost 30% of new car sales since 2015.
Car Sharing Services
Ride-Sharing businesses like Uber and Lyft have forever changed the way Americans travel and get around town. Millennials and college graduates don’t want to tie up their money in a car payment, so they are choosing to rely on car-sharing services, which is a huge problem for automakers. Wanting to have grand experiences over owning a car, younger people are disrupting the automotive industry, and giving preference to taxi replacements in metro areas.
Spike in All-Terrain Vehicle Sales
In the past few years, there has been an increasing amount of all-terrain vehicles being sold to Baby Boomers. There is a growing importance for this generation to have travel capabilities and independence, as they move toward the retirement phase of their lives. Features like luxurious comfort, high-end speakers and sound systems, as well as fuel-efficiency are critical to this age group of buyers.
Rise of Electric Vehicles
There is a growing concern with reducing vehicle’s carbon footprints, as electric cars are becoming more and more popular with automakers. Top automakers like General Motors and Volkswagen have entered this lucrative market, making their hybrids and electric vehicles some of the most recognizable on the road.
According to the Department of Transportation, all vehicles must communicate digitally by 2020 – a lot of the top automakers have already been making strides in digital technology. Ford and Toyota have teamed up with tech giants like Android and iOS operating systems to create standard infotainment platforms in all their vehicles. Because of this new shift in technology, large tech influencers (Apple and Google), will be partnering with major automakers to get their brand in vehicles around the world.
Turbo Boosted Family Cars
Whether you are in the market for a muscle car or a family-friendly sedan or SUV, you’ll start to notice that new models are being made with smaller engines. However, just because it’s a smaller engine doesn’t mean you’re getting lower power – these engines get an extra boost from a turbo.
A Noticeable Slip in Sales
This decline in sales is the result of a few different factors. Car buyers are holding onto older vehicles for longer because reliability is at all all-time high. Thanks to advances in technology and mechanics, cars are staying on the road for longer and not shying away from 200k miles on the odometer. New car sales are declining because consumers are choosing to purchase used cars, or lease vehicles. More than ⅓ of new car sales are leases in the United States. Automakers whose lineup is sedan-heavy will notice the biggest decrease in sales because SUVs and Crossovers are winning the hearts of many.
Breaking into the market are vehicle subscriptions. Much like popular subscription boxes from your favorite companies, luxury automakers like Porsche, Volvo, Cadillac, and Lincoln have introduced this model as an option instead of buying a car. For a monthly fee (which are significantly more substantial than a car payment), customers are able to swap out vehicles each week. Different levels of subscription models provide different “levels” of vehicles (ranging from standard models to full loaded options) and white-glove services and bundles that include vehicle drop-offs, roadside assistance, taxes & maintenance, all rolled into 1 monthly payment.
Tesla was the first automaker to start this shift in the way vehicles work – and now everyone is following suit. Customers are skeptical of full-automated cars, but what they don’t realize is that most new cars on the road already have a lot of this technology. Autonomous vehicle technology includes rear-assist parking, lane departure warnings, and blind spot indicators. After Tesla began making cars with these options, other automakers jumped on board at the risk of looking like dinosaurs.