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VA Tire December 13, 2018

2019 Automotive Industry Trends to Look Out For

2019 automotive trends.

From personal assistants like Amazon’s Alexa to autonomous transportation like Uber’s self-driving car, it’s no secret that technology is changing the way we live, travel, and communicate.

So, what does this mean for the automotive industry? For one thing: it means that automotive repair shops need to stay on top of the trends to adequately serve customers and their ever-changing needs. Rest assured that as the industry changes, Virginia Tire & Auto will change with it.

If you’re interested in learning what’s on the horizon for 2019, check out these five auto trends.

Read: How to Choose a Trustworthy Auto Repair Shop

2019 Auto Trends

1. Electrification

The electrification of motor vehicles is made evident simply by entering a parking garage. You’ll notice that a number of standard parking spaces are now inhabited by charging stations designated for electric vehicles (EV) only.

In 2017, electric vehicle sales increased by 21 percent — and that demand isn’t slowing down any time soon. By the end of 2018, it’s expected that 1.4 million EVs will be sold. Manufacturers are making significant investments in EVs — Toyota announced that their entire lineup will be electric by 2025, Volvo alleges that every vehicle manufactured after 2019 will either be electric or hybrid, and General Motors promises 20 new EVs by 2023.

With the continuous rollout of electric and hybrid models expected over the course of 2019 and beyond, this means that we’ll see an increase in higher voltage electrical systems as well. With advantages like increased fuel efficiency and durability, many auto manufacturers are moving towards a 48-volt standard electrical system — four times more powerful than what we’re used to (12-volt).  

These powerful systems mean there’s room for more electronics inside the car, and enables the use of lower-cost hybrid drive systems. We’ve already started to see this technology rolled out in models like the Bentley Bentayga and the Porsche Cayenne. According to Continental, it’s projected that the 48-volt mild hybrid systems will account for 14 percent of global new vehicle sales in 2025.

2. AI (Artificial Intelligence)

In short, this type of technology leverages machine learning to simulate human interactions. Many of us have already welcomed personal assistants like Alexa into our homes, and soon, may be welcoming them into our vehicles.

Guiding drivers through speech recognition and visual perception, these AI-powered smarts are already in the plans for manufacturers like Kia and Hyundai. Both companies plan to have virtual assistants built in to their vehicles starting in 2019.

While BMW, Toyota, and Ford have also announced plans to bring Alexa into their models in 2019, companies like Mercedes-Benz are working to create their own AI interface. Mercedes-Benz has

reportedly been working with Nvidia to develop MBUX, an in-car, AI infotainment system that will revolutionize how we interact with our cars.

From suggesting destinations to delivering the news and weather forecast, it’s only a matter of time before these personal assistants will become permanent passengers in every vehicle.

3. Safety

Recent technological advancements have focused heavily on passenger safety, and that trend will continue through 2019. Blind spot and obstacle monitoring, crash avoidance, and driver awareness are a few key focuses that this technology explores.

Nissan’s “ProPilot Assist” is a state-of-the-art cruise control system that navigates traffic, centers your vehicle in the lane, and helps drivers keep a safe distance. This semi-autonomous driving technology requires that the driver keep both hands on the wheel, but has major safety advantages when it comes to blind spot monitoring and speed control.

Hyundai offers a new system in their Santa Fe model that alerts the driver if there is movement in the rear seat after he or she has exited. This technology prevents drivers from accidentally leaving children or pets in the car. If movement is sensed, the system will flash the headlights, honk the horn, and send a message to the driver’s phone.

4. Subscription Services

To lease or to buy? Well, that may no longer be the question given recent advancements in subscription-based automotive programs.

Think about how many services you use that are subscription based. Whether it’s Blue Apron, Dollar Shave Club, Spotify, or Netflix, our worlds have become increasingly bombarded by flexible, cancel-anytime subscriptions — and the automotive industry is following suit.

In short, an OEM subscription service gives you access to a lineup of vehicle models, insurance coverage, maintenance, and roadside assistance, simply by paying the manufacturer a monthly fee.

Multiple manufacturers have already rolled out these offerings. Programs like Porsche Passport and Access by BMW set drivers back about $2,000 a month. That fee gives drivers access to a collection of vehicle models, and also includes insurance and roadside assistance. These types of luxury models allow drivers to swap vehicles at any point in time. Care By Volvo, on the other hand, starts their service at $600 a month and allows drivers to switch models only every 12 months.

Not all programs, however, are run by manufacturers. There are also programs like Flexdrive that give drivers access to vehicles via an app, and don’t require a specified subscription duration. The week-to-week pricing model also offers drivers ample flexibility.

5. Self-Driving

Self-driving cars have made headlines over the course of 2018. Despite Uber pulling its autonomous car from the road following a fatal crash, the self-driving car industry is still pushing forward. Waymo, a self-driving technology development company, recently launched a self-driving rideshare app. The service will offer 24-hour rideshare service to a select group of users in Phoenix initially, with plans to expand beyond the area after launch.

Believe it or not, the concept of driverless cars was first introduced back in 1939 at GM’s Futurama exhibit. Although the original radio-controlled, electromagnetic- guided vehicle was still in its infancy, it paved the way for what tech giants like Uber, Lyft, and now Google’s Waymo, are trying to accomplish in the transportation industry.

Stay on Top of the Trends With Virginia Tire & Auto

No matter where the automotive industry takes us, Virginia Tire & Auto will be there. Every one of our locations is equipped with state-of-the-art technology and knowledgeable staff, ready to accommodate all your car care needs.

Schedule an appointment at your local Virginia Tire & Auto store today!

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