What new designs are telling us about the Auto Industry's future
As a Gen Z, most, if not all the cars on the market since I can remember came with things like air conditioning and infotainment systems(rudimentary in the 2000's but still not as basic as cassette players) and airbags and other nice things to have. I think that's what qualifies me to write this article. To people who have been on this planet for a long time(basically not Gen Z people) a lot of things seem like witchcraft, especially if you're not that brilliant with tech. But even in the time that I have been alive, multiple major changes have come about, and that I think is the essence of this article.
If you asked me what the most important era was for automobiles, I would say roughly the period between 2002 -2015(I love you Jeremy). In this period, we have seen a very broad expansion - both in length and breadth - of the auto industry. This is includes major styling changes and innovations and smaller, less noticeable traits that may tell us about the buyers and their relationships with cars.
One major change that happened over the years, is the increase in buying mid-size SUVS. Keep in mind this also depends on where you live. In Texas, where I live, these abominations run amok. However, if you live in sort of a very crowded city environment the change might be less surreal to notice. But, no matter where you live, you would have noticed that most cars now have a taller roof and are labelled SPORT and have grilles that look like a chihuahua baring its teeth. I think this has to do with the idea that getting an all-rounder is good. Personally, I think it's like multitasking - you think you're going to find the cure for cancer and end world hunger, but you're really gonna be watching useless YouTube videos all day. This trend above all has shown what the consumers apparently want - a vehicle that is daily drivable, yet fun to drive on a weekend and maybe occasionally on a racetrack. And most importantly - it's gotta have all the safety features and yet still be affordable.
With technology rapidly increasing and expanding its reach, it has also become cheaper. That has allowed automakers to cram their products with literally everything(electronic handbrakes, really?) and feed it to the consumer, only making their hunger for all this more intense. Subtler changes however, still keep the class system in society alive. For example, you wont get those electronic door handles on a Toyota RAV4 or a Nissan Rogue, but you will get them on a Range Rover Velar. Well played people, well played.
But there's also something else to note with the changes in style and tech and what not. Cars today, are safer than they were a decade ago. You get better equipment like cruise control and more airbags on an ordinary budget. The simple conclusion that we can draw from this then is that as the standard of living has gone up, the demand for good styling and taste has gone down. And the simple fact of the matter is, if you can't keep competing with the trends, you simply fade away from the game. And that's why automakers are rushing to keep up. Ford with their new electric mustang SUV, a whole bunch of supercar and sports car manufacturers making midsize SUVs and literally everyone trying to find out how to utilize electric batteries and motors to the fullest. 20 years ago, if you someone had said that the future was gonna be an electric Mustang, or a mid-engined Corvette or a Rimac, people would have laughed. But now, as we live in an ever changing world, it's quite difficult to fathom what lays ahead.
The Venky Verdict
Change is an essential part of this industry and community. So as people in this community, I say we make sure that the changes that come about, help us, more than they hurt us(yes, I'm talking about electronic handbrakes. What the hell were they thinking?). I say we make sure we lobby car manufacturers into making things that will help us - like auto-driving features for elderly people to keep them from tottering on the highway or making cars with lower or zero emissions or actually giving us real handbrakes. Inspiration is derived from the best, so we better give the people in the future something to live up to.