Editor’s Notebook: The Vehicles of Tomorrow Are Here Today

Editor’s Notebook: The Vehicles of Tomorrow Are Here Today

As automotive service providers, you’ve undoubtedly seen an evolution in vehicle technology, body styles, configurations, interiors and accessories over the years, and would probably agree that the changes only continue to accelerate with each passing year.

Lots of dynamics factor into the finished product, but the biggest advancements in the vehicle technology of late seem to relate to either emissions standards, fuel economy or consumer preferences, as vehicle’s transition to conform to accelerated lifestyles.

With prices for regular gasoline averaging nationally at $3.50 a gallon, hybrid cars are gaining popularity every day. There are currently about 1.1 million hybrids on the road. Within five years, expect them to account for 20-25% of all new car and light trucks sales. Sooner than later, you should be gearing up to work on these vehicles. [As a side note, the top three models on Consumer Reports’ new list of the “top 12 gas savers” are hybrids: Toyota Prius, Honda Civic hybrid and Toyota Camry hybrid.]

We can also expect to see changes to the vehicle’s interior to more closely mirror a home-like atmosphere, and offer conveniences to ease and simplify drivers’ hectic schedules/lifestyles. The latest trends for 2008 outlined below (Courtesy of a recent SEMA eNews report) will give you a glimpse into what you can expect to see, as automakers continue to adapt their vehicles to cater to consumer preferences.

  • The iPod shows no sign of slowdown any time soon. Now, there are even “disc-less” head units, aftermarket radios without a CD mechanism, that are designed primarily to accommodate an iPod or to access music on some other medium, such as SD cards.

  • Another trend that will pick up momentum this year is Bluetooth hands-free connectivity, especially with more laws banning handheld mobile-phone use (such as the one that goes into effect in California this summer). Added features for 2008 include caller ID, access to a phone’s address book and wireless streaming of music made possible using a Bluetooth standard called Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP).

  • The in-car navigation category is also poised for more growth with the popularity of “portable” nav systems and units that are within consumers’ price ranges. One major nav trend for 2008 is piping-in information to the cockpit, thanks to navigation system supplier partnerships with content providers, such as MSN Direct. Car occupants can get on-demand information on fuel prices, movie theater locations and other such “location-based” services.

  • Another trend to watch this year will be the increasing availability of “live TV” in vehicles (Sirius launched its Sirius TV technology in Chrysler and Dodge minivans last year).

Keeping abreast of hybrid vehicle advances and emerging in-vehicle technology is a first-step in pursuing future service opportunities for your shop, gives you a heads-up on repair implications as it relates to vehicle electronics, diagnostic issues, and computer-controlled and integrated systems, and keeps you in-tune with your customers’ vehicle preferences and choices. Step on the gas; it’s going to be an interesting ride…

You May Also Like

Mitchell 1 to Hold Shop Management Workshop in Orlando

Registration now open for two-day training event.

Registration is now open for Mitchell 1’s shop management workshop, scheduled for April 27-29 in Orlando, Florida. The workshop is designed to help professional service advisors and shop owners unlock the full potential of Manager SE and ShopKey management systems to improve efficiency and grow their businesses.

“Attendees will have the opportunity to learn new features, best practices and tips-and-tricks to leverage more of the workflow capabilities within their shop management systems,” said Tim McDonnell, Mitchell 1’s senior product marketing manager for Manager SE. “The sessions will also highlight new features, uncover strategies that attendees can use to maximize their efficiency with repair service opportunities and enhance their relationships with customers by way of expanded communications.”

Myers Tire Supply Announces New TPMS Programming App

The new app provides rapid programming in one tap.

Dorman Launches New Repair Solutions

Among the new releases are Dorman OE FIX repair solutions designed to help save time, money or increase reliability.

Opus IVS Announces Launch of Free Training Series

Seminars and coursework focused on advanced vehicle technologies for those wishing to advance their skills.

Autoshop Solutions Partners With Turnkey Marketing

Both companies only focus on the automotive aftermarket and have the same goal of keeping those bays full.

Other Posts

NRS Brakes Launches Brake Pads For Ford F-150 Lightning

The brake kits cover both front and rear applications for almost 1.6 million vehicles covered.

AP Emissions Releases January New Part Number Update

The release includes direct fit EPA converters covering more than 6.6 million vehicles in operation.

Building The Perfect Future By Mentoring

Share your stories of how you have helped others reach their goals.

GRI Receives US DOT Certification For Safety

GRI tires will now incorporate the DOT code emboss on its side walls.