Over the past few years, annual vehicle sales have been trending downward, with 3.34 million cars sold in 2021. There are several reasons for the lowered sales, particularly in the wake of the pandemic, but the car market remains lively and active.
What are the trends that are driving the auto industry? Car manufacturing is continuing with plenty of people still setting their eyes on buying a car.
If you’re curious about the future of the auto industry, we’re here to help. Read on for a quick read-up on the five biggest trends in the automobile industry.
Table of Contents
1. Growing Demand for Electric Vehicles
Electric vehicles are one of the largest-growing trends. Nearly 40% of Americans have expressed interest in electric vehicles, a number that’s grown as the technology improves.
There are still a few things standing in the way of the popularity of electric vehicles. One is that American infrastructure isn’t built in a way to complement them. Some drivers are concerned that they need to plan long-distance trips around where they can recharge their cars.
Another factor is that installing a charging port at home isn’t possible for everyone. People in apartments or who rent their homes can’t always manage this. That means that homeowners are more likely to have the infrastructure necessary for their vehicles.
However, the trend for electric vehicles continues, surging by popular figures like the Tesla company. But did you know that American interest in electric vehicles is far from new?
One of the biggest moments of popularity for electric vehicles was the General Motors EV1 in the late 1990s. Many Americans loved the vehicle, but General Motors was worried that there wasn’t enough profit in them despite the high demand. They chose to crush the cars and scrap them despite protestors wanting to keep their vehicles.
Almost thirty years later, Americans are again demanding more electric vehicles. Expect to see this industry grow as states continue to pass legislature encouraging it.
2. Heightened Environmental Awareness
Along with electric vehicles is heightened environmental awareness among Americans. Climate change is continuing to harm our planet, and vehicles are a large factor in that. The average vehicle emits about 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually.
A recent Yale study shows that younger generations like Gen Z and Millenials are more likely to be alarmed or concerned about climate change. Older generations, like the Baby Boomer generation, are more likely to be doubtful or dismissive.
As younger generations grow, they’re bringing their political and environmental concerns into the automobile market. Many younger drivers prefer vehicles with better mileage, hybrid, or electric vehicles. Vehicles like the Acura MDX fit this desire, depending on the model the driver chooses.
Some also make these choices due to financial restrictions. The cost of gasoline often impacts someone’s preference for a car that has better mileage.
3. Autonomous Driving
Autonomous driving is a somewhat controversial trend. Some drivers are hesitant to allow self-driving vehicles on the road. However, the ultimate trend has looked upward as the number of drivers interested in autonomous vehicles increases.
But why is it controversial? Roughly 63% of Americans say they wouldn’t want to ride in these vehicles. The remaining 37% say they would enjoy doing so.
As with environmental awareness, this trend also follows age. The same survey notes that adults under the age of 50 are more likely to accept autonomous vehicles than those above the age of 50.
Furthermore, some drivers are also uncomfortable about autonomous vehicles sharing the road with them. Much of the concern seems to come with people not trusting autonomous vehicles to drive correctly.
Some of this concern is spurned on by the online content of these vehicles in operation. It’s not difficult to find videos of autonomous vehicles failing, not obeying speed signs, and more. But as this technology improves, people are becoming more accepting.
Autonomous driving is an upward trend, but not one that’s likely to dominate the auto industry for quite some time. When buying a car, you still have a while to go before every car drives itself off the lot.
4. Data Transmission
Another trend that vehicles have engaged with is data transmission. As the name suggests, this is the feature for cars to process data back and forth.
Tying in with autonomy, data transmission is a necessity for autonomous cars. Data transmission helps to monitor traffic to help with parking, detecting objects, and avoiding pedestrians.
It also helps to monitor and control your engine. Many vehicles now use Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems or ADAS. These systems are found across many companies and car models to help the driver.
ADAS is useful for helping drivers see driving conditions and the environment around them. It’s widely considered a safety feature, helping to keep the driver aware of their surroundings.
5. Increased Use of 3D Printing
3D printing has become popular over the last decade, going from a science fantasy idea to a reality. While 3D printing for the average consumer is still rudimentary, manufacturers have employed the technology on a larger scale.
In the automotive industry, 3D printing helps to develop the exteriors of vehicles. Enhanced technologies help designers adjust cars in ways that help them endure crashes and collisions.
In many cases, the chassis of the vehicle is now being developed through 3D printing. Even where the printing process is missing, many developers use 3D modeling to help them design vehicles more thoroughly.
3D printing also helps to keep labor costs down, while creating more high-skill technical positions. As labor costs lower, so too do car prices.
Future Changes in the Car Market
The car market is ever-evolving and will likely continue to flourish in the coming years. While the decade of the 20s has seen some drop in sales due to a global pandemic and supply issues, many trends hint toward a bullish market. Whether your drivers are interested in environmentally-friendly vehicles or a car that can drive itself while they relax, you can expect to see their influence on the auto industry.
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