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2013 was a tremendous year for the auto industry, largely because of the influence of technology and changes in how we look at car ownership. GPS systems and Bluetooth have now become common features for many auto manufacturers and tech companies are now racing to become the next the big thing in the automotive world as the integration moves forward. Having said that, 2014 looks to be an even bigger year. Let’s take a look at the top 5 automotive trends we can expect in 2014.
Cars Play Catch-up With Technology
It’s no secret that technology will have a huge impact on the way we use and interact with automobiles in the near future–something we’re already starting to see with the popularity of GPS navigation systems and Bluetooth technology. But what does 2014 have in store for the automotive industry?
Many of the upcoming advancements were on display at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show. Most of the technology involved automated features that assist the driver with things like parallel parking and blind spot recognition. (Self-driving cars are a hot topic now, but that’s still a ways off in the distance, though not as far as some predict.) Tech giants Apple and Google have jumped on board as well, with both working to integrate their mobile operating systems into automotive technology.
Car Sharing & Growth of Owner-less Cars
Services like Zipcar and Car2Go have transformed the way in which consumers approach their auto usage and it’s a trend that looks to continue if their popularity is any indication. Car sharing has also cut into last year’s new car sales, to the tune of 500,000 cars according to some studies.
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Here Come The Hybrids – The Rise of Alternative Fuel
Electric cars, hybrids and alternative fuel vehicles have been a steadily rising consumer choice for the past several years, with a notable uptick that began in 2012. One needs look no further than the growth of Tesla for further evidence: they surpassed projected sales numbers in 2013 by over 20% and made plenty of headlines during the year. In 2014, you can expect Tesla to continue its tremendous growth as technology continues to improve efficiency, space requirements and driving distance for electric vehicles.
Hybrids, however, are still king of the alternative fuel auto industry. Many consumers still see the mileage limitations and lack of refueling stations as an obstacle to owning an fully electric vehicle and are opting for the longer range of hybrids, a trend we can expect to continue into 2014.
More Affordable (American) Car Buying Options
A sector that the American auto market has long trailed behind overseas counterparts like Japan and Korea, the U.S. auto industry will see a shift toward more competitive pricing on lower end models. The good news is that you won’t have to sacrifice the high-tech gadgets and driver assistance technologies that have been previously reserved for luxury cars since manufacturers are starting to include the features in all models.
This move toward producing an affordable and reliable car–a trait usually reserved for Japanese autos–is new to American manufacturers and it may take time for the public to adjust their existing perceptions.
Further reading: Best small cars under $20,000 from U.S. News
Diesel Makes A Comeback
Many have forecasted a rise in the sale of diesel automobiles, with some even predicting that half the cars on the road will be diesel-powered by 2020. (This report from Green Car Congress indicates that diesel will become the number one transportation fuel by 2020 and continue the trend through 2040.
Though it’s true that the transport industry has long been reliant on diesel due to the increases torque provided by a diesel engine, it remains to be seen if this trend will cross over to the consumer side. From the looks of things, that seems to be the direction we’re headed: even in 2013, registration for diesel cars were up 24% compared to just 2.7% of the total market.