Automobiles have been with us for over a hundred years now and not much has changes other that prices and models. But now for the first time in what most people can remember things are changing in the way we use and buy cars. Here are some big changes we are starting to see now.
The new subscription service model of owning a car is growing in popularity with automakers. Porsche, Volvo, Cadillac and Lincoln have all introduced programs that allow drivers to swap vehicles every week for a set fee. The car makers see this as a way of keeping people in the brand. The subscriptions bundle insurance, roadside assistance, vehicle tax and registration and maintenance costs into one monthly payment. Membership is often month to month with no long-term requirement. Flexibility does come at a price, though. The monthly fees are significantly more than an average lease or finance payment.
Electric cars are not going away, and we are about to see a lot more of them. Electric cars accounted for just 0.4 percent of the U.S. auto market in November, according to Kelley Blue Book. Of the 1.4 million vehicles sold in November 5,686 were electric. Even so, the category has seen a 17 percent increase year over year.
The impact of ride sharing services is making its mark. Uber and Lyft have forever changed how Americans get around, and the accessibility of ordering a car via an app will likely disrupt the auto industry even more in the foreseeable future. Young people and city dwellers see ride sharing as a preferable alternative to car ownership.
Perhaps the biggest change is coming in the form of autonomous vehicles. It still may take years for fully functional self-driving cars to be street legal, but new vehicles produced today come equipped with second-level autonomous technology, such as rear park assist.
These changes are happening now and will continue reshape the way we get around in dramatic ways in the near future.