Translation: more people are buying cars based on their tech.
Step into any car, particularly something from the Big Three, dating back to the early 2000s and you’ll likely be shocked. Aside from massive quality improvements, you’ll notice a lot of new tech. Knobs and switches controlled just about everything. Today, much of that is replaced by touchscreens. And for people who are now trading in their decade to decade-and-a-half old cars, the changes can be daunting. Automotive News has done an in-depth report about how far cars from all brands have come in a short period of time in terms of technological gizmos.
For example, the owner of a 2011 Nissan Xterra was completely content with his SUV. Then he saw the 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee, which came with an app-filled touchscreen, Bluetooth, and push-button start; the Xterra had none of that. He was smitten and traded in the Xterra for Grand Cherokee. But that’s just a four model year difference. A more dramatic example was the owner of a 2002 Chevrolet Silverado who traded it in for a 2014 Silverado. Suddenly the guy had a backup camera and a host of other technologies that he never could have imagined just a few years back. This technological jump happened incredibly fast, especially after the GM and Chrysler bailouts. Neither of the two carmakers had the money before the financial rescue.
“We basically skipped a generation of technology, and that’s what we’re seeing come out now,” stated a senior auto analyst at Bloomberg. “Your 5-year-old car feels like it’s 10 or 12 years old.” And with the new technologies, buyers become hooked on having the latest. Edmunds.com claims that the average length for an auto lease is now just 36 months – the shortest period of time Edmunds has ever recorded. Basically, buyers are trading in their gizmo-packed cars at almost the same rate as they do their smartphones. People have essentially become hooked on tech. “Things (buyers) experience on an iPhone or Android are the things they want to experience in a car,” summarized another analyst.