Ten Predictions for Auto Industry in 2014
2013 has been a great year for the automotive realm, and we think that that 2014 is going to be as impressive as the last, but in ways that you might not expect! This year was a big one for high performance vehicles, including million-dollar performance hybrids with wild styling. This year will be about the trends set by those cars making their way into lesser markets. We’re not fortune tellers, but we can read a tea leaf or two. Here are our predictions: Copycatting Design Trends
PHOTOS: See more of the 2014 Ferrari F12berlinetta
Year after year and decade after decade, the automotive industry has proven to be a field of copycats. We see plenty of Ferrari in the Scion FR-S, Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, and Jaguar F-Type. The aggressive styling of top-tier vehicles will continue to make its way down to lesser cars, as clean simple lines start to disappear.
Marketing Push for Autonomous Cars
The autonomous cars are coming, with Google promising them within five years and Nissan the same by 2020. The automakers want you to be on board with self-driving cars before they ever arrive. States will weigh in on autonomous regulations in their own way, but for those states against self-driving cars, there will be a huge PR push to get ordinary citizens behind the idea before one ever leaves a dealership.
RELATED: Toyota Promises Cars Will Not Go Fully Autonomous
Partial Automotive Autonomy
While a fully autonomous car is a few years off, we already have features that intervene, like distance-aware cruise control and collision prevention systems. Combine that with an active lane departure warning system and you have the “super cruising” concept. Super-Cruise is a system where a driver can engage a highway-only autopilot using the dotted lanes and the vehicles around it. These features are coming, and it is only a matter of getting them past safety regulators.
The Diesel Push
RELATED: VW Group Sells 100K Diesels, Are You Ready For Diesel?
Volkswagen group just announced that it sold 100,000 vehicles in the US this year. People are a fickle bunch of followers, and if that news generates momentum, people looking for fuel efficient vehicles will be flocking to diesels as if they were the latest iPad.
Hypercar Hybrids and Trickle-Down Performance
JAW-DROPPER: Porsche 918 Spyder
The big thing from Ferrari, Porsche, McLaren and other exotic automakers were truly rare and ridiculous hypercars– all using some form of hybrid technology. The Acura NSX is on the way with a hybrid setup as well.
This sort of technology trickles down. As these systems are developed on these uber-rare cars, the development cost is often baked in to the million-dollar price-tag. As the automakers learn how to produce these performance hybrid setups at a lower price, they will show up in the respective brands’ entry-level vehicles.
A Response to Small Trucks
RELATED: 2015 Chevy Colorado - Ten Things You Need to Know
Chevrolet put the small truck market on notice with the return of the Colorado. In less than a month, GMC will debut the resurrected Canyon at the Detroit auto show. It proves American car companies can build small trucks again! It’s your move, Ford and RAM! This also puts pressure on Nissan and Toyota– will they double down on their mid-size pickups, or let the Americans have at it with the all-new Colorado?
A Strong Year for GM
Speaking of Chevy– GM is poised for big numbers this year. It will be a shock if Cadillac CTS (or Corvette!) is not crowned North American Car of the Year. The new Silverado is out and is as good as ever, and the new Impala is light years ahead of the car it replaces. With the Chevy Tahoe, GMC Yukon and Cadillac Escalade all set to roll out next year, General Motors is going to have one of its strongest model portfolios in the company’s 102-year history.
3D Printing Helping Automakers Large and Small
Man Building Skyline-Based Aston Martin DB4 Using 3D Printers
3D printing has been around for a long time, but it is finding new ways to influence the automotive sector. Large companies can cut development time with the help of 3D printers, and small upstart companies actually have a shot at hanging with the big boys. 3D printing is going to level the playing field for large and small automakers, and the big changes are going to start in 2014 and 2015.
The Gap Widens, For Now
RELATED: Top Five Rides from the Dubai Motor Show
As the disparity between rich and poor grows in the US, it gets even worse in other places around the world. The wealth of Dubai might not last forever, but those in the UAE are smart to start their own companies so that there is an economy to fall back on if and when we find alternatives for the oil buried below their sands. But until that happens, the cars that the wealthy in the middle east can afford are just going to get more and more lavish and out of reach for the common folk.
The M3, M4 and Mustang Woo The Masses
PHOTOS: See more of the 2014 BMW M4 Coupe
2013 might have been the year of the Porsche 918 and Corvette, but 2014 is all about (more) affordable performance. First off– there is the Mustang. While you need to select special edition models like the GT500 to get the performance of a Corvette, the Mustang GT is a nearly ubiquitous performance car. It is the people’s sportscar, and its affordability is what makes it so popular– and now will be in Europe too!
Closer to the price of the Corvette is the all-new BMW M3 and M4 Coupe. M is a revered brand around the world, and the M3 has grown to be the cornerstone of BMW’s performance lineup. The race will be to see which car gets more ink printed about it: the M3/M4 or the Mustang!
Even we cannot predict that!