With 2013 behind us, it is the perfect time to look ahead at what the year of 2014 has in store for the automobile industry. As modern vehicles continue to evolve every year, there are imminent changes on the horizon for companies, vehicles and even individual features. On both the large and small scales, 2014 will usher in new additions, as well as the demise of some things in the automotive world.
In With the New
Each and every year, the automotive audience waits eagerly for the newest vehicles and news. First of all, the upcoming year will see the resurgence of diesel-powered vehicles and producers beginning to focus on rolling them out. With a stronger performance than its more common counterparts, diesel engines will have drivers thinking that their vehicles could double as power systems once again.
Another major addition in 2014 will be an entire manufacturer to the forefront—Qoros. Although it is based in China, Qoros is an international producer that appears ready to break into the market with a sedan and crossover model. One more large-scale trend in 2014 will be collaboration between manufacturers. With Hyundai and Kia already set to build another plant together, we may also see joint efforts from GM and Ford, Toyota and Subaru, as well as others.
On a slightly smaller scale, the new year will see even more smart cars. It will be difficult to find a new car that doesn’t talk to you, or at you, either with actual words, like Siri reading your messages, or with noises, like that annoying beep when you get too close to an object. Even more advanced are the semi-autonomous vehicles that can perform some functions on their own, such as blind-spot detection and emergency breaking.
Out With the Old
Just as new things will be introduced on the macro and micro scale, so will some old things be on the decline. For instance, 2014 will witness the exodus of Mitsubishi as it follows the trend of manufacturers leaving the US market. Additionally, Toyota will be abandoning the Scion in the upcoming year as the manufacturer is giving dealers the option to not sell Scion products, as well as revealing that there will be no new Scion models coming in the near future. Another major trend of 2014 will be the loss of support for ethanol as fuel. Along with the rise of domestic oil production, the potential negative consequences on farming and food supply are encouraging a drop-off in the popularity of ethanol.
Some smaller trends, such as the fallout of several regular vehicle features, will also come in 2014. First of all, the CD player will begin to die out this year. Although it will be some time before we see the CD player become completely extinct, the popularity of XM radio and the ability to connect smartphones with personal music to vehicles are certainly making CD players a thing of the past. Manual hand brakes will also fade away in 2014; with the introduction and increase of the electronic emergency brake, manufacturers are beginning to leave out the old-fashioned hand brake.
Thanks to the emergence of advanced automatic gearboxes, manual transmissions will no longer be the preferred method for better fuel economy. Since carrying just one transmission option will be cheaper for manufacturers, the manual transmission will be trending downward in the upcoming year as it is supplanted by its automatic counterpart. Finally, and perhaps most disturbing, the trend of vehicles that consumers cannot work on themselves will be at large in this new year. Due to the fact that dealers and manufacturers don’t want people doing their own maintenance on vehicles, items like plastic panels are becoming more prevalent in new models to make it hard for anyone but the automakers to get to certain components, such as the engine.