With a new year comes the opportunity for new innovations across industries. Advances in various types of technology make it possible to try new ways to accomplish old goals, goals previously considered unfeasible, and to solve new challenges. In addition, a new year brings changes in different economic climates that make it possible to take new chances.
For the automotive industry, there is a lot to look forward to in 2015. Across the board, manufacturers and analysts are signaling a positive outlook for sales this year. At the American Financial Service Association’s Vehicle Finance Conference in January, analysts said that U.S. auto sales are expected to keep growing for the sixth consecutive year, with the possibility of reaching 17 million units.
Some of the factors driving growth in 2015 include higher volume in inventory throughout the industry, even as competition leads to slimmer margins for lenders. According to experts at TransUnion of Chicago, auto loans have grown from $650 billion in 2011 to around $900 billion currently.
Connectivity in Cars in 2015
Further driving the positive outlook for the automotive industry this year are the upcoming developments in connected cars. Here are four reasons why developments in connected cars have both manufacturers and consumers excited.
- Self-Driving Cars
Although there have been incremental steps in transferring more and more control to machines—seen in features like anti-lock brakes, power steering, and cruise control—automakers say that the completely self-driving is still a while away. Mercedes-Benz, however, boasts cruise control and a traffic jam assist in the S class, which can take control of the steering wheel and pedals in certain circumstances.
Google, on the other hand, is working on a completely autonomous vehicle that skips several steps. Testing has begun on a pod-like cat with no steering wheel or pedals.
- Communication Between Cars
Many of today’s advances in automotive technology are compared to smartphones. Customers are even seeing 3G and 4G expenses on their data plan that have been incurred through car uses.
The natural extension of this connectivity is the introduction of a system for vehicle-to-vehicle communication. Similar to Wi-Fi, the Dedicated Short-Range Communication system would allow cars to communicate with each other, with the immediate benefit being the ability to prevent collisions. General Motors and Takata are leading the charge in this area.
- Streamlined On-Board Systems
Every new car comes with a touchscreen in the center stack, which can be connected to infotainment systems as well as apps like CarPlay and Android Auto allowing consumers to play audio files. Each of these screens, however, comes with a host of issues, from problems with voice recognition to responsiveness.
The company to watch here is Ford, who is rolling out a new operating and infotainment system for their cars in 2015.
Along with the positive sales outlook from analysts, the upcoming advances in consumer technology and internet connectivity in cars promises plenty to look out for in 2015. Keep your eyes peeled.
At Perfection Spring & Stamping Corp., we are automotive. This topic is very important to us as over 50% of our business is with customers in the Automotive Industry. We make a variety of parts that go in all sorts of automobiles in the market. In fact, you can read about our recent part in the new Chevrolet Volt here. Additionally, we are committed to our automotive customers and their needs for continuing to manufacture as a TS-16949 and ISO-14001 supplier. We are invested not only for our sake, but for our many customers; therefore, the forecast of the industry must be watched carefully.
Along with following the automotive industry as a whole, we look at more specific trends to plan properly for the future. We watch raw material indexes, long term minerals trends, mining exploration and trends, governmental hoarding trends, unemployment stats and more. This has allowed us not only to foresee and prepare for economic downturns in the past, but also quote and adjust programs to give our customers the best price. That is all part of the service and security that comes with doing business with Perfection. We have stood the test of time for 60 years and we plan to be there for our customers for many more to come!