With the New Year just started, we had a think about the new trends we might see in 2011. Its certainly going to be an interesting time, with some exciting new features in cars that we predict will be coming soon.
We predict apps synced to your car will start to become popular in 2011. More new cars will be able to connect to your smartphone, sending it information and data. There are a number of apps that would be useful, not just for information, but also entertainment.
An app could replace the service book completely, allowing auto-syncing with your computer, so you can easily log the costs of the car. Another could show you the cheapest petrol station in your vicinity. Streaming music services such as Pandora, or Last.fm, will become available in your car, meaning access to millions of songs on demand.
From a security point of view apps will become very useful. It will be easy to trace where your car is located at any time. The geo-targeting through 3G will allow you to log onto your computer (or smart phone) and show you exactly where your car is. Other uses for this technology will be parents keeping an eye on teenage offspring who have just learnt to drive and even for when you want to check how far away your partner is, so you know when to start cooking!
Nissan Leaf owners can already download an iPhone App that lets them send a message to the car to start it warming up, and they can also check the remaining battery life left. We foresee far more innovative uses than just this type of app.
The Nissan Leaf will soon be able to link with software called Carwings which records how fuel efficient your driving is and allows you to compare it against other drivers. Its easy to see this game aspect of fuel saving turning into a popular real-time online competition.
Peer to peer car sharing
With the cost of car ownership rising, the ability to make money from your car when youre not using it sounds appealing. Peer to peer car sharing is basically charging other people to let you drive your car when youre not using it.
A company called RelayRides in America is trying to crack this market. You can sign your car up with them, they will then fit a device that allows other members to unlock and drive your car. Membership includes insurance costs and background checks, so theres no need to worry about dodgy drivers. Youll be paid based on how much you let other members use your cars.
The business has had a lot of interest from investors, but there are a lot of downsides to letting people use your car. Unlikely to take off anytime soon, however wed expect a pilot scheme in London from a similar company launching sometime this year.
Weve just done a blog post on brown cars, so well keep this bit short. Recently lots of manufacturers have used brown hues to showcase their latest cars, including Audi using a brown R8 Spyder in their press shots, and Porsche a brown 911 Cabriolet.
White was the popular colour a couple of years ago, but we predict that luxury manufacturers in particular will use brown to draw more attention to cars they launch in 2011.
Increasingly customisable cars
Although the number of new cars to choose from is at an all time high, there is a growing demand for more personalised cars. The new Mini wasone of the first cars to allow highly customisable paints and interiors, but more cars will allow this in the future. For example, the DS 3 which launched last year is available with 38 different colour combinations.
Cars are available with more colour options than ever, but we also predict that vinyl graphics will be offered by more manufacturers from new. They allow great personalisation, but without the problem that residuals will be affected by wacky paint jobs, as they’re easily removed.
More cars aimed at older buyers
With an increasingly ageing demographic in the UK there will be more cars launched to appeal to an older market. Over 60% of new cars this year were bought by over-50s, so its an extremely lucrative sector.
There will be more small cars launched that offer the same kind of features as large luxury saloons. A good example is the Citroen C4 which is designed to appeal to older buyers. It was developed to have a more comfortable ride than other hatchbacks, as well as massaging seats and an easier to read dashboard.
Greener luxury cars
2011 will undoubtedly see the rise of more fuel efficient high end cars.There are two factors that will drive this change, the first that EU law dictates that manufacturers must lower the overall average CO2 emission figures for their range, the second that many customers in thismarket have been asking for greener vehicles.
Mercedes recently announced the most fuel-efficient S-Class yet, the S250 CDI. Emitting just 149g/km CO2 (less that some small hatchbacks) and offering 48mpg, it claims it will be the greenest car in its class.
Bentley will also start producing a less powerful version of the new Continental GT, which will be offered with a V8 engine, joining the W12 model it was launched with. Porsche will likely unveil a hybrid Panamera, as well as launching a hybrid super-car based on the stunning 918 Spyder Concept.
Group buying for cars
2010 saw a massive surge in popularity of group buying websites. These sites offer large discounts on products and services when people combine to purchase them together. It works by offering the merchant a large amount of business, in return for the buyers getting a saving.
Its obvious that this will soon be used by new car buyers. We can foresee large savings on cars when groups of consumers get together to buy a particular model, and its something were looking into setting up at carwow.