2013
10.23

Speed, performance, and power. Those three words were spoken in the good ole days of what were once the calling card for purchasing a vehicle. But not anymore. Today it’s more about convenience, mobility, connectivity. At least that’s what Joe Wiesenfelder, executive editor of Cars.com commented during his interview on The Peggy Smedley Show earlier this week.

Wiesenfelder says automobile companies that don’t change with the times will ultimately be left behind, because the decision to buy a car really isn’t about the vehicle anymore. Rather, it’s about people’s lifestyles. I must confess I have to agree. Customers are used to having constant connectivity. When the iPhone was first introduced in 2007 it changed our world and now every cellphone since then that sends automatic updates has become the norm. As consumers we just expect each and every update automatically. In turn, we are now expecting the same from our cars.

He explains in terms of connected technology in the car, the question really isn’t, “Will this work with my phone?” Rather, it’s, “Will this work with my next phone?” He says, the average car on the road is more than 10 years old and most drivers don’t even realize what’s out there when it comes to technology offerings right now. The good news is that when they experience connected technology, motorists generally embrace it, and in many cases they can’t get enough of it.

As Wiesenfelder sees it, the car company that makes the technology in their vehicles remotely updatable, much like other connected technology will most likely be the one that comes out on top. He applauds the Tesla Model S with being the most successful vehicle so far, saying it has two physical buttons on the dashboard and the rest consists of a screen about as big as two iPads.

In terms of distracted driving, car companies now have a bit of an advantage. It’s become so unavoidable for people to be connected that car companies can look like they’re incorporating technology into vehicles for safety’s sake. In essence, they can look like part of the solution.

You can’t help but chuckle when Wiesenfelder remarks that if voice control features worked as they’re theoretically supposed to, they would be much better. Ironically, as luck would have it, that’s just not the case. And when it comes to voice control, he says, car companies still have more room for improvement. I can’t help but wonder how many automobile companies would take exception to this remark.

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