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Luc Speisser
Managing Director,
Landor Paris

Trends in automobiles

November 18, 2013

Until now, performance and comfort have been the two key drivers in the automotive market. But today a multimodal, tech-dependent way of life is changing the way people “consume” cars, and automobile brands are responding with a surge of inventiveness and creativity. Designed technology will soon surpass performance and comfort to become the true driver in this category. 

Today’s automotive technology is being developed jointly with software and application designers, smartphone manufacturers, and Internet companies. Carmakers and their partners are focusing on multimodal lifestyles, usage, functionality, and alternate transportation solutions. There’s an exciting ride ahead as auto brands get a new field to play in and new friends to play with.

Tech-charged cars for hyperliving

Citroën’s C4 Cactus illustrates the focus on creating the ideal driving experience, characterized by multitasking and overlapping activities. Way beyond gadgetization, the Cactus is both playful and convenient, with a touchscreen on the dashboard controlling music, GPS, air-conditioning, and more. 

Futuristic? Not really. Web 3.0 (meaning Internet-connected) and self-driving cars were at the heart of this year’s Frankfurt Auto Show, and present strong advantages in the arenas of safety, environmental friendliness, and productive use of “downtime” behind the wheel—traditional challenges for the automotive sector. A driver stuck in traffic can now place a Skype call, make travel reservations, or work on a spreadsheet rather than fuming at delays.

Green and performance: Friends again

Car manufacturers have accepted and embraced green technology, as proven by the launch of cars such as the BMW i series and Toyota’s RAV4 EV green SUV. Automotive leaders seem to be managing the electric revolution step-by-step, waiting for both the market and technology to mature enough to justify costs. The reason is simple: Brands have determined that what consumers most desire in green cars is breathtaking tech- or design-driven performance, and performance development takes time. 

Alternatives to ownership 

Car ownership is no longer the only viable way to get around. The occasional driver—likely to be urban and agile—fuels alternative mobility solutions. Automotive brands are now expanding into the territory of car rental, either by developing their own renting options (Mu by Peugeot) or by connecting car owners with those in need of transport (Multicity by Citroën), allowing users to switch seamlessly between modes of transportation.




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