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Six current automotive trends

01.08.2016

The automotive landscape is a fascinating place to be, not because of how many great cars are released on a consistent basis, but because it evolves and changes so quickly. At the moment there are a few trends that I have noted and which come as a result of us, as consumers, demanding a certain type of vehicle.

1.The SUV- The sales figures never lie, we are buying more SUV-type vehicles than ever. As a result many manufacturers that would never have built these types of vehicles have found themselves developing an SUV of some sorts. Take Bentley with it Bentayga; Jaguar with its F-Pace, even Porsche has two SUV offerings these days. Is this then end for the saloon car? Well I don’t think so just yet, but the shift to these high-riding machines has been rapid.

2.Coupe-style SUVs- In an era where just about every manufacturer makes an SUV and where a large percentage of the population wants or owns an SUV, a sportier, sleeker version of these cars was bound to emerge, right? One of the first to adopt this idea was BMW with its X6, based on the X5; the brand now has an X4 based on the X3 too. Mercedes-Benz now has coupe versions of its SUVs too while Audi is likely to join the bandwagon soon. Some manufacturers choose to make their SUV entrants more coupe-like from the get-go like Porsche with the Macan.

3.Insanely fast hot hatchbacks- The hot hatch has come a long way. While you can still go out and buy a reasonably fast performance hatch for relatively little money there are new hatches that are insane. These hyper-hatches such as the Audi RS3, Mercedes-AMG A45, VW Golf R, Audi S3,Ford Focus RS and BMW M140i offer the sort of performance you would have expected from supercars a decade or so ago.   

4.Bigger cars that weigh less- Now this is point isn’t as much a trend as it is a necessary evolution. But, the fact remains, with every generation of vehicle that comes out, engineers manage to make the vehicle more spacious and weigh less. This is the result of using more exotic materials in the construction of vehicles. Manufacturers are now using more carbon fibre, aluminium, lightweight steel and even reinforced plastic than ever before.

5.Performance sub-brands- We have seen many car makers invest in separating themselves from the performance wing of their specific model ranges. You now see the BMW M division, Mercedes-AMG, Audi Sport, Volvo Polestar, Jaguar/ Land Rover SVO, Hyundai N, Renault Sport, Opel OPC, Nissan NISMO, Lexus F and Mini JCW as examples. The idea behind the marketing of these vehicles is that they are produced by a different division within the company and have little to do with the standard production models. This has led to the brands releasing performance parts and even entire cars with parts from these ‘external’ performance wings. Think the M Performance range with BMW, the Polestar accessories with Volvo and the JCW options on standard Mini models as examples.

6.More optional extras and personalisation- Most car makers have now diversified their ranges to include more options. We are in an era where bespoke is not really bespoke, but rather an illusion of bespoke, where people can customise their vehicles to a point where one may never be the same as another from the factory. Despite the fact that behind the optional extras and flamboyant colour combinations the vehicles are all very much the same.

 

Article written by Sean Nurse
01.08.2016
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