New Cars: What is Really New About New Automobiles?

Every year automobiles come out with new options that once we have them, we can’t live with out. What are some of those new things?
The general public has a message for the automotive industry. The message is we aren’t going to purchase a new car for the same old reasons anymore. The industry as a whole hasn’t understood that message yet. Their concept seems to be add more crowd pleasing features to their models, hoping to draw people in to the showroom. At that point customers are treated pretty much as they always have been treated. But let us assume you have the discretionary income that will allow you to purchase a new vehicle just because you want one. What’s new in recent years that would draw you into the dealership?

The first thing that pops to mind is cup holders. Not new you say? How about cup holders that keep your hot drink hot? That’s new. How about that same cup holder keeping your cold drink cool? It is out there.

It came out in previous years, but did you know at least one automaker can provide you with heated windshield washer fluid?

Speaking of keeping things warm, I know you have heard of electric seat heaters. Now you have the option of cooling your seats too. I am a bit curious, why aren’t they offered for the rear seats? I guess the automakers have to have something new to offer in the future. They don’t want to give all of it to you at one time.

Some models make it really easy to plug your portable music player into the onboard stereo system. If you are really into taking your particular brand of music with you, this is a “must have”. If you enjoy satellite radio and you aren’t made of money, and you just bought one of the new models that has the option to plug in your own portable player, buy some type of portable satellite radio and plug it in. You get the best of all worlds that way, being able to move the radio from your car to use elsewhere. You don’t have to pay for multiple satellite subscriptions either.

Not new this year, but still a reason to think a new car is E85. Here is a special new breed of vehicle engines that are designed to be fueled by 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. This sure sounds like it will save money and save natural resources.

Yet another from the “not new this year” category is onboard telephone and information systems. My last car came that way. I didn’t understand the point. Everyone in the family already has a cell phone. But then I started getting the e-mail messages on the performance of my car, and the e-mail reminder that it was time for an oil change. I really liked that, but still was not sold on the necessity. One day someone told mentioned “Do you ever drive in an area where you don’t have a cell phone signal?” I hadn’t thought of that. The onboard system is satellite, not cell technology. So if I had to make a call in an emergency, the onboard system is a necessity. Other times it is a good insurance policy.

The story on GPS is pretty much identical. I have a handheld GPS and I have GPS on my laptop. My wife laughs at me. That’s her way of telling me my GPS is a toy, not a needed tool. I was thinking she might be right, but the other day I was running short on time for an appointment. I was using the GPS and it told me where to turn. I thought it was wrong, but I did as it said. It sure was a good thing I follow the GPS directions. Had I not, I would have been at least 20 minutes late for the appointment. Bingo, necessity.

The list of other new things, no matter if they are toys or tools, is getting longer each day. The last I will mention and I will only point out one reason you have to have it, is a DVD player. This will be no news to anyone who already has one. It pretty much guarantees you have heard the last “Are we there yet” from the back seat.

So if you have new car fever, and if you can over look the car dealer attitude, there certainly are lots of reasons to go shopping.

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