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Changes That Rocked The Automotive World From 2010 To 2020

Vukasin HerbezJanuary 9, 2020

The last decade started with one of the worst economic recessions that ever hit the global economy. For a moment, it looked like the automotive world would never recover. However, in just a few years, with the help of the government and the car industry, especially in America, it returned stronger than ever and continued to deliver fresh, exciting products.

The last 10 years proved to be dynamic in the car industry. During that period, a lot of things have changed in the car world and global car community. Keep reading to learn more about the most significant trends and changes in the automotive industry from 2010 to 2020.

  1. Hybrid Supercars

Even though hybrid technology was available in several ordinary cars, it wasn’t until the early 2010s when several of the world’s top brands installed it in their most expensive supercars. The appearance of the Ferrari LaFerrari, Porsche 918 and McLaren P1, all with hybrid powertrains, stirred the world’s supercar community.

All of a sudden, those cars broke the tradition of analog supercars. They bravely entered the future with immensely improved performance numbers and incredible driving dynamics.

  1. Turbocharging

When the global economic crisis hit in the late 2000s, one of the first demands was reduced fuel consumption. One of the fastest ways of reducing fuel consumption is to introduce smaller engines. However, in order to keep the power level sufficient, manufacturers introduced turbocharging throughout the range.

Today, almost all new engines are turbocharged. From small city cars to muscle cars like the Mustang EcoBoost, and even sports and luxury cars. Turbocharging helped reduced consumption as well as deliver more power and torque.

  1. The Demise of the Station Wagon

For decades, station wagons were the perfect family transport. In the ’90s and the early 2000s, suburban America turned first to minivans and SUVs, forgetting the legendary “long roofs” of before.

It didn’t help that the European brands introduced stylish wagons in the form of the Audi Avant or BMW 5-Series Touring. Even Cadillac offered a station wagon. The SUVs and crossovers destroyed this car class, so only a few such models remain on the market.

  1. Diminutive Displacement Engines

When “Carmageddon” hit in the late 2000s, fuel prices started rising. Soon, buyers demanded more fuel-efficient cars. The manufacturers responded with engine downsizing and introducing tiny 1.0-liter, three-cylinder units for compact cars.

Fortunately, they equipped those downsized engines with turbochargers, so the power output was decent. However, there is an unpleasant feeling when you drive a car with a lawnmower engine and hear that three-cylinder sound.

  1. Electric Vehicles

Although electric vehicles have been are around for decades, it was recently that electric cars have become widely popular and in demand. The modern electric vehicle revolution started in 2012 when Tesla presented a production version of its best-selling Model S.

When car magazines reported that the Model S was an entirely usable and fast luxury sedan, buyers started paying attention and the electric car market was born. Even though it is not entirely certain that electric vehicles are here to stay, there are more of them every day. In fact, zero-emission cars are genuinely the biggest news of the car industry in the last 10 years.

  1. SUV Domination

The rising popularity of SUVs has been apparent since the ’90s. However, it wasn’t until the 2010s when they started to dominate the market. There are over 150 SUV models for sale at this moment in the whole world. From small, affordable compact SUVs to those super-luxury models from Rolls Royce or Bentley, SUVs are everywhere. Some people think they threaten to be the only vehicle format out there.

The advantages of the SUV body with more usable space, as well as the safety and comfort are the in-demand features for most car buyers. SUVs are the most profitable models, so it seems like this phenomenon will be dominant in the next decade, too.

  1. The Demise of Authentic Off-Road Vehicles

If you are old enough, you probably remember the time when SUVs really could go off-road. They even had mud tires and winches in the front. Those days are unfortunately gone because those urban SUVs have taken over. Of all the real off-road models, only the Jeep Wrangler has survived continuously.

The pickup trucks with 4×4 and off-road capabilities have taken over a big part of the terrain vehicle market. However, most drivers still miss a proper Bronco or Blazer. Hopefully, Ford and Land Rover will present such vehicles next year.

  1. The Resurgence of Muscle Cars

Ever since muscle cars appeared in the early ’60s, they have been an integral part of the American automotive landscape. There was a period when their performance credentials were terrible, but they never left Detroit’s portfolio. However, during the 2010s, U.S. muscle cars experience a real renaissance and achieved new heights.

There’s the Camaro, Mustang, Shelby, Charger, Challenger, CTS-V, ATS-V, and the list goes on. It almost resembles the muscle heyday of the late ’60s. Today’s muscle models are perfect performance machines with modern technology and screaming V8 engines delivering over 700 HP.

  1. Autonomous Driving Systems

What looked only possible in a sci-fi movie set a few decades ago has become a reality. The autonomous driving system is now an integral part of some upscale models. It is a controversial feature that sparks debate among car fans as well as automotive engineers.

Unfortunately, autonomous driving systems are far from perfect and still known to cause accidents, even fatal ones. Still, they represent a window to the automotive future. Soon, there will be a time when computers will be able to see better, react faster, and comprehend driving conditions better than any human can.

  1. The Demise of the Hatchback

Not long ago, the best-selling class of vehicles was the compact hatchbacks. Anywhere in the world, three or five-door hatchbacks were the most common models. Carmakers sold millions of them, including the Ford Focus, Volkswagen Golf and Toyota Corolla.

During the rise of compact SUVs in the 2010s, hatchbacks became almost extinct, so many companies decided to abandoned the market. Ford killed the Focus, which sold well, to concentrate on pickups and SUV models.

  1. China is Now the Biggest Car Market in the World

For decades, the United States was the biggest car market in the world. Then, in 2010, the People’s Republic of China took the crown. Today, with almost 23 million new car registrations, China is in the midst of a car revolution and the world’s most lucrative market.

This means that all the world’s top brands have invested heavily in Chinese operations. They design models especially for the Chinese market and concentrate on specific requirements.

  1. Rise of New Car Prices

If you have been out car shopping recently, you probably noticed that the prices are in constant growth. Of course, due to inflation, new car prices need an adjustment. But, sometimes it’s amazing just how expensive cars can be.

Even the most affordable cars are now approaching or even cost over $20,000. The most popular and sought-after models are going for insane money. Just look at the 2020 Shelby GT500. When fully loaded, this muscle car is almost $100,000. The average new car price is now over $34,000.

  1. In-Car Screens

You may remember the old dashboards with real gauges, mechanical switches, buttons and knobs. During the 2010s, those things slowly disappeared when touchscreens, touch-sensitive surfaces, and fully digital clusters appeared.

For example, look at the interior of a new Mercedes or Audi. You’ll notice there is only one big screen in front of the driver, which they can adjust to suit the driver’s needs. Although many people complained about the giant central console screen in the Tesla Model S, it is an industry standard now.

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  1. The Painful Death of Diesel Engines

After the notorious Dieselgate scandal, which left Volkswagen’s U.S. reputation in ruins, the painful truth came to light. The truth is, diesel engines are still environmentally problematic, no matter how the car manufacturers tried to present them as an alternative to gasoline.

In Europe and other parts of the world, diesel still sells in respectable numbers. However, many European cities are banning diesel-powered passenger cars from entering the city center. During the last couple of years, there is a sharp decline in new diesel sales in Europe. Many people believe that, in 10 years from now, diesel fuel will be only for trucks and heavy machinery.

  1. The Appearance of Super-Luxury SUV Models

Luxurious SUVs aren’t a new thing since this class of vehicles has been around since the ’70s. Those were the days of the Jeep Grand Wagoneer and the first-generation Range Rover. However, luxurious SUVs with price tags of over $300,000 are gaining popularity.

During the latter part of the last decade, several of the world’s top brands introduced super-luxurious SUV models, combining exotic car technology, power, and prestige, which is new in this segment. Cars like the Rolls Royce Cullinan, Bentley Bentyaga and Lamborghini Urus are true kings of the segment. In 2020, Ferrari will introduce a similar model, which is the first four-door coming from Maranello.

  1. The Further Rise of Classic Car Prices

It is no secret that classic car prices have skyrocketed in the last decade. For the first time in history, classic cars have become a legitimate investment asset. In fact, they bring as much profit as precious metals, shares, stocks and famous artwork.

The main reason for this is that new markets like Asia, the Middle East and even Africa are hungry for automotive artifacts, making the supply quite limited. For instance, a classic Porsche 911 once worth $20,000 now costs up to $200,000.

  1. RADwood Phenomenon

In contrast to the enormous price hike and elitist nature of the classic car scene, in the last couple of years, there is another alternative car scene emerging. This movement is dedicated to preservation and appreciation of cars from the ’80s and early ’90s. It is embodied in the RADwood car meets and community.

The cars and vans you know from your childhood are no longer just old pieces of junk. They are coveted historical artifacts from the era of neon, Walkmans, and MTV.

  1. The Sedan’s Problematic Future

For decades, the most popular and basic car form was the regular, four-door sedan. But not anymore, because SUV domination is slowly killing the sedan just like it killed the off-roaders and hatchbacks.

Even most law enforcement agencies that used sedans have moved to SUVs. Look around, and you’ll see there are no more Ford Crown Victorias, but instead they use police-spec Explorers.

  1. The Rising Global Popularity of Pickups

In America, the pickup truck has always been enormously popular, and there’s a good chance they always will be. However, in other parts of the world, especially in Europe, pickups are still considered workhorses without any real appeal.

During the 2010s, the European pickup market has grown significantly, mostly due to the fact that more brands offer capable models with car-like road manners. Models like the Ford Ranger, also sold in the USA or Mercedes X class are offering off-road capabilities. Yet they still have comfortable interiors, relatively compact sizes, and powerful engines.

  1. The Return of Driver’s Cars

Even though the general climate in the car industry is downsizing, fuel efficiency, and electrification, most manufacturers haven’t forgotten about those true automotive enthusiasts. They are those people who are hooked on driving and the smell of gasoline.

During the 2010s, there were several exciting driver’s cars, all of which will be valuable classics someday. Cars like the BMW M2, Camaro SS 1LE and Toyota Supra offer the perfect blend of modern technology. With their old-school feel, they demand respect from the automotive community.

This is how the automotive world has changed from 2010 to 2020. Now that you’ve finished this list, it’s probably easy to see the massive changes the automobile industry has undergone. Imagine the changes that will come about in the next decade.

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