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Changes That Rocked The Automotive World From 2010 To 2020

Vukasin Herbez January 9, 2020

  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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