Car shoppers who haven’t sat in a new vehicle in several years are usually surprised when they see the latest dashboards, with their tablet-like touch screens, cloud-connected apps, sophisticated driver-assist displays, and multiple-camera views. An article this week in the industry trade publication Automotive News told how Bill Russell didn’t realize how outdated his 2002 Chevy Silverado pickup was until he traded it in for a 2014 model. Instead of a radio with knobs and buttons, the new pickup “has a screen with icons like the ones on his iPhone,” the article noted. And Russell, a 64-year-old resident of Harper Woods, Michigan, likes that the truck’s rearview camera helps him back the pickup without worrying about hitting anything behind him, and that he can use his phone hands-free via Bluetooth. Like Russell, once most drivers get a taste of such advanced in-cabin technology, they want it. And in much the same way that Apple is able to get people who have a perfectly good iPhone to ditch it for the latest and greatest model, tech is causing quicker turnover in vehicle ownership. Upgrade Envy “You don’t really need a new iPhone,” he said. “But you want one.” Recent numbers back this theory. According to Edmunds.com, the average length of auto leases dropped to approximately 36 months in 2014 – the shortest period the car-shopping website has ever recorded. Automotive News added that “in some months, leases shrank to less than three years – not much more than the smartphone replacement… [Read full story]
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