The year is 1984 and you just told a fellow American that domestic automobile giant General Motors will go bankrupt. You get laughed out of wherever you are, and likely not invited back. While there are many examples of other things that could not have been predicted 30 years ago, auto industry changes have jumped by leaps and bounds.
Here are some examples of how different things are:
Manufacturing cars – In 1984, if you wanted to support American workers, you had to buy an American automaker. These days, some foreign brands have factories here in the States.
Buying cars – Thirty years ago, the Internet was not the layman’s research destination it is today. Now it’s possible to shop for cars across the country. Once you find one that piques your interest, you can pull its accident history and get intimately familiar with the vehicle, all without leaving your couch.
Bells and whistles – It used to be hard to imagine a luxury finer than leather seats and a cassette deck. Leather seats are a now heated and that tape player has become a Bluetooth-enabled, touchscreen command center. Let’s not even get into headrest DVD players and back up cameras, much less Active Park Assist. And the news that cars (and trucks) will soon be self-driving definitely would have gotten you laughed out of the party 30 years ago.
The environment – While the Environmental Protection Agency was around 30 years ago, it didn’t have the regulations it does today regarding emissions. Cars go farther on less gas and produce less exhaust than they did in 1984. Hybrids have emerged and been beat by the all-electric Tesla and BMW i3.
Just when it seems that humans have reached the height of innovation, we’re able to top ourselves. If you find that hard to believe, revisit this blog in 30 years.
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