automotive & transportation

Blame it on the American Dream, but we’ll never seem to let go of our love affair with the automobile. Our intense fascination with the car continues, but with a new set of rules and terms. Urbanization (see “Smarter cars”), environmental considerations, the economy (“Downsizing”), and overall health (“Better-for-you cars”) are coming more into the car vernacular.

Our concept of the car will continue to evolve as the needs of younger generations, particularly Millennials, shape its form and function. We can see hints of what role the car may ultimately play with some of the terms here, whether that be a completely autonomous experience (“HAL takes the wheel”), a fashion statement (“Couture cars”), or a health or social good enhancer (“Better-for-you cars” and “Cars for good”).

American chic overseas (n.)

The luxury badge status of American-made cars from the big three automakers in developing regions such as Asia, South America and India.

Examples: Buick Excelle, Chevy Celta, Ford Figo

Better-for-you cars (n.)

Cars geared toward health-conscious consumers that monitor and improve the user’s health conditions.

Example: Nigel Smart Car monitors internal and external conditions.

Cars for good (n.)

The practice of giving away new cars to deserving non-profit companies to help them further their mission.

Example: Toyota 100 Cars for Good

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Couture cars (n.)

Carmaker collaborations with fashion designers to reach affluent customers and make automotive brands more of a lifestyle statement.

Example: John Varvatos’ Chrysler 300 sedan, Isaac Mizrahi’s “Malibu Style”

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Downsizing (n.)

The act of decreasing car length, engine size, cabin size and features to boost efficiency and cater to a consumer’s life stage.

Examples: Porsche Macan, VW Tiguan

HAL takes the wheel (n.)

Artificial intelligence in cars that enables unmanned driving.

Example: Google Driverless Car Project

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Motorless Millennials (n.)

Fewer Millennials are buying automobiles due in part to the specific issues facing this generation: massive unemployment, student loans, environmental considerations and idealizing access over ownership.

For more information on motorless Millennials, check out this article from The Atlantic and this one from Inc.

For a counterpoint, see this article from Forbes.

Smarter cars (n.)

Cars that are more fuel-efficient, compact and uniquely stylish for urban and suburban drivers.