Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Business

March 2, 2014

Smart technology now common in cars

Smart technology making today's cars safer and more fuel efficient

(Continued)

Nguyen said hybrids get much attention because they are new technology, but warns of their folly.

“When you take a look at a hybrid, it’s a computer,” Nguyen said. “The software drives the technology, and when you have a glitch in the software you have trouble.”

Indeed, hybrids are highly reliant on advanced technology that hasn’t proved infallible. Earlier this month, Toyota had to recall nearly two million Priuses because of errors in the car’s software.

More and more automakers are releasing at least one hybrid vehicle into their fleet. But in some cases, manufacturers are going an extra step by releasing all-electric vehicles. The all-electric Nissan Leaf made waves when it was released in 2010, and other carmakers like BMW, Chevrolet, and Ford have followed suit.

Another future prospect for alternative car energy lies in hydrogen. Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are zero-emission, and they refuel faster than electric vehicles. Toyota, Hyundai, and Honda are releasing 2015 models of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

Changing industry

Randy Sorg, president of Sorg Dodge, has experienced changes in the way people buy cars.

“The difference between now and seven or eight years ago is the Internet,” said Sorg. “The consumer is definitely more educated now.”

Most of the time, Sorg said, buyers know what they want before they come to the dealership.

“The average customer goes to 1.4 dealerships before making a purchase,” he said.

Nguyen also sees a change in how customers buy cars, particularly among younger patrons.

“They are environmentally conscious, but they’re not in love with cars like the older generation,” Nguyen said. “We have to be very ready to adapt to this trend.”

Older generations, he said, are more likely to remain loyal to a local dealer, whereas young buyers may not value the same type of loyalty.

“We have to prepare for that by providing all the information on the website,” said Nguyen.

Flake has used the Internet to his advantage in reaching distant buyers.

“A customer a couple hundred miles away,” Flake said, “is very much in our backyard today because of the World Wide Web.”

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