California Is The Nation’s Automotive Trend-Setter
Modern drivers, it seems, care just as much about safety as they do about luxury add-ons. Demand has spiked for safety equipment, such as side-curtain airbags, back-up cameras and electronic-stability control.
Despite this safety surge, luxury features always will be popular to those who enjoy the latest gadgets. At The Driving Machine, we are hearing BMW and Mercedes owners talking about satellite radio and built-in navigation systems. Partnerships with large electronics companies led to voice control and MP3-player recognition.
No doubt, the idea of luxury features has changed drastically. According to UPI, California is the staging ground for yet another new automotive trend that has already begun to sweep the industry and the nation: purchasing hybrid cars.
The report states that the Toyota Prius, a gas-electric hybrid, officially is the best-selling vehicle in the state. It is not surprising that industry analysts track trends in California; we are the nation’s largest vehicle market!
The article points out that hybrids are becoming increasingly popular, and the Prius holds the crown, because it is the only vehicle that is socially acceptable for wealthy drivers to own, not including luxury vehicles.
Luxury manufacturers have taken notice. BMW offers a series of three “Active-Hybrid” models that satisfy the three principal demands of car consumers: safety, luxury and fuel efficiency. Depending on which model you choose, the new hybrids offer professional navigation systems, parking assistance and a new night-vision display to helps you spot pedestrians and animals in the dark. With the 6-cylinder automatic, you are looking at 33 highway miles per gallon.
BMW is not alone in jumping on the hybrid bandwagon. Mercedes is selling the E400 Hybrid, which gets 30 highway miles per gallon. A MINI hybrid also appears to be on the horizon. With all these new features, it is becoming increasingly important to find a repair professional that you trust with your new luxury vehicle. Leaving your BMW or Mercedes with a mechanic for repairs can be nerve racking, so it is important to find one with a sterling reputation.