Technology fans have been hooked on the latest and greatest smartphone – whether the new iPhone or the latest Android flagship – through a simple process: upgrade envy.
With a release cycle that is today almost as fast as having a baby, the technology world has seen the mobile devices spring into the No. 1 place in our hearts, minds and pockets – on a yearly basis. With the upgrade envy helping Apple sell millions and millions of not-so-cheap iPhones, the auto industry has learned a valuable lesson – bring a raft of new technologies that can make cars safer or easier to use and drive, or both – and the buyers will come just as fast as bees searching for honey. Such features as the parking assist and wireless Web access have been crucial in the United States for the carmakers’ return from near collapse after the latest Great Recession.
Lots and lots of new gadgets, falling gasoline prices and the introduction of numerous new models are spurring the auto market’s growth, with forecasters previewing total sales of 16.9 million vehicles – the sixth year of continued increases. And there’s a potentially dramatic shift in consumer behavior: the percentage of people trading in the cars faster is rising steadily. The average length of an auto lease slowed to around 36 months in 2014, and in some cases it was below the three-year mark, which is a little higher than the usual consumer’s smartphone replacement cycle.