There's new technology coming
Keith Crain is editor-in-chief of Automotive News.
Long before we have figured out current technology, along comes newer, more sophisticated technology that tends to put everything else into the obsolete folder.
When it comes to technology, car companies do it backward.
Younger customers understand and want the latest and greatest in telecom devices, video games and computers -- whether in a car, a smartphone or a laptop.
Those younger customers are the first adopters because they love the technology and understand it.
But companies always seem to introduce the latest automotive technology on their most expensive models. That's backward.
The consumers who are the least interested in and least comfortable with the latest and greatest technology usually are older and richer -- and they are buying the vehicles that have the most high-tech equipment.
The array of technology on the Cadillac XTS is a great example of missing the mark for the consumer. By comparison, Ford squeezed high-tech offerings into the Focus, for example, aimed at consumers who understand and want the latest offerings.
By the way, BMW also had it backward when it introduced iDrive on the 7 series instead of the 3 series.
Car manufacturers say they have to put the technology on their highest-priced vehicles because the features are expensive. That's a bad idea that burdens the vehicle.
But even when Ford has the right features on the right car for the right demographics, a new-car delivery at the dealership takes longer because there is a lot to teach the customer.
It is difficult and sometimes dangerous to hop into an unfamiliar car in the rain and locate the simplest controls, much less try to program a GPS or some other device intended to make it safer to drive. It doesn't always work that way.
Technology in automobiles is a great thing. But what is intuitive to the electronics engineer might not be intuitive to the customer.
And it's even more critical to match the technology to the demographics. Overwhelming the wrong customer in his new car doesn't do anyone any good.
You can reach Keith Crain at email@example.com.