Twenty years back a mobile phone was a distant dream. PCOs were a rage and calling rates were a deterrent. Jump to 2012, forget normal mobiles, smart phones are a rage; tariffs hit a new low every month. To tap into the youth market which basically thrives on its social networking which has become a part of their social life is essential for any product.
Cars, in the 90s it was the symbol of prosperity. Somewhere around late 90s, a sedan became the symbol graduating from hatchback. Basically in any family if a teenager was entrusted with a car, he/ (in very few cases) she was an adult.
The same situation was in America in late 60s and through the 70s – Mustang, Dodge, and Pontiac were the symbol of a youth becoming an adult. The cars had a status and these American beauties still have a special place among the car aficionados.
The chatter about cars back then used to be more about the vehicle and its capability than its accessories. Now the real problems that the carmakers face is not making a car greener or more efficient, it is making a car more human or more social.
Since now online social life is more predominant in deciding your social status it is the Smartphone that has become the teen-adult transition decider.
Cars are driven by almost any school going kid but a Smartphone especially if it is an Apple iPhone or Samsung S3 it is not just a phone it is a status symbol. These phones are equipped with artificial intelligence that replaces the need of human interaction for big and small things. It is like a Swiss army knife of mobile phones and for social life.
Earlier when a car was about to bought the father of the family decided alone, now the youth is much more active than it ever was in decision making. So a new demographic is to be pleased along with the existing one.
This is easy since the youth are more attached to the looks and features and leave the part of mileage, maintenance to their dads. Design aesthetics and features reach a new level launch after launch with each carmaker trying to outdo the other. Basically, they are looking ways to incorporate a Smartphone inside the car.
Smartphone’s definition has certainly got more specific with ornate details about ease, functionality and ease of functionality. The 8k phone that people call a Smartphone isn’t a Smartphone, it is a normal mobile phone and 15k is somewhat a Smartphone.
Torque, Mileage, BHP, Facebook connectivity, Google sync and what not will be in the feature list of your next car.
What’s your take?