The US auto industry has endured a rough couple of years with massive recalls, congressional hearings, record fines, and charges of reckless approach to safety.
Still, for the most part, consumers don’t seem dismayed as they continue to purchase cars and trucks at record levels and at record prices.
"The fact of the matter is, there is a plethora of recalls, and after a certain point in time people become numb to them," the head of a global automotive firm said. "We have more recalls now than we have ever had and yet the industry is selling more cars than ever."
A business professor at the University of Michigan believes that the long list of recent inspections and recalls has ruined the image of the US auto industry just as vehicle manufacturers need to call up young, talented engineers to build autonomous vehicles.
"Automakers have progressed from occasional, seemingly innocent mistakes and low-profile recalls to endless, high-profile recalls that resulted from decisions to save money, to cover-ups top-level executives blamed on lower-level engineers, to cover-ups suspected of going all they way to the top and claims of paying dealers to lie about sales," he said.
On the other hand, American consumers are acquiring more new cars and trucks that ever before at historically high prices. In the past year, car makers delivered more than 17.47 million new cars and trucks, and sales are on track to match that record this year.
Within the last six years, as US sales steadily recovered from the Great Recession, the executives of General Motors, Toyota and Volkswagen all gave testimonies to defend decisions related to safety breaches, fatal accidents and cheating on emissions testing.
As automakers overhauled corporate structures and others took measures to reevaluate safety processes and speed communications with regulators.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is currently under investigation by the US Securities and Exchange Commission and the US Department of Justice for its method of reporting monthly sales for its cars and trucks.
On the bright side, the automaker’s history indicates that its reputation can survive if it takes care of the crisis with the right amount of penance and transparency.
The auto industry is in the midst of the biggest recall in the US history, and the general market seems largely unaware or concerned.
Ford Incorporates Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
Ford recently announced that all of its 2017 model cars, trucks, and SUVs will be equipped with Apple CarPlay and Anroid Auto, two competing software services that allows the driver or passengers to bring the functions of their smartphone into the vehicle’s central screen.
However, Ford is not dropping its own entertainment and communications software to accommodate Apple and Google. The car manufacturer disclosed on Monday that its entire 2017 lineup will have Sync 3, the in-car system it developed that let owners control features such as sending text messages and making music selections through voice control or touchscreen. Applications including Spotify, Pandora, AccuWeather and AAA member services have also been added.
Ford’s Sync system has been upgraded to integrate CarPlay and Anroid Auto, which allows the smartphone and a couple of its apps to take over the vehicle’s digital display. After the users plug their smartphone into the car’s USB port, the phone’s maps, navigation, and other applications will be displayed on the center screen. Moreover, the Apple CarPlay can now work wirelessly.
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