To be successful in today’s auto market, it takes out-of-the-box thinking to engage customers with your brand. Manufacturers are consistently developing the newest technologies to stay on-trend. Their ultimate goal is to create features that are ahead of their time and products that will stand out even in the face of tough competition.
In a world where we’re constantly looking for the next best gadget to make our lives easier, the following trends are “one-hit wonders” that have all since been forgotten:
Rear Windshield Louvers
In the 80’s, rear windshield louvers were cool, sophisticated and were great for protecting your privacy. They were also thought to assist the rear spoiler by distributing the air coming in from the front. Despite those qualities, people eventually lost interest in them and they were abandoned. Time for a comeback?
Pop-up lights were the feature that suddenly made your vehicle ten times cooler. They were originally created for aerodynamic purposes, but were abandoned once newer ideas transpired. However, there are still a few cars that continue to use pop-up headlights, including the Mazda Rx7, which is well-known in the racing and drifting community.
Vibrant Interior Themes
In the 70s and 80s, many vehicles’ interiors were furnished with vibrant colors. The brightest blues, yellows and the richest browns were used from the seats to the floor mats.
This trend started to dwindle once manufacturers shifted to more subtle combinations in the interior cabin including shades of black, beige and grey. You may still see some sportscar manufacturers using yellow, red and green highlights inside though!
Landau Tops & Exterior Wood Panels
Wood panels are still used in some vehicles, but only as a highlight on the inside of the vehicle to give it a premium feel. However, in the 70s and 80s, wood panels were a popular design gimmick that could be seen in most American cars. Almost all station wagons produced in that era had some sort of wood paneling! Wood paneling on the exterior is now a thing of the past. Manufacturers have moved to carbon fiber and other materials that reduce the overall weight of the car, which gives it a sleeker look.
Another popular auto trend was the Landau top (roofs with soft tops). Some decades ago, Landau tops were the luxury design element. All major luxury sedans had them, but they eventually fizzled out. Today, we are seeing car manufacturers avoiding landau tops completely, most likely not making a comeback any time soon.
There are very few manual vehicles on the road today, and even fewer with a gated shifter. Most manufacturers are now only developing automatics, or vehicles with paddle shifters. It is likely that manual vehicles will soon be taken out of manufacturing completely, which will in turn practically make gated shifters extinct.
There was once a time when 2-door SUVs were in high demand! Nowadays, these smaller SUVs have been replaced by crossovers or compact SUVs. The crossovers are small, but they still have four doors, so you get the added advantage of a 4-door in the size of a 2-door. Most manufacturers have shifted to better alternatives, but 2-door SUVs have not completely phased out. Jeep still produces its smaller iteration of the Wrangler in a 2-door version.
Coupes with Truck Beds
Farmers as well as people who hauled a lot of weight loved utility coupes. These vehicles were a marriage between a coupe and a truck, offering decent gas mileage along with the ability to haul large quantities.
Currently, the utility coupe has been (for the most part) completely replaced by trucks. Trucks are more powerful, carry heavier loads for longer distances and drive on rough terrain without strain. Additionally, gas mileage in trucks has significantly improved, so in the U.S., coupes with truck beds have become a thing of the past.
While these trends were good ideas at one point in time, they’ve been replaced with more current, fresher ideas with more advances in technology. Although the world is constantly moving forward, they’ve definitely left their mark on society.
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