Hyundai Launches Online Car Shopping Program

Between Amazon Prime, Postmates, and a number of other online retailers with quick delivery times, almost anything can be purchased online and arrive at your doorstep in as little as an hour. Now Hyundai is trying to get in on the massive online retail business by introducing a car shopping program that allows drivers to purchase a car online just like they order home goods from Target or food from Blue Apron.

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According to Edmunds, the Hyundai Shopper Assistance Program is a retail program in the U.S. that allows drivers to online shop for vehicles. Launched on October 10, 2017, the program claims to offer transparent pricing, flexible test drives, a streamlined purchase process, and a three day money-back guarantee. The program is currently only available in Miami, Orlando, Dallas, and Houston, but the company plans on making it available nationwide by early 2018.

As part of the program, participating dealer websites will post vehicle specific pricing so customers know the exact price of the make and model they are interested in. Hyundai says this “not only makes it easier to shop and compare” but will allow the driver to make “faster better-informed decisions.” They can then schedule a test drive on their phone, either online or through an app. The test drive can even begin at their home, with a representative from the dealer bringing the vehicle to the driver’s house. The car manufacturer says that “this can be especially convenient for parents at home with children, as well as those who would prefer their test drive on familiar roads.”

Hyundai is the first mass-market car brand to enter the world of online shopping. The brand says they know “buying a new car hasn't always been as smooth a process as we'd all like. We hear you. So we're happy to introduce Hyundai Shopper Assurance.” Consumer Reports notes that Hyundai knows people don’t like going to the dealership, so they’re trying to eliminate that aspect of the car buying experience.

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In addition to pricing and scheduling test drives being available online, the program also offers the ability to apply for financing, get credit approval, figure out payment plans, and value trade-ins online as well. The hope is that consumers will be more likely to purchase a vehicle if they don’t have to spend large amounts of time at the dealership. The program also allows customers to return their vehicles within three days of purchase (as long as it has less than 300 miles and passes a dealer inspection). According to Dean Evans, chief marketing officer for Hyundai Motor America, “for nearly a decade, the word 'Assurance' has been synonymous with Hyundai and represents our efforts in redefining the car ownership experience. Shopper Assurance is the next step in that tradition and is car buying made simple.”

Online shopping is clearly a very popular means of making a purchase, and car dealerships are largely unpopular. Hyundai is smart for realizing this, and allowing their customers the ability to purchase a vehicle from the comfort of their own home. As the program rolls out into more and more cities, we will see if customers like online car shopping, or if they miss being able to see all of the dealer’s vehicles in the flesh. If the program is popular, it is likely we’ll be seeing more and more automobile manufacturers offering online shopping programs too.  


Car accidents can still happen no matter how much time and effort you put into researching and purchasing a vehicle. If you have been involved in an automobile accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation with an experienced auto accident attorney today. 

Millennials Showing New Interest in SUVs

The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC recently introduced readers to the Chrysler Portal, a concept car from Chrysler Fiat that was billed as a millennial dream car. It included selfie taking capabilities, shared playlists, LED accent lighting, and facial recognition software. Chrysler created the car in an attempt to combat the lack of interest from millennials in the automotive industry. 

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Well fortunately or unfortunately, the car selfies will have to wait. Car manufacturers such as Chrysler should be relieved by new data released by Autotrader and published in the Detroit Free Press which suggests that millennials are showing a newfound interest in SUVs. Data taken from an Autotrader survey showed that 40% of millennials say their dream car is an SUV. This growing interest from millennials aligns with an emphasis from car manufacturers on family-carrying vehicles. According to Ford US sales analyst Erich Merkle, who spoke to the Free Press, sales of SUVs are up across the board - large SUVs are up 12%, midsize SUVs are up 9%, and compact SUVs are up 4%. On top of that, consumers become very loyal to SUVs after their first purchase. Buyers cite the biggest selling points of SUVs to be the cargo space, higher seating position, ease of getting in and out, and extra seating. For instance, Ford's best selling car with millennials is the Escape, which can seat seven. After all, you can't have #squadgoals if the entire squad can't fit in the car!

While the features of the Chrysler Portal may be trendy for millennials, they might not be the safest. Millennials like to multitask, but keeping an eye on the road while trying to take the perfect selfie may prove to be difficult and certainly unsafe. Run-of-the-mill SUVs, on the other hand, have been consistently improving their safety features. Of the cars U.S. News and World Report consider to be the 10 safest SUVs, many come standard with safety features such as rear view cameras, automatic emergency breaking, and rear cross traffic alerts. Since millennials are a generation highly interested in technology, it's likely that they'll be willing to spend the extra money on optional safety features as well. These can include lane departure warnings, adaptive cruise control, and forward collision warning - all of which make for a safer vehicle. 

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For years, the buying habits and lifestyles of millennials suggested that they wouldn’t be buying SUVs to the same degree as their baby boomer parents. Baby boomers moved out to the suburbs and started having families in their early 20s. Millennials, on the other hand, are more likely to live in urban areas and have shown less of a desire for marriage and children. As a result, millennials tend to use ride sharing apps such as Uber and Lyft as means of transportation, rather than purchasing a vehicle. Car manufacturers were right to be concerned by this lack of interest, as there are 80 million millennials in America, making them the largest generational group in the country. When it comes to the auto industry, according to the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business, millennials purchased only about 4 million cars and trucks in 2015, and are expected to have made up only 30% of new car sales in 2016. Millennials have enormous buying power, and if they weren't using that power to buy SUVs, it could be a huge loss for automakers.

There are a few factors that likely explain millennials' new desire for SUVs. One is that their lifestyles are starting to look more like those of baby boomers, no matter how much they try and deny that they're like their parents. While there is no exact definition of a millennial, the agreed upon age range is generally people born between 1980 and 2000. Since millennials are getting married and having children at older ages than previous generations did, this means they are just now reaching the time in their life when they need a bigger car to transport a family. As such, they are becoming more interested in the extra seating and cargo space that SUVs have to offer. Data from Ford shows that SUVs are most commonly purchased by people between the ages of 35 and 44, and millennials are just starting to hit that age range.

Another explanation for millennials' new interest in SUVs is the economy. Since the Great Recession has ended, it’s likely that millennials are just now starting to reach a point in their life when they have the resources to make a large purchase, such as an SUV and a house in the suburbs. 

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While millennial lifestyles are looking more like the life styles of baby boomers, according to Autoguide however, their actual car purchasing habits are still quite different. Millennials spend more time doing their own research before walking into a dealership, and the vast majority of that research is online. Millennials look up car ratings before going to the dealer just like they look up Yelp reviews before ordering takeout.

Millennials are clearly doing their research when it comes to car buying. This newfound interest in SUVs is great news for the automotive industry, who will welcome purchases of bigger cars and safety upgrades by millennials. It's also encouraging that millennials are just as interested in safety features as they are with selfies and custom playlists. However, no amount of research or high tech safety equipment can currently assure that accidents won’t happen. Whether driving an SUV or any other type of car, it’s important to be alert and to follow all traffic laws to minimize the risk of being involved in an automobile accident. Posting that car selfie would be pointless if you crashed the car that took it, right? 


Accidents can happen regardless of the type of car being driven and whatever advanced safety features the vehicle may have. If you have been involved in automobile accident call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation. Our attorneys are experienced in handling all types of motor vehicle collision lawsuits including those involving SUVs. 

Michigan Helps Lead the Country In Autonomous Vehicle Regulations

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Trying to keep up with the fast-growing autonomous car industry, more than 50 bills have been introduced in 20 states to establish some type of regulation for self-driving vehicles. The Detroit Free Press predicts that autonomous vehicles will transform business models by reducing personal car ownership, restructuring urban and suburban development, and eliminating millions of transportation jobs while at the same time creating many more jobs. Michigan was one of the first states that adopted legislation to make it easier for automakers to test self-driving vehicles on a public road without a driver. Governor Rick Snyder said in December, “We should we proud we’re leading the world, right here in Michigan.” 

Legislation in Michigan also “allows automated platoons of trucks to travel together at set speeds” and “allows networks of self-driving cars that can pick up passengers.” Additionally, Ford’s self-driving Fusions and GM’s self-driving Chevrolet Bolts have been cleared for more testing. 

Michigan is not alone in passing autonomous vehicle legislation. 21 other states and Washington D.C. have also passed legislation or adopted regulations based on a Governor’s executive order. They are: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, New York, Massachusetts, Nevada, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin.

However, the lack of uniformity among states may be confusing for owners of self-driving cars and could potentially harm innovation. Chan Lieu, an advisor to the Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets (whose members include former Google driverless car project Waymo, automakers Ford and Volvo, and ride-sharing services Uber and Lyft) mentions, “If you had 50 different requirements for 50 different states, each state (might do it) different. It’s going to be very, very difficult to build a vehicle to be effectively sold across the country.” This is all the more reason to distinguish states such as Michigan, as leaders in regulating the autonomous vehicle industry. 

Currently, “states are balancing a desire to be viewed as beacons of innovation while also seeking to protect their residents from technology that remains unproven on a large scale.” Federal regulations, on the other hand, may take years to propose and implement new rules on autonomous cars. This timeline may clash with the fast pace self-driving technology is moving at. 
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In the past, individual states have regulated driver behavior while the federal government has regulated the vehicle itself. A House subcommittee was scheduled to meet on June 27, 2017 to discuss several drafts of 14 self-driving bills in Washington D.C. Gary Peters, a US senator representing Michigan, said legislation should be introduced in the next few weeks that will lead to “a complete re-write of federal regulations for motor vehicles when you take the driver out of the car.” US Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said in Detroit, Michigan last month, that the presidential administration will reveal revised self-driving guidelines within the next few months, in order to “incorporate feedback and improvements recommended by numerous stakeholders.” 

Yet with automakers quickly developing autonomous technology, it will likely be up to individual states to create updated regulations as improvements are made. Safety is the main priority for states looking to support advancements while at the same time minimizing motor vehicle collisions. Jessica Gonzalez, a spokesperson for the California Department of Motor Vehicles, said, “We know this technology can save lives. It can mean mobility for millions of people. So we see all the advantages to it, but at the same time we’re tasked with making sure this technology is safe.” 

With Toyota and the University of Michigan collaborating on autonomous vehicles and the US economy preparing for big changes from self-driving cars, it is no surprise that the state of Michigan is heading towards a safe and supportive environment for future technology. In Detroit, major automakers are the backbone of autonomous improvements. USA TODAY Network reports that GM announced the production on 130 self-driving Chevrolet Bolt test vehicles at its plant in Orion township last month, fulfilling the company’s promise to help maintain Michigan’s leadership in the autonomous car industry. Ford is also among automakers that have proposed to launch a fully autonomous vehicle by 2021. 

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There is no doubt that the Great Lakes State will do innovative things in the coming years as it helps develop and regulate self-driving cars. However, safety is vital when testing new technologies, as even seemingly perfect dream vehicles may put passengers at risk for being involved in motor vehicle crashes. Above all, autonomous vehicles are breaking new ground in the transportation industry, and it will be up to lawmakers-at both state and national levels-to keep up. 


The State of Michigan is the birthplace of cars, and continues to make strides in the automobile industry. As self-driving technology rapidly develops, states like Michigan are working to regulate autonomous vehicles at a similar pace. Safety remains the main priority, as no state wants to compromise the lives of citizens because of a cool car with no one driving it. If you or someone you know has been involved in a severe motor vehicle collision, please contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. 

Hands Free Technology in Cars Makes Driving Safer

Could driving while using your smartphone make the roads safer? Well, we are about to soon find out, as automotive companies are partnering up with Android and iOS operating systems, allowing consumers to start seeing some added technology to their driving experience. As people become more connected, so will the things around them, especially as a part of the "auto industry's strategy and new product development," says Project Manager Andrew Brenner from Google's Android Auto.

In January, in Detroit, Michigan, Brenner spoke at the Automotive News World Congress and said, "Consumers are finally starting to shop for cars with the expectation that the vehicles operate with the technology, design and pace of innovation that they are used to with their mobile phones."

 

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Digital technology is vastly changing the driving experience from “connecting” to being “connected.” Consumers, under the strain of trying to use their phones in the safest way possible while driving and being under the radar from law enforcement, can now gain better piece of mind that their mobile device will have full functionally on their dash.

Android Auto, for example, which launched back in 2015, already offers user many apps including Pandora, iHeartRadio and Skype. The platform, which has 60 partners as of January, 2016, and has plans of increasing by 20 more according to Benner, was designed “with safety in mind.” With future plans of adding Google Maps with voice-guided navigation, live traffic information, lane guidance, on-demand Google Play Music, and voice calling in addition to messaging abilities, Android Auto could potentially provide users with a better and safer driving experience.

"Anything we can do to reduce distraction for people in their cars-whether they have an Android or iPhone-I think is a huge benefit," says Brenner.

Like its competitor, Apple Carplay offers similar apps although with a slightly different interface. iPhone users can also expect to gain more connectivity and options in their motor vehicles in the years to come.

With more hands free access, lawmakers may have to adjusts the rules for driving while using a cellular device.

But the bigger debate may not be which platform is better for drivers, but whether this new technology will have an effect on smartphone related automobile accidents. The National Safety Council, a nonprofit organization that stands on advocating safety for over 100 years, seems to think so. Back in 2012, the organization published a study titled “Understanding the Distracted Brain: Why Driving While Using Hands-Free Cell Phones is Risky Behavior,” indicating that cognitive use is a form of “distracted driving,” pointing at hands-free phones as the risky behavior. It’s no secret distracted driving incidents inflate lawsuits, injuries, and deaths. Subsequently, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and the automotive industry should get ready as cognitive distraction may become a hot topic in the coming future.

If you or someone you know has been involved in an auto accident involving a distracted driver, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Our attorneys are highly experienced in handling all types of car crashes. Call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.