Retrospect: 2020 Cars

Retrospect: 2020 Cars

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News companies weren’t stuck for ideas in 2020. Neither was the auto industry.

There were some pretty amazing headlines for 2020 cars that you may have missed as they got buried by 2020’s other events.

We take a look at some headlines from the auto industry in 2020:

5: Ford Bronco Confirmed

Actually, Ford announced the return of its famous SUV back in 2017. In July 2020, however, Ford gave us a release date and confirmed specs, pricing and actual examples of the predictably popular off-roader.

That predictability paid off. Ford offered North American customers the ability to place a refundable $100 USD deposit ahead of first deliveries. Ford cracked 150,000 Bronco pre-orders, forcing the waiting times up to two years.

Despite the $100 deposit being refundable, Ford predicts that 75% of orders will be filled.

Why did this make news?

The last Ford Bronco rolled off the production line back in 1996 - the year John Howard first became Prime Minister - so enthusiasts have been waiting a while.

The Ford Bronco is often remembered for the infamous low-speed car chase involving O.J. Simpson in LA in June 1994. Now, it’s back and redesigned for the modern age and stirring a lot of hype in the car world.

The Bronco is so well known that Ford opted to limit the Ford ‘blue-oval’ badges to only one on the rear. Instead, the Bronco name and badge appear much more prominently on the exterior and interior.

4: In-Car Purchases

The ability to make purchases anywhere, anytime is something that's always improving. Some 2020 cars saw the introduction of making purchases from the driver’s seat.

Certain new vehicles with 4G and 5G connections are offering integration with payment companies like Visa. Couple this with already-available voice recognition in many cars and drivers can order and pay for coffee, food, accommodation and other things while on the road.

So, on the morning commute, you could command your vehicle to order and pay for breakfast to be delivered to your workplace upon arrival. There are many new digital trends in the auto industry.

Why did this make news?

Cars becoming ‘online’ is not surprising but integrating financial technology into their infotainment systems gives us an idea of what ‘anytime / anywhere’ commerce looks like.

Keeping cars and transactions cashless is also inline with many COVID recommendations.

3: 2021 Brabham BT62R Revealed

The world may not wait with bated breath when every hypercar goes on sale but this one has something that resonated with Australians - it’s built here. Brabham Automotive is Adelaide based, meaning their hypercar, the BT62R, is Australian made.

The BT62R is a street-legal version of the company's monstrous track-only BT62. Making a road variant of a racing car is no easy feat as everything from safety to cooling systems to interior gadgetry and gear ratios need to be recalibrated. We’re hoping the Aussie hypercar is a success.

Why did this make news?

Australia's own hypercar designed for roads around the world. If successful, the BT62R might position Australia (once again) as a serious player in the performance car world. Some cars have significantly risen in value as they gain nostalgia. Brabham Automotive may strike a chord with those who remember Aussie racing legend, Jack Brabham.

2: Hybrid and electric 2020 cars outsell diesels in Europe for the first time

Back in September this year, electric-powered vehicles passed a major milestone - they outsold diesel vehicles for the first time. Electric trucks have always taken a backseat to their diesel counterparts - but things are changing.

Only a decade ago, half of all cars in Europe were diesel - that market share has now slumped to 24.8%. In September 2020, a total of 1.3 million new cars were sold in Europe:
327,800 - electric
322,400 - diesel

  • The remaining number, around 650,000 were petrol.

Despite petrol vehicles still being a winner, it’s nice to see environmentally friendly options becoming more dominant.

Why did this make news?

It’s only been in the last several years that EVs have shed their reputation for having a poor range with electric charging locations few and far between - and commanding a huge price for the privilege.

Consumer confidence, shown in the numbers, indicates that those concerns are a thing of the past. Some niche Australian companies are even developing their own electric utes.

Furthermore, any decrease in CO2 is a good thing. On average, electric cars emit around three times less CO2 than their diesel counterparts.

1: November 2020 vehicles sales in Australia beat November 2019

In a year of bushfires, lockdowns, social distancing, working from home and economic woes (and a whole lot more), last month’s car sales show the auto market is bouncing back.

The numbers:
November 2019: 84,708 vehicles sold in Australia.
November 2020: 95,205 vehicles sold in Australia.

That’s a 12.4% increase. In fact, November 2020 was the best November in 4 years.

But it’s not just new cars
Used cars in Australia have recorded a 30 per cent surge in prices since April this year. It’s good news for anyone selling a car but makes finding bargains online tough for buyers.

COVID. For starters, the general public’s avoidance of public transport pushed the need for cars, especially for those in need of a quick and cheap runabout. Secondly, supply shortages caused by the pandemic add to waiting times for new vehicles pushing some buyers to opt for low-mileage used options.

Furthermore, with the massive decline (up to 92%) in domestic air travel, many interstate travellers rely on the road rather than air.

These squeezes have pushed used prices up.

Why did this make news?

It reflects consumer confidence in cars Australia led by the government’s Instant Asset Write-off scheme along with the easing of COVID restrictions. The lifting of travel restrictions like state border closures also help.

The auto industry may not have fully recovered, but November’s sales are definitely a good sign.

Cars in 2020 Conclusion:

Most people are pretty pleased with 2020 becoming a thing of the past. Anyone in the auto industry is surely one of them.

Things are looking up with vaccines on the horizon and lockdowns (hopefully) in the rearview mirror.

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