Blog

RELAYCARS

What is the Best Mileage for a Used Car?

What is the Best Mileage for a Used Car?

January 12, 2022

Shopping for a used car could require a bit more online research. Buyers might know the make and model they want, but they might need a specific price to fit their budget. They may need to look at the age of the vehicles, and used cars also can vary in the number of miles on their odometer. Price could differ because of mileage, age and condition, too. Of all these factors, though, mileage might be the most perplexing. What is the best mileage for a used car? Is there a mileage that buyers should absolutely avoid? Here’s how to decipher the numbers on the odometer! Best Mileage for a Used Car [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Why-Mileage-Affects-Price.jpg] WHY MILEAGE AFFECTS PRICE When shopping for a used vehicle, a number of factors affect the price: make/model, age, mileage and condition. Older vehicles may be less expensive than newer models, but this isn’t always the case. For example, an older luxury car might be more expensive than a newer economical vehicle. Cars with damage or less than stellar interiors also may offer a lower price. There could be rips or other issues related to the overall appearance of the car. For obvious reasons, this doesn’t bode well for the value of the vehicle. Thus, the dealership will likely slice that price tag. Make and model also affects the price of used inventory for obvious reasons. Again, a luxury vehicle is going to be priced higher than a standard model. A minivan that is the same age as a compact car will typically be more expensive, too. Mileage is the final factor that can decrease or increase the sticker price. Why is mileage such an issue? Higher mileage means more wear and tear. As the mileage increases, the maintenance issues may also increase. When cars hit 100,000 miles, for example, there are a number of mechanical services that may be necessary. Drivers might consider the 100,000 mile marker as the car’s middle age. Car and Driver explains that today’s cars will drive up to 200,000 miles. Buying a car with six digits is a significant odometer reading, but is it a deal breaker? That really depends on the buyer. BEST MILEAGE ON A USED CAR FOR A COMMUTER Buyers will often turn to the used market to find a vehicle that’s more affordable. Some buyers don’t even consider a new model, because of the issues related to depreciation. For these buyers, used inventory is the better option. While a number of factors affect the price of a used car, buyers may zero in on the odometer when all other factors are equal. For commuters, choosing a used model that offers the lowest mileage might be ideal. What is the best mileage for a used car if the buyer needs that vehicle for a lengthy commute? The answer isn’t simple, because the buyer really needs to weigh the options of price and mileage and also understand how long they wish to keep that car. If the buyer is financing the car for three years, they will need to figure out if the car will even last that long. For example, if the car buyer commutes 100 miles round trip five days per week, they will drive about 2,000 miles per month or 24,000 miles each year. If the odometer of the used model is resting at 100,000 miles, that means the vehicle will rack up at least 60,000 miles over the life of the loan. While a vehicle could last up to 200,000 miles, there is no guarantee that it will last that long. Driving a car an extensive amount each day adds wear and tear on the vehicle. While every used vehicle should come with a report on its previous ownership and history, the buyer doesn’t know the driving habits of the previous owner. Did they commute daily? Did they service the vehicle regularly? For commuters who are buying a used vehicle, the mileage is important. Unfortunately, the mileage might not be the only consideration for the buyer. Price could impact what they choose, too. For this reason, one recommendation for a driver who needs a used car for a commute is to choose the model with the lowest mileage that fits within their budget. Buyers also can research safety ratings for different models via the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety to find their safest models. BEST MILEAGE ON A USED CAR FOR CITY DRIVERS City drivers are those who drive locally. These drivers may work near their home, or they may be retired or stay-at-home parents who don’t need to travel far during their daily routines. When buying a used car for local driving, does mileage matter? The odometer reading may still be a factor to consider, but it may matter less to city drivers than to those who have long commutes. Buyers still need to consider how long they plan to keep the vehicle. They also need to look at their budget needs and how this weighs against the odometer reading. If buyers are driving 10 miles a day on average, the mileage isn’t going to become such an issue. However, if buyers also plan to use the vehicle for road trips or more extensive travel, then mileage on a used model could be more of a factor. Like commuters, though, city drivers might look at both price and mileage and weigh their options accordingly. Best Mileage for a Used Car [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Finding-the-Best-Used-Car.jpg] FINDING THE BEST USED CAR For many used car buyers, mileage will play into their final decision but so will price. Unlike new inventory, there are a number of factors that buyers will need to consider when purchasing a used vehicle. Some buyers can have their heart set on a specific make/model. Maybe they have a preference related to the type of car they drive. When searching for used models, though, sometimes the choices even with a single model can be really overwhelming. Prices can vary considerably. How do buyers sift through all their options? When shopping is used, buyers should understand where they are willing to compromise and where they will not budge. Some buyers might be willing to opt for an older model if it offers lower mileage. Other buyers might hunt for the newest models and not care about the mileage. Price and the budget may play into this decision, too. If buyers must have a low price, they will need to compromise in some areas. Again, buyers may find lower prices for cars that are older or that have higher mileage. However, lower prices also could be associated with economic models, too. Are buyers willing to sacrifice the model they want for a budget option? Would they rather choose an older luxury model than a budget-friendly newer economic vehicle? What about safety features? Newer models will typically offer better safety features. Do buyers want a backup camera or more modern capabilities? These are considerations buyers need to factor into their decision. IS FUEL EFFICIENCY MORE IMPORTANT THAN MILEAGE? Commuters may be curious if the fuel efficiency of a vehicle is more important than its mileage. If a car offers great fuel efficiency, does the mileage even matter? Hybrids and electric cars both get great energy efficiency. Since electric vehicles don’t use fuel, they don’t offer statistics related to miles per gallon (MPG). Instead, many include stats referring to the miles per gallon equivalent (or MPGe). Hybrids could travel 60 miles per gallon, but electric models might boast more than 100 MPGe. While this means that drivers won’t have to hit the pump or the plug as often, it doesn’t negate the odometer reading. Mileage still affects the value of the car and it still affects the life of the vehicle. Fuel efficiency can save money, but it won’t allow a vehicle to necessarily last longer. The electric plug isn’t a fountain of youth for an automobile! Instead of an engine that may fail, an electric vehicle will have a battery that needs to be replaced. As AutoTrader explains, batteries are constantly evolving and getting better. Older electric vehicles will offer less range than newer models. Is it cheaper to replace an older model’s battery or just replace the car? That could be the ultimate question for those who opt for used electric models. WHAT IS THE BEST MILEAGE FOR A USED CAR? There is no ideal odometer reading for a used car. Buyers need to weigh the mileage against other factors for the car. Age, mileage, condition and make and model all affect the price of that vehicle. Some buyers may be fine with a car with higher mileage if it fits into their budget. These buyers could be city drivers who don’t travel far for work or daily errands. Those with long commutes, though, might need a car with the lowest mileage that fits into their budget. Higher mileage on a used model could mean more money in upkeep if the driver uses the car for long commutes. In addition, that used purchase might not have a long life if it already has an odometer with six figures. Ultimately, buyers need to find the used model that fits their budget and their driving habits. Mileage is important to some buyers but isn’t a concern to others. The reading on the odometer is just one aspect to consider when buying a used model.

Third Row SUVs for Every Budget and Space Need

Third Row SUVs for Every Budget and Space Need

January 7, 2022

Third-row SUVs are an ideal vehicle for car buyers looking for enough space for a large family or those who need cargo space for recreational or business equipment. These vehicles have a rugged aesthetic for buyers who don’t necessarily want a standard family car. Third-row SUVs are perfect for fitting extra passengers—most will seat at least seven—but not all of them are full-sized SUVs. Car buyers can find third-row SUVs for every budget and space need; third rows are offered in mid-size and full-size SUVs. Looking for the perfect third-row SUV? Here are the options by size and price. SMALLER THIRD-ROW SUVS Looking for a small SUV with maximum seating capacity? The smallest SUVs that feature third-rows might be more midsize than small. Many compact or small SUVs typically only feature a second row plus cargo space. CarBuzz ranked the top smallest SUVs that feature third-row seating. While smaller SUVs might not have as much space between rows as larger options, they could be easier on the budget. Here are the top five smallest SUVs featuring third-row seating from CarBuzz with additional data on price, seating capacity and safety rating (from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety): Kia Sorento [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Kia-Sorento.jpg] * Kia Sorento (Midsize SUV) Base Price: $29,490 (2022 model) Capacity: Space for 7 Safety Rating: Top Safety Pick Hyundai Palisade [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Hyundai-Palisade.jpg] * Hyundai Palisade (Midsize SUV) Base Price: $33,150 (2022 SE model) Capacity: Space for up to 8 Safety Rating: Top Safety Pick+ Kia Telluride [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Kia-Sorento-1.jpg] * Kia Telluride (Midsize SUV) Base Price: $32,790 Capacity: Space for up to 8 Safety Rating: Top Safety Pick Genesis GV80 V6 AWD [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Genesis-GV80-V6-AWD.jpg] * Genesis GV80 V6 AWD (Midsize SUV) Base Price: $59,650 (2021 model) Capacity: Space for 7 Safety Rating: Top Safety Pick+ Volvo XC90 [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Volvo-XC90.jpg] * Volvo XC90 (Midsize SUV) Base Price: $49,900 (2022 model) Capacity: Space for 7 Safety Rating: Top Safety Pick+ SUVS OFFERING THE MOST ROOM IN THE THIRD ROW Midsize SUVs might be easier on the budget than their larger counterparts, but for buyers who need as much space as possible, a full-size SUV might be the best option. U.S. News & World Report ranked the SUVs (2021 models) with the best third-row seats. Here are the top five picks from U.S. News based on leg room for the third-row with additional data on price and safety ratings (two are actually midsize models!): Ford Expedition [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Ford-Expedition.jpg] * Ford Expedition Third Row Space: 40.9 inches. Base Price: $50,595 (2021 model) Safety Rating: N/A Chevy Suburban [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Chevy-Suburban.jpg] * Chevy Suburban Third-Row Space: 36.7 inches Base Price: $52,300 (2021 model) Safety Rating: N/A GMC Yukon [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/GMC-Yukon.jpg] * GMC Yukon Third-Row Space: 34.9 inches Base Price: $50,595 Safety Rating: N/A Volkswagen Atlas [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Volkswagen-Atlas.jpg] * Volkswagen Atlas (Midsize SUV) Third-Row Space: 33.7 inches Base Price: $31,545 Safety Rating: Review Report Chevy Traverse [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Chevy-Traverse.jpg] * Chevy Traverse (Midsize SUV) Third-Row Space: 33.5 inches Base Price: $29,800 Safety Rating: Top Safety Pick FINDING THE BEST AND MOST AFFORDABLE THIRD-ROW SUV Buyers on the hunt for a new 2021 or 2022 SUV featuring the third-row of seating might opt for the Chevy Traverse or the Kia Sorento, as these two models are the least expensive of all the above choices. But these models are not the least expensive third-row SUV; the Volkswagen Tiguan is the least expensive 2021 model with an MSRP of $25,245.   Those with a very tight budget, though, also can shop used or pre-owned SUVs to find a deal that fits into their budget while providing the space they need. When looking for used or pre-owned models, buyers can research different models for their safety ratings via IIHS. The site offers an easy search query system to find the ratings for almost all vehicles; however, data on larger SUVs could be limited. If buyers aren’t sure if they are getting a good deal from the dealership, they also can use Kelley Blue Book (KBB) to find out the prices of a model in their area. KBB offers an easy query system to find prices of models. Just type in the year, make, model and location, and KBB will pull up all the vehicles in the area. This lets buyers compare prices across dealerships. RESEARCHING OPTIONS ONLINE Cox Automotive’s Car Buyer Journey Study (Pandemic Edition) reported that buyers spent more than seven hours researching and shopping for a car online. This was actually about two hours less than buyers spent on the same tasks in 2019. However, for many buyers, the research begins online. Many begin their search via third-party sites (like KBB), and more than three-quarters of shoppers went to at least two sites. The study noted that dealership websites were more likely to be the final online destination for buyers; 33 percent of those participating in the study said that they visited dealership sites last. Buyers may look online for safety ratings, price and other details related to their potential purchase. Some buyers might know exactly the type of vehicle they want and may zoom through their research phase, looking perhaps only at the best prices in the area. Other buyers, though, might have no idea about the type of car they want to purchase. These shoppers could do a bit more research online. They may feel that they are beginning their search from scratch. While buyers could visit sites like Edmunds, IIHS and KBB for information about vehicles, these sites don’t necessarily help buyers visualize the vehicle beyond simple two dimensional photos. Even dealership sites may offer limited photographs of new models. Some could offer slideshows or a selection of photos, but what about buyers who want more visual data? Augmented Reality for Immersive Research [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Augmented-Reality-for-Immersive-Research.jpg] AUGMENTED REALITY FOR IMMERSIVE RESEARCH RelayCars provides buyers with the tools to research any vehicle up close via 3D and augmented reality visuals. RelayCars offers thousands of models for buyers to explore. Augmented reality can be a key tool during the car research phase. While photos show details of the vehicle, they aren’t designed to allow for exploration. Augmented reality  has been used by many stores and companies for try-on experiences that give consumers a way to see products before purchasing. With augmented reality, consumers can virtually swipe paint onto their walls or try on different cosmetics. Stores also let shoppers preview furniture in their homes. Just drop a coffee table into the space to see if it fits. RelayCars is the try-on experience for cars. While the site lets shoppers preview vehicles on the screen via interactive 3D graphics, RelayCars also offers an augmented reality experience. Visitors to RelayCars can choose a model that they want to explore and view in augmented reality, and, using their smartphone or tablet camera, they can capture the space where they want to place the vehicle. The car (or SUV) can be dropped in any space. View an immersive vehicle in the driveway or see how it looks in the garage. Why is augmented reality so different from standard imagery? Augmented reality typically depicts the product as it would be in person. The table from a furniture store isn’t just a tiny model, it’s shown in normal size via the augmented reality preview. When shopping for cars, augmented reality can let shoppers better understand the design of the vehicle. In addition, some platforms even let the user look inside the vehicle. The vehicle can appear wherever the user wants to explore it. Once the augmented reality vehicle is placed into the environment, the user can actually walk around the model. RelayCars lets users preview as many vehicles as they want in augmented reality. There is no limit to how many vehicles consumers can research. The site acts as a research tool to help buyers better understand their options and explore them. After they’ve used the augmented reality tool via RelayCars, they also can view the car on-screen in 3D. The images of the vehicle can be rotated to see the car from any angle. In addition, RelayCars also offers a 3D panorama tour for each model. This lets users explore the interior of the car. Every vehicle in RelayCars’ showroom also can be viewed in different paint hues. However, the options depend on the color choices for each vehicle. USING RELAYCARS TO FIND THE BEST THIRD-ROW SUV For buyers looking for the best SUV with third-row seating, RelayCars can be used to explore the interior space. The 3D panorama viewing option gives users the feeling that they are sitting in the front seat of the SUV and looking around the vehicle. Use the mouse or just a fingertip to navigate around the SUV. Augmented reality also lets buyers see how the SUV would look in their garage or driveway. They also can immerse themselves in exploration to better understand the SUV’s design and walk around the vehicle. Buyers can explore different SUV models via RelayCars to find the best SUV for their space needs. Then they might visit dealership websites to find the best price or deals in the area. RelayCars adds an immersive visual element to the car shopping experience to allow for consumers to create a virtual (or augmented reality) showroom in their home. When buyers find the best SUV at the best price, they can save the rest of the details for the dealership visit. RelayCars helps buyers research vehicles from home and creates a unique preview experience that lets them explore all their vehicle options!

The Most Reliable Pickup Trucks

The Most Reliable Pickup Trucks

January 3, 2022

Buyers on the hunt for a new pickup truck might be drawn to this body type for its rugged durability and towing capacity. Pickup trucks are offered in ½ ton, ¾ ton and full-ton models. Some are diesel, but electric trucks are an option, too. Pickup trucks are a workhorse vehicle and many are capable of towing and hauling massive loads. Trucks also can hit the off-beaten paths, conquering sand, mud and rocks, too. When shopping for a new pickup truck, though, what models are the best and most reliable. Here are the most reliable pickup trucks. Reliable Pickup Trucks [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Sizing-Up-the-Pickup.jpg] SIZING UP THE PICKUP Buyers who are unfamiliar with the pickup truck market might be a bit overwhelmed by their options when they start browsing online. Buyers will typically see a range of numbers for pickup truck models; these numbers include 1500 or 150, 2500 or 250, 3500 or 350 or even 4500. What do these numbers mean? Pickup truck numbers denote their size. It’s easier if buyers associate the numbers with tonnage; the numbers 1500 or 150 denote ½ ton models, 2500 or 250 refer to ¾ ton models and the largest vehicles are full-tons and are denoted by 3500 or 350. However, buyers may see a 450, and this is the largest model. Other manufacturers may represent their largest models differently. Weight for models isn’t necessarily ½ ton or even full ton; the terms ½ ton or ¾ ton are now just industry references. Models may weigh significantly more than the ½ ton reference suggests. Buyers need to look at these classes as measurements of strength instead of weight or exact tonnage. A half-ton pickup is the lightest weight option, and it is capable of towing and hauling a significant amount of weight. However, towing and hauling capacity increases with the model size. Buyers who need brute force for work needs would need to choose a full-ton model. Reliable Pickup Trucks [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/The-Weight-of-Towing.jpg] THE WEIGHT OF TOWING The larger and heavier the pickup, the more weight it is capable of towing. Vehicle buyers may have different towing needs related to their job or just their lifestyle or interest. Avid water sport enthusiasts may need to tow a small trailer carrying a jet ski or a boat. Those who love the outdoors may need to tow a small camper. Farmers or ranchers may need a heavier pickup truck for towing large machinery or equipment, though. They may opt for a ¾ ton or one-ton model. How much weight can each model tow? What model is best for a buyer’s towing needs? Here’s how the most popular models of ½ ton pickup trucks stack up in towing capacity: * 2021 Ford F-150 (Five engine options) 8,200 to 14,000 pounds * 2022 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 (Five engine options) Up to 13,300 pounds * GMC Sierra 1500 Up to 13,000 pounds * 2022 Ram 1500 Up to 12,750 pounds * 2021 Nissan TITAN 9,310, to 11,040 pounds * 2021 Toyota Tundra 9,400 to 10,100 pounds * 2022 GMC Canyon Up to 7,700 pounds * 2021 Ford Ranger Up to 7,500 pounds * 2021 Jeep Gladiator Up to 7,650 pounds * 2022 Chevrolet Colorado Up to 7,000 pounds * 2022 Toyota Tacoma 3,500 to 6,800 pounds * 2022 Nissan Frontier Up to 6,720 pounds * 2022 Honda Ridgeline 5,000 pounds TOWING DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE ¾ TON AND FULL TON PICKUPS For car buyers who need towing capacity beyond the abilities of the typical ½ ton pickup, a ¾ ton or full-ton might be the better option. For the one-ton models, Ford ranks as the top choice for towing. The Ford F-350 is capable of towing up to 21,000 pounds, but with a fifth-wheel this extends its towing power to 32,000 pounds. Ford also offers the Super Duty F-450 XL, which can tow up to 36,400 pounds. This is by far the beast of all the pickup truck options.   The ¾ ton models can’t tow nearly as much as a full-ton pickup, but they can tow more than the ½ ton. In this class, Ford’s F-250 model can tow up to 21,800 pounds (for the fifth wheel depending on the engine). The Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD can tow up to 18,510 pounds. WHAT IS THE SAFEST PICKUP TRUCK? Buyers may want the safest pickup truck. When researching the safety ratings of a vehicle, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is the best resource. Buyers can search by make/model to find the safety rating and read the full safety report. The top rating is denoted as the Top Safety Pick+. For small pickup trucks, there were no models that received this rating. However, the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz Crew cab pickup received a Top Safety Pick rating (which is the next best rating from the Institute). For 2021 large pickup trucks, there also were no models that received a Top Safety Pick+ rating. Multiple models received the Top Safety Pick rating, however. These models included: * 2021 Ford F-150 Crew Cab pickup * 2021 Ford F-150 Extended cab pickup * 2021 Ram 1500 Crew cab pickup Buyers considering other models can check out their safety ratings by visiting the IIHS website. Safety reports are provided for every make/model. However, not all 2022 models have been released so data could be unavailable. MOST RELIABLE PICKUP TRUCKS Reliability encompasses many factors for a vehicle. Every year, J.D. Power ranks one vehicle in each class as the most dependable; this vehicle is given the J.D. Power Award for Highest Dependability. Here’s how pickup truck models fared for the 2021 awards (based on 2018 model years): LARGE HEAVY DUTY PICKUP (#1) * 2018 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD The Silverado scored an 80 from J.D. Power. For Quality and Reliability, it received an 81 (which is denoted as Great). The Silverado received a 78 related to Driving Experience; this is considered Average. For Resale, it received another average score of 79. However, it received an 83 for Dealership Experience, which also is Great. LARGE LIGHT DUTY PICKUP MODELS * Toyota Tundra 4WD The Tundra scored an 84 in Quality and Reliability, which was the highest in its class. However, for Driving Experience, it only scored an 81. THE BUDGETARY MATTERS Car buyers might review the safety and reliability ratings as well as the towing capacity for their pickup choices, but price often affects the choice of many buyers. Pickup trucks can range in price, depending on their size, their engine and additional features as well. The full-ton models will be the most expensive choices, but the engine also adds to the cost. With pickup trucks, buyers can typically choose from different engines. The power of the engine can increase the towing capacity. More powerful engines—including diesel—will often be more expensive. Buyers also could choose to add more features to their truck, and this also adds to the price of the automobile. Before shopping for a pickup truck, buyers should figure out how much they can spend. However, the price of a vehicle doesn’t just include the monthly payment, it also includes the price of insurance and fuel needs. In general, experts recommend allocating no more than 15 to 20 percent of take-home pay (this is the amount after taxes are deducted) to transportation costs. Nerdwallet advises that the car payment should only be less than 10 percent of take-home earnings. USE RELAYCARS TO EXPLORE THE OPTIONS Once buyers have figured out how much they can spend on a new pickup truck and have researched the trucks that fit their towing needs, they can explore their options on RelayCars. Using the site, buyers can preview cars in 3D or in augmented reality. RelayCars includes a virtual tour of the exterior and interior of each different model. Each vehicle can be explored in 360 degrees to see the interior and exterior of the vehicle. The interior panorama tour allows buyers to see the features in the front and back seats. Using these virtual tours, buyers can better understand the vehicle’s space constraints to determine if the model is a fit for their needs. RelayCars also lets buyers view the vehicles in different paint hues. RelayCars provides an immersive augmented reality experience for buyers, too. Each model in RelayCars’ virtual showroom can be explored in augmented reality in the user’s environment. Drop a Dodge Ram into the garage and walk around the vehicle, or preview different trucks in the driveway. With augmented reality, car buyers can get up close with a virtual model of any truck. They will see a graphic depiction of the vehicle appear before them, and they can view that car as if it’s actually in their space. Augmented reality gives users a personalized showroom experience, except the user’s own environment transforms into the showroom. There is no limit on the number of pickup trucks that car shoppers can preview via RelayCars. Check out different makes and models to find the most appealing option. Explore the exterior and interior of each model, and then decide what pickup truck would work best for the needs and budget of the buyer. RelayCars is open day or night. When buyers are shopping for the most reliable pickup truck, they can view their options from home at any time of day. Use RelayCars as a personal vehicle showroom and immerse in the virtual and augmented reality experiences.

The Best Online Vehicle Modification Tools

The Best Online Vehicle Modification Tools

November 30, 2021

Buying a car is a major financial commitment. If you’re going to spend thousands of dollars on a car, it’s important to make sure it’s exactly what you want. For this reason, many people choose to modify their cars to fit their unique needs.  If you’re thinking about customizing your current car or buying a new car, you may want to use an online vehicle modification tool to explore your options. These tools allow you to build and customize vehicles using your smartphone, tablet, or computer. By using one of these tools, you can make sure you are completely satisfied with the vehicle you purchase or modifications you make to your current car. How can you start the process of bringing your dream car to life? Here are some of the best online vehicle modification tools: RELAYCARS Step inside the RelayCars virtual showroom to explore and customize thousands of different vehicles. The showroom is powered by augmented reality and three-dimensional technology, which makes the vehicles appear incredibly realistic.   Once you step into the virtual showroom, select a vehicle from RelayCars’ extensive library. Then, start customizing it. This tool will show you what exterior paint colors are available for the vehicle you selected. Choose a paint color and apply it to the vehicle with a tap of the finger or click of the mouse. This gives you an opportunity to see what a specific model would look like in every available paint color. Before you leave the showroom, take a look inside the vehicle. You can sit in the driver’s seat and explore every inch of the interior just by moving the tool in different directions. You can even turn around and look behind you to check out the back seats.  All automotive consumers can benefit from this powerful online vehicle modification tool. However, it is especially helpful to users who are thinking about buying a new car. If you’re going to buy a new car, use this tool to explore your options, customize the colors, and decide which vehicle is right for you. Online Vehicle Modification [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Automotive-Manufacturer-Websites.jpg] AUTOMOTIVE MANUFACTURER WEBSITES Automotive manufacturers understand that consumers want the ability to modify vehicles online, which is why most manufacturers have these tools on their websites.  All you need to do is select the specific model you want to customize. You can use these tools to change the exterior and interior color of your vehicle. Then, choose which features you want to include and what accessories you want to add on to bring your dream car to life. These tools are easy to use, however, your options are limited when it comes to which vehicles you can customize.  For example, if you are on the Toyota website, you will only be able to choose from various Toyota models. If you want to customize a BMW, you will need to leave the Toyota website and visit BMW’s site instead. This makes it more difficult to compare your options if you are trying to choose between multiple vehicles produced by different manufacturers.  Online Vehicle Modification [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Car-Color-Changer.jpg] CAR COLOR CHANGER If you simply want to change the paint color of a vehicle, another option is the Car Color Changer app, which is available for Android devices. You can use this app to see what countless paint colors would look like on different vehicle body styles. There are pros and cons to this online vehicle modification tool. It’s very user-friendly, so you don’t need to be tech savvy to use it. You can also create custom designs with more than one paint color. For example, you can choose to paint half the car bright red and the other half a sleek and sophisticated charcoal gray. However, you cannot preview paint colors on a specific make and model. Instead, you can only see what different paint colors would look like on a generic SUV, sedan, or hatchback. This is the main drawback to using this online vehicle modification tool, especially if you are trying to decide which vehicle to purchase.  FUEL OFF ROAD There is also a vehicle modification tool on the Fuel Off Road website. Fuel Off Road is an online retailer that sells wheels and tires for passenger vehicles. To assist online shoppers, Fuel Off Road built a modification tool on their website that allows customers to customize vehicles with various wheels and tires.  If you are thinking about upgrading the wheels and tires on your vehicle, you can use this tool to explore your options and preview what different styles would look like. Just like the Car Color Changer app, the Fuel Off Road tool does not allow you to preview the modifications you have selected on a specific make and model. You can only see what the wheels and tires would look like on a generic truck. However, you should still be able to use this tool to get a good idea of whether you would like different wheels and tires for your vehicle. 3D TUNING 3D Tuning is one of the most popular online vehicle modification apps on the market. You can choose from over one thousand vehicles in the 3D Tuning library. Unlike the Fuel Off Road and Car Color Changer tools, 3D Tuning does allow you to choose a specific make and model to customize. Once you choose a vehicle, start customizing it.  3D Tuning has more modification options than the Fuel Off Road and Car Color Changer tools. You can use 3D Tuning to customize everything from the vehicle’s bumpers and grills to exterior paint color. You can even customize the side mirrors on the selected vehicle. Save the cars you customize in your 3D Tuning Garage so you can revisit them later. You can also share them with your friends and family members. Online Vehicle Modification [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Fix-My-Car.jpg] FIX MY CAR The Fix My Car app is another option. There are several different versions of the Fix My Car app, including Garage Wars and Custom Mods, which are both designed with a vehicle modification feature.  But unlike the other tools on this list, the Fix My Car app was built for race car aficionados. It allows you to choose a vehicle, make modifications, and convert it into a racing car. Fix My Car has educational value, too. It teaches users about the various features found on a racecar and explains how to make certain modifications. Even though it’s educational, it won’t feel like you are learning when you are using the app because it’s so fun.  If you are looking for fun and games, download the Garage Wars version of this app. After you customize your vehicle, you can enter it into a speed race using this version of the Fix My Cars app.  OVERDRIVE CITY If you are trying to decide which vehicle to purchase or what modifications to make to your current car, Overdrive City is not the right tool for you. But if you just want to turn customizing different vehicles into a fun game, you may want to download this app on your Android or iOS device. The Overdrive City app allows you to build car factories, manufacture parts, and customize vehicles. The app does allow you to customize a specific make and model, but options are limited. Currently, the app lets you choose from various models produced by luxury manufacturers such as Porsche and Lamborghini.  Once you’re satisfied with your custom creation, enter it into a car race and compete with other users.  CAR WRAPPER If you want to change the exterior color of your vehicle, you have two main options. You can either paint it a different color or get a car wrap, which is a thin layer of vinyl that is applied to the exterior of your vehicle. If you’re thinking about getting a car wrap, explore your options on the Car Wrapper app. To begin, choose the make and model of the vehicle you want to wrap. Then, browse the color and finish options to design a custom wrap for your vehicle. You can choose to partially or completely cover your vehicle with your custom wrap. You can even apply multiple wraps to the vehicle to create a truly unique design.  This tool makes it easier to visualize what a car wrap would look like on your vehicle. This way, you won’t end up paying for a car wrap you’re not completely satisfied with. Online Vehicle Modification [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Car-Mechanic-Simulator.jpg] CAR MECHANIC SIMULATOR If you love classic cars, the Car Mechanic Simulator app is the right online vehicle modification tool for you. To begin, choose from a selection of classic vehicles available in the app. Then, start customizing your selected vehicle.  The app allows you to repair and/or replace old parts, remove rust, and change the exterior paint color of the vehicle. In other words, it gives you the power to breathe new life into an old car using your smartphone or tablet.   Start using these online vehicle modification tools now so you can visualize your dream car on your smartphone, tablet, or computer.

7 Trends Shaping the Future of the Automotive Industry

7 Trends Shaping the Future of the Automotive Industry

November 29, 2021

Modern vehicles were first built in Germany in the late 1800s. However, the Ford Model T, which was introduced in 1908, was the first mass-produced vehicle that people could actually afford to buy. This is why Henry Ford, the founder of Ford Motor Company, is often referred to as the father of the automotive industry.  The automotive industry has come a long way since the days of the Ford Model T. Throughout the decades, the industry has evolved in response to changes in consumer demand, innovative technologies, and safety and environmental concerns. But many experts believe that the biggest changes are yet to come.  Automotive experts believe that the industry will go through a transformation period over the next decade. What will inspire these changes and what should consumers expect? Here are the 7 trends that are set to shape the future of the automotive industry: Future of the Automotive Industry [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Autonomous-Vehicles.jpg] AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES In the past, a self-driving vehicle seemed like something you would see in a futuristic science fiction movie. But now, many experts believe that autonomous vehicles will have a major impact on the future of the automotive industry.  There are five different levels of autonomous driving. The lower levels are vehicles that still require a human driver even though they are designed with some autonomous features. There are many vehicles available today that fall into the category of level 1 or 2 automation. For example, Hyundai’s Highway Driving Assist system controls the vehicle’s steering and braking, but requires a human driver to have their hands on the steering wheel at all times.  In the future, though, experts believe that the roads will be filled with level five autonomous vehicles, which do not require a human driver.  The thought of self-driving vehicles may sound frightening, but the introduction of these vehicles could actually improve road safety. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 94% of all traffic accidents are caused by human error. In the future, autonomous vehicles could prevent these accidents, which could save thousands of lives per year. CONNECTIVITY In the automotive industry, the term “connectivity” refers to a vehicle’s ability to connect with the outside world. The three different types of car connectivity are: * Car2Car: This refers to a car’s ability to send and receive data from other cars located nearby. * Car2X: This refers to a vehicle’s ability to send and receive data from infrastructure such as traffic lights. * Passengers: This refers to the passengers’ ability to connect with the outside world while traveling in a connected vehicle.  Experts predict that all three types of connectivity will be incorporated into the design of future vehicles, which would drastically transform the driving experience. For example, in a fully connected vehicle, passengers would be able to connect to the internet to communicate, work, shop, or pass the time on their favorite websites.  Meanwhile, their vehicle would be able to connect with other vehicles and traffic infrastructure to collect important data about upcoming traffic, weather, or road hazards. The vehicle may discover that there is a car accident ahead that has slowed down traffic. Based on this information, the vehicle may decide to take another route to ensure the passengers can get to their final destination as quickly as possible. These are just two examples of how connectivity could significantly improve the driving experience in the future. Future of the Automotive Industry [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Electric-Vehicles.jpg] ELECTRIC VEHICLES Electric vehicles already exist in today’s world. In fact, there are about 1.8 million electric vehicles registered in the United States. So far, the electric vehicle market has only experienced slow growth. However, experts predict that electric vehicles will dominate the automotive industry over the next decade.  There are a number of reasons why experts believe this will happen. First, experts predict that more governmental bodies around the world will pass legislation encouraging or requiring consumers to purchase electric vehicles.  In California, for example, Governor Newsom signed an executive order that phases out the sale of gas-powered vehicles in the state. Experts believe that legislation like this will pass in many other areas around the world in the future. This would leave consumers with no other choice but to purchase electric vehicles. Experts also believe that electric vehicles will grow in popularity as charging stations become more available around the world. Many consumers are hesitant to go electric because they fear they won’t be able to find a charging station when they need to give their battery a boost. But now, these charging stations are popping up everywhere, which means consumers won’t need to worry about being inconvenienced by owning an electric vehicle. If these predictions come true, the growth of the electric vehicle segment of the market will have a major impact on the future of the automotive industry. SHIFT TO ONLINE The vast majority of consumers are comfortable shopping for items online. However, until recently, the concept of buying a car online rather than at a dealership was practically unheard of. Then, the COVID-19 pandemic hit.  During the pandemic, dealerships were forced to temporarily close their showrooms. Even when the showrooms re-opened, many consumers felt it was safer to shop online for vehicles rather than visit dealerships in person. This resulted in an explosion of online vehicle sales. In fact, 30% of all new car sales were completed online in 2020. Experts believe that this trend will not die off once the pandemic is over. Instead, they believe that it will redefine how consumers shop for vehicles and how automotive companies sell to consumers in the future.  Automotive manufacturers and dealerships must be willing to invest in the right tools to shift to online sales. They must also find ways to connect with and assist consumers as they move through the car buying process online. It may be challenging to make these changes at first, but in the long run, the automotive industry could benefit greatly from this trend.  Future of the Automotive Industry [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Shared-Mobility.jpg] SHARED MOBILITY In today’s uncertain world, many consumers are hesitant to make large purchases, including vehicles. These consumers are beginning to demand more flexibility from the automotive industry. Experts believe that the industry will respond in the years ahead by embracing shared mobility. Vehicle-sharing is already available in a number of big cities in the U.S. Car-sharing companies offer consumers the chance to pick up a vehicle at a convenient location and use it for a short period of time. This allows consumers to enjoy the perks of having access to a vehicle without having to incur the costs of car ownership. In other words, consumers can use a vehicle whenever they need it without having to make a large financial investment or worry about maintenance, repairs, or insurance. In the future, experts believe that this car-sharing model will grow in popularity and expand to other areas in the U.S. This could drastically change the automotive industry. If car-sharing becomes more popular, vehicle sales may decline in the future. A rise in car-sharing could also change how automotive manufacturers design, produce, market, and sell their vehicles. SHORTER MODEL CYCLES The term “model cycle” refers to the length of time that a specific vehicle model is produced before it is redesigned. Right now, model cycles are typically between five to eight years. This means most automotive manufacturers redesign a model after it has been sold for five to eight years. However, this could change over the next decade. Experts believe that the model cycle in the automotive industry will shrink to one year. Instead of updating designs every five to eight years, automotive manufacturers will need to release new designs every year.  Why? According to experts, vehicles of the future will be autonomous and connected, which means they will be designed with incredibly sophisticated technologies. These advanced technologies will need to be updated far more frequently than the technologies used in vehicles today. In order to issue these updates, automotive manufacturers will need to drastically shorten their model cycles to one year.  NEW ENTRANTS Toyota, Ford, Honda, and several other manufacturers have dominated the automotive industry for decades. However, they may face some new competition in the future. Experts predict that the changes in the automotive industry will make it easier for other companies to enter the market and compete with today’s major players. These experts believe that some of the competitors may come from the tech industry. Companies from this sector may enter the autonomous driving vehicle segment of the market.  Automotive consumers may view new competitors as edgy, innovative, and exciting, which could make it difficult for larger, established brands to compete with them. Established manufacturers may also face competition from Chinese car manufacturers, which have experienced an impressive growth in annual sales over the last few years. New entrants could shake up the automotive industry and force established players to rapidly innovate in order to retain their customers. Based on these predictions, the automotive industry may look very different in a decade. These trends could completely disrupt the industry and bring surprising changes for consumers and manufacturers alike.

Immersive Vehicles Drive Into Augmented and Virtual Reality Apps for Elevated
User Experiences

Immersive Vehicles Drive Into Augmented and Virtual Reality Apps for Elevated User Experiences

November 3, 2021

The process of shopping for a new car has evolved significantly. The pandemic pushed the car industry into the online shopping world, but, even prior to lockdowns, many buyers were already looking online for research purposes. Now technology has enhanced the shopping experience to include virtual and augmented reality features. Businesses used mixed reality to reimagine online shopping and to create a platform that more closely resembles shopping in the physical store. In fact, even consumers looking for a new car online have witnessed immersive vehicles drive into augmented and virtual reality apps to create a more engaging and interactive user experience. What makes a vehicle immersive? And can anyone access the power of augmented reality? Or virtual reality? VIRTUAL REALITY, AUGMENTED REALITY AND EXTENDED REALITY Online businesses and stores began to incorporate interactive features like augmented reality years ago. For some industries, offering augmented reality tools allowed them to create a solution to trying on products virtually. One of the issues with shopping online for cosmetics, sunglasses and even clothes was the lack of physical interaction from the consumer. That is, in the store the consumer could perhaps test out a lipstick hue and try on frames and clothing. Online was different. While virtual models or pictures of models could show shoppers what a product should look like, there was still a question in how that product would translate on each person’s body and complexion. Even home improvement purchases could be hit or miss. For example, homeowners might have to guess as to whether or not a paint color would look good in a room. Or they might not know if the color they were viewing on screen was an accurate depiction. To help customers better visualize purchases, businesses needed some way to provide virtual try-on experiences. Obviously, a human cannot just step into a computer. The solution for some stores and businesses was to implement an augmented reality platform that provided this virtual try-on experience. By using the camera on their phone or tablet, shoppers could show a wall and then select a paint color. In an instant, the hue would magically appear on the wall. Cosmetics brands and stores offered a similar feature. Shoppers could select a particular product, choose their color and swipe it on their face…virtually. The camera would show their face like a mirror, and the product would be painted on lips, eyes, cheeks…and even hair (for hair color previews). This virtual experience was virtual in the sense that it wasn’t in-person. However, there is a difference between virtual reality experiences and augmented reality. Many businesses implement augmented reality experiences for try-on previews. While some could offer virtual reality, this isn’t the most popular option. Virtual reality has different meanings to different people. Some feel that virtual experiences are any experience that doesn’t take place in-person like virtual learning or virtual meetings. Virtual reality, however, is defined as an experience that takes place in a virtual reality. Users typically must wear a headset or goggles to enter this type of experience. Virtual reality lets the user experience activities and experiences and even products in a realm separate from their own environment. All elements depicted are graphics. Nothing in virtual reality incorporates the real environment. Augmented reality, however, can be experienced without a headset. Users often just need a phone or tablet (that’s compatible with augmented reality). Augmented reality (or AR for short) superimposes graphic elements on top of the real world environment. It’s the mix of real and graphic that might make it an ideal choice for businesses that need a way for shoppers to preview products. Viewing cosmetics or even furniture in a graphic virtual environment wouldn’t be so helpful for a buyer that just wants to know if a lipstick flatters them or a chair looks nice in the living room. There also is XR, which stands for extended reality. XR isn’t a separate technology from augmented and virtual reality. Instead, it’s an all-encompassing term to include all these technologies. How is an Immersive Vehicle Helpful to Buyers [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/image.jpeg] HOW IS AN IMMERSIVE VEHICLE HELPFUL TO BUYERS? Augmented reality lets buyers or shoppers easily preview products by overlaying their graphic depictions in the real-world environment. But how does augmented reality and an immersive car benefit car shoppers? Wouldn’t this kind of graphic just be cumbersome? Manufacturers, dealerships and sites like RelayCars allow shoppers (or visitors) to use augmented reality to preview different vehicles in many makes and models. Users simply choose the vehicle they want to preview, and, once again, using their phone’s camera, they can drop the vehicle into any space. RelayCars, however, mixes virtual reality immersive cars with the power of augmented reality. So how does this work? The site lets visitors view the car online and interact with the virtual depiction. Turn the vehicle around. View pictures of the interior. Shoppers that want to get up close to a vehicle can launch the augmented reality experience. Drop the car in any space. Then walk around it and explore the different features. Manufacturers might have their own augmented reality experiences, as well. Every experience could vary. For example, Lamborghini launched one of its models via an augmented reality experience. The launch included a video and other elements, too. HOW CAN SHOPPERS USE AUGMENTED REALITY TO FIND THE PERFECT CAR? Dropping an augmented model of a vehicle into a space might sound novel and fun. However, augmented reality isn’t just about keeping the buyer entertained while looking at cars. This technology can help aid in the buying process. Looking at pictures online can give shoppers some idea about a vehicle. They can view the interior and peek at different features. Maybe they can even look at the vehicle in different paint colors, too. Augmented reality is immersive by design, though. This technology gives shoppers the power to really see how a car looks in their garage. Or in their driveway. They can use augmented reality to get a better idea of rear passenger space. And view those paint hues in a more realistic manner. Augmented reality tools can be used to compare different models, too. While the camera can only display one model at a time, users can explore as many models as they wish with many augmented reality sites. RelayCars doesn’t require users to subscribe, there isn’t a time limit, and there also isn’t a limit on how many cars that users can see. Some buyers might not know what type of car they want to drive. Immersive cars via augmented reality can help them explore all the options. Drop in a crossover. Explore an SUV. Look at pictures of different sedans, then preview the vehicles using augmented reality. Maybe how the car appears in the driveway matters. Sure the car could look cool in photos. But maybe when the potential buyer views it in augmented reality and sees it in the driveway, it loses appeal. Augmented reality allows users to see each car in a large depiction. Users aren’t viewing tiny models, they are seeing large vehicles in front of them. Size and scale can make a difference when researching. Not knowing what precisely they want isn’t necessarily an uncommon situation for many car buyers. In fact, Cox Automotive reported in its most recent Car Buyer Journey Study that 35 percent of buyers knew what they wanted. Augmented reality could be yet another way for buyers to figure out what car is the perfect choice for their needs. This technology could lead buyers to research stats and pricing on different vehicles and compare their options. In addition, younger buyers like Generation Z aren’t focused on being loyal to a specific brand. In fact, Little Black Book reports that “…71% say that they need to be aware of all the buying options available to them – making them more likely to engage with competitors and more likely to buy based on research than brand reputation.” Future of Shopping [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/image-1.jpeg] ARE IMMERSIVE CARS THE FUTURE OF SHOPPING? Not every manufacturer offers shoppers the option to view models via augmented reality. But could this experience be more commonplace in the future? Dealerships may realize that buyers want these immersive vehicles and that they want to be able to preview different models beyond two-dimensional pictures. However, RelayCars also is always open. Immersive cars aren’t necessarily the future, they are the present! In the future, buyers could see more immersive features via augmented reality. Yes, immersive vehicles could become more…immersive. Imagine clicking on an augmented reality car’s door and watching it open. Perhaps in the future shoppers can look at the interior. Or maybe they can click on the trunk and check out the cargo space. The future is always a big question mark. However, the automotive industry is advancing to meet the demands and needs of the consumer. As technology gives way to more immersive experiences, manufacturers and businesses could incorporate newer technology to heighten user engagement. RelayCars is constantly adding new models to its online inventory. And the site provides a mix of augmented and virtual experiences. When RelayCars launched, it looked different and offered other viewing options for visitors. And when—and if—those much anticipated augmented reality glasses become a reality, they could change shopping, too. Maybe everyone will view products in augmented reality, and perhaps those immersive cars will appear before our eyes.

The Best Sporty Mom Cars

The Best Sporty Mom Cars

November 1, 2021

Working moms, single moms, and stay-at-home moms all might have different lifestyle needs for their car. The ideal vehicle might need to get the best gas mileage for a long commute. Maybe that car has to haul kids to recitals and different events but also drive through the parent-pick-up line in style, too. Sporty mom cars might need to offer more space and moms of sports kids or sporty moms who embrace athletics might have other needs from their car, too. There could be sports gear to haul, bikes to perch, and cargo space needs for dance costumes, shoes and more. Sporty mom cars need to be practical and a blend between form and function. WHAT ARE SPORTY MOM CARS? Sporty mom cars can be divided into two different types: sports cars and sporting cars! The difference is functionality. That is, sporty mom cars can either be sporty in design (like a sports car) or sports-oriented and functional for kids and families engaged in sports. Sporting cars should offer space for athletic gear and enough room for the family (and maybe a few friends). But moms also likely don’t want to stress about cars getting dirty or tackling different terrain. Sporty mom cars designed for sports families might need to be a bit more rugged. THE SPORTS UTILITY VEHICLE Sports utility vehicles (or SUVS for short) come in small, mid-size and full-size options. SUVs offer space for families plus cargo room for sports equipment and gear. Budget and lifestyle needs may determine which SUV—brand and size—is the best for the family. Those who need space for a bigger family might need to select the full-size SUV. Smaller families might be fine with small or mid-size models. That SUV, though, needs to be able to carry all the equipment for all family members. When moms are deciding on the best sporty mom cars, they need to figure out their space needs. For example, moms driving kids to baseball practice/games will need cargo space for bats, bat bags, helmets and other practice gear. Sports like hockey and lacrosse, though, might have bulkier gear. That back storage space needs to fit lacrosse sticks, hockey sticks, pads, gear and other equipment. What about dance? Or cycling enthusiasts? Think about all the sports equipment needs of that SUV. Then choose the size that’s going to offer the most space for a family’s needs. SEDANS Are sedans good sporty mom cars? They could be…depending on the sports gear they need to haul. But sedans aren’t really sporty, in general. Instead, they lean more conventional, conservative and practical. Sedans are great for commutes. Bigger sedans can haul groceries and gear like dance costumes, shoes, etc. But depending on the trunk space of that sedan, moms and families aren’t really going to have a ton of space for bulky sports gear. If the evening plans mean that mom is going to haul multiple kids to multiple sports events and grab some groceries, too, a sedan might not be spacious enough. JEEPS The Jeep is rugged. It’s sporty. It can haul. Depending on the size of the model, there could be plenty of space for equipment, plus add a rack for bikes, etc. Jeeps—especially Wranglers—are designed for activity. Moms whose kids are going to track dirt into the car after practice (it happens) or who are involved in more rugged athletics might find a Wrangler to be more practical. A Jeep can get muddy and messy…the aesthetic tends to nod to getting a bit dirty. After all, Jeeps can take on the mud, dirt, sand and more. As Wranglers and many of those off-road Jeep models can handle the wild, they’re also great when moms are in a situation where event parking might lead them to an open field. Some baseball or sports events have off-site parking on fields. Jeeps can handle the fields without concern. Sporty Mom Cars [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Cars-that-are-Sporty-by-Design.jpg] CARS THAT ARE SPORTY BY DESIGN Some cars are sporty by design. So sporty mom cars can also allude to sports cars. What are the best sports cars for moms? This isn’t really a fair question! If mom is driving a sports car, she might not use it to haul her kids to school, to sports or even use it for errands. Sometimes sports cars are just fun cars. They’re cool. They’re sleek. They are fast…and fun. Yes, they can haul some packages, but sports cars are all about the look and speed. But what is the definition of a sports car? J.D. Power actually has an article dedicated to defining this car and outlining its rich history. The best sporty mom cars that are sports cars really depend on the buyer. Some might love a particular make/model, others just want the fastest speeds. Some of the most popular sports cars include: * Chevrolet Camaro * Porsche 911 * Mazda MX-5 Miata * Toyota Supra * Chevrolet Corvette * Ford Mustang The budget might dictate what sports car is the best option. However, those on a tighter budget can shop for used or pre-owned models. Past popular models like the BMW Z3 Roadster also can be found at variable price points; the Roadster was a popular sports car model in the late ‘90s and early 2000s. Sporty Mom Cars [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Shopping-for-Sporty-Mom-Cars.jpg] SHOPPING FOR SPORTY MOM CARS Sporty mom cars can differ in definition…depending on who’s driving and what the needs are for the car. A sporty mom car can be a classic sports car or it can be a more rugged vehicle that is conducive to hauling sports gear and for those with a sports-centric lifestyle.

The Best Car Apps for Consumers

The Best Car Apps for Consumers

October 27, 2021

There is an app for almost everything that a consumer might want. Car manufacturers also offer their own car apps for consumers. In addition to pursuing what every major brand might offer, there also are car apps to help consumers shop for a new vehicle, navigate the road, find inexpensive gas…and more. Here are the best car apps for whatever a driver might need on the road, when relaxing at home or even when they are traveling off the beaten path! THE BEST CAR APPS FOR SHOPPING Shopping for a new car is a process for many buyers. In fact, the Cox Automotive Car Buyer Journey Study: Pandemic Edition detailed that, on average, buyers spend more than 13 hours buying that car…but more than seven hours was spent online shopping…and researching. Using apps can help navigate the shopping journey and help consumers research and find the car they want to purchase. Apps from manufacturers are often free and allow buyers to peruse new models at their convenience. Websites like RelayCars let consumers research their favorite models via augmented reality. Drop a car in the real-world environment and explore it inside and out! RelayCars even lets consumers view the vehicle in all the model’s available paint hues. Augmented reality and virtual reality showroom apps can help buyers preview different cars without traveling to the dealership. If apps are advertised as augmented reality, the camera will be used to project the real environment and show where the user wants the graphic element to be dropped. Virtual reality car apps don’t necessarily require a headset, although some might. Instead, many virtual reality apps might just show the cars in a virtual environment within the app. Users might select a car that they want to preview in the virtual showroom; like augmented reality apps, virtual reality apps might let users see inside the car and/or change paint colors. However, many manufacturers often use augmented reality for these types of preview experiences. Looking for how much a vehicle is worth or other specs? Kelley Blue Book offers its own app via the App Store or Google Play for convenient, on-the-go research. Find details on any car! Car Apps [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Car-Apps-for-Owners.jpg] CAR APPS FOR OWNERS Apps can be tailored for owners to help them navigate their vehicle or to even receive updates about the mechanics of their vehicle. Manufacturers often offer personalized apps to car owners. General Motors brands (like Chevrolet, GMC and Cadillac), BMW, Kia, Toyota, Honda and many other manufacturers offer apps! Apps might link to the vehicle to allow owners to view data related to diagnostics; apps also could allow owners to remotely access other info, too. CAR APPS TO FIND CHEAP GAS Gas and fuel prices might be on the rise. However, consumers can use apps to help them find the cheapest gas nearby. Try these apps to make the hunt for inexpensive fuel much less of a drive: * GasBuddy (available for Apple and Android devices!) * Gas Guru (available for Apple and Android) * Cheap Gas Anyplace For consumers who have rewards for a specific fuel station or to even pay for gas via a mobile device, download apps for BP, Circle K, Speedway, Chevron, Shell, Sunoco and more. Search for a favorite brand or filling station on Google Play or on the App Store. CAR APPS FOR RENTALS AND RIDESHARES Car in the shop? Heading on vacation and need a rental for the week? There are apps for the major car rental companies to  help secure that rental. Consumers can download Hertz, Enterprise, Expedia and more. Don’t want to pay for a rental? Download Uber or Lyft to hail an email service! Car Apps for Navigation [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Car-Apps-for-Navigation.jpg] CAR APPS FOR NAVIGATION Not all car owners have a brand new vehicle or a more recent vehicle that is equipped with an infotainment system that connects to smartphones. Some are driving older vehicles without this data. However, those who own a smartphone can buy an adapter that plugs into an older vehicle. This can mean that drivers could access convenient apps to aid their navigation. While they might not have a convenient screen to see GPS data, they can still use apps that can help them navigate via their drive…or just alert them to any issues up ahead. For help getting to an unfamiliar destination or for other traffic information, try these apps: * Waze (available for Apple and Android) * Sygic GPS Navigation (available for Apple and Android) * GPS Live Navigation (also available for Apple and Android) In addition, local state Departments of Transportation also could offer apps that show accidents, road closures and more. These apps could be beneficial when traveling in inclement weather. CAR APPS FOR LOCATING A PARKED CAR Parking lots can be a zoo. When parking at major attractions like theme parks, resorts, massive shopping centers and concert venues, drivers might be in a hurry to get to their event causing them to not pay attention to where they parked. Once they leave their venue, they might be absolutely stumped as to where their car is located. Some drivers might just have more difficulty remembering their surroundings than others, and they might be accustomed to losing track of their parking spot. Thankfully, there are apps to help locate a missing vehicle. Car owners can search for apps like ParkGo, Find My Parked Car (aptly named!), and Find My Car. There are many different options available via both Google Play and the App Store. In addition, car owners might be able to locate their vehicle via OnStar or another service. AUGMENTED REALITY CAR APPS FOR FUN Not all car apps are focused on consumer needs—like finding gas, shopping or even getting directions. Searching for car apps also can bring up fun experiences like augmented reality or even racing games. Using the Google app, consumers can hunt for augmented reality vehicles thanks to Google Search AR. A full list of augmented reality vehicles isn’t published by Google, and Google Search AR also includes anime characters like Hello Kitty, animals and even bugs (like the ladybug!). Augmented reality features on Google Search are a bit of a thrilling hunt…there’s no telling what might be uncovered! Vehicles (and other objects) via Google Search AR can be viewed in the user’s real-life environment. Drop a vehicle into the backyard or on the porch. See how it looks in the garage. These interactive and immersive tools can be used for fun…or to help consumers check out the car before going into the dealership. Car apps also can be fantasy-based—like racing games. Check out AR Race Car or Lightstream Racer (available on Apple’s App Store) for augmented reality racing! The app AR Toys: Playground lets users control remote controlled cars and create their own experience. Not interested in augmented reality? The race experience expands widely. There are many different car apps focused on racing; these range from popular apps like Mario Kart to races and apps aimed at adults. As with many game apps, some might be free while others come with a cost. Even free apps, though, might offer in-app purchases. Adults who know that snagging extras in the game will charge their account might know to be mindful, but children might not understand that those clicks could rack up some unexpected charges for parents. Turn off in-app purchases if kids are playing! CAR APPS FOR AUTO PARTS Some car owners might be completely fine with a few easy DIY repairs like changing out wiper blades or replacing a headlight. Car owners, though, also might need a little touch up paint (for tiny rock dings on the hood), new floor mats or other basic accessories. Shop auto parts and accessories via car apps from Advance Auto Parts, AutoZone, and NAPA Auto Parts. All three major auto parts store apps are available via both the App Store and Google Play. CAR APPS FOR PRACTICING FOR THE WRITTEN TEST AND STATE DMV APPS Car owners with teens who want to get their permit can find apps to help them practice their driving and road safety knowledge. Try apps like DMV Permit Practice DMV Driving Test Driver Start and others. For already licensed drivers, some states offer apps for their DMV. For example, the California Department of Motor Vehicles helps users find their local office, test their knowledge with practice tests, and even renew vehicle registration. While not all states offer an app, a quick search via Google Play or the App Store can help drivers figure out if their state has an app for their DMV needs. CAR APPS GALORE! Car owners can find car apps for almost any need. It’s nearly impossible to hunt down every car app for Android and Apple devices. There are car apps to find gas, to practice written tests for a new driver permit, to find auto parts, to help with navigation…and of course, there are car apps that are just for fun.

8 Exciting Features Found On Real Futuristic Cars

8 Exciting Features Found On Real Futuristic Cars

October 20, 2021

The first automobile was created in 1885 by Karl Benz, a German engineer. Automobiles have changed drastically since this first model was introduced. From the seat belt to the electric motor, innovative technologies have led to significant improvements in the design, efficiency, and performance of modern vehicles.  Most vehicles on the road today are loaded with advanced technologies and incredible features that make the driving experience safer, more comfortable, and more enjoyable for consumers. These vehicles may not fly in the air like those seen on The Jetsons, but they are built with futuristic, imaginative features. Here are 8 exciting features found on real futuristic cars: VEHICLE-TO-VEHICLE COMMUNICATION Some vehicles are designed with vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication technology. This sophisticated technology allows vehicles to send and receive information to and from one another up to 10 times per second. Sharing information in this manner can help warn drivers of potentially dangerous situations ahead. For example, say a driver approaches an intersection where the visibility is limited. The driver may not see any cars coming due to this limited visibility, but the vehicle may be able to use this technology to detect another car that is quickly approaching the intersection. As a result, the V2V system can warn the driver to wait for this car to pass before traveling through the intersection. In other words, the system can warn the driver about a vehicle that isn’t even visible to them yet. This technology has the potential to make the roads much safer. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), V2V communication technology could prevent over 600,000 accidents per year. Driver Monitoring [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Driver-Monitoring.jpg] DRIVER MONITORING A number of automotive manufacturers, including General Motors, Ford, Toyota, Subaru, Nissan, and Volvo, sell vehicles with built-in driver monitoring systems. Each of these systems is unique, but in general, they are designed to monitor the driver’s behavior to look for signs that the driver could be putting themselves in danger. For example, the Subaru DriverFocus Distraction Mitigation System (DMS) uses a camera located in the dashboard to track the driver’s head and eye movements. If the driver takes their eyes off of the road for more than three seconds, the system will issue a visual and audible warning telling them to focus. If the driver does not heed this warning, the system will begin to slow the vehicle down until it has come to a complete stop. The system will also call for emergency help if the driver remains unresponsive after these warnings.  Some Mercedes-Benz models are designed with a driver monitoring system that looks for signs of drowsy driving. If the system believes the driver is tired, it will suggest that the driver pull over and take a break before getting back on the road. Systems like these are designed to make the roads safer by reducing the number of accidents caused by distracted driving and drowsy driving.  TRAFFIC SIGN RECOGNITION Many real futuristic cars on the market today are built with traffic sign recognition systems. These systems use front-mounted cameras to scan the vehicle’s surroundings for traffic signs such as speed limit signs, stop signs, merge signs, and more. If the system detects a traffic sign, it will display the information directly in front of the driver in their digital instrument panel.  These systems keep drivers informed of the changing rules of the road, which can help them avoid tickets and traffic accidents. For example, if a driver is traveling in an area they aren’t familiar with, they may not realize that the speed limit changes frequently. They may not even see the speed limit signs if they are traveling at night.  However, if they are driving a car with traffic sign recognition, the system will display speed limit signs on the driver’s instrument panel to let the driver know what speed they should be traveling at all times.  Augmented Reality Heads-Up Displays [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Augmented-Reality-Heads-Up-Displays.jpg] AUGMENTED REALITY HEADS-UP DISPLAYS Augmented reality heads-up displays (HUDs) are fairly new, but they are becoming increasingly popular. HUDs are systems that use augmented reality technology to project important information onto the windshield or a specially designed panel located underneath the windshield. The information that is displayed is only visible to the driver and will not affect the driver’s visibility.  These systems are used to keep drivers informed of their surroundings and their driving habits. For example, a HUD may project blind spot warnings to tell the driver when someone is traveling alongside them. A HUD may also alert the driver that they are running low on gas and need to find a gas station. Some HUDs are built with traffic sign recognition technology, which means traffic signs that are detected are displayed directly on the driver’s windshield. HUDs provide the driver with all of the information they need to stay safe as they travel to their final destination. Because the information is displayed in such a visible spot, the driver won’t need to look down or take their eyes off of the road to access it. AUTOMATIC PARKING Some drivers find it very difficult to safely park their vehicle, especially in situations that involve parallel parking. Fortunately, automotive manufacturers now sell vehicles with built-in automatic parking systems.  The BMW 7 Series is designed with Parking Assistant Plus, which helps with parallel and perpendicular parking. The system uses sensors to scan the vehicle’s surroundings for available parking spots. Once the system finds a spot, the driver must turn on the Parking Assistant Plus system by pushing a button on the dashboard.  Holding this button down allows the system to take control over the vehicle’s accelerator, brakes, and steering so it can safely maneuver into the parking space. All the driver needs to do is hold the button down until their vehicle is safely in the space. Not all parking systems are this advanced, though. Some automatic parking systems will simply provide the driver with step-by-step instructions on how to park in a space. For instance, these systems will tell the driver when to apply the brakes and which direction to turn the steering wheel. In-Car WiFi [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/In-Car-WiFi.jpg] IN-CAR WIFI Many vehicles on the road today are designed with in-car WiFi to help passengers stay connected at all times. Some of the vehicles with this feature include the Chevrolet Cruze, Chevrolet Malibu, Dodge Dart, Audi A3, and Mercedes-Benz C Class. The number of devices that can connect to in-car WiFi will vary depending on the model. The Chevrolet Cruze, for example, allows you to connect up to seven devices to the in-car WiFi. However, up to 10 devices can connect to the Chrysler 200’s in-car WiFi.  Even though the internet speed won’t be as fast as it is at home, in-car WiFi allows passengers to surf the web, watch videos, respond to emails, and more without eating into their limited data plan.  Most vehicles that are designed with in-car WiFi offer consumers a free trial period to test out this feature. Then, consumers must pay a small monthly fee in order to continue accessing their in-car WiFi.  WIRELESS CHARGING Being able to charge your phone while driving is not new. In the past, you could charge your phone by connecting your charger to your vehicle’s USB port or cigarette lighter charging port. But this only worked if you remembered to bring your charger with you on your trip.  Now, however, consumers don’t need to carry around these cords to charge their phones while driving. This is because many vehicles are now designed with wireless chargers installed directly in the center console or within the dashboard. All you need to do to charge your phone is place it on one of these wireless chargers. There’s no need to connect it to a charging port–it simply needs to lay flat on the wireless charging pad.  These chargers aren’t as efficient as standard chargers, though. In fact, if your phone has a thick, protective case, you may need to remove it before using the wireless charging pad. But despite this, the addition of a wireless charging pad has made traveling by car more convenient. Enhanced Navigation Systems [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Enhanced-Navigation-Systems.jpg] ENHANCED NAVIGATION SYSTEMS It’s much easier for drivers to get where they need to go thanks to the enhanced navigation systems found in many of today’s vehicles. Unlike older systems, today’s navigation systems provide drivers with a wealth of information as they travel to their final destination.  These systems are designed to provide turn-by-turn directions, speed limits, and traffic warnings. Some systems are even capable of re-routing the driver if a traffic accident or traffic jam is detected ahead. Today’s navigation systems also tell drivers more about their surroundings, including where to go to find electric car chargers, gas stations, and rest stops. Because these systems provide so much information, there’s no need for the driver to take their eyes off of the road to look something up on their phone. These are some of the many exciting features that are found in today’s real futuristic cars, but there’s no telling what cars of the future will look like. Because the automotive industry is constantly evolving, it’s safe to say that manufacturers will continue to come up with new and creative ways to improve vehicles even further in the future.

What You Can Do In A Toyota Augmented Reality Showroom

What You Can Do In A Toyota Augmented Reality Showroom

October 15, 2021

Modern consumers are comfortable buying almost anything online. But until recently, most consumers still purchased vehicles in person at dealerships rather than online. However, the COVID-19 pandemic left many consumers with no other choice but to shop online for a new car and now, things may never go back to business as usual. In 2018, only 1% of U.S. car buyers purchased their vehicle online. In 2020, however, nearly 30% of all new car sales were completed online. Based on these statistics, it’s clear that the consumer car buying journey has changed.  The car buying process no longer begins inside a dealership’s showroom–it starts online. That’s why so many automotive companies, including Toyota, are now embracing new technologies that make it easier for consumers to shop online.  One of these technologies is augmented reality, which is used to power the innovative RelayCars’ Toyota augmented reality showroom experience. How does this augmented reality showroom work? Why should automotive consumers visit this showroom? Here’s what you need to know: HOW DOES AN AUGMENTED REALITY SHOWROOM WORK? Before learning how this type of showroom works, it’s important to understand the technology that powers it. Augmented reality is technology that allows the user to superimpose photos, audio, and other digital elements onto their real world environment. In other words, it allows the user to blend elements of the digital world and real world together. Augmented reality showrooms use this technology to create a realistic automotive showroom experience for users. The technology allows the user to superimpose lifelike digital models of various vehicles onto their real world surroundings. Because the digital models are so realistic, the user will feel as if they are actually standing in front of the vehicles. Thanks to this technology, automotive manufacturers and dealers can offer consumers the chance to visit a showroom without ever leaving home.  WHAT TO DO INSIDE THE TOYOTA AUGMENTED REALITY SHOWROOM There are many reasons why consumers may want to step inside a Toyota augmented reality showroom, including: * Explore Vehicles * Learn About Different Models * Personalize Vehicles * Make Purchase Decisions Toyota Augmented Reality Showroom [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Explore-Vehicles.jpg] EXPLORE VEHICLES The Toyota augmented reality showroom gives consumers the chance to explore various Toyota models just like they would if they were actually inside a dealership’s showroom. Once inside the showroom, consumers can walk around the outside of the vehicle, rotate it to see it from every angle, and zoom in or out to view it from different vantage points. Automotive consumers can even explore the interior of each vehicle inside the augmented reality showroom. They can sit in the driver’s seat to see what it’s like behind the wheel. Then, they can turn in any direction to examine every inch of the vehicle’s interior. This gives consumers the opportunity to explore vehicles in an entirely new and exciting way. They no longer need to look at pictures of cars and wonder what the vehicle would look like in real life. Now, they can find out just by stepping inside an augmented reality showroom. LEARN ABOUT DIFFERENT MODELS There are no sales representatives inside an augmented reality showroom, which means consumers can’t turn around and ask someone a question about a vehicle. However, the showroom presents consumers with a wealth of information about each vehicle they are exploring. This allows them to learn about different models on their own. Automotive consumers can see general specs for every vehicle inside the augmented reality showroom. Some of the specs they will have access to for each vehicle include: * Make and model * Manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) * Engine horsepower * Top speed * Time it takes for the car to travel from 0 to 60 mph Consumers won’t need to visit another website or conduct their own research to get the information they need. Instead, they can find everything they are looking for directly within the augmented reality showroom. PERSONALIZE VEHICLES Automotive consumers will also get a chance to personalize the vehicles they are exploring inside the augmented reality showroom.  For example, say a consumer wants to explore the latest Toyota Corolla model inside the augmented reality showroom. Once they select this model, they will have the option to personalize it by changing the exterior color. They can see all of the exterior paint colors that this specific model comes in before making their selection.  Once they choose a color, it will be applied to the vehicle so they can see exactly what it would look like. The paint colors that are shown in the showroom are accurate representations of what the colors look like in real life. This way, consumers won’t need to search Google images to see what a specific Toyota model looks like in different colors. They can explore all of their options within the Toyota augmented reality showroom. Toyota Augmented Reality Showroom [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Make-Purchase-Decisions.jpg] MAKE PURCHASE DECISIONS Buying a car is a big financial commitment, so some consumers may have trouble making a purchase decision. But fortunately, visiting the augmented reality showroom can help automotive consumers decide which vehicle they want to purchase.  Inside the showroom, consumers can explore different vehicles to learn more about their options. They may even discover makes and models that they weren’t considering prior to entering the showroom. Then, they can compare the specs of each vehicle to narrow down their options. This will help them decide which vehicle is right for them. The final step is personalizing it to decide which exterior color they like best.  All of the information they need to make a purchase decision is available within the augmented reality showroom.  WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF VISITING THE TOYOTA AUGMENTED REALITY SHOWROOM? Some of the many benefits of visiting the Toyota augmented reality showroom include: * Convenient * Reduces Time Spent At Dealership * Improves the Overall Shopping Experience CONVENIENT Looking at Toyota vehicles inside an augmented reality showroom is far more convenient than visiting a dealership’s showroom in person. Automotive consumers can now get the same dealership showroom experience without ever stepping foot outside of their house.  There’s no need to make an appointment, travel to a showroom, or carve time out of the day for the trip during normal business hours. The augmented reality showroom is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so consumers can visit it at whatever time is most convenient for them. This is one of the main benefits of the augmented reality showroom experience.  Toyota Augmented Reality Showroom [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Reduces-Time-Spent-At-Dealership.jpg] REDUCES TIME SPENT AT DEALERSHIP Automotive consumers can reduce the amount of time they spend at the dealership simply by using the augmented reality showroom during the car buying process. If they visit the augmented reality showroom, they can skip the trip to the dealership’s showroom. This will drastically reduce the length of their trip to the dealership.  Plus, the augmented reality showroom gives them access to all of the information they need to make a purchase decision. As a result, they won’t need to talk to sales representatives to learn more about their options or get help deciding which vehicle to purchase. They don’t even need to visit the dealership until they have made a decision and are ready to make a purchase.  All consumers need to do once they arrive at the dealership is complete their paperwork. They can get in and out of the dealership quickly thanks to the augmented reality showroom.  IMPROVES THE OVERALL SHOPPING EXPERIENCE Visiting an augmented reality showroom can significantly improve the overall car shopping experience for consumers.  All of the information they need to make a purchase decision is in one place, so consumers won’t need to spend hours visiting different websites to conduct research. This can simplify and speed up the car buying process for consumers.  Reducing the time spent at the dealership improves the overall shopping experience, too. This is because automotive consumers dread spending hours inside a dealership in order to purchase a new car.  In fact, one study revealed that customer satisfaction in the car buying process tends to decline after 90 minutes inside a dealership. By reducing the length of the trip to the dealership, the augmented reality showroom may increase customer satisfaction in the car buying experience.  Toyota Augmented Reality Showroom [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/How-Can-You-Experience-the-Toyota-Augmented-Reality-Showroom.jpg] HOW CAN YOU EXPERIENCE THE TOYOTA AUGMENTED REALITY SHOWROOM? Step inside the RelayCars augmented reality showroom to begin exploring your favorite Toyota models. The RelayCars showroom is easy to use, so you don’t need to be tech-savvy to make the most out of your virtual trip. The RelayCars augmented reality showroom has an extensive library of over one thousand different vehicles. Even if you’re interested in browsing Toyota models, you may want to stick around to explore your other options. Inside the RelayCars showroom, you can tour models from countless automotive manufacturers, including Toyota, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus, Chevrolet, Honda, Kia, Volkswagen, and more. The showroom is constantly updated with new models, so keep checking back to see what else there is to offer. The best part? You don’t need a pair of augmented reality glasses or a headset in order to access it. You can visit the RelayCars virtual showroom using your smartphone, tablet, or computer. If you’re ready to explore Toyotas, visit the RelayCars augmented reality showroom today.