The preceding 25 years from the current year is generally called the ‘modern Era’. But the modern cars vary from the classic or vintage cars in many technical and design aspects. So modern day cars mean cars with newer technologies, irrespective of the year in which they were introduced.
Computer Aided Single body Designs
The look and design of the modern day car is the result of progressive standardization, computer aided designing and platform sharing by various companies. The front wheel drive, the ubiquitous use of fuel injection systems and the adoption of the diesel engines are all contemporary developments.
Many of these features were attempted in earlier eras too, but now they dominate and are hugely accepted and popular. The cars in the modern era have unibody designs, are front wheel driven and have engines which are mounted transversely. But this type of design was considered revolutionary even in the 1960s!
The modern day cars generally come with three types of body styles; the hatchback, sports utility vehicle (SUV) and the sedan. All of them are fairly recent concepts but have found widespread acceptance. Slow changes to these styles have metamorphosed into today’s sports wagons, high powered luxury SUVs and the two volume large multipurpose vehicles. The rise in the numbers of SUVs worldwide and the pickup trucks particularly in the United States have altered the motoring scene completely, with them commanding more than half of the world’s vehicle market. The one volume multipurpose vehicle or the minivan is also very popular, first among which are, the French Renault Espace and US Pontaic Trans Sport.
The automobile emissions concerns of the 1970s were addressed and conquered with the help of computerized engine management systems. From then the engine power and output has been on the rise. The modern car also has good fuel efficiency, which was not envisaged earlier. In 1980s a powerful sports car produced 200 hp and only 20 years down the line an average passenger cars have engines that powerful. In fact some high performance models can go up to three times this power.
The economic crisis in 2008 saw a drastic cut in the sales of all types of vehicles. Chrysler, Ford, Nissan and Toyota cut almost one third of their light duty automobiles. Honda’s sales went down one fourth and General Motor’s saw a cut of nearly one seventh of its usual sales.
From 2009 China emerged as the new absolute car manufacturer leader of the world with their production being more than that of Japan, all of Europe and the US. With transnational corporate groups and platforms becoming the trend globally, car production in Asian and other countries has also risen.
The Ford Model T has been named the most influential car of the 20th century. The Toyota corolla which is a small Japanese saloon or sedan model has become the best-selling car of all times. Many of these models have electronic anti lock braking system, air bags, seat belts, traction control system etc. Tata Nano, an inexpensive small car was launched in India which is rear-engine, aimed at the Indian Market. There were many all-electric vehicles also launched like the Tesla Roadster, Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt, all of which went into mass production, a first for vehicles of its kind.