This Week in the World of Cars: Sept 8 – 13

Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

This week’s top stories picked by our editors feature a goodbye to the Volkswagen Beetle, technology to replace side mirrors, and a new way to own a Porsche. 

  • It looks like the future of mobility will still rely on cars. Mercedes-Benz takes a closer look at the design of autonomous cars with the debut of its flexible autonomous car – the “flexible” refers to its ability to serve multiple needs, which is due to its universal powertrain platform. With a few quick changes, it can go from holding 12 people to carrying over 350 cubic feet of cargo. Yes, other automakers have created concepts for their autonomous vehicles, but Mercedes went back to basics and took another look at the design. Props, Mercedes-Benz, for your innovative thinking.
  • Distracted driving continues to be an issue. To combat this, Chevy is using the peer pressure of friends and family – and your smartphone – to fight it. Call Me Out, the app from Chevy, uses recorded messages from friends and family to remind drivers to put their phones down. It’s a move that has integrity – but will it work? It requires drivers to opt-in, not opt-out.
  • Porsche debuts another level to its subscription program, and it lets fans be owners, at least temporarily. Are subscriptions the way of car shopping in the future? It’s unclear, in large part due to their high prices. Want to get the full low-down on subscriptions? Read our write-up here.
  • It’s the end of an era for the Volkswagen Beetle. After seventy years on the market, the Beetle enters its final production year in 2019. The automaker will turn its attention to larger vehicles, like SUVs and pickup trucks. But the Beetle may not be gone for good. It could return in electric-car form in several years.
  • No side mirrors, just cameras – at least for Lexus ES vehicles in Japan. The screen for each camera sits just inside the car. The benefits include being rain- and snow-resistant and (potentially) improved visibility at night. New safety features for the cars in the US are going more toward digital – some models now include digital rear-view mirrors, while all cars made in 2018 and beyond must now include digital reversing cameras. They offer the same benefits along with increased visibility.

We’ll be back next week with more content curated for our readers.

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