Two months ago I leased a 2014 Chevrolet Impala, I liked the style, the seating capacity it fit my needs and my budget. The vehicle comes standard with a lot of electronic features which tells me everything from where I am, where I have been, where I am going and when I’ll get there. Some of these features I still don’t understand and quite frankly never will. It reminded me of how cool it was when I first got a vehicle which told me information like miles per gallon and how far I have driven, and before that, my first car with power windows and door locks. These new features are more advanced than we thought were even possible, up until a few years ago. These features all seem pretty worthwhile; I get an e-mail telling me tire pressure, oil changes, miles driven and all kinds of data which can even be sent directly to my phone. Then I got to thinking….
I certainly don’t want to target General Motors; I live in a GM town, come from a GM family and have never even considered buying anything other than a GM vehicle. But do I really want GM or anyone for that matter knowing everything about my driving habits? While I have not seen this in writing and am not insinuating that it is happening, am I paranoid to think that my new Impala is or at least could track more about my driving than I realize? With GPS tracking and advanced technology how difficult would it be for my car to track every place I have ever driven, how fast I drove, how long I stayed…When lease turn in time comes, is it possible for my car to tell GM that I have not treated it well.
My wife says I’m paranoid-I have nothing to hide. She may be right, but when will leases be based not only on how many miles you drive, but also on how well you treat your car. Did the oil get changed on time every time? Were the tires rotated like they were supposed to? You drove the car how fast? Over how many bumpy roads? The list could get quite long.
The only thing we know for sure is that technology is not going backwards and how this will affect the auto industry will only be determined over time. But, it’s a safe bet to say that someday your smart phone will be able to download the entire history of a vehicle through a wireless connection and place an immediate value on it. It is sure to change the car buying process and probably make us all drive a little slower.