Consumers Are Replacing Their Cars More Quickly Than Ever for Tech Upgrades

Feb 24, 2015 10:00 AM EST | Jordan Ecarma

A recovering economy and falling gas prices have been good for the auto industry, but growing car sales have received a boost from another corner: technology.

Last year, auto leases reached their lowest average length on record--around 36 months--Edmunds.com found, and part of that quick turnaround is the technology upgrade available in newer vehicles.

Similar to the smartphone effect, drivers want to trade in their vehicles that work fine for the latest in auto technology, Bloomberg reported.  

"You don't really need a new iPhone," Kelley Blue Book's Karl Brauer told Bloomberg. "But you want one."

Innovations such as touchscreen displays, Bluetooth connection and push-button start have customers shelling out more per vehicle on average.

Transaction prices per car have increased by about $3,000 since 2009, putting the price of the average vehicle at around $32,100.

Technology's new prevalence in the auto industry has reverberated in other ways as well. Tech giant Google has been working to develop its own self-driving car as nearly every automaker in the game races to be the first to launch an autonomous production vehicle.

Auto executives have also been concerned that their lineups may become shells for software if consumers purchase vehicles based on an iOS versus Android platform instead of car brand.

Connected car tech is also rendering old staples obsolete, as noted in a New York Times report this week. GPS devices used to be in high demand, but they have been primarily replaced by smartphone maps as well as in-vehicle navigation systems like Google's Android Auto and Apple's CarPlay.

Apps that are specific to an auto brand; MP3 players and other music devices; and built-in CD players are other things that are quickly falling by the wayside as car tech advances, although CD players are still fairly common because they are cheap to produce and install, the Times reported.

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