Aging Boomers changing face of automobile design

For casual industry watchers and professional analysts alike, it’s hard not to get swept up in the fervor surrounding concept cars as auto show season rolls ‘round. Fluid, futuristic shapes featuring impossible curves, oddly seductive drivetrains promising freakish levels of performance and high-tech creature comforts— they’re the things that gearheads live for.

But to the rapidly aging Baby Boomer population, a plunging windowline and promises of 120hp/liter aren’t what matters: strong door hinges and louder warning chimes are. So says Automotive Body Repair News (ABRN), which examines (and predicts) the effect of a growing senior populace on the face of car design.

Advances in active and passive safety top the list of retiree-friendly developments, along with primary and secondary controls that are easier to operate for those with decreasing motor and visual skills. Among the ideas already gaining traction are:

  • Easier-to-read gauges
  • Larger handles attached to sturdier doors
  • Advanced snow and ice removal systems
  • Window films to reduce glare
  • Larger control knobs
  • Lane-deviation and blind-spot warning systems
  • Wider, heated seats

Sadly, while on the subject, ABRN fails to address the need for more stringent (and more frequent) driver’s license testing among seniors.

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