Simplifying is the easy solution. Identifying what we can live without in a vehicle is the first step. The MINI is a great example. Most people seldom carry passengers and large amounts of cargo at the same time, so you choose by having the seats up or down, depending on what's in the back. We can also make cars less complex. Maybe a basic investment in helping everyone become a better driver would help manufacturers feel better about not computer-aiding everything.

Cheaper has to happen, with all the emerging markets around the world. A $40,000 family car isn't going to fly in China and India. Cars like the VW Up, which can be a globally shared platform, are the future. Companies can't afford to build a completely different product line for every market.

The Smart car was originally conceived in a joint venture between Mercedes-Benz and Swatch. Maybe it's time we pulled other non-automotive companies into the fray to mix things up. Anyone else wonder what the iCar would look like?

By Mike Febbo
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