Having watched the rise of ride-hailing apps, automakers are poised start making changes to new cars to cater directly to a new group of customers -- Uber and Lyft drivers.
With millions of Americans pressing their own cars into service to ferry passengers, auto companies are seeing a market for a new class of vehicles better suited to the task.
They are weighing, for instance, whether to add more durable materials in the back seat and features especially directed at helping vehicles handle wear-and-tear from ride-hailing duty in ways no normal driver would expect.
At least one automaker is considering offering a special model tailored to the needs of ride-hailing drivers.
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"We're looking at it," Orth Hedrick, vice president of product planning for Kia Motors America, told USA TODAY at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. "We have a test vehicle that's under development now. We're going to try some new ideas and see what the response is because it is a growing trend."
The Kia model could qualify as a special trim level or a package upgrade, Hedrick suggested. It would likely involve "a lot more features in the rear seat, plug-ins, cupholders, vents, controls, things like that," he said.