It was only a matter of time
, right? With digital becoming the new black, we knew that those hugely thick, underutilized user guides that shipped with automobiles would one day fade from existence, and it looks as if the fading has begun. Chrysler has just announced that it will become the first automaker to ditch the paperback and go digital with the guides that accompany its fleet of vehicles.
The paperless approach is designed to save over 930 tons of paper, or around 20,000 trees annually, and we can imagine that it'll also save the company some serious dough. The deal covers Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge vehicles, all of which will have much more room in their glove box starting with the 2010 model year. Granted, not all paper will be vanishing. A comprehensive DVD will replace the bulky manual, which often runs over 500 pages, but a full-color paper guide of 60 - 80 pages will still be included with the most important tidbits. Think of it as an emergency roadside manual when there's no PC around to view the DVD.
What's interesting is how this actually benefits the end user. Rather than just slapping a PDF file onto a DVD and calling it a day, Chrysler will include videos of how to accomplish certain things such as folding down that troublesome soft top on a Jeep Wrangler. In addition, owners may search by topic rather than sifting through a 500-page book. Of course, if you still feel that you need the book, you can obtain one by contacting your dealer. Call us crazy, but we get the feeling just about every other automaker
in the world is about to follow suit.