The winds of change are sweeping across the automotive landscape and shifting it at a rapid pace.
This is both an incredible opportunity and a great challenge in terms of logistics and finances. We are moving towards a high-tech, but also a low-carbon future, where the industry will be very different than today.
For those who know where to look, the hints and signs of its advent are everywhere.
And what we see is a big leap for the whole industry, both at a micro and a macro level.
In the past, most innovations were production-oriented. Today, however, automotive companies operate in a more complex environment, where environmentalism is growing strong.
Nevertheless, high-tech materials are in the spotlight of auto parts manufacturing. Keeping up the pace with novelties is tricky: in the next few years, experts predict the rise of nanotechnology, cutting-edge software, as well as alternative and nanomaterials.
Tires will be reinforced with nanoparticles and coating able to resist corrosion better.
Furthermore, robots are becoming a common sight in factories. Self-driving vehicles navigate the highways and byways successfully and all-electric fleets with vehicle-to-vehicle connectivity emerge.
Still, it is important to note that technology is always adopted in stages. Semi-autonomous technology is the first to be implemented.
A fully-autonomous car, though, is something we will have to wait for a bit more. That being said, by 2020, the bulk of the vehicles will be connected and at least semi-automated.
Clearing the air
As for environmentalism, it does deserve special attention. The Volkswagen emission scandal has made it crystal-clear that deceit will not be tolerated.
After the test emission manipulation went public, the automotive giant was forced to recall millions of cars. Eco-friendly organizations across the globe are forming a united front against air pollution.
The policy climate is changing and the new regulation will quash companies that fail to adhere to high standards.
The internal combustion engine is hard to beat in terms of performance. Yet, its supreme reign might be coming to an end. Hybrid vehicles are on the roll and they could account for 25% of all cars by 2020.
Biodiesel is quite popular, but it is far from the only alternative fuel source. Nowadays, we also have electricity, propane, hydrogen, ethanol, and natural gas.
They are gaining traction both among drivers and investors. The value of many companies in this new sector is going up, and the future seems promising.
Consumers and markets
Furthermore, the patterns of change are aligned with shifting consumer preferences and behavior. Safety and environmental concerns are major factors, but so is the need for convenience and stellar design.
Customer service was revolutionized by artificial intelligence, social media, and business automation. Consumers expect a company’s representatives to be at their disposal 24/7. They have to react quickly when a driver requires an expert mobile mechanic or wants some practical problem solved.
At last, the surge in new markets also brings forth exciting prospects. Countries like China have entered the global competitive game and they have no intention of taking a back seat.
It seems that the established markets like the US and Europe cannot rival the upswing in the number of purchased vehicles in emerging ones, which has almost tripled in a matter of a decade.
Car manufacturers and dealerships are inevitably turning their attention to new horizons and growth opportunities.
Open the doors to the future
In order to survive, one has to change. And to move past that basic instinct and thrive, one has to change often. These principles have never been more relevant than in today’s automotive industry.
Emerging markets are already a big deal and environmental regulations are tightening on a global scale. Technology marches forward in leaps and bounds and automotive companies cannot afford to fall behind.
Finally, vehicles are changing due to consumer taste and expectations.
The future of driving is now and for those who embrace it, the benefits are numerous and opulent.
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