We previously talked about the 12 incredible features of Tesla cars, and today we’ll talk about my predictions for trends in the automotive industry.
Unprecedented, tough times, new normal. Many people use these terms to describe 2020. For many of us, the sooner 2021 comes, the better. However, especially now, given the lessons we’ve learned from the economy, manufacturing and the automotive ecosystem, it’s important to think about how we can apply these lessons to help adapt and plan for the years ahead.
A few key issues need to be considered first: the economy is stronger and more fragile at the same time, newer technologies and digital businesses are flourishing, and those with rigid operating models are facing problems during the epidemic. We realized that we need to rethink the educational system’s use of technology and push it to meet the requirements of the new normal and how this will shape the future of automotive workforce development.
I also realized that people have hope in their hearts. This is a profound lesson and an important concept that we need to keep in mind. Why? Because happy, hopeful people also spend a lot. They invest, buy homes, travel, dine at restaurants, and buy cars.
Here are my predictions for the automotive industry in 2021.
1. auto sales in the post-epidemic era will be much higher than current projections for North America and Europe. The IHS Markit projection for North American sales in 2021 (as shown in April 2020) is about 17.4 million units. IHS Markit now says that market demand will reach 18.82 million units. I predict that backlogged market demand will push that number up to 19 million units as people get vaccinated against the new crown pneumonia and governments lift restrictions on their activities. In terms of viruses, it’s going to be a long winter and these numbers will spike. But on the other hand, people are in high spirits and they will buy cars, etc.
2. There is good news and bad news for companies eager to build electric cars. More and more national and local governments worldwide are demanding lower carbon emissions and better fuel mileage, which will drive the rise of electric vehicles. That’s the good news, and it’s not hard to predict.
The other part is a true prediction – that companies that have tried to release electric cars in 2021 will delay their releases. As I peruse the list of upcoming car releases, I see that both new companies and established manufacturers will face significant production delays. Some delays are due to startups simply not knowing how to get their back-office back up and running or how to fully translate their designs into production execution, while others have to do with the supply chain and other reasons.
The important point is that until sometime in 2021, the electric vehicles currently available for sale are likely to be very similar. There are not as many different models available for sale as the industry predicts. I love learning about electric vehicle design and performance but expect delays of all kinds.
3. After a few false starts with Industry 4.0 initiatives, automakers and suppliers will begin to aggressively adopt any method that can automate repetitive business processes or drive decisions through analytics and predictive analytics. Faced with the vast market potential, companies do not want to be left behind. So let’s wait and see.