7 automotive industry trends you need to know

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The automotive industry is developing at a frighteningly exhilarating pace. Advanced technologies and changes in the way we move both people and things are forcing the sector to adopt new processes, integrate AI and adapt existing skills.

The future of mobility, according to a PWC report, is ‘EASCY’ – electrified, autonomous, shared, connected and yearly updated - transforming the role of the car into a ‘third place’ hybrid which will combine elements of both the home and workplace. It couldn’t be a more exciting time to work in the industry. And if you don’t, here are a handful of trends you should know about:

1. Autonomous vehicles aren’t so scary

The Deloitte 2018 UK Automotive Consumer study finds that people are slowly accepting autonomous technology, with consumers in the UK less concerned about safety (49 per cent in 2018 vs 73 per cent in 2017) – a trend that is consistent around the world. However, they still want to see consistent safety track records. PWC expects autonomous driving to account for 40 per cent of overall traffic within the next 12 years.

2. Internet of Things = connected cars.

Gadgetry has come a long way since the first sat nav was introduced in 2003 by Toyota. It won’t be long before the adoption of IoT-enabled connected cars really takes off, given the convenience they’ll offer. We’re talking personalised journeys and advanced infotainment, to algorithm-based insurance premiums and vehicle-to-vehicle communication. Imagine a car which talks to traffic infrastructure or could tell you when it really requires maintenance.  

3. The decline of traditional car ownership

Would you let someone else drive your car for money? According to reports, a lot of us would. The car sharing market is growing rapidly, with a number of concepts hitting our streets. These include Ford’s pay-as-you-go service GoDrive (which offers guaranteed parking in London), and cars on demand club, Zipcar, plus several other schemes worldwide which are bound to reach the UK soon. So fast is this idea spreading, PWC predicts that by 2030, one in three kilometres driven ‘could involve sharing concepts’. What’s more, it offers an unexpected manufacturing opportunity in the form of the development of bacteria-free interiors. No crumbs in the back, kids.

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4. Digitisation is disrupting automotive manufacturing

The automotive industry may be at its highest level for years, but digitisation is allowing it to strengthen further. The increasing digitisation and automation of manufacturing is moving processes away from manual labour, resulting in production and cost efficiencies (which is already benefiting suppliers by £2.6bn). Systems which allow for the sharing of real-time data analytics, 3D printing, deployment of ‘cobots’ (collaborative robots) and ‘machine vision’ which ascertains safety are all disrupting the traditional production lines.

It’s predicted that the adoption of digitisation could add up to £74bn by 2035, however, the UK needs to do more if we’re to compete with other nations. One of the biggest issues we face, unsurprisingly, is the lack of skills and knowledge.

5. Human skill sets are vital

Following on from above, digitisation and automation across the industry bring myriad benefits. What the machines can’t do, however, are the tasks which rely on what’s known as the ‘human skill set’. According to the World Economic Forum, the most important skills in 2020 fall under that category and are: complex problem solving, critical thinking and creativity. Throw in some people management and emotional intelligence, and you’re there. So, rather than fearing that automation will render people redundant, they’ll actually be needed more than ever. What will be vital, however, is the upskilling and retraining of existing staff.

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6. More people are opting for AFV vehicles, but…

Alternatively fuelled vehicle (AFV) registrations increased in 2016 by almost a quarter, seeing them now assume a still modest 3.3 per cent market share (hybrids outnumber pure electric cars 4:1). There are now more than 60 plug-in models to choose between and almost 15k charge points. Sales have been encouraged, says Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), by government incentives and improved finance packages. Nissan claims a Leaf is sold every 12 seconds across Europe. That said, public misconception has seen consumers remain slightly wary of AFVs, favouring traditional fuel options due to fears relating to driving range and the perceived running costs. Altering this perception will be key going forward.

7. The end of the annual service

If you’re one of those people who groan at ‘that time of year’ when the car needs to be serviced, then you’ll love this. According the PWC study, in the not-too-distant future, connected vehicles will provide real-time data and receive yearly hard/software updates. They can also tell you when specific elements require servicing. It’s thought that this predictive maintenance may, in theory, spell the end of the annual service as we know it. This will spell a huge change for the auto trade, in terms of after-care provision but possibly more convenient for drivers of the future.

This is just the tip of the automotive iceberg and while we may not have created the flying cars depicted in The Jetsons (yet), autonomous, connected, electric, shared vehicles are absolutely still something to get excited about.

Are you looking for a career in the industry or skilled talent to push your business forward? Contact the Automotive Team  to chat about your requirements.