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How Consumer Trends are Shaping the Automotive Industry

The automotive industry has consistently evolved and improved. The emergence of the gasoline engine, automatic transmissions and key fobs have been revolutionary innovations in recent years. Yet in 2020 and beyond, the industry looks set to experience further transformation.

Technological advancements and environmental concerns appear to be key influences with the modifications, with consumers becoming increasingly reliant on tech and concerned with global warming.

The usual big names in the automotive industry are sure to be releasing new vehicles in accordance with these new changes. Yet, there could also be some unexpected names leading the industry in technical and environmental advancements. Allow JLR Essex to discuss which trends and manufacturers to watch out for in 2020 and beyond.

Electric Vehicles

EV’s have been on the market for some time. Yet, due to consumers becoming more socially and environmentally conscious, and the UK banning the production of new fossil fuel vehicles from 2035, the production of EV’s looks set to rise drastically.

Yet consumers will demand more from manufacturers if they are to switch from a combustion engine to an electric battery. Common complaints from drivers include the high price, inadequate charging infrastructure and low battery life for not investing in an EV.

Some critics in the automotive industry argue we are still years away from electric vehicles competing with fossil fuel vehicles, in terms of performance. This may be true. A significant investment will be needed for battery technology to develop to compete with combustion engines which have been used and developed for much longer. Yet, this doesn’t necessarily mean shortfalls with EV performance will reduce the demand for greener vehicles. The demands and demographic of consumers is changing, so much that environmental concerns outweigh that of performance.

Automotive manufacturers will focus on what consumers want, which due to the climate crisis, is greener vehicles over high performance. Traditional, established car manufacturers realise this, as well as companies who were previously unfamiliar to the industry.

Dyson, for example, planned to launch an electric vehicle in 2021, yet these plans were eventually scrapped due to the technology company being unable to find a buyer for the project.

Tesla, found in just 2003, has been leading the electric vehicle revolution for a number of years. After releasing a series of high-quality electric vehicles, the Cybertruck is to be released in 2021. This all-electric, battery-powered vehicle enters the electric vehicle into a new market. Previously, EV’s have been described as unreliable and inefficient. Yet the Cybertruck is made with durability and passenger protection in mind with the performance of a sports car. Other startups looking to compete with established manufacturers include Byton, Piech & Rivian, who’re backed by Amazon.

Consumer demand for greener vehicles may transform the industry quickly. With established brands such as Nissan and Tesla having to compete with startups and firms new to the industry like Dyson, this could only be good news for green-conscious consumers.

Technology & Autonomous Driving

Just as consumers are becoming more concerned with the climate crisis, they are becoming more reliant and attuned to new technology, in almost every aspect of life. AI has added ease and convenience to everyday lives, whether it’s through digital voice assistants or unlocking your phone.

It was predicted by 2020 self-driving cars would be commonplace on roads. Autonomous driving technology, however, has proved harder to master than expected. Nevertheless, Autonomous vehicles are tipped to be the future of driving, which has seen efforts from manufacturers Toyota, Honda and Tesla fall short. New names to the industry such as Waymo, who’s owned by Google, are also front runners in the industry. All these firms hoped to have launched an autonomous vehicle by 2020.

Yet, there are elements of autonomous driving on our roads now. Some cars automatically brake when they anticipate a collision. Others assist with keeping in lane and the Tesla Model S has an autopilot feature when driving on motorways. The final product may still be years away, yet manufacturers will continue to invest.

Manufacturers believe once the technology for autonomous driving is finally cracked, the market will boom and the setbacks will be worth it. There is consumer demand for convenience and technology. Being able to watch a television series or even sleep whilst driving will encourage consumers to invest. This is why leading manufacturers and new players like Google are keen to throw their hat into the ring. Self-driving taxis are also thought to be in the thoughts of companies like Uber.

In terms of timeline, it’s hard to predict when self-driving cars will be on the roads. Google is still carrying out test runs with no driver behind the wheel. Tesla also seems to be making progress with their autopilot technology. Sceptics argue we may never have autonomous vehicles, yet taking into consideration the progress made with Tesla and other manufacturers, this view seems pessimistic.

The push for electric and autonomous vehicles is spearheaded by eco-conscious consumers, as well as a demand for convenience. This has led to names from various industries competing to advance the technology required to alter these markets. Many startups will see Tesla’s surge to the top of the EV market despite being founded in 2013 as realistic motivation. For consumers, this investment and competition from big names in the automotive, tech, and environmental industries, can only be a good thing for the progress of greener and autonomous vehicles.