By Benjamin Stanley
If recent vehicle sales are any indication, the automotive industry has seen a resurgence of energy in recent years.
However, selling cars, and cars alone, is not going to sustain this renewed momentum and automakers and their partners will have to weather the transformative forces rising up around them. The good news, is that if you look closely, it will become clear that a new industry identity is emerging—one that is more inclusive and without borders.
It is with this new identity in mind that we decided to investigate what the automotive industry will look like in 10 short years.
The result is a report titled: “Automotive 2025: Industry Without Borders” and is based on interviews with 175 executives from automotive OEMs, suppliers, and other thought leaders from 21 countries. In it, they discuss the future of the industry, evolving customer expectations, growth strategies, mobility requirements, and ecosystem disruption, among other topics shaping the direction of the industry.
Developed by the IBM Institute for Business Value as a follow up to a 2008 report titled “Automotive 2020: Clarity beyond the chaos” it was unveiled at the Automotive News World Congress this week, the precursor to the annual North American International Auto Show, each of which takes place in Detroit.
What the study found was a resounding call for introspection and thus transformation from OEMs and suppliers alike. The future requirements isolated by the study emphasized that the rigid, self contained industry of the past century must transform into an industry that is expected to be open, collaborative and filled with new innovators looking to disrupt all aspects of the automotive ecosystem, the products, services and relationships between consumers with the vehicle or the enterprise.
We identified nine external influencers, such as economies/markets, government regulations and sustainability which affect other industries. According to the study, changes in consumer expectations were the most dramatic shift between the Auto 2020 and Auto 2025 studies. Addressing consumer expectations now ranks behind only technology in order of importance for the automotive industry.
The consumers of 2025 will want to not only drive cars; they want to be compelled to co-create them.
This “power of the crowd” can bring additional insights and benefits, and extend beyond the enterprise confines by taking advantage of consumers’ desire to participate, exploiting the power of many and avoiding the constraints of corporate culture. However, there are two critical factors when working with the crowd – find the right crowd for the right situation and provide ways to engage that are easy and intuitive.
By 2025, multiple systems of engagement and new business models will be developed to enable leading automotive enterprises to reach the right crowd in a given situation, such as products design and development, attaining relevant insights and benefits for successful partnership. These systems of engagement could take the form of games, contests, challenges or other methods that will provide a great consumer experience and in turn result in mutually beneficial innovations and industry progress.
But it’s not only the consumer that will evolve, it is also the vehicles they drive, or ride in. The 2025 vehicle will be sophisticated enough to configure itself to a driver and other occupants. It will be able to learn, heal, drive and socialize with other vehicles and its surrounding environment. Self enabling vehicles will provide a greater personalized experience through their ability to “take care” of its occupants, “take care” itself and “work with” others.
While much more is still ahead for the automotive industry by 2025, both known and unknown, the roadmap the participants of Auto 2025 study pointed to will be exciting to follow. Disruptions with the consumer, mobility and the ecosystem are sure to seed innovation; and as the borders continue to come down, new tools will create opportunities the likes of which the industry hasn’t seen since the automated assembly line.